julias new book practical content strategy

The Content Marketer’s Café with Julia McCoy, Episode 5: Surprise Announcement! New Book, Practical Content Strategy & Marketing is Coming Out

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The Content Marketer’s Café with Julia McCoy, Episode 5: Surprise Announcement! New Book, Practical Content Strategy & Marketing Coming Out

SURPRISE, SURPRISE!

I have a new book coming out!!

practical content strategy and marketing by julia mccoy

Get on the list to know when Julia McCoy’s latest book, Practical Content Strategy & Marketing, is coming out! (Expected publish date November 30, available on Amazon, B&N, and iBooks.)

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?

Go here: contentstrategycourses.com/book!

The Content Marketer’s Café with Julia McCoy is on pause till the book publishes!

Thanks for watching!

Unfortunately, due to book deadlines, The Content Marketer’s Café with Julia McCoy is on pause till after the book comes out.

But, catch me in my Facebook group, or right here on the Write Blog, till then!

julias free facebook group cta

The Content Marketer's Café with Julia McCoy Episode 4 content creation workflow

The Content Marketer’s Café with Julia McCoy, Episode 4: How to Set Up a Content Creation Workflow & Process You Actually Enjoy

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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.

Ready?

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

workflow stages

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

2. CREATION.

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.

Final Tips:

If you’re doing the writing, there are also easy ways to “hack” and simplify that process.

Examples:

  • 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.

Subscribe on YouTube: @JuliaMcCoy.

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

julias free facebook group cta

long tail keywords

The Content Marketer’s Café with Julia McCoy, Episode 3: How to Use Long-Tail Keywords Naturally In Your Content for SEO Success

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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

Keywords = key phrases, focus keywords and secondary keywords, broad keywords, long-tail keywords…

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?

Let’s explore.

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?

Long-tail phrases.

So when you’re looking for keywords to optimize your content with, you can either look up broad or long tail keywords.

Broad Keywords

1-2 words long

Also known as: “short tail”, “head terms”

Long Tail Keywords

3-5 words

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.

kwfinder blogging statistics

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.

Bottom line:

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.

Location-based 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”

Remember:

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!

Please leave a comment on the video and tell me how I’m doing, and the next topics you’d like to see. Leave a comment on today’s episode.

Come back every other Saturday for a new, short video where I teach one content marketing hack you can start using today.

Subscribe on YouTube: @JuliaMcCoy.

Have you heard about my all-new industry course, The Practical Content Strategy Certification Course?

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.

BONUS: Get a FREE seat to 8 lessons in the course when you join my Facebook group! Join the group at: http://bit.ly/contentstrategyfacebook

julias free facebook group cta

The Content Marketer's Café with Julia McCoy, Episode 2: The #1 Secret to Generating Leads and Sales From Your Content Marketing

The Content Marketer’s Café with Julia McCoy, Episode 2: The #1 Secret to Generating Leads and Sales From Your Content Marketing

[clickToTweet tweet=”Catch the second episode of The Content Marketer’s Café with @JuliaEMcCoy, on @ExpWriters!” quote=”Catch the second episode of The Content Marketer’s Café with @JuliaEMcCoy, on @ExpWriters!”]

The Content Marketer’s Café with Julia McCoy, Episode 2: The #1 Secret to Generating Leads and Sales From Your Content Marketing

I’ve been running my agency, Express Writers, for about 6 years now.

We have about 40 amazing team members: expert copywriters in various specialties, full and part time general writers, strategists, marketing writers, and staff managers.

But there’s one thing that frustrates me time and time again when new clients approach us — when they tell us that a few blog posts executes their entire content marketing plan.

They may not say those exact words, but here’s how they show it:

“I just want to order 2 or 3 blogs. If they work, I’ll come back in a few months for more.”

“I don’t think I need blogs this month. I’ll skip it due to budget.”

“I’ll just start with one short blog and if it works, I’ll order more longer content.”

“How soon can you guarantee me ROI on these blog posts?”

Here’s what you’re really doing…

If you’re trying to save money, cut the budget, or try before you buy when it comes to content marketing, this is what you’re doing.

You’re throwing your money away.

First of all, the investment in blogging is worth it, but not unless you commit to it.

I’m about to give you the lowdown of how content marketing REALLY works in terms of long-term investment.

The reality?

Sometimes, the results don’t happen until month 12 – 24 of consistent blogging — consistent topics, consistent content creation, a consistent publishing schedule, and consistent promotion.

But when it does return, you could make your money back 10x. Sometimes, even more.

How to Generate Leads and Sales From Your Content Marketing

Again, the investment in blogging is worth it, but only if you commit to it.

Here’s why…

It’s like Mr. Miyagi in the Karate Kid:

You either do it or don’t do it.

Let’s go over some of the statistics that happen when you stay consistent at publishing content to your blog:

  • Websites with a blog tend to have 434% more indexed pages. (TechClient)
  • The average return of 15 blogs/month is 1,200 new leads per month. (Hubspot’s State of Inbound)
  • Businesses that post 16x or more per month receive 3.5x more traffic than businesses that post <4x a month. (Hubspot’s State of Inbound)
  • 99% of our six-figure annual income at my agency comes in through the content presence I maintain online. (Express Writers)

Now, how exactly can you win through blogging?

How do you get real leads, sales, and return?

The #1 Secret to Consistent ROI from Your Content Marketing

You have to be consistent.

Consistently maintaining your blog builds long-term presence and authority online.

Look at this graph from Hubspot:

Days, weeks, and months pass – and guess what? That blog you published way back will start to accrue more results than the day you published it.

It’s a dominoes effect.

The effort you put into your blog today could triple or quadruple when it hits the top three in Google months down the road,

… Or when an influencer picks up your blog and shares it to hundreds and thousands of readers,

… Or when someone finds it and then offers you a speaking opportunity.

And long-term, all this content will build your authority online. Results happen when you’re consistent at publishing industry-expert, authoritative blogs.

The #2 Biggest Method to Win Real ROI from Your Content

You need to create thorough, long-form, authoritative content.

Be the best answer to the topic or question.

Be valuable, relevant and insightful in order to win results from those that read your content in the rankings.

Let’s explore what thorough, authoritative content looks like.

You don’t have to guess what content works. These studies prove that long-form, authoritative content, consistently, gets ranked better and shared better.

#1: The average length of posts in the top 10 spots of Google is 2,000 words.

While it’s possible for short-form content to rank well, long-form content is the winner when it comes to front-page results. This is from a SerpIQ study that spanned tens of thousands of content pieces.

Hubspot also did a study on word count vs. average organic traffic. This graph shows the average volume of traffic generated from organic search traffic from Google to a post (broken down by the word count of the page).

