best of 2016 #contentwritingchat

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Best of 2016 Content with Express Writers, AWeber, and Buffer

Did you join us for this week’s #ContentWritingChat? Whether you missed all the fun or you’re in need of a refresher, we have an amazing recap to dive into! It was a pretty big chat this week as we took a look back at content from 2016, so grab a snack and check out this recap:

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Best of 2016 Content


Since this was our big year-end chat, we knew we had to go out with a bang! We decided to reflect on the amazing content that was produced over the past year and invited three different guests to join us.

Brian Peters handles social media and marketing over at Buffer. If you frequently read their blog, you’ve probably seen some posts by him or noticed him on their Instagram Stories. Olivia Dello Buono has joined our chat as a guest host in the past, so it was great to have her back. She handles social media and community over at AWeber. And finally, our very own Content Development Specialist, Tara Clapper, joined us as well. With copywriting, social media, and email marketing covered with our guest hosts, you know it was a great chat!

Q1: Favorite publication(s) to read and learn from in 2016?

First up, we asked our chat participants to share their favorite publications to read over the past year. What sites did they love? Were there any brands whose content they always looked forward to reading? (Besides us at Express Writers, of course!) Here’s what they had to say:

Brian’s top four include First Round, The Next Web, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Help Scout. If you haven’t checked out some of these, definitely add them to your reading list!

Olivia enjoys reading content from Kissmetrics and Movable Ink. She’s also a fan of her AWeber’s blog, which is awesome to see her supporting the team she works with.

Some of Tara’s go-to websites include Search Engine Journal and Mashable.

Our CEO, Julia, as a big fan of the sites she shared. You just might find a post of her own on some of them from time to time, so keep your eyes peeled!

One of Kristen’s favorites includes the CoSchedule blog, which we are also fans of here at Express Writers!

Tony shared an amazing list of sites that are worth checking out if you haven’t already!

Buffer, NewsCred, Sujan Patel, Convince, and Entrepreneur all share some amazing content. These were great recommendations from Varun!

Q2: Share something you published in 2016 that was your best work.

Next, we asked everyone in the chat to share a link to something they published in the past year that they were proud of. We received a bunch of great responses to this question, so start bookmarking these blog posts:

Olivia worked hard to put together a post that’s filled with list-building tactics that experts shared with AWeber. It’s definitely a great read if you want to learn how to grow your email list in the New Year.

Brian published a piece on Buffer’s blog that featured some tips to help you enhance your social media presence. This is a must-read if you want to make a splash on social media.

Tara loved putting together this post for our friends at SEMrush, where she talking about merging her Twitter accounts.

Tara also created some amazing content for our blog, including this piece on how to create cornerstone content. Be sure to check this one out!

As for me, I published this piece on Snapchat earlier in the year. It’s a must-read for anyone wondering how to use the platform effectively for their business.

Julia said her best piece was a case study on the rankings and content here at Express Writers. In this post, you’ll find out exactly how we outrank our competitors.

Do you want to learn how to create an effective call to action? Check out this post that Kristen shared!

The team over at Web Themes Plus received great feedback on their post about conducting a website audit. Now is the perfect time to give this one a read!

Although she didn’t write it herself, Becky did assist our own Tara on this awesome post. It’s all about how to communicate on social media when a tragedy has occurred. This is one every social media user should read.

Q3: What were some trends you noticed with content this year?

Just like with fashion, there are trends that come along with content creation as well. Check out the trends that reigned supreme this year and be sure to incorporate them into your strategy for next year:

Olivia said people are getting tired of the clickbait headlines. People are craving authenticity and they don’t want to be misled. So, take this advice: ditch the clickbait in your online content.

Funny, but true! Many brands stuck to producing long-form content, which works for many audiences. However, you’re sure to find someone else writing about how people have shorter attention spans.

Brian said Medium has grown a lot in 2016, which encouraged more people to create value-packed short-form content. He also pointed out the rise of audio content this year, with more and more podcasts being launched, including one from Buffer!

Lexie from Netvantage Marketing feels there’s been too much quantity and not enough quality when it comes to content from certain websites. The reality is, quality beats quantity every single time. Don’t post for the sake of posting. Make sure everything you publish is high-quality, provides value, and is relevant to your audience.

It sounds like Jeremy agreed with Lexie. Quality over quantity every single time, friends!

Monica noticed that many more content creators were taking the time to repurpose old content. After all, you don’t want those blog archives to go to waste, do you? You can breathe new life into older content by repurposing what you have already created.

Sabjan predicts the popularity of Snapchat and Periscope will only continue to grow over the next year.

Shannon has seen an increased focus on community, customers, and audience. She also pointed out that there’s been more of a use of images, video, and live streaming in the online presence of many brands.

Lauren said content in all forms exploded over the past year. There have been even more people starting blogs, launching YouTube channels and using social video, and creating podcasts. There are so many mediums for content creation and many brands are branching out to explore new things.

