With over 78 million people in the US alone blocking ads, garnering the term “adlergic,” creating smart content that reaches our target consumers has gotten more critical than ever.
Content marketing is smart marketing in an age where our consumers are looking for what they want, when they want it.
Content marketing WORKS tremendously well.
But, it doesn’t hit those HUGE return numbers without a smart content strategy.
The best content marketers use a strong content strategy. It’s true – Content Marketing Institute’s benchmark study says the most successful content marketers are far more likely than their less successful peers to have a documented content marketing strategy (65% vs. 14%)!
So, you have to know your content strategy to achieve real content marketing success.
Not sure how to do that? You’re in luck! Learn how to put together an effective content strategy for powerful marketing, in my new video.
How to Create a Content Strategy for Your Content Marketing (Video)
Video Transcription: How to Build a Strong Content Strategy for Your Content Marketing
If you know me, you already know how much I LOVE content marketing. I’ve been preaching it, writing books about content strategy and marketing, and practicing it since 2011.
Heck, I’ve got ‘serial content marketer’ and ‘content hacker’ in all my social media bios.
I believe in content marketing and a smart content strategy because, simply put, it WORKS to build a real audience today. Content is one of the LOWEST-COST, highest-ROI marketing efforts you could be doing, especially if you focus on your onsite presence. SEO content leads have a 14.6% close rate, as opposed to outbound leads (1.7% close rate!)
Through a smart content strategy and content marketing, inside eight years, I’ve built a seven-figure digital agency. I haven’t had to show up to any office – at all – in those seven years. I haven’t had to cold call. I fired my commission sales rep over three years ago because content marketing works so well! Our story of growth through content has gone around town. Neil Patel has featured it on his site (this study is fairly old – we’re at 2,500 visitors/day organically now), and we were even interviewed and featured on Forbes.
BUT – before I got smart on my content marketing strategy, let me tell you, my content was a HOT MESS! I was publishing with no results, just hitting publish, publish, and in a hamster wheel of content efforts.
After figuring out our content strategy, I almost TRIPLED our agency’s monthly income!
Keep watching for the full story, and the lowdown on the six content strategy cores I still use today for powerful results.
Before we go any further, hit that subscribe button! I want you back here! Click on the banner below to visit my YouTube channel and subscribe.
The Backstory: Before I Put a Content Strategy In Place, Here’s What My Content Marketing Results Looked Like
Okay, so quick backstory before I go into the six content strategy cores you should be putting into practice for real content marketing results.
From my beginning year of 2011 all the way up until about 2015, I was a stressed-out, struggling marketer.
I was producing content in a whirlwind of deadlines, just to keep my “online presence” afloat.
My agency made money, and we got leads… but not enough. It always seemed we’d ride by with nothing to show for it each month.
Why can’t my marketing WORK? I’m creating content daily! I was thinking to myself.
Fast-forward to 2016. After working for five years in my agency, I decided a “spray-and-pray” approach just wasn’t good enough. I settled in, stood back, and taught myself how to be strategic. I tested, analyzed, and surveyed. Then, I applied a series of strategic moves to my content marketing, started publishing less, and focused on the right things.
And it paid off…
In less than 18 months, I reached 150% MONTHLY revenue growth.
Our team and client base grew by 25%, we now have almost 90 team members, and we have new clients coming in every week after finding us through our content.
Getting strategic with our content has truly paid off.
We don’t have to sell ourselves anymore — our content does the selling.
These six content strategy cores are the reason our marketing is so successful. Let’s get into them.
The 6 Cores of a Successful Content Strategy
At a birds-eye, here are all six:
Your Content Marketing Fundamentals
Your Audience and The Sales Cycle
Know Your SEO
Build Online Authority Consistently
Create Content that Actually Works to Build Your Audience, Presence, and Revenue
Budget, Promote, and Maintain for Consistent Success
Did I mention that these aren’t quick overnight hacks? They truly aren’t. Let’s get into a bit more detail.
First, fundamentals. Everything you create in content marketing is stronger with a good foundation. You should spend a minimum of one week just planning before you create.
Here are a few fundamentals to know. First, know your topic area to build content inside of. Or, if this is for a client, this is their topic area. Center this around your expertise, and then branch out to what your audience wants to hear from you about. So if you sell shoes, don’t talk about shoes. Talk about health and fitness apps, knee health maintenance, and warmup exercises for runners.
Secondly, get to know your audience and be able to connect them to the sales cycle. Build a real audience persona by conducting market research surveys. Get to know your audience like you would a friend. Then, find out what interests them at the three stages in the sales cycle, from awareness to intent, evaluation, purchase, and loyalty.
Thirdly, get to know your SEO. Know how to research for a great keyword. Know how to write well-optimized SEO content. This is the fundamental knowledge you have to have to build incredible onsite content that brings traffic and growth in your future months. Set up your tools and time to consistently research keywords. Look for long tail keywords instead of broad keywords.
Fourthly, build your online authority consistently by focusing on a strong content house, where everything you create will live. This is your website, not another publisher’s platform that can take away publishing rights or reach. Everything you create on your house is lasting and will domino to more results over time.
Fifthly, learn how to create content that works. Delegate and get support at this stage. My agency, Express Writers, writes for hundreds of marketers and agencies. Maybe you need a writing team to craft high-quality blogs and website pages. You need to get consistent to see results, and you need to create worthwhile, valuable content.
Sixth and finally, set a content budget, promote the content on your house to your email list and social media, and maintain (clean, take care of) your content for ongoing success.
Now, this was just a bird’s-eye view of all six cores. I do have a 60-minute training that goes over each one of these content strategy cores, which you can access immediately here. Just put in your email address and you’ll instantly receive an email with the video file to watch on demand. You don’t have to show up at a certain time or day.
P.S. Did you see our new intro in today’s video? My husband got that footage with me with a drone right here in Austin, Texas. The bridge is called the Pennybacker Bridge, over the Loop 360 highway. If you’re ever in Austin, give me a shout! And don’t forget to hit that subscribe button, and the little bell to get notified for my new videos. See you around!
Need Help in the Content Creation Side of Content Marketing, Without Quality Loss?
Our team of writing experts at Express Writers is here to support your content creation!
I had the honor of teaching a half-day content writing workshop for NextGen Healthcare in Irvine, California in March, 2019.
