Did you miss #ContentWritingChat this week? There’s no need to worry, friends! We have you covered with a recap of this Tuesday’s chat. If you want to learn how to create great content online, just keep reading!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Decide What to Write About & Create Great Content Online with Carrie Morgan

Our guest host this week was Carrie Morgan. Carrie is an author and an expert when it comes to public relations, content marketing, SEO, and social media.
It’s her second time joining us as a guest host (her first #ContentWritingChat hosting session with us was back in February about rising above the noise), and we were thrilled to have her back sharing her expertise!

Q1: Share a few qualities that make up outstanding online content.

What makes a piece of online content amazing? There are a few specific qualities it needs to have! Check out some of these answers from Tuesday’s chat:

As Carrie said, great content doesn’t just echo what everyone else is saying. You need to dive deeper and think harder with the content you’re creating. It needs to be unique in order to stand out from the crowd.
She also said it reflects a strong understanding of its customer and audience. The content you create is about them, not you!

When creating content, it needs to be high quality and valuable for your audience. Top-notch content that solves a problem your audience is facing will always yield results.

Lexie from Netvantage Marketing knows readability is essential when it comes to creating great content online. To make your content readable to visitors of your website, use headlines and format text into lists when appropriate. It makes your content easy to scan. Pictures are great, too!

You should always cater to your audience when writing content. You want to be trustworthy, accurate, entertaining, intriguing, and informative depending on what you’re writing.

As Bill said, the best online content makes use of visual and emotional storytelling. It’s the best way to hook your audience and establish a connection with them.

What’s one thing you should never forget when creating content? Proofreading! Make sure you proofread everything before you hit publish. Alternatively, Tara suggests hiring a skilled editor to do the job for you.

As Julia said, you should never put out content that isn’t your best. Your audience deserves better than that and you want to make sure you’re proud of the work you’re publishing. When striving to create great online content, you want to be useful and focused on your audience.

Q2: How do you figure out what topics to write about online?

Considering there are so many things you can write about, it can be hard to choose which topics are right for you. Here are a few tips from the chat:

Carrie feels you shouldn’t rely too heavily on online tools. Instead, the best way to figure out what you should write about is to ask your audience. Ask your current and prospective customers what they’d like to see. You can address their biggest concerns with your content.
She also suggests keeping a specific file that holds all of your topic ideas. This makes it easy to refer to when you’re searching for ideas.

Tara knows that online tools can still be handy when it comes to choosing topics to write about. She likes to use Answer the Public and SEMrush to find questions from her audience. She also searches categories and competition and evaluates keywords.

It’s a good idea to keep track of what your audience is responding to. Which of your blog posts have been the most popular so far? That’s good indication of what your audience is interested in.

Jacob’s advice is to learn what your customers and buyers are reading. What problems are they dealing with? This can help you come up with great content topics.

There are three main questions Jenn asks when deciding what to write about. What are my consumers engaging with? What’s relevant in the news? Where’s a gap in coverage? Try asking these questions the next time you’re stuck for ideas.

Q3: How can you learn more about your audience and what they want you to share with them?

If it wasn’t already obvious, it’s important to know and understand your audience if you want to create great online content. However, you may be asking how you can possibly learn this information about them. If you’re not sure how to find out what they want, keep these tips in mind:

Listen, listen, listen! You need to pay attention to your audience and truly listen to what they have to say. If you do, you’ll come up with plenty of great ideas.
Carrie also suggests turning to your customer service or sales teams. Find out what customers are asking so you can address those issues with your content.

Tara suggests keeping tabs on hot topics your audience is discussing online. You can find this through social media, online forums, and even Facebook groups. All you have to do is ask people what they want to see and create content accordingly.

Lexie agrees that all you have to do is ask. People will tell you what you want if you just ask and listen to what they have to say. She also said you can learn a lot from product reviews, so keep an eye on those if you receive them.

Take advantage of online forums and Twitter polls as ways to ask your audience what they want to see. You should also keep an eye on your site analytics, plus engagement you receive from your audience.

Debi said you should become your target audience. When you understand them, you’ll know what you should write about. Aim to address their pain points and provide a solution for them.

Zachary said you should make a genuine connection with your audience. Get to know who your readers are so you can write the content they’re looking for.