From the data, it’s clear that the high performing pages in organic search are those with word counts over 2,250 words. The sweet spot is at 2,250-2,500 words.

#2: Long-form content gets people to stay on pages 40% longer.

People exposed to long-form content also viewed 25% more pages than other visitors. How long? Well, this was from a Kissmetrics study done on an 18,000 word post!

#3: Long-form content earns more social shares.

When it comes to social media, long-form content earns more shares and engagement than standard blog posts. Look at this study by Hubspot:

#4: Longer content helps position you as a leader in your industry. It’s tough to bluff your way through 10,000 words, and readers know that. When you create quality, long-form content, you position yourself as a leader in your industry.

Long-Form Content Examples

I’m going to list some long-form examples. Look at the structure, the research, and the style. This is what you should aim for in your comprehensive content.

How successful can you get?

There really is no limit to the success a blog post can bring you, especially over time.

This is reason you have to commit.

You can’t give up too early.

From an ongoing column on one guest blog, I’ve seen a $5,000 sale come in within three days. But this lead was exposed to my content for 12 months before he moved and visited my site and bought later that week.

content life cycle

From an ongoing column on another site, I was approached and offered a $1000 paycheck to lead a summer course. But again, I’d been blogging for 2 years on that site!

These are just a few examples. I’ve already showed how long-form content over time generates real shares and traction.

Consistency and thorough, useful content are the only way you’ll generate real sales and return from your content.

Don’t throw your money away by investing in anything less.

I challenge you the next time you create a blog for business purposes — think about the ROI of that piece.

Think long-term. Think about the overall worth of the content piece.

Put your best effort into being the best answer to the question you’re trying to write about.

Enjoyed Today’s Content Marketer’s Café with Julia McCoy Episode? Come Back for More!

I hope you enjoyed the second episode in my new show.

Come back every other Saturday for a new, short video where I teach one content marketing tactic you can start using today. Follow along on YouTube: @JuliaMcCoy.

And wait!

Before you dash…

Have you heard about my all-new industry course, The Practical Content Strategy Certification Course?

I’ve poured everything I know into teaching you the SAME content strategy and marketing principles I used to turn $75 dollars into $4 million in sales and build a successful business. 100% of my agency’s sales come from the content marketing I teach 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.

BONUS: Get a FREE seat to 20 lessons in the course when you join my Facebook group! Join the group at: http://bit.ly/contentstrategyfacebook

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new youtube show is live

I’m Launching a New YouTube Show! Tech List & DIY Story Behind The Content Marketer’s Café with Julia McCoy (Episode 1 Live Today!)

While at CMWorld two weeks ago, I decided to launch a YouTube show!

Inspired, I brainstormed my topic all week…and last week on Thursday, inspiration struck.

Mandy, one of my three go-to EW copywriters to support me on our branding content, brainstormed with me.

The Skype thread we started began filling with all kinds of awesome ideas…

Including coffee, one of my favorite things in the world.

youtube show is live express writers julia mccoy

With Mandy’s help, I decided I’d call my show The Content Marketer’s Café with Julia McCoy.

Psst. You can request Mandy on YOUR projects. She’s available at the expert and marketing level copy services in our Content Shop. Just put her name in the input form.

For my first episode, the topic I had in mind was originally an idea for a long-form blog post.

It was a topic I’d been thinking about, and wanting to write on for weeks.

So – I translated it to video, for my very first episode on my new show.

Last Friday, I filmed.

And, actually, had a lot of fun!

I’m an introvert by nature, but I’m putting myself out there to grow in my industry. I was surprised how much this first episode felt natural. I think it has a lot to do with seriously loving this topic. If you feel completely comfortable with a topic, there are no limits to how much fun you can have with it. At least, that’s how I felt.

But you’ll have to tell me what you think… Subscribe to me on YouTube and please do drop a comment on this week’s episode to tell me what you think!

And YES: Episodes will include a feature of the kind of coffee I’m drinking each week. (Sometimes, it’ll be tea. Maybe a latte. Iced. Maybe hot. You’ll have to tune in. 😉 )

Without further adieu, here is Episode 1 of the Content Marketer’s Café with Julia McCoy. This is for the freelancers that love writing but dread pitching new business: How to Easily Win More Freelance Content Marketing Clients (Without Selling Your Soul or Losing Your Dignity).

Below the video, for our first-ever episode, I’ve included a list of the “tech” I used to set up the show, and the cost – since a lot of you geeks like that kind of stuff. Weekly, there will be written show notes for the readers among us with every episode. Those are below, too, for E1.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Catch the first episode of The Content Marketer’s Café with @JuliaEMcCoy, on @ExpWriters!” quote=”Catch the first episode of The Content Marketer’s Café with @JuliaEMcCoy, on @ExpWriters!”]

youtube show

How I DIY’ed My New YouTube Show, The Content Marketer’s Café with Julia McCoy

When I decide to do something, (i.e. launch a business, write a book, launch a course, create a podcast, or even a Twitter chat – yes, yours truly has done all those things), I always go by the following rules of thumb:

a) plan all my setup at the lowest possible costs, DIY as much as I can.

b) make sure I have the right support to make it happen consistently and at a high quality level – i.e., hire a few extra people, or pull in a few from my existing team.

c) lastly, GET IT DONE.

So, following that super-simple method, here’s what I did to make my YouTube show happen.

Total costs behind the first episode: 7 hours of my time, total costs with a custom animated intro, and all my one-time setup costs (mic, stand, software), $593.

Recording (Pre-Production/Recording)

Video content concept and script: I wrote the script for the first episode inside a day. Time: probably 2 hours.

Copywriter with a conversion brain to help me with titles and content: Mandy, an amazing copywriter from our team! Cost: Staff hourly time. For my first initial show, it was just a few minutes of her time to help me hammer out the headline. She was working on the clock creating other course email copy that I was paying her to do.

Used my iPhone 6s Plus to record all shots. Time to shoot, about 20 minutes including all the takes. Total video time is around 10 minutes.

Lavalier Lapel Microphone: plugs straight into my iPhone, and clips right onto my shirt. This is necessary for better, clearer audio. $16.97 on Amazon.

Tripod & Stands: Eocean WF-3130 50-Inch Tripod, $22.99 on Amazon, and a tripod adapter mount for my giant iPhone for $8.99.

Lighting: zero costs! I have professional filming lights, but I used 100% natural lighting for my show. I simply opened the blinds to my double windows in my office (luckily, they stretch from floor to ceiling) and faced them to film. I filmed when the light was most warm and natural – on a sunny day around 3 p.m. Here’s a picture:

camera setup

Here’s another shot, capturing the wide angle of my office.

diy youtube show

Animation designs for intro and inner slides. This was roughly $270 between my in-house designer and an animation team, and will be a one-time cost. Designing each episode slide in the future will be only $20-30.