I walked in armed with principles, ‘how-tos,’ recommended tools, writing standards, custom techniques for their B2B marketing, and more…
And as I walked out to enjoy the sun and California beach for an extra day, I had a HUGE realization.
The playbook to ‘good content’ is dead.
In a world where 3.8 billion emails are sent daily, 5 million blogs are published daily, and 1.5 BILLION websites exist…
We’ve hit a content peak. ⛰The mountain of content we’ve created online (much of it, bad) is unbelievable.
And now is the time to stop creating the same old, same old.
We have no excuses anymore. We’ve got to stop fitting in ‘best practices’ boxes, and allow room for innovation.
In today’s video, I’m covering some of the most important takeaways after walking out of my workshop and conversations with the amazing team of content creators at NextGen. Watch, and then let me know in the comments on YouTube what your #1 action will be today to stop creating same old, same old. Let’s inspire each other!
Seriously! I believe that level 10 has become our new Level 1. It is now the Basics.
So, know your basics. Get strategic, and never guess when creating topics – ever! Use data-backed insights on REAL searches they’re doing in Google and questions they’re already asking online, using tools like BuzzSumo (content discovery) and SEMrush (SEO analysis).
Here’s a crazy statistic about the state of video:
More video content is uploaded in 30 days than the major U.S. television networks have created in 30 years. (Insivia)
And: 147 million Americans watch video on the internet, according to Nielsen.
Well, you might ask… But does this mean video content is being consumed by our audience?
Glad you asked.
Yes, yes it does.
46% of users take some sort of action after viewing a video ad (Online Publishers Association)
After watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online (ComScore).
96% of B2B organizations use video in their marketing campaigns, and 73% of those organizations report positive results to their ROI (ReelSEO).
Real estate listings that include a video receive 403% more inquiries than those without.
1/3 of all online activity is spent watching video.
59% of executives would rather watch video than read text (Forbes).
Let’s be honest – if you’re ignoring video, you’re missing out.
Words are great and all, but in written form they can be a little overwhelming at times. Even if text is broken up by spaces and cool pictures, our consumers want a different way to digest information.
Videos are a trending content type because of a fundamentally human element that makes them much more relatable. Plus, it’s easy to consume them. Click play, sit back, enjoy.
It’s as easy as that – no wonder people enjoy video content. It’s why people flock to sites like YouTube, whether they want to be entertained, informed, or both. About 1.9 billion logged-in users visit YouTube each month.
Last September, I started focusing on growing my YouTube channel, and have remained committed to a minimum of publishing two new videos/monthly. (We publish 1-2 blogs per week, so those continue to take precedence.) I’ve seen incredibly great organic reach from it, solid traffic and even leads come our way – and even better returns after getting more strategic with my script and strategy. I’ll cover some of the strategies I use on a regular basis in today’s guide.
If you’re a writer, you’ve probably looked to master most of the popular content types out there. Blogs, news articles, and web pages are all important. However, knowing how to write a great video script is also valuable. Think of it this way – a video isn’t an alternative to a written content piece. Instead, it’s a creation based off a well-written video script.
Today we’ll go over how to write a great video script. Planning, creation, promotion – we’ll cover everything from beginning to end.
1. Defining Marketing Explainer Videos (and Their Benefits)
2. How to Ideate Your Video – Matching Ideas to Goals
3. How to Create Your Script – Drafting an Outline and Beyond
4. Producing and Publishing Your Video
5. Final Thoughts to Make Your Video a Success
What is a Marketing Explainer Video? Why Should You Make One?
“You want me to buy this? Well, why should I?”
“Uh, well, let me explain that…”
We’ve all been on one side of this dialogue at some point – maybe both. If you’re the person who is trying to explain how your good or service could benefit a potential buyer, hopefully your explanation is organized well enough so you don’t start the answer with “uh.”
Sometimes we’re told the answer to this question should be organic – and in a way, that’s right.
Yet, when we’re making a video, we want to sound like we’re reading from a script. The script is the key to a good video, especially one detailing a product or service.
A good explainer video uses time efficiently – saying exactly what the listener is looking to hear by tackling the important points in direct succession.
Consider these tips when you want to make an explainer video:
Be Concise: You can be descriptive, but try to start with a simple 1-2 sentence pitch that summarizes your product and what it does.
Know Your Audience: Focus on who you are writing to – but more importantly, focus on what problem you can solve. People watch explainer videos to find out how you can help them. Be specific, and cut to the chase quick.
Consider Consulting Outsiders: Sometimes it helps to have a fresh perspective when writing your script. When in doubt, ask previous customers for feedback.
When you’re looking to create a great script, you have a few options. You can look for a sample video script to fill in, or use it as inspiration for your own template.
But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Before we start writing the script, let’s talk about the research portion.
Step One: Ideate Your Video – Matching Ideas to Goals
Follow this format, and your script will always serve one of three purposes. The first is to help your video appear higher in search results – yes, SEO matters in videos, but more on that later.
The second is to make sales or build connections that can facilitate sales. The final one is to build awareness about your brand and what it can offer. If you’re really talented, you can translate your ideas into a script that accomplishing two or even all of these goals.
Your ideas should hit at least one of these goals. If it doesn’t, it may be time to rethink it. Luckily, if you’re going for an explainer video based on a product or service, you’re likely to hit one of these goals with relative ease.
As with any content you write, your goal is to coordinate your creative efforts in a way that drives real results:
You want your video to rank higher in search results
You want your video to increase sales and lead generation
You want your video to grow your brand’s reputation
Think about what someone searching for your video would type into YouTube or Google. Concentrate on how your video’s topic can solve the viewer’s problem. And last, but not least, make sure your brand’s values are represented when you’re scripting the video.
Speaking of which – let’s move on to tips for starting your killer video script.
Step Two: How to Write a Great Video Script for YouTube & Other Platforms Based Off an Outline
I did say that strategy should precede a video script just as it should any other content type. There’s another familiar tactic that translates as well to script writing as it does to blogging, social media marketing, and anything else – formatting and creating an outline.
Check out this opening to one of my own personal video scripts:
Here’s how the content translated to video. I don’t read an actual script, so I simply read and re-review and commit to memory before getting on camera.