Q4: Which brands have consistently done a fantastic job with their content this year?

There are a ton of brands that have been doing a great job with content creation during 2016, but which ones top the lists of our chat participants? Take a look at these brands for some amazing inspiration:

Brian said First Round was one of his favorite brands to read content from this past year. He felt they produced unique, valuable content that was always fun to read.

Olivia is spreading the love to our friends at Buffer by raving about their content. As she said, they always share great tips for social media marketers, whether it’s on their blog or their podcast.

Just like Debi, we are also big fans of Content Marketing Institute and Joe Pulizzi!

Jeremy mentioned a few brands that are great at creating content including Buffer, Hootsuite, and PostPlanner.

Here at Express Writers, we’re also big fans of Social Media Examiner!

Q5: Which newsletters did you look forward to seeing in your inbox?

So, which newsletters were top-notch in 2016? Check out these suggestions straight from Tuesday’s chat and start subscribing!

Olivia has three go-to newsletters that she always enjoys seeing in her inbox. Are you subscribed to any of these? If not, you’ll want to check them out!

Brian looked forward to seeing newsletters from Product Hunt and Soul Cycle. For marketing, he likes inbound.org and their newsletters.

Julia appreciates a good weekly round-up, like the one Search Engine Journal sends out weekly.

The team at Netvantage Marketing likes to subscribe to the newsletters their clients produce. It’s a great way to stay updated with what they’re sharing and get to know them better.

As for Mike, he enjoys emails that aren’t constant sales pitches. This is a good reminder of why you should always provide value with the emails you send to subscribers.

Q6: What was your biggest struggle when it came to content this past year?

Content creation isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes it can be stressful and frustrating! We all struggle with content every now and then, but here are some of the main struggles our chat participants faced:

Brian’s struggle is one that we can all relate to. It can be hard to find time to write consistently and do it well. That’s a great thing to work on in 2017!

Olivia said one of the biggest struggles has been getting people to read new content. Sometimes you have to come up with new and creative ways to drive traffic back to your website.

Even though video continues to be hot, it doesn’t come naturally to everyone. As Tara reminds us, some people don’t shine at video. If that’s you, don’t feel bad! You can keep practicing until you get more comfortable in front of the camera or stick to what you know best. There’s no shame in that.

Staying organized can definitely be a challenge when it comes to content creation, especially if you’re creating for multiple mediums. There are blog posts to write, videos to film, podcasts to record, emails to write, and social media posts to share. It’s a lot! To make things easier, having an editorial calendar helps and so does batch writing.

There’s always room for improvement! Make some changes to streamline your internal process to make the content creation process much smoother.

Originality sure is a tricky one when you consider just how much content is on the internet today. Putting your own spin on things can be a struggle, but it’s a must if you want to stand out.

With new channels launching, it can be tricky to learn how to create content for them at first. However, as the D2 Media Solutions team pointed out, it’s a fun challenge to take on.

Trying to stick to a consistent schedule isn’t always easy. One thing to keep in mind is to do what works best for you. If you can’t commit to five quality posts per week, then don’t do it. Consider what you can manage and aim for that.

Q7: What was the number one thing you learned about content in 2016?

So, what’s the top thing you learned regarding content this year? Here are some of the responses from the chat:

Great point from Olivia! It doesn’t matter how great your content is if nobody sees it. Make sure your content is shareable and that you’re getting it out there for the world to see.

Brian said organic reach on social media is going down, so he encourages people to focus even more on SEO and paid social media.

As Tara said, you can’t give one size fits all advice. You need to make your content personal.

Julia’s advice is to do some great promotion for the content you publish. It’s the best way to get major results online.

Quality over quantity! Make sure everything you publish has value.

Getting the right content in front of the right people is essential to success!

Write for your audience first and Google second.

Make your content shareable and you’re sure to gain traction on social media and get more traffic to your site.

For Georgina, she learned that it’s best outsource content creation. After all, that’s why companies like Express Writers exist!

Timeless advice we should all remember: be yourself.

Q8: What advice do you have for content creators going into 2017?

One final piece of advice? Check out these tweets:

Be consistent with your content. Brian also suggests building quality backlinks.

Quality and consistency are two keys to success when it comes to content.

Don’t be afraid to take risks. Olivia said great content always has a unique point of view.

Julia said to be opinionated and back it up with strong research. You should always be yourself and don’t be afraid to take risks.

Not sure what your audience wants or needs? You don’t have to guess. All you have to do is ask them.

Quality over quantity. Add purposeful visuals to your content. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new content types to see what works best for you and your audience.

Know what your limits are. If something is beyond your capabilities, resources, or bandwidth, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Don’t publish for the sake of publishing. Your content should be strategic and should serve a purpose.

Plan your content in advance and just start writing! Even getting a rough draft out is a great place to start.

We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time for great chats centered around content writing and marketing. Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on our new topics and guests!

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