Props (which I’ll use later): this funny “expert advice” mug for $10.99.

Video Production (Production)

Camtasia Video Editor for Mac: Great video editing software, one-time $199. I’ve played around with other software, and if you’re looking to DIY, this is the easiest program – or at least I think so.

Music tracks: Melodyloops, $25/3 tracks.

Production time: 4 hours per episode to plug in graphics, some subtitles, add in effects, add music tracks. I will be hiring a video editor for my next episodes, and already found a freelancer from Upwork for $15/hour. Weekly, this will be $60.

Post-Production

Email marketing: I emailed the episode to my list, using ConvertKit. I will bring in someone else to do this weekly, but for now, this was my time.

Launched to my group: I spent a few extra minutes creating a video clip from the episode just for my Facebook group Content Strategy & Marketing, and launched it within the group on Saturday morning.

Social media promotion: I plan on trying a $50 Facebook promotion on this video and see what happens. I’ll send the viewers straight to YouTube.

The Content Marketer’s Café E1: How to Easily Win More Freelance Content Marketing Clients (Without Selling Your Soul or Losing Your Dignity) Video Show Notes

STOP sending cold emails!

I’ve had a non-native Indian writer pitch me on content creation services.

I’m the creator of a content agency where I have more than 40 handpicked, native English speaking writers.

What was he thinking?

Think about this…

How okay is it to be approached by a stranger who in their FIRST BREATH of conversation, asks for your business?

It’s NOT OKAY.

Here’s the reality about the state of email. It’s pretty dire, especially if you’re soliciting people you don’t know.

  • Around 9 out of 10 of top-level B2B decision-makers simply do not respond to cold outreach anymore, reported LinkedIn’s Head of Sales Kevin Scott.
  • Salesforce has reported that 90% of email is now considered spam.
  • 84% of B2B leaders start their individual buying journeys with referrals, according to OpenView Labs. Cold outreach cannot reach the vast majority of B2B decision makers.

I get, on average, 10 cold emails (per HOUR). And those are the ones that make it to my inbox – there are hundreds more in spam daily.

Do you know how many I ignore and mark as spam?

100% of them.

So how do you do your outreach and find new clients when cold outreach is nearly dead?

3 Simple Ways to Get More Clients and Avoid Getting Ugly, Selling Your Soul or Losing Your Dignity

Here are three simple ways you can get more clients and ENTIRELY avoid the ugly cold email solicitation – each of these have worked tremendously well for my agency and I.

1. Hitting up past clients consistently.

As simple as it sounds, this is the #1 way we have boosted our income by almost double every month.

This works for you if you have an existing customer list of any size. Don’t stop at just one or two followups. Constantly sending in a friendly greeting to see how you can help is key.

Don’t overdo it: we recommend a followup every week to each customer on your old list, and be sure to add a line asking them to let you know if it’s too much.

You will be so surprised how many clients say “actually, yes, I DO have some work for you” if you just ask them. The prior connection of working with you before makes it 1000% easier for you to gain their business rather than get new leads to give you theirs.

2. Ask for referrals every chance you can get.

Capitalize on moments when clients love your service! This can send a huge amount of leads your way.

Hubstaff says prospects that come through referrals were by far the most likely for freelancers, at a 30% conversion ratio.

Don’t have a customer list?

3. Use LinkedIn!

LinkedIn’s business blog reported that prospects are 5x more likely to engage with sales professionals who share a second-degree connection. We’ve seen much better response rates to messages sent via LinkedIn connections than reaching out to a cold lead through email.

Find the agency, brand or business you want to work with, and then find their associated VP on LinkedIn. That’s the person you want to contact. Avoid paying for InMail by sending a no-cost connection request and adding a couple one-liners in ‘add a note’ section.

And there you have it!

I hope you enjoyed the first episode in my new show.

Come back every other Saturday for a new, short video where I teach one content marketing tactic you can start using today! Follow me on YouTube.

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The Story Behind Express Writers: Julia McCoy, Founder Shares “From College Dropout to $4 Million”

99% of our sales here at Express Writers come through the content marketing we do.

I believe it’s possible, because I’ve done it.

Revenue-generating content marketing is not a myth, or some secret recipe that you have to be born into.

It’s what we do everyday, and I believe you can, too.

I’m Julia McCoy, and I’m a college dropout.

I’ve sold over $4 million dollars worth of content creation services to thousands of clients across the globe through the company I founded, Express Writers. Today I lead a team of 40 hand-picked writers, creators, and project managers.

More importantly, we have the best client satisfaction rates that we’ve ever had, and we just had our biggest month in sales.

Just 6 years ago I started with nothing but $75, a hope, and a dream.

Here’s how I did it…

Because I’m on a mission to inspire you to achieve your dream even faster than I did.

The Story Behind Express Writers: Julia McCoy, Founder Shares “From College Dropout to $4 Million”

I was 19 years old and failing out of nursing school.

I didn’t have a safety net and nursing school was not going to work, so I asked myself: what do I love to do, and how can I make money doing it?

I love to write. By age 12, I’d written a 200-page medieval fiction novella. And at 13, I was teaching myself internet marketing, doing surveys for cash, learning basic computer skills. I walked around the neighborhood offering my services to the public. It worked out well, and I was earning $400 in a given month before I turned 16.

I jumped in.

In the next 3 months, I taught myself how to write, and I wrote over 250 articles for very cheap clients. But that was how I honed my early writing skills.

I also started learning a lot of SEO and content marketing back then.

More Work Than I Could Handle as a Freelancer

Two things happened:

  1. I discovered an untapped need in the marketplace when I combined content marketing with search engine optimization (SEO). Most of my competitors were frustrating clients by being one or the other. I blended the two disciplines to write content that positioned my clients as an authority AND turned into real sales, which led to…
  2. More work than I could handle.

And that’s when I started blogging regularly on my own site, expresswriters.com and found businesses willing to pay top dollar for lead generating content, and we grew.

I had one goal when I started my company back then: it was to find a group of writers who had passion in online writing, and who I could teach the elements of SEO and content marketing to, and we could learn and progress together, as a whole.

Getting Disowned by My Parents Led to a Better Future

You might say “oh sure, this was easy for you with your family’s support.”

The truth is, it wasn’t.

I didn’t have a safety net.

I grew up in a religiously suppressed home. My dad was the pastor of a church, and on my 21st birthday , my parents locked me in my bedroom with a letter telling me my life was worth nothing.

I shouldn’t have been born.

I was not allowed to lead a normal life, was told everything I did was wrong, and my business skills were looked down on.

Even though that was the only home I’d known, when I got that letter I knew that it wasn’t normal and I had to get out.