This sample video script excerpt uses a simple but strong opening. As soon as you click play, you find out who I am, what I do, and how I can help you.
Then, directly after, you find out the seven specific content types you’ll be learning about. Viewers appreciate when you get things going quickly, and give them an overview of what they’ll be learning about if they continue watching.
Knowing how to write an explainer video script with a strong start is critical for keeping your viewers around. YouTube’s algorithm is smart – if it sees people are sticking around, you’ll have higher retention rates and thus your video will rank higher.
While we’re mentioning YouTube specifically, it’s good to mention why we’re optimizing the script for this platform. YouTube’s numbers speak for themselves – over 5 billion videos are watched on the site each day. There’s no danger of running out of original content either, as over 300 hours of videos are uploaded to the site every minute.
This is a double-edged stat, though. While it means you have a big audience to appeal to, they need to find you first. This brings us to the first sub-topic of discussion when you’re writing your script.
Question: Does SEO Matter for Video Scripts?
It’s easy to think that since your words will be spoken rather than written by the time they make it to YouTube that keywords don’t matter. But, think again – SEO matters in your script, your headline, your tags, and your video description.
Not sure how to find the right keywords for your YouTube video? You could always go with the tried and tested keyword research tools like KWFinder and SEMrush. However, there are more video-specific tools out there you can use.
I recommend VidIQ – there’s even a free version you can try.
VidIQ on my channel. The insights are amazing!
This tool works as an extension for Chrome, automatically giving you insights about the best keywords. While there is a free version, the lowest-priced paid plan is a great deal. Known as the Pro version, it offers more analytics and research tools for only $7.50/month. I pay for the Pro. The insights you get in keywords and YouTube SEO alone is worth it.
The video example in our template above shown ranking #4 in YouTube! The VidIQ insights are awesome.
While you still only have room for one user and one channel, you get double the competitor tracking (6) and additional features like a keyword research tool, historical analysis, and stats on trending videos.
SEO is important for video scripts for the same reason it is important in any other type of content. If you know what your audience members are inputting into the search engine, you make it easier for them to find your video.
Additional Tips for Fleshing Out Your Video and Script Pre-Publishing
You have your format, your intro, and your keywords – but that doesn’t mean you’re finished. When you’re fleshing out the script, there are a few critical things to remember.
For starters, consider length. You want to keep the length at around 8-10 minutes MAX. If you can say what you need to with less, feel free. Some companies like to keep their explainer marketing videos around 2 minutes. However, when you go up to the 6 minute mark, you gain more opportunities to connect with your audience.
If your video is creeping up to the high end of this frame, you want to make sure you have plenty of supporting graphics to keep things interesting.
Here’s an example of what my editing process looks like, before my video goes to my producer. I love Camtasia TechSmith for this process. So easy and simple to use!
You’ll notice the main track is peppered throughout with graphic overlays, which ensure the visuals are not changing too sporadically, but not remaining so constant the viewer becomes disengaged.
Use pictures and animations, as this is the fun of videos. Remember, you’re treating your viewer to a visual and auditory presentation. Get creative, and let your artistic side shine when it comes to choosing what graphics you’ll feature throughout the video.
Even something as simple as supporting images and charts can do the trick for making your video memorable and keeping your viewer engaged until the very end.
There’s even room to be creative with your soundtrack. Granted, knowing how to write a music video script requires a bit of a different skillset than when you’re writing an explainer script – but a good audio backing track or smartly placed sound-cues can still be great additions.
Reminder: Simplicity Over Flare, Benefits Over Features
The final point to cover for script writing involves the KISS method.
Keep it short and simple – we already talked about the value of being concise, but don’t get so focused on flare that your video’s effects overshadow its substance.
Simplicity isn’t just good for video scripts – it’s good for marketing in general. Over the past decade, publicly traded brands in the Global Brand Simplicity Index top 10 have outperformed major indexes by a whopping 433%. More consumers (62%) are prepared to pay more for a simple experience.
Images, effects, and any creative elements should be secondary to the message itself. The message should always be focused on benefits – not features. Viewers don’t want to hear you explain how many thing your product can do. They want to know how it can help them.
Ten fancy product features won’t be as impactful as one user-focused benefit as the focal point of your presentation.
Step Three: Production and Publishing Tips for Finalizing Your Video
Your marketing explainer video should be concise, punchy, and based off a well-researched format. This can greatly increase its chances of being successful.
We’ve got one more critical area to discuss – production and publishing. Let’s start with the importance of having the right people around you. I use the same producer, a wonderful video expert Renata Franco, for all my videos. She does an amazing job on my final production with music, on-screen text, an intro, and combining any B-roll that I have. And that’s why I recommend just as you may consider hiring a video script writer, you should put as much thought into hiring a producer.
Producing a video is a very involved task. The process has many steps, including:
Formatting: Formatting your video for production means setting the aspect ratio and FPS, as well as making sure all your audio tracks are leveled properly.
Effects: You can add effects during the mixing and export process – this is a great time to give the video that final polish, such as using a mastering toolkit to boost the audio, or adding captions during each of your main talking points.
Trimming: In some cases, you may need to eliminate small parts at the beginning or end of your clips. You may even have to get rid of some altogether if it means keeping the video within a specific time limit.
Even if you don’t hire a producer to do all these things for you, you can hire them for their oversight. You can be the one at the controls, and use their expert input as a guiding point. You can also do the opposite – have them do the production work with your input being the guiding force behind the decisions.
What about tools? We already discussed a great tool for finding keywords as part of the scripting process, but which tools are most helpful for producing the video itself? Let’s talk about three main tools you should consider:
Camtasia: TechSmith’s Camtasia is a video tool that can do almost everything. It’s an easy way to record your screen, and it can also be used for editing videos on both Windows and Mac. There’s a free trial available, and the software is intuitive enough that even newcomers can pick up on it quick. It’s also loaded with other features video creators will love.
YouTube Beta Studio: Touted as the new home for creators, this platform lets you manage your channel and observe insights all from one place. It replaces the long-running Creator Studio, and gives you plenty of features to use for both research and publishing.
Ahrefs: This handy SEO tool is great for writing video descriptions. Before you hit that publish button, make sure you have a stunning description. It may seem like a small amount of text, but it has a big impact on your video’s ranking potential.
These are just a few of the popular tools you can use for the publishing process. Publishing may not be exactly what you think of when you’re looking to learn how to write a great video script. However, it’s an integral part of the process for making your video a success.
Final Thoughts: Scripts Are the Foundation of a Winning Video
When you see those videos that pull in millions of views, tens of thousands of likes, and hundreds of shares each day, you know a lot of work went into them.
But it isn’t just about sitting in front of a camera and being great at improv. It’s about taking the time to write a script – one that speaks to your viewer and gives them valuable information.
Learning how to write an explainer video script takes time. You’ll also learn what works and what doesn’t as you go along, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself for the first time – or even the first few times.
Like any other content type, video scripts require research, formatting, a focus on SEO, and an ability to mix creativity with technical insight.
Knowing how to write a script for an explainer video that takes YouTube by storm takes study and practice. But when your video starts bringing in those views, likes, and subscriptions, you’ll know it was all worth it.
When it starts bringing in brand awareness, search engine rankings, and sales potential, you may feel like writing scripts for an entire series.
Need help writing an engaging video script? That’s a creative writing task our team of 90+ expert writers can handle. We’ve written video scripts for insurance companies and many more. See our pricing here!
In today’s video, I’m covering a critical content type — the email!
In this guide, complete with a demo of how I craft emails in ConvertKit, I’ll cover how you can construct emails that will nurture and build real trust with your audience, as well as elicit action and encourage them to take next steps.
As I was preparing the topic and material for today’s video, I thought what better way to actually show you emails that work than to go into my email campaigns and talk about the ones that have really done well. So, that’s what we’re going to do! Ready? Let’s get into it.
How to Write Awesome Emails that Get Opened and Nurture Trust (Video)
Video Transcription: How to Write Awesome Emails that Get Opened and Nurture Trust
In today’s video, I’m really excited to cover a critical content type – the email!
I use ConvertKit. It starts around $29 a month for 1,000 subscribers and I highly recommend it if you’re considering email marketing, and you want a software that’s super easy to use. Now there are other alternatives like Active Campaign, Campaign Monitor, MailChimp. Full disclosure: this is an affiliate link to ConvertKit. But, if you use that link you’re helping support me so I can continue to create free information like this. This is a tool I personally use, so I can tell you it works!
There are two main types of emails I like to send:
The blog and video share (Useful Email)
The promotion share (Sales Email)
80% of the time I’m sending useful content to my list, and 20% or less of the time I’m sending promotional sales emails that have an offer attached.
Now I find that promotional emails work best when they’re sent to a segmented audience and in sequential order. That means a one-off offer that you send to your list while that can drive results, doesn’t work as well as if you segment your list and target the right offer to them at the right time. Much of this is just learning as I go. So what you’re looking at here are all the emails I sent, you can see that I send them on a regular basis. They’re spread apart by a few days.
My rule is at least one useful email a week and I usually send more than that, so whenever I send videos this is what an informational or useful email looks like, I keep it really short and I’ll include an image to the video and then a link. Now for my blog content I don’t include images, it seems to work better whenever I keep my content super light and that just means not a ton of links, not a ton of images. Over time emails have grown to masses. There are so many emails that are sent out by marketers on a regular basis, so you really don’t have a lot of time to get and hold the attention of your audience.
Experts like Brian Dean, Joanna Wiebe, I see them sending shorter and shorter emails. It seems like our shorter emails are doing well as well, so this is what a useful email looks like and what I do to keep these super simple, I’ll give you a little secret, I actually pull the intro of my blog, the first six or seven sentences. Seriously, that’s my email. So it takes no time at all to plug it in, add a link, add a little footer and then this little P.S. which I like to add to relevant blogs, I keep it out if it’s really not relevant, but I’ll add a P.S. to our services or one of the courses I teach as long as it relates to the topic right here in my useful piece of content. So something like this out of 5,400 subscribers it got 75 clicks and the open rate was almost 14%, that’s pretty good for an email to get 75 people clicking on our link for us.
All lists are different, if you’re building yours organically from the start you’re probably going to see better results. Over time you want to clean up your email, you want to just delete people that aren’t even reading it. We did that a few months ago and our open rate skyrocketed, it was as bad as 5%, now it’s as high as like 14% and here 21%. What you’re seeing here, I’ll just walk you through some more techniques that we use, this is resending something to people that do not click and you can actually do that in ConvertKit by resending to the people that haven’t opened it, so here’s what you can do. You click on the broadcast, resend to un-opens, you can edit the content and then just hit schedule and it’ll actually send your email to everyone that didn’t open it the first time.
When it comes to a sales email I’ve noticed that Saturday and Sunday nights do really well for open rates on offers. We try to be really straightforward with our offers. So a link to it, here’s another link and here’s a third link, and we add this little thing if you don’t want to hear from us anymore you can actually click here and what this does is as soon as they click, this is just a really simple page we set up on our site, as soon as they click on that there is a little trigger in the automation section that unenrolled or that adds everyone that clicks on this to a tag.
Remember, short and sweet for informative videos, keep it super light, if you do use an image try to only use one and with offers definitely experiment, experiment on times to send, try to segment your list, try to tag people in your email software and only send your offers to people that are actually interested.
Sales emails should be sent 20% of the time, send your useful emails a lot more often. Remember consistency is key. When you’re sending content you really want to send something to your list at least once a week and continue to build it over time. You need to know how to write a useful email that all comes down to keeping things short, sweet and simple, because people don’t really have a lot of time to go through a long email anymore. They have a very short amount of time, so you want to get them interested and then give them whatever you want to give them right away. And remember lead magnets are such a great way to build your list, we have consistent growth organically now every single day from our lead magnets.
These still apply today, and in the next few minutes, I’m going to explain what these content types are and how they apply specifically to an online business presence today, as well as writers looking to grow their experience and offerings by learning these content formats.
1. Web content
Think of content writing like building a house. In this analogy, web content is the foundation. Web content, which includes the content on your home page, landing page, about us page, contact page, and more is the foundational content that every company needs to build an online presence. Without this, readers can’t find the information they’re seeking about your company, and the rest of your content strategy has nothing to build on. These pages are critical to develop.