Six months later, my sister and I made the difficult decision to escape in the middle of the night. It was very heartbreaking, but it was the only shot I had to follow my dreams and chase my passions.

200% Growth for Express Writers in the Early Years

Completely bootstrapped, no outside funding, no family support, no safety net.. my content agency, Express Writers, grew 200% in the next few years.

The first year was $50,000, and in the next few years we hit $300,000, and last year we just surpassed $650,000.

Taught Through Failure = My Greatest Lessons for Success

As an entrepreneur, you often hear that failure precedes success.

Early in 2016, I discovered two trusted managers in my staff were embezzling. I fired them, rebuilt the team, over the next five months.

I learned that with a supportive environment, ongoing accountability for your staff, and most importantly, the right people, there is no limit to what you can do as a business. That experience taught me what it means to create a great company culture, and serve our clients with the best customer service.

The CEO of Salesforce, Marc Benioff, said “the secret to successful hiring is this: find the people that want to change the world.”

For me, that was finding people that shared my goal, a gigantic goal, of creating the best copywriting agency on the planet, and giving our clients the best content that they’ve ever gotten.

One of my biggest lessons was that it’s not about the job descriptions in your company, it’s about the environment and how your staff support each other.

The next big lesson is to constantly evolve. What helped grow our company in the beginning might not work today. For example, we had a terrific commissioned sales rep but I wanted a culture of cultivating great client relationships rather than a culture chasing end of quarter sales quotas.

I replaced our commissioned sales rep with a real content marketing expert, to do consulting and selling at Express Writers. After she was working here for a week, I checked in with one of our clients, and asked: Could you rate the difference in experience between the commissioned sales rep and our content expert? And he said that the difference was 100x better. I knew we were on the right track.

I couldn’t be more proud of the team we have in place today. We are greater than the sum of our parts.

There are no limits to what we can do as a company, because we’re learning and progressing together.

Our team is large but nimble enough to adapt quickly, which gives our clients the best service. We’re seeing the highest writer retention rates, we’re able to provide full time jobs for the writers we have, and we’re seeing the highest client satisfaction rates that we’ve ever had as well.

What Is Your Biggest Success Secret in Entrepreneurism?

I think my biggest lesson as an entrepreneur and content marketer is that the right people, working next to you, make all the difference.

There’s also no I in SUCCESS.

There is an “US” in success, though.

You can’t move forward and hit your best success level by yourself. It’s just not possible.

I hope that this story inspired you!

Follow me at “JuliaEMcCoy” on Facebook, Twitter, and Julia McCoy on YouTube.

CTA new FB group lead magnet

express writers story

The Entrepreneurial Story: How I Founded Express Writers From $75, Grew a Successful Company Mindset, and My Greatest Lessons in Business (Video)

This very month, back in 2011, I was plowing the seed of an idea, hiring five writers, and coding my own website.

I decided to launch the idea, and came up with a business name in five minutes: Express Writers.

As we move into our 6th business anniversary (and my 7th in the industry), I thought it would be awesome to get on video and sharing the story behind Express Writers – on camera!

So, for the first (ever) video story that I’m finally doing, I’m sharing the story of how I started out in freelance writing at 19 then stumbled into creating Express Writers out of $75, a hope and a dream.

That was what I started with – and nothing more.

We’ve been bootstrapped all the way, learned some hard lessons, went through some crazy times, and came out stronger from every hard-knocks lesson learned. Today, we’ve served over 5,000 clients, and have grown by leaps and bounds: 200-300% year after year. This year, we were able to break all previous year’s records for client satisfaction rates and monthly income.

But the story behind Express Writers’ creation isn’t complete without the real, raw, personal side of my life that I chose to change for the better (a personal, forced lifestyle that I chose to leave – and if I didn’t, I probably wouldn’t be here writing this blog today.)

Here it is.

The real, raw, true story of how Express Writers came to be.

What made us, what shaped us, and what we’re doing today in the industry.

Enjoy.

The Entrepreneurial Story: How Julia McCoy Founded Express Writers From $75, Grew a Company Mindset, and Life Lessons in Business (Video Transcript)

I run a writing agency, and 7 years ago I started with nothing but $75, a hope, and a dream.

Today, we have the best client satisfaction rates that we’ve ever had, and we just surpassed our biggest month in sales.

So, how have I been able to do it in such a competitive industry? Here’s my story.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Watch @JuliaEMcCoy’s #video story behind the creation of Express Writers. #entrepreneur” quote=”Watch @JuliaEMcCoy’s #video story behind the creation of Express Writers. #entrepreneur”]

express writers launch story

Everything started in my business back when I was 19. I was in the middle of nursing school, and I was failing miserably. One day I woke up, and I asked myself: what do I love to do, and how can I make money doing it?

I knew what the answer was in my heart: it was writing. That went back all the way before I was 12. I was always writing, and by age 12 I had a 200-page medieval fiction on a floppy disk. Along with that, I had early entrepreneurial roots. I figured out how to make money using the internet at 13: I was earning cash doing surveys. And by 16 – I don’t know where this idea came from, it was just in my head one day – I decided to go around the neighborhood and ask people if they needed help using their computer. I posted ads in the grocery store, and within a few days, I had several clients and I was making $40/hour at 16.

So at 19, when I found myself in the middle of college trying to get a degree that I didn’t even want, I decided I would just try to figure out online writing and make a career out of it. And the next three months, I taught myself how to write, and I wrote hundreds of articles for very cheap clients: but that was how I honed my early writing skills. I also started learning a lot of SEO and content marketing back then.

Before I knew it, I had more work than what I could handle. My next logical thought was, why not start a business? And Express Writers was born.

I had one goal when I started my company back then: it was to find a group of writers who had passion in online writing, and who I could teach the elements of SEO and content marketing to, and we could learn and progress as a whole. I noticed a phenomenon back then: a lot of so-called writers didn’t know the standards of how to write for SEO, or the reader. So I started my business with that one goal, and clients began to trust me and to look to me for SEO and content marketing advice. And that’s when I started blogging regularly on my site, expresswriters.com.

But the story is not complete without sharing a personal story. I grew up in a religiously suppressed environment. My dad was the pastor of a church, and at 21, I found myself locked up in my room by my parents and given a letter for my birthday that said I was a disgrace to my family. We were not allowed to lead normal lives, and my business was looked down on. So when I got that letter, even though that environment was the only thing I knew, I knew that it wasn’t normal and I had to get out.

So six months later, my sister and I made the decision to leave in the middle of the night. And we did. It was very hard, but I had the opportunity to go follow what I loved to do, and go follow my dreams and chase my passions once I got out of that environment.

I did that, and completely bootstrapped, without any outside funding, we grew 200% in the next few years. The first year was $50,000, and in the next few years we hit $300,000, and last year we just surpassed $650,000.