The skills a writer needs to write solid web page copy are SEO writing knowledge, to use those important keywords well in the copy, as well as engaging and conversion-friendly writing skills. Good web page copy should be about the customer, never just about the brand or product.
If web content is the foundation, blogging is the structure and rooms of the house.
Blogging is a primary category of content that provides context for an audience, helps build SEO presence, and gives businesses a way to nurture their leads with a source of fresh, consistent content.
Did you know… Companies that blog 11 or more times per month gain more than 4X as many leads than those that blog only four-five times a month (Source: Hubspot)
Not only do blogs showcase your brand personality, but it also helps readers get a sense of who you are, what you care about, which topics to cover, and how much value you can provide for them, or not.
Blogging is an essential type of online content writing, and when it’s done correctly, it can dramatically increase your views, your return on investment, and your overall success. There is no one-size-fits-all format for a blog. Instead, there are multiple styles of blogs including list blogs, “how to” blogs, “what to avoid” blogs, and more. By mixing and matching your blog goals and formats, you can build brand awareness as well as achieve SEO ranking goals. Read more about content goals here.
3. Social Media
Think of social media as a supporting content player: it’s not enough for a company to only have a social media presence, but companies without any social media presence whatsoever typically do not make it very far in today’s social dominated culture.
A lot of people finding brands online for the first time are going to go click on their Twitter icon, their Facebook page, to see what that company is ‘really’ like on social media. And that can really play into their purchasing decisions.
Social media works! A good social media writer will blend fun, engaging copy, emojis, and short sentences to promote a brand’s blog posts, events, or message.
Some social media managers can even be paid to write captions. There is software that exists to discover trending hashtags.
The world of content in social media alone is so much! Finding the right platform and staying on a consistent schedule with copy and visuals is key.
4. Advertising & Sales Copy
Ad and sales copy bring the curb appeal to your products and services. This kind of copy is created to showcase the unique attributes of your brand “home” to people on the outside. Advertising and sales copy applies to companies in all industries, and takes many forms, from a long-form Facebook ad to a promoted tweet on Twitter or a paid campaign on LinkedIn.
One of my sales pages that has brought in thousands of dollars in sales is this one. However, when it comes to sales copy, remember that building an audience and trust comes first. Today’s advertising and sales copy that brings in real revenue is also written in less of a ‘pushy’ sales tone. Instead, it should read like an approachable message for a friend. Good ads are segmented to the right audience at the right time; they are not manipulative, and they’re not misleading.
A writer learning to write good sales copy should study the best. Joanna Wiebe and Copyhackers.com is a great resource for learning more about sales copywriting.
5. Expert Copy
Think of expert copy like the fine art collection inside the home. At some point or another, all companies need expert writing. This is the higher level writing you encounter on the web. Specific industries, for example, may need a high-level ghostwriter that knows the nuances of their niche. Authorities in marketing need a writer that can ghostwrite for them, in their voice, for their blog. Without expert writing, companies place their authority and relevance at risk, and may even be walking out onto thin ice with Google, which now looks for expert quality in content as a ranking standard.
Writers looking to get hired as expert writers can absolutely charge higher rates than a generalist, and should have a specific industry they can speak with knowledge in–example, a former attorney writing legal blogs, or a former chiropractor writing holistic blogs about chiropractor care.
6. Journalism & PR Writing
Critical for any company that wants to get the word out about newsworthy events, brand new products, or company changes, journalism and PR writing serves the essential purpose of sharing company news.
Think about building a new house: if you never invited anybody over, nobody would be able to see the hard work you put into the home. Your artwork, furnishings, paint job, construction would go unnoticed by everybody but you. This is where journalism and PR writing comes in. Through press releases, for example, companies of all sizes and shapes can “invite people in.”
Some say that press releases are dead. They are, if you’re using them for SEO. Just trying to get a PR to rank for a keyword doesn’t work anymore. If you’re trying to spread the news of something newsworthy, they do work, and so they really aren’t dead or dying. See the description for a link to a press release we published just last year that did really well.
7. Creative Writing
Creative writing is a genre that encompasses the super creative projects companies do, and it serves to enhance and support virtually every other type of content on this list. Marketing copy, for example, can be creative. Social media, blogs, web content, and even advertisements can be creative, as well. There’s no limit here. From a tweet to a blog, creative writing can be woven in anywhere.
Creative writing is blending the best of a writers’ talents such as writing stories, humorous and appropriate jokes, puns, etc. and using that in one of the other formats. For example, here’s a creative pun our social media copywriter, Krystal, wrote for our social media content. This is creative content, but it was used for social media.
In my agency, at Express Writers, we’ve seen a growing need for creativity among all the projects we take on. While clear and customer-focused copy beats trying to be too clever without a purpose, there is a real demand for writers that can tastefully create colorful, creative content.
If you’ve self-published a book (or two, or three) as I have, you know that getting your work on multiple selling platforms is super-important. (Think Amazon/Kindle, iBooks, Barnes & Noble/Nook, etc.)
But what if you want to unpublish your book so it’s no longer for sale on a particular platform, like iBooks? Knowing how to take a published book off iBooks can be tricky. In today’s blog, I’ve got a step-by-step video and screenshot-based tutorial on how to take a published book off iBooks, all the way from start to finish.
To initially self-publish a book on iBooks, you need an iTunes Connect account and a separate app that works with it, iTunes Producer. This is essentially an iTunes publisher application that Apple created just for self-published content.
However, here’s the tricky part. To take a book off iBooks, you need to do it through iTunes Connect, not Producer.
This definitely confuses things a bit. Thus, learning how to unpublish a book from iTunes isn’t straightforward without guidance. That’s why I put together this little tutorial on how to take a published book off iBooks. Check out the video version below (it’s under 60 seconds long!), or keep scrolling if you’re a reader like me who enjoys step-by-step instructions with screenshots.
Video: How to Take a Book I’m Selling Off iBooks
Step-by-Step Instructions: How to Take a Published Book Off iBooks
Follow these steps to learn how to update books in iBooks and remove them from the selling platform.
On the next screen (“My Books”), you should see all the books you have ever published on iBooks. Click on the one you want to remove.
4. Go to “Rights and Pricing”
On the next screen, you’ll see details about your published book. In the upper right corner, click on the button that says “Rights andPricing.”
5. Navigate to “Edit Territories and Pricing”
On the “Rights and Pricing” page for the book you want to unpublish, you’ll see all the countries in which your book is for sale, plus pricing information. Click on the “Edit Territories and Pricing” button in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
6. Change the “Cleared for Sale” Field to “No”
On the “Edit Existing Territories” page, you’ll see a number of drop-down fields you can edit. Ignore all of them except for the one called “Cleared for Sale.” Click on it and change it to “No.”
7. Select All Existing Territories
On the same page (“Edit Existing Territories”), scroll down to the table with the heading “Apply to Existing Territories.” At the top right of the table, you’ll see two options: “Select All” and “Deselect All.”
Click “Select All.”
After you click “Select All,” scroll to the bottom of the page. Hit the “Continue” button on the bottom right.
7. Confirm Your Changes
After you hit “Continue,” another page will pop up showing your changes. (Note that the little green checkmarks will be gone from the “Cleared for Sale” column for all countries.)
Scroll down this page until you see the “Confirm” button at the bottom right. Click it.
After you click “Confirm,” iTunes Connect will take you back to the “Rights and Pricing” page. If you did everything correctly, under the “Status” column, each entry should read “Not On Store” next to a red bullet.
To see these changes reflected on the main page of your account, head back to the “My Books” page. (The link is in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. Click it, then click the “My Books” icon in the drop-down window.)
End Result: How to Take a Published Book Off iBooks
Underneath the book you want to remove from iBooks, you should see a red bullet and the phrase “Not on # Stores”.
There you have it! Your published book should no longer be listed in iBooks or available for sale.
Today, I’m here to share with you on video three of my biggest lessons on why my agency, Express Writers, achieved its highest-earning month in business ever this May 2018.
This May marked our official 7-year business anniversary. Inside that one month, we wrote over 2,482,650 words, and earned over $186,000 in sales. For the month, we created almost 5,000 pieces of content! That doesn’t even include the content strategy and social media services we also did for our clients for the month.
Compare that to a month prior, in April, when we wrote 1.9 million words, or in January of this year, when we wrote 1.8 million words.
Our business grew by 150% inside just one month!
And, we’re seeing the momentum stick around for June!
How did we do it?
Dive into today’s video. (Stick around for the third and most important lesson at the end!)
2.4 Million Words Written in May: 3 Lessons Learned from Our Highest-Earning Business Month Ever (Video)
Lesson #1: Everything Comes Together When You Have the Pieces
The first lesson from achieving a record month: everything comes together when you have the pieces.
Let me explain.
There’s this zone, when you’re starting out in business, where everything is hard. You know, it’s hustle, hustle, hustle. Find the right people, there’ll be churn, maybe you outsourced to the wrong people and lose a few steps…but I can tell you, if you keep coming back from that, you WILL find all the pieces eventually. Running a successful business is a matter of sheer determination and perseverance despite all the odds.
Thomas Edison said:
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
One major piece we were missing was making our clients feel like they were part of a brand that really knew what they were doing. I’d published multiple books, had a course out, was known in the industry, and we have some of the best industry standards as an agency for finding and training great writers. But, we still had clients treating us like crap and many that we’d have to chase down and remind them to buy.
This made a VAST improvement, almost right away, in the interactions we had with clients and the sales we were making. Clients treated us like they had to earn our trust! It was wonderful. Sales improved, and the way my staff is treated has improved. We still interact with a few stragglers that like to be keyboard warriors, but overall, the change in closing down our services and having our staff manually approve new clients has been hugely positive for us.
Lesson #2: Get Strategic With How You Serve Your Customers to Grow Your Income
The second lesson I’d share from achieving our record month is that when we got strategic with how we served our customers, our income grew.
#1 we found the right people. #2 our managers knew what they were doing, they had history with our clients, and they thought strategically. So for example, instead of trying to scramble at the last minute to deliver a service, they figured out how to track our writers’ availability better and have our clients’ content tasks more strategically distributed.
Remember, everything is harder at the beginning because you probably don’t know what you are doing! That was me, literally, the first 4-5 years in business.
The minute I had a clear picture on the fact that we needed to get strategic with how we serve our clients, our income grew.
If you don’t have a strategy in place for every part of your deliverables, GET ONE IN PLACE. Know what you’re delivering, when, and get all those little pieces in-between figured out. Pay for software to help you organize deadlines if you need to. It’ll be worth it.
Lesson #3: Find Your Top 1-2 Priorities to Retain & Keep Clients
The third lesson from our biggest month in business might surprise you.
If I was to ask you, as a writing agency, what do you think our most important priority should be, what would you say? Quality content? Reaching out to new leads daily? Staffing the best writers? All of those are important, but I can tell you there’s one thing that we see is absolutely critical to earning our client’s business. Well, two things really.
Fast and effective communication as well as on-time service.
If we get that wrong in any way, chances are the client won’t be back. We can revise content if it didn’t match standards, and we have such high standards with our writers, we literally hire some of the best. So we’ve got that figured out, to an extent. But what we have to put as a #1 priority with our staff every day is fast, effective communication, and on-time deliveries of our content services.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Catch the fifth episode of The Content Marketer’s Café with @JuliaEMcCoy, a SURPRISE announcement about her new book!” quote=”Catch the fifth episode of The Content Marketer’s Café with @JuliaEMcCoy, a SURPRISE announcement!”]
The Content Marketer’s Café with Julia McCoy, Episode 5: Surprise Announcement! New Book, Practical Content Strategy & Marketing Coming Out
What is Practical Content Strategy & Marketing All About?
Practical Content Strategy & Marketing is a 350+ page accompaniment to my online course. That’s why the subtitle for the book is The Content Strategy Certification Course Student Guidebook.
I took the written video scripts of each of my course lessons, the original illustrations, concepts, guest expert video notes, and all the exercises, and compiled them into a giant, massive, industry-leading book! My editors and I have been refining the contents for the last two weeks across October.
The book is a side effect of the massive industry education I created in the Practical Content Strategy Certification Course, which took me 7 months and about 500 hours to date to create. In the book, you’ll find easy-to-understand illustrations, concepts, and examples.
I’m also really excited because Mark Schaefer, one of the top five business bloggers in the world, has said yes to writing my foreword!
When does it come out??