As an entrepreneur, you often hear that failure precedes success. And that’s not just a quote or a fun saying, that’s the truth. Early last year, I found out that two trusted managers in my staff were embezzling. I had to fire them, and rebuild the team, and that took 5 months of hard work.

I learned that with a supportive environment, ongoing accountability for your staff, and most importantly, the right people, there is no limits to what you can do as a business. That experience taught me what it means to create a great company culture, and serve our clients with the best customer service.

The CEO of Salesforce, Marc Benioff, said:

“The secret to successful hiring is this: find the people that want to change the world.”

And for me, that was finding people that shared my goal, a gigantic goal, of creating the best copywriting agency on the planet, and giving our clients the best content that they’ve ever gotten.

But in the five months of rebuilding, it was the hardest thing to find the right people. One of my biggest lessons was that it’s not about the roles in your company, it’s about the environment and how your staff support each other.

So when we were rebuilding our company culture that year, and with a goal to give our clients the best customer service we possibly could, I decided to let our commissioned sales rep go. And it was scary, because she was getting us sales, but she was chasing the sale instead of the relationship with our customers.

So I replaced the commissioned sales rep with an expert to do the consulting and the selling at Express Writers. I was honored to find an industry content marketing expert to join the team. After she was working here for a week, I went to one of our clients, and I was very straight up. I asked: Could you rate the difference in experience between the commissioned sales rep and our expert? And he said that the difference was 100x better. I knew we were on the right track.

So last year, even though we went through a lot, and it took 5 months to find the right people, when we found them there’s no limit now to what we can do as a company, because we’re able to learn and progress together. Our team is large but small enough to be able to do that, which gives our clients the best service.

So we’re seeing the highest writer retention rates, we’re able to provide full time jobs for the writers we have, and we’re seeing the highest client satisfaction rates that we’ve ever had as well.

So, 3 lessons in business.

Everything changes when you find the right team. That’s #1. When you find the right people to work right next to you in the daily grind, work becomes delightful because you support each other. I’m so honored today to lead in my staff full-time a group of women that all share the same goal, to serve our clients best and to evolve and progress with the industry.

I encourage communication in my team. Even though we’re remote, we’re so close-knit. We have daily Skype threads that address the different topics we all talk about.

The second lesson in business is: in the trenches of failure, success is often born. Failure is really hard to go through, but I believe that it’s one of the greatest ways to learn the lessons that will teach you growth.

And the last lesson is, success is a progression. It’s not something you hit and plateau at, it’s a continual progression, something you work very hard at every day.

So this summer, a big goal of mine is to launch a course. I’m launching a content strategist certification course. I’m going to certify in content strategy, and I’m putting together everything I’ve learned in the last 7 years of finding the right keywords for your niche, what tools to use, how to use them to get your best content opportunities, how to find trending topics, how to put together an editorial calendar – which is what we get paid to do daily for our clients. So all of that is going into a course, and it will be out this summer. If you want to sign up to get notified, the link will be in the description of this video. 

Thank you so much for watching! You can follow me at @JuliaEMcCoy on Facebook and Twitter, and @ExpWriters on Twitter.

Conclusion

What did you think?

Go easy on me in the comments. 😉

I’d love to hear your feedback – I’m an introvert, so, video isn’t easy for me. You just might inspire me to do it more!

And don’t forget…

Update: September of 2017, my course officially launched! Learn about my certification course here: contentstrategycourse.com <—- I’m so excited about this! 

content strategy course cta

Julia-McCoy-of-Express-Writers-Interviews-ScoopIt-CEO

Google Hangout: Content Curation Interview with Guillaume Decugis, CEO of ScoopIt & Julia McCoy

On January 13, I held a Google Hangout on Air with the CEO of Scoop.it, where I interviewed him about Scoop.it and the value of content curation this year. Below is the video and full transcript. It was a very insightful chat. Enjoy! 

 

View the Google HOA here.

 

Content Curation Interview with Guillaume Decugis Transcript

 

Julia: Hello everyone, I’m Julia McCoy, the CEO of Express Writers, a copywriting agency. I have with me today the CEO of Scoop.it. Can I ask you to pronounce your name, if you don’t mind?

 

Guillaume: Sure, so hi everyone, I’m Guillaume Decugis.

 

Julia: Guillaume. Did I say that right?

 

Guillaume: Yes!

 

Julia: Great! Awesome. So, to start this off, I just wanted to talk to you about your tool. I think it’s an excellent tool for content curation that is a huge need coming up this year. We’re just seeing so much content happen, and we need tools for content curation, to be able to sort this content, and to be able to share it. So, tell me a little about Scoop.it, how you built it, and how it helps businesses today.

 

Guillaume: Well, thanks for the praise. So Scoop.it was something we started and launched three years ago. We launched it because we realized that Web 2.0 was creating an opportunity and a pressure. The opportunity and the pressure is actually the same. The opportunity is we can become a media publisher, we can publish a lot of content. That’s what all those tools around Web 2.0 helped us do. It’s not just an opportunity, it became a pressure.

 

Now that everybody can publish content, if you do not, then you simply don’t exist.

 

Or if you publish bad content, you might hurt your brand. So we felt that pressure is going to be something that a lot of professionals, businesses, companies, big and small are going to have a tough time with. Because..

 

Not everybody is a content creator. It takes time, energy, talent, inspiration to create good content.

 

And so we felt a lot of people will be struggling with that. And there’s an alternative to create content, or complement. We like to talk about complement, which is content curation. We felt not everybody can become an awesome blogger, an awesome video producer. But, we believe that fundamentally all businesses, all professionals have expertise. When you’re good at what you’re doing, you’ve done that for a few years, you have expertise and you can apply that expertise to curate content, which means selecting great content that you feel is relevant to your field, and adding your own value, your own context: telling your audience why this was an awesome piece of content. And we felt that was much more accessible to professionals in general, and it is a great way to build your content strategy for your business. So that’s the background behind it.

 

Julia: That’s excellent! I agree with everything you said about getting content, and staying on the map with content. As you may or may not know, I developed some content strategizing products in our own company. We wanted to go beyond just creating content. So we looked into creating curation, and we were going to try to plan content, and show people how to find content. One of the tools I found was Scoop.it. I was so happy it was so simple to use, and I was researching maybe 20 different tools. Scoop.it was a key of how we find content.

 

How do you see it as answering a big need for curation coming up this year?

 

Guillaume: So, first of all, I love the fact you found Scoop.it simple, because that’s really I think the key to what we’ve been trying to do. We wanted to make it super simple.

 

Let’s clarify something: curation in itself is not simple. If you don’t have tools, it’s actually very complicated, and you can waste a lot of time trying to find great content.

 

You’ll have this experience of, like, I’ve been browsing the web for FOUR hours and I felt I achieved nothing. And so we felt we needed to combine a couple of things. First, a piece of technology that could automate your content monitoring. And let’s be clear: automation, we automate the discovery of content, we never automate publishing. So we empower our users to publish in their own name what they’ve selected, and we make it easy for them to find content instead of searching for it hours every day. In just a few minutes, you can have the most relevant content in your field, directly on your Scoop.it engine. So simplicity is at the core of what we’re trying to achieve.

 

I was asked by the Content Marketing Institute, what’s my prediction for 2015, and I think, you know, content marketing has been around for a few years. It’s maturing and it’s something that large companies have embraced. They’ve moved from traditional advertising, which is kind of old fashioned, to creating excellent content.

 

The company which I admire which is probably the pioneer of content marketing is Redbull. If you look at what Redbull has become, they’re not a soft drink company anymore. They’re a media company. They have this content pool with 50,000 pieces of content, they launched a man to space and broke the record of parachuting down to earth. They’ve done amazing stuff, they’ve done amazing content. But the thing is they’re a large company, and they’re making a bold bet of transforming their company into a media company. A lot of the small midsize companies have not been able to do this, because it takes resources, it takes a long term horizon that large companies have and small companies don’t have. So my prediction for 2015 was that content marketing is now going to become mainstream. It’s going to become something that millions of SMBs in the US or in the world are going to be able to embrace. And, I think curation is going to play a very important role there, because if you think of content marketing where a lot of people like to mix up creation and curation, and the large brands have resources. They can create a lot of content, they can have agencies work for them. But for more SMBs, they usually don’t have access to that, they usually don’t have a budget for that. So, curation is necessary for them to embrace content marketing, and that’s what we see coming in 2015, a lot of SMBs embracing content marketing through content creation and curation.

 

Julia: I totally agree with you. Everything you said is really insightful. I see that there is so much content on the web and it’s growing every day as you know, and it’s so important to curate and create to make your own mark.

 

Guillaume: Having a mix is really important. We’re not saying stop creating content; we’re saying if you have a day job, or if you’re not a natural born writer, it takes time and you should really focus on exceptional pieces of content. And we believe that curation forms creation. By curating you will spot the gaps in your field that nobody is writing about, like the things you’ve learned, you can tell. Instead of adding to the noise by creating another piece of content that’s already been written, you can use your curation abilities to say, I’ve shared some really good articles by other people, but nobody has been writing on that particular point, and I can share that and I can educate my audience. So, we’re strong believers in balance and there’s strong synergies in curation and creation.

 

Julia: Exactly. That’s something I’ve been blogging about in a few of my recent blogs, I talked about that exact idea.

 

Guillaume: Yeah, I love your blog posts by the way, I’ve curated a few of those already. Really good.

 

Julia: Now about blogging, I also wanted to ask you how businesses can use Scoop.it to publish their own content. Tell me more about that.

 

Guillaume: So our view is, the way we look at content and content strategy for businesses, we look at a couple of things. We think you should have a content hub, a place where all of your content, whether curated or created, can reside. A lot of businesses blog already, and if you have a blog you should make it your content hub. Scoop.it integrates with WordPress, or Tumblr, so it’s very easy to consolidate everything in something that already exists, like your blog. So we look at you should have a content hub, which is where you’re going to drive your audience to, which is going to be a place where people can see all of your content that defines you.

 

We like to say you are the content you publish.

 

Whether it’s created or curated, and you can organize that content the way you want. It’s also going to be a place whether you can drive SEO content, where people will be able to discover you from search, not just from your social channels. You will also be able to convert. You know, we’re doing content strategy, content marketing because we think it’s fundamentally good for your business, so it should be a way to drive and generate leads, and convert people to either subscribe, or buy, or drive a sale. And you have to have your own face to do this. It could be a WordPress blog, it could be another blog. And for those who don’t have a blog, we have a live publishing platform on Scoop.it so you can create pages with your created and curated content. You can use that as like a blogging platform.

 

So that’s one thing that’s your content hub; then you should think about all the distribution channels you could use, social media of course. Scoop.it is connected with all the social media channels, so in the same way you feed your blogs or your content hub on Scoop.it, you distribute that content to social media, to Facebook, LinkedIn, not just for files but for groups. We also integrate with the ability to create newsletters. Email has been under the radar for a few years because we say, ah, social media is the new way to distribute. We still believe that email is super important, super relevant, still in 2015. We integrate with Mailchimp to make it super easy to distribute by email. So, I like to think about creating a content hub wherever you feel affordable. But you should really own it. And with the premium version of Scoop.it, you can really make Scoop.it pages your own, you can really integrate with WordPress, and distribution channels which should be social, SEO, email, to name a few ones.

 

Julia: Wow, it sounds like a really thorough platform. We’ve been using it to find content, but I don’t think we’ve been using all the features of being able to publish. So, instead of a social media competitor, it sounds like really you’re your own content hub.

 

Guillaume: Yes. You know, again, I think it’s an evolution of Scoop.it which is evolving. We’re actually about to launch a new version of the platform.

 

Julia: Yes, tell me about that.

 

Guillaume: That platform is really going to be reaching all around the needs of SMEs. And I think, as Scoop.it grew we evolved from being a tool to becoming a solution. And what do I mean by that? Very quickly, Scoop.it started as a discovery tool. The first users of Scoop.it liked it, that they could discover content very rapidly, and then share that content to their social handles. Then we’ve added the ability to create content hubs, or view existing content hubs on WordPress. The solution people need is actually a combination of things. We think SMEs actually need a workflow. They don’t need just discovery, just distribution, just content hubs. They need a combination of that, of all things, and they need to be able to manage it. We have this new version coming in a couple of weeks, which is really about planning your content. Number one, having a calendar that gives you a full view of what is it you have plans for the next few days. Second, sourcing which is essentially the discovery part but enriched with a lot of admins features. So sourcing all of the content that feeds that planning, and then integrated with feeding a destination but also feeding distribution channels as we discussed, and also all of the analytics activity, did you get traffic, engagement, leads. So we’re packaging all of those things into a very neat solution that takes you through a content workflow with a 360 global approach.

 

Julia: Wow! So that’s really impressive. So that’s getting ready to launch next week?

 

Guillaume: Next week or the following week we’re getting ready. So in the next two weeks. Before the end of the month.

 

Julia: That’s a good goal! That sounds really great. So, thank you for your time and going through all of that. It’s really great to see all the features of Scoop.it and what it can bring just coming up this year, because content is going to be a monster. And this tool can help businesses get control of it, and just not be average with content. And, you know, just do better than your industry competitor. So do you see a lot of growth coming up, do you anticipate that this year?