Tentative date, provided our formatting timeline goes smoothly, is November 30 on Amazon (paperback and Kindle) and within the next weeks it’ll be available on B&N and iBooks.
What do I know about writing a book?
I published my first book, So You Think You Can Write, in April of 2016, after working full-time in content marketing running my own agency, serving over 5,000 clients, for five years.
With zero paid marketing, it sold thousands of copies around the world in the last year–and it made category bestseller within 24 hours of going live.
My new book is almost double the size, and it’ll be a slightly larger physical size, 7×10 – my last book was 6×9. It will sell for between $18-$20 (paperback).
Special Offer: FREE signed copy for each and every All-Access course student!
All students that enroll in my course BEFORE November 30 will get a signed, mailed copy of the book for free! Just email me with the email you used to sign up for and buy the course. It must be the all-access pass, and before November 30! Go to the all-access certification course enrollment page.
Where can I go to get first dibs on launch day + bonuses?
[clickToTweet tweet=”Catch the fourth episode of The Content Marketer’s Café with @JuliaEMcCoy, all about #content creation workflow hacks!” quote=”Catch the fourth episode of The Content Marketer’s Café with @JuliaEMcCoy, all about #content creation workflow hacks!”]
The Content Marketer’s Café with Julia McCoy, Episode 4: How to Set Up a Content Creation Workflow & Process You Actually Enjoy
This is for the content creator that has sometimes felt stumped at the creation phase.
Here’s a few questions that might have ran through your head:
Where do I begin?
Do I just jot down an idea and start writing?
I have a keyword. Now what?
I’m here today to give you a few quick hacks on how to approach the content creation process in a few key workflow steps that will make it easier, less challenging, and natural, every time you sit down to write.
Even if you’re an experienced content creator, it’s normal to feel like you’re right at Square 1 again when it comes to creating content.
How do you get past that and get into a comfortable swing with content creation?
3 Phases in Content Creation
Approach it in three phases:
Ideation, Creation, Preparation
FYI: These stages will differ if you’re writing for a client: example, clients usually have topics and keywords prepared, so you might be able to skip stage 1.
Why Stages? My Wake-up Call to Stop Rushing
But here’s why you need to think of creating content in stages.
When I started out in my agency, I was the sole staff member at my agency, and I was scared of growth and investing in what I needed to have, to grow. So, I did all my content, and rushed when it came to getting it out. I barely double checked what I published.
A year later, my husband who is our CTO actually asked me why I was rushing through my content creation process, when I did it so carefully for clients. That was a turning point. Now, I invest hours if not weeks into one piece of content and following a process.
Here’s how rushing harmed my content:
When the content I’d thrown together started ranking 2-3 years later, in super high organic places on Google – example, #2 for the long tail phrase hire an SEO content writer – I got zero conversions.
Only when I rewrote that crappy but high ranking content did I start to get conversions from it. (I ended up investing and paying double to fix the crappy content.)
The perils of “rushing content creation” happens for many business owners.
But if you start right and devote time and care to this process, and in the long run, your maintenance and “fixing” costs will be much less.
So let’s discuss these three stages.
1. First, IDEATION.
This is where you come up with a topic that is worthwhile. Think of content ideation like a crosspaths. You need to choose one road for every content idea you (or your client / team member) have, to make sure that idea is worth investing the time of creation into.
Once you have an idea:
Map it to a goal early in the idea phase. That way you stop low ROI from even happening.
Then, research and finalize your topic idea. Write it down.
It’s easy to know what you should be creating, when you know how your content idea aligns to your goals.
EXAMPLE: If you have a new site, skew towards looking for keywords that are relevant to your searchers so you can get some rankable content ideas going. Use a keyword tool to find that data. OR If you have an existing site, map your ideas in a sales/brand awareness direction and think of trending topics that you can add your authoritative voice to, in your industry. Use Quora to research trending questions being asked in your topic area.
#WordFromTheSponsor: I go really deep into each areas of this process and much more, in my new industry course. Get off the fence and invest in yourself, if you’re looking to grow your skillsets! Go here: www.contentstrategycourse.com
This is where you write down the topic, put it in your editorial calendar, and get started on writing. This stage includes drafting, writing, and optimizing the content, or having writer/writers creating it for you.
Time here should really depend on the piece, AND your creative flow.
Finding your flow in the creation step is KEY.
For example, I write best at morning and late in the day. I know that, so those are the only times I write. You MUST block off times around your creative flow.
Don’t create when you’re tired. Eat lunch if you haven’t. Simple stuff.
If you schedule your content around your creative flow and when you’re most charged up and refilled, you’ll create GREAT content.
This doesn’t mean you have to spend weeks writing – once I know and have researched my topic, I can write a 2000w blog from start to finish in one day if I match the writing to my creative flow.
3. PREPARATION: This is where you fine tune your piece and if it’s for your site, decide when to publish.
ALWAYS get a second pair of eyes on your content. That could be an editor, a creator you work with if you run a company and have a team, or an editor if you’re an agency writer. I don’t ever publish my content without a second pair of eyes on it.
When it comes to publishing, think of dates you can publish that will especially appeal to the topic – if it’s seasonal and applies to a holiday, publish and tie to that holiday week or date. Even Google’s birthday can mean you write an SEO topic and tie it to that day.
If you’re doing the writing, there are also easy ways to “hack” and simplify that process.
You can invest in a transcription service and speak your content into a recorder, then have the transcription service write it out for you. You can finalize it from there.
Draft your content ideas, then hire an editor to clean up and finalize your rough drafts.
Hire an expert copywriter!
Ask your assistant to interview you about a topic and write you up a recap—it can be much easier to edit spoken thoughts than start from scratch.
Mix up types and formats to change up how you present content to your reader. Remember your content cores.
Today’s Episode of the Content Marketer’s Café with Julia McCoy brought to you by… Julia McCoy!
I hope you enjoyed my fourth episode!
Please leave a comment on the video and tell me how I’m doing! This means so much to me! 🙂
And, come back every other Saturday for a new, short video where I teach one content marketing hack you can start using today.
Also… In case you didn’t know, right now you can grab a FREE copy of the SEO expert checklist I use when publishing content that gets ranked by Google, when you join my Facebook group! Join the group at: http://bit.ly/contentstrategyfacebook
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The Content Marketer’s Café with Julia McCoy, Episode 3: How to Use Long-Tail Keywords Naturally In Your Content for SEO Success
These can often pose quite a challenge to writers.