 

Guillaume: Do I see a lot of what, sorry?

 

Julia: Growth.

 

Guillaume: Oh yeah, absolutely. I think right now we’ve been seeing large companies embrace content marketing, and we’re used by large companies as well, as more and more are using collaborative features. We’ve been used by 1.5 million professionals primarily as a discovery social media tool, and so I think we’ve seen more and more SMBs embrace Scoop.it as part of everything. So we have been growing very fast, we’re closing our books and so I don’t know the final numbers yet, but we’ve been focusing on that for about 15 months now. We’ve grown in a year from 0 to 3,000 business and enterprise plans, and I think it’s going to accelerate throughout the year. I see a lot of, the story that you just told, businesses are now embracing content, they’re realizing it’s not just talk with peers on social media, they’re realizing you need to have that publishing capability in order to build your SEO, your inbound marketing, your inbound leads. I think that’s going to be an essential drive and an essential strategy to grow yourself. We’ve moved from SEM and emails to getting social media, trying to explore social media. I think those companies will understand that. It’s a powerful sales channel for us. The companies that do that will grow much faster than their competitors. And that’s going to happen this year.

 

Julia: That sounds really great. It’s just amazing how much content has grown in the past few years and how it’s changed so much.

 

Guillaume: Yes! And you know, another thought I would like to bring is, if you think that this whole change, driven again by Web 2.0, is about us becoming media publishers, as professionals or as businesses.

 

I would encourage you to look at what are the media outlets that really became rockstars in the past 5-10 years. It’s not the NY Times, it’s not the Washington Post. If you look at the history of media, it’s completely changed.

 

The media that created a lot of value and grew the fastest were the Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Business Insider, Upworthy.

 

They don’t produce 100% of their content. They use a mix of their own content and curated content, or even some of them, like Upworthy, just do curation. They do awesome curation, which means that curation really can drive amazing traffic. So if you’re going to become as businesses, media, because Web 2.0 puts us in that corner and puts that pressure on us, we shouldn’t look at becoming media in the old-fashioned, twentieth-century way, like the NY Times 20 years ago, we should look at becoming media in the modern way like the Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, and Upworthy. That’s using that mix of curation and creation, that makes it easy to scale and helps you become lean with content. We like to talk about lean content as a way to be efficient with your content strategy. And I think those media are a good example of that.

 

Julia: That’s a great point.

 

Just to wrap this up, I know you’ve mentioned a couple times just a mix of curation and creation. What do you recommend, knowing what you do, having gone through content, building Scoop.it, what do you see as a good schedule for curating (something that’s not original, but relatable to what you do) and then creating your own content? Would you say 50/50, like two blogs a week, and then a few curated?

 

Guillaume: So the way I like to define, for some people it will be 50/50, for others 80/20, the thing that I would encourage people to look at is what comes naturally. Focus your creation activity in creating really epic content, something that if you’re going to devote some time away from your business, away from your customers, away from your employees, you should really make it count. To me, that’s the rule. If you’re talking about a 3 people shop where the business owner has a lot of things, that could be once a month. If we’re talking about 200-people company which already has a marketing team, it could be blogging once a day (everybody publishes, you know, once a week, and if they’re a 5 people team, that’s once a day). But then, look at curation to fill in the gaps for everything else. And so I think it’s depending on,

 

The minute you start creating low quality content is where you should stop.

 

You should stop and say, well, instead of creating low quality content, create less content but curate more content. You will augment the quality of whatever your readers receive. To me that’s the signal, when you start realizing, ah! I’m pressuring myself too much, and I’m creating something I’m not really proud of. You’re better off spending that time curating.

Julia: That’s a really great rule. I think anyone could take that rule and make it work.

 

Guillaume: Yeah, I mean that’s the rule I apply myself, whatever I feel uninspired, and I feel I’m going to force myself to blog, force myself to create something, maybe two hours later I’m going to go through content suggestions on Scoop.it, and I’ll find a great piece of content and I’m inspired, and suddenly I turn that into a mini blog post, using the publishing capabilities of the platform, and that’s so much better.

 

Because I’ve added to the discussion, instead of adding noise.

 

That’s been working a lot better for us as well, and our clients.

 

Julia: Yes, great rule. I would add nothing to it. Really good.

 

Thank you so much for your time today! This was a really insightful chat, and it was really good to talk.

 

Guillaume: Thank you, and if anybody has a question they want to throw out, my Twitter handle is @gdecugis. Feel free to tweet me, and I’m passionate about this discussion, so we are engaged.

 

Julia: Yes! That sounds great. We will have to probably schedule another one of these.

 

Guillaume: Alright! Bye.

 

Julia: Thanks for your time!

 

Guillaume: Thanks Julia.

 

Visit Scoop.it!

Follow Guillaume Decugis on Twitter. 

Google Hangout with Robert O’Haver and Rand Fishkin, CEO of MOZ, on Web Content Trends for 2014

We had the opportunity to attend and pose a live question during a Google Hangout on Air hosted by Robert O’Haver with guest speaker Rand Fishkin, CEO of Moz, 20-year Internet veteran also known for co-authoring Art of SEO and co-founding Inbound.org.

View the Hangout on Youtube

Since Rand was answering questions live on air, I was able to post two questions for him, which he answered during the Hangout:

 

julia-mccoy-rand-fishkin

 
Rand’s question to our first question, what does he think about guest blogging, was sending us to his blog on the matter: Why Guest Posting & Blogging is a Slippery Slope. He posted this early in the week when checking on the G+ questions:

rand-fishkin-guest-blogging

 

Rand’s blog on guest blogging is well-worth a read if you are looking for in-depth thoughts, including answers to certain fallacies and assumptions about the matter.

 

His answer to our second question, what does Rand think in general of web content trends for 2014, was live on air. We’ve transcribed it:

 

Rand: So Julia wants to know, I and many others I know and work with would love to know what Rand thinks in general of web content trends in 2014. So I’ll answer the second one, since we talked about the first one.

 

So web content trends: the way I see things going is essentially we have sort of what I call two big trends going on.

 

One is a massive increase in the number of marketers who are interested in and performing content marketing; and because of that, you have much, much more competition than you’ve ever had before. That increased competition is causing a second trend, which is what I call consumer or content fatigue.

 

People who use social media to find content, find things on Reddit, get stuff emailed to them by friends, use Facebook, are getting overwhelmed; the amount of content that they are receiving, or you know being able to access, is just exponentially larger than it was a couple of years ago.

 

And so, what these two trends together combine to do is they make it such that a content marketer today and for the future is going to have to do two things in my opinion. Number one, focus on quality over quantity. Right? You can’t just say to do content marketing, I’m going to put out a blog post every night. I don’t think that’s what true, great content marketing will entail. I think it‘ll be: I have something truly valuable to share, I have a great way to present it, I have really put in the effort, I will put something out there that is far beyond the quality of what anyone else has done.

 

The second piece of that is not just great quality, but uniqueness of presentation. So, being the exception to the rule is going to be more and more and more important. That means the standard, long scroll-y infographic that everyone has seen a hundred thousand times, it has a little chart for a little thing, that might not be so great anymore. The silly little, fun little YouTube video might not work as well as it used to. The standard blog post with just some blocks of text might not work so well. But, we’re seeing the rise of things like Svbtle as a blogging platform because it’s very unique and it really is the exception to the rule in terms of things like presentation. We’re seeing a lot more visual assets do particularly well; high quality, interactive elements and quizzes and these types of things. The NY Times had a great language-based quiz that tried to identify where you were from based on how you answered particular questions. So, you know, there’s opportunity.

 

Presenter: Robert O’Haver I think, you also mentioned it, but the importance of not just puking up what someone else has written, but be unique with it, and stay relevant.

 

Rand: Yeah, absolutely.

 

Thank you, Rand, for such a great and informative answer to our question!
 

Julia Interviews Marc Landsberg, CEO of Social Deviant

I had the pleasure of interviewing Marc Landsberg, CEO of Social Deviant, on Friday, January 24, 2014. See Marc’s blog and see his company online, Social Deviant. We were originally planning a Google Hangout, hosted by Open Communications, Mark’s marketing team—but it refused to work for us. Yes, maddening! Especially because we had our video cameras all ready! But, we were still able to meet in a recorded phone conference, and had a great conference together. 

What Marc Thought of Express Writers!

 

I started by introducing my company and asking Marc about Social Deviant. In return, Marc first started off by talking about how he appreciated, and saw the need and value for, the specific and large amounts of content Express Writers publishes. Marc is a 25+ year marketing veteran with a global exposure to CMOs, CEOs, for a long time, having built and sold his own businesses across the years. He saw a frustration in this world among agency owners where people did not create real-world content, which he saw as fundamental for their success—not an afterthought. Smart marketing of the future is smart content marketing, and they are synonymous. He saw the value in what Express Writers does from noticing a lack of the type of content we deliver. For instance, in one blog we talked about how to optimize your Pinterest posts. Marc saw that this offered real-world value to our followers. Too many agencies, Marc said, saw things from a 30,000 foot view—and the content topics we are delivering are spot on in today’s Internet.

 

Social Deviant Serving Big Names

Marc then talked about the value his brand, Social Deviant, brings to clients. “A toddler in a man’s body,” his less-than-two-year-old company focuses on helping their clients build smart social media strategies, identifying target audiences, thinking about business objectives and marketing goals, defining the content mixed model, and putting this into social platforms; including specific management, development, and optimization. SD links a strategic approach with a conceptual, creative approach instead of a programmatic idea of reposting, etc.  It’s a different approach, top-down rather than bottom-up. He outlined how he’s been targeting key metrics and building a content strategy for several clients. Just two years old, Social Deviant has already built out an entire strategy plan for amplify and publicize a new route in air travel across social media, and a specific retainer project for a big brand for Miller Coors Kraft Beer.

 

Why Social Deviant?

I asked Marc about his reasoning behind the company name Social Deviant. He believes in deviating from the typical and wants to revolutionize, in several ways, the field he works in. It’s also just as much as important, how you do it as what you do. Great reasoning, Marc!

 

Content & Social Media

Next up were my questions for Marc. Since he has probably seen it all when it comes to social media, I asked him what he thought of the role that content played in social media, specifically for example: how do blogs work for social media?

 

Content & Social Media = Synonymous

Marc said this is one of his favorite questions. What Social Deviant has done is equate social media with content. Social Deviant has basically made social media and content synonymous. Social media is content, Marc said. He said Express Writers’ content is great—because everything they do for clients is about content. Strategic issues arise, for example, how to measure and manage over time; how staffing can deliver smart content marketing; with POV on lots of this. Social Deviant has done a little “sleight-of-hand” to equate social media marketing to content marketing and include things like business metrics and content types, formats, frequency and volume, the social platforms, syndication and optimization strategies. He’s developed a 7-or-8 point list of content strategizing for all of his clients, making social media = content marketing synonymous.

 

Less Teaching In This Area?

I asked Marc if he has noticed less of a need for teaching, with more and more people realizing they need content. He said clients choose Social Deviant because they embrace the fact they need to be better content marketers. SD only pursues like-minded clients. Marc says: if you stink at advertising we’re probably not your guys, and I don’t have the time or energy to convince you that that’s the wrong approach! Instead, he is looking for clients who know they need to be smarter. The question isn’t just about social media, it’s about how to be a better content marketer, when clients approach SD.

 

Content Marketing As A Whole

SD also looks at all aspects and pieces of content marketing as content, and put a calendar together based on all aspects. They are re-defining what the marketing calendar looks like, driven by content. Put the word social aside, replace it with content. If you have a 12-month calendar, X budget, Y business objectives, what do you need to do to deliver on your marketing objectives? That could be a billboard, a long-form video, a Vine, infographic, images, all of the above. All of this is content. Which of these units make the most impact? Marc admitted it could be cheating—but he has put everything around content, which puts his company in a central role with all his clients. He’s taken the specific word social and replaced it with content.

 

At the ANA Social Summit in San Francisco, Social Deviant presented their new content calendar, driven by content formats that includes all online and offline content types. Interesting—at a social media summit, they presented an integrated content calendar! Incidentally, it’s now being used by big names like Farmer’s Insurance and was a hit when it was presented.

 

Marc said that what Express Writers does is very specific, very fantastic, and a great compliment to work that he’s doing. I told him we should hook this together! He said that we absolutely should, and offered to strategize together on a Join.me meeting with terrific opportunities to collaborate.

 

Long-Form Blogs Are Great, Marc Says

I then asked Marc how he saw other content products fitting into the realm of social media and content marketing: infographics, whitepapers, e-books. He said that Social Deviant has basically construed a taxonomy, built across categories and tags, across social platforms. He specifically mentioned that SD loves “long-form blog content.” Google, Marc said, over-indexes it, and it’s even more powerful if you’re smart about the way you blog and you use tags, etc., which is overlooked by clients but yet enormously relevant.

 

SM Tools

Marc then listed some of the tools that he loves for content curation and discovery: content discovery for hashtags, VideoDeck. He still saw the value of Hootsuite; but there is growing competition there, with bigger clients looking at specific curation, syndication, analytical, or all-of-the-above needs. Adobe Social integrations have been growing.

 

We ended the call with Marc saying: there should be less hand-waving agency guys and more of you! Very excited to get Marc’s feedback, and it was an honor to talk to him.