It’s not the keywords themselves. Those tend to be pretty straightforward.
It’s the often odd combinations of words in ways that are anything but grammatically correct.
Add to that a general lack of punctuation, throw in the name of a city and state, and you have what seems like a recipe for the most awkward sentences ever written!
So, how do we creatively insert a keyword in our content for best results?
The competition comparison in long-tail keywords vs. broad keywords
I’ve been able to rank content just on my site, expresswriters.com, for over 11,000 phrases.
Do you know what the majority of those keyword phrases are?
So when you’re looking for keywords to optimize your content with, you can either look up broad or long tail keywords.
1-2 words long
Also known as: “short tail”, “head terms”
Long Tail Keywords
Long tail keywords are primarily better because of two factors:
Lower competition: Easier to rank for. Great opportunities for new, emerging or growing sites.
Higher buying intent (ROI): Searchers are usually looking a specific answer to their question and are much more likely to be in the buying stage. Example: “where to buy basketball shoes online” vs. “shoes” – the searcher knows exactly what he wants by searching the long tail keyword, and he/she is much more ready to buy!
Broad keywords are tempting because of the amount of traffic searching for them.
But remember, you need the right traffic, not a ton of traffic, when it comes to looking at the value of keywords that will bring in real results.
Which type of customer would sell today if they walked in your dress shop?
Someone who wants a “dress”
Someone who wants a black dress, size M, for an evening party next week
One of my favorite tools to research keywords with is SEMrush and Mangools KWFinder.
In KWfinder, here’s what it looks like to find a low competition long-tail keyword.
For example, we looked up a keyword, blogging statistics. We wrote a blog around this as a keyword since it had a “possible rating at 50/100” – that’s since gone up to 52 – and we were able to get our blog in the top 4 results for that keyword. The left side of KWFinder is where you’ll find your gold mines – long tail keyword opportunities that you can write content pieces around.
I recommend going long-form and writing one piece of content around one keyword for best results. Don’t dilute and cram too many keywords in one piece.
Natural Language in SEO
The days of keyword-stuffing your way to the first page of Google are looooong gone, but today with how smart Google is, there’s no reason you can’t do this:
[clickToTweet tweet=”Write for search engines without sounding like you’re writing for search engines, says @JuliaEMcCoy.” quote=”Write for search engines without sounding like you’re writing for search engines, says @JuliaEMcCoy.”]
When it comes to writing with SEO in mind, this means using natural language – and natural variations of the words that appear in the focus and secondary keywords – instead of inserting the same exact keywords and key phrases into your text over and over again.
Let’s talk about… focus keywords + natural usage
We always ask our clients for one focus keyword per piece.
But when it comes to penning the actual copy, if the exact keyword phrase doesn’t flow well, we fall back on just writing naturally.
Here’s an example.
For instance, this client-supplied keyword phrase:
“best ux designer Austin”
Clearly won’t work in either the title tag, meta description, or in the content (page, article, blog post, etc.). It may be an important, valuable keyword phrase for the client, but it’s a bit too clunky to use as is.
Even if you think you can squeeze that kind of phrase into a sentence – such as “When it comes to finding the best UX designer, Austin has a lot of choices to offer.” Sure, once in a while you’ll be able to get away with that. But far too often, the inclination seems to be to get hung up on that exact keyword phrase.
In a title tag or headline, the best approach would be to use the keyword naturally, like so:
“How to Find the Best Web and UX Designer in Austin”
You would then use variations on this keyword phrase throughout your content.
Don’t try to force the keyword into the copy, and don’t then use the exact same keyword or key phrase over and over. Use synonymous keywords.
Let’s talk briefly about location-based keywords.
Just when you think you’ve got a handle on things, along comes a location-based keyword:
“eyedoctor in Burlington Vermont”
To Google, there is absolutely no difference between:
“eyedoctor in Burlington VT” and “eye doctor in Burlington, VT”
Since we’re humans writing for humans – we should always defer to using proper punctuation, grammar, and style, even in SEO writing.
So, use the space between eye and doctor.
When you take into account that these keyword lists being supplied to (or, in some cases, created by) us are almost always generated by such tools as Google’s keyword tool and other tools – not actual humans – it’s not surprising the keywords provided to us don’t include punctuation, proper grammar, etc.: because they were generated by algorithms/tools.
It’s absolutely essential for websites to use location keywords in the page titles and Meta description tags of their pages. When it comes to using those same location keywords in the content itself – in the copy, in headings, and in image Alt tags – remember to avoid overuse.
Ways to get creative with location-based keywords
Let’s say your keyword is “gluten free pasta Phoenix.”
You don’t have to jam that keyword all over your web page, article, blog post, etc. – including in the meta data for those pages.
You can break it up any number of ways: pasta, Phoenix, gluten free, gluten, gluten free pasta, gluten free in Phoenix, pasta in Phoenix. That’s a lot of variation out of one phrase!
It is, however, still important to use your focus keyword or phrase in the first and last paragraphs, at least one <H2> heading, and the title of the article, if at all possible.
But as we’ve already discussed, make sure you’re using those keywords naturally.
Ultimately, it’s about balance: be creative, use real sentences and headings, speak naturally, and don’t overdo it.
How to tell if you’re overdoing it with a keyword
It may sound silly, but it really works: simply read your content out loud and pay attention to how it feels reading the content, and listen for any awkwardness, clunky-sounding sentences or phrases, general weirdness.
You should be able to hear where your writing doesn’t feel natural – it won’t easily roll off the tip of your tongue.
You’ll also hear where you use a specific word too many times.
And a nice side benefit to reading it aloud – even if you’re doing it silently – is you’ll almost always find places that could benefit from a bit of finesse and polish.
Did You Enjoy Today’s Episode of the Content Marketer’s Café with Julia McCoy? Come Back for More!
I hope you enjoyed the third episode in my YouTube show!
100% of my agency’s sales come from the content marketing – and now, I teach YOU how to do what I’ve done to build an authority presence in content marketing, in my course! This course is unlike any out there because I show you how to actually become an expert in content strategy and build a practical, ROI-based online brand content strategy from the ground up. Check it out today.