As Zlatka said, there are a variety of ways you can reach out to your audience. You can create surveys, ask them face-to-face, reach out to sales or customer service, engage at trade shows, and more.

In case we haven’t said it enough, the key here is to ask your audience what they want. They’ll tell you. Promise!

Q4: What are some DO’s for writing great, shareworthy blog posts?

If you want to create great content online, you need to keep these do’s in mind!

Carrie knows that quality is most important. Keep that in mind every single time you create.

Julia’s advice is write a killer intro for your blog posts. It’s the best way to hook your reader early on and keep them reading your entire article.

Don’t forget an effective headline! If you want to get people clicking over to your website, you have to grab them with an enticing, but accurate, headline. No clickbait.

As Brittany said, it needs to be readable. You should write your content in a way that your audience can relate to. Use headings and bullet points to make your posts skimmable.

Leah is also a fan of headings. They help break up your content and make it easier for your audience to read. It’s great for SEO, too!

Cristy said to write quality, well-researched content. That’s the best way to create amazing written pieces.

Make sure your content is engaging. Video is another great addition to your written content because it can help attract more readers.

If you want people to share your content, you need to make sure it’s shareable. Lex and the Digital Natives Cast team suggest making sharing options available so it’s easy for your readers to use.

Don’t be afraid to ask for the share, too. Provide your audience with a call to action, requesting they share your content. Tell them what you want them to do and you’re more likely to see results.

Q5: Discuss how to create visuals to help boost the success of your written content.

It’s no secret that visuals are essential to pair with your online content. To help you make complementary visuals that grab the attention of your audience, check out these tips:

Carrie is a fan of tools like Canva for creating branded quote images to promote content. We love Canva, too!

Stephanie is also a fan of Canva!

Make sure that you don’t add visuals for the sake of having visuals. They need to be complementary to your written content.

Tracy recommends creating visuals that are on-brand and visually appealing. If you add text to your visuals, it must be easy to read.

Leah turns to stock photo services and PicMonkey to create amazing visuals for her content.

As Varun said, you need to make sure the visuals you create are relevant to your content. That’s the most important thing!

Q6: What are the DON’Ts of online content (what makes content go bland)?

Just like there are some big content creation DO’s, there are also a few DON’Ts you should avoid. Here are a few:

Carrie feels content reflects the writer’s level of experience. If you aren’t looking to write your own content, hire someone who is experienced to do the job.

Julia said you should never underestimate the intelligence of your audience. Make sure you’re taking time to create quality content instead of putting out something that’s mediocre.

Tara knows keyword stuffing just isn’t cool. Make sure you aren’t guilty of doing this with your content. She also said you should aim to provide new insights or information for your audience.

Lex said you shouldn’t write for search engines. Instead, write for your audience and then optimize your content. Don’t forget to proofread, too!

Unoriginal content is a big no-no! Make sure you’re providng your readers with something valuable.

Zala’s advice is to avoid regurgitating content and topics. Don’t write about the same old stuff. Provide value.

Meg said to ditch the fluff posts. You need to include actionable information your audience can learn from.

Don’t use clickbait titles for your articles. Your audience doesn’t like to be misled.

Grammatical errors aren’t cool, friends.

Don’t share content just for the sake of sharing. It should serve a purpose.

Great advice from Shannon: be passion and have fun with the content you create. It really shows through in your writing and your audience will resonate with that.

Q7: What are tools you love that assist you in writing great online content?

There are a ton of great tools available to use that help us create great online content. Here are some suggestions on tools you should try out:

Some of the tools Carrie uses on a daily basis include WordPress, Canva, Google, Word, Later, and Photoshop. However, she knows that practice and passion are more important than any tools you may use.

Julia provided a great list of tools including SEMrush, Buzzsumo, and CoSchedule.

The tools Lexie suggested are definitely worth checking out! She likes Answer the Public and Google Analytics among others.

BuzzSumo, SEMrush, and Sprout Social are all great tools!

A thesaurus is simple, but effective! Shannon knows just how useful it can be when it’s time to create content.

Don’t forget a little music! Spotify is a great tool to help you get into that writing groove.

Q8: Which brands do an amazing job with their online content?

There are plenty of brands that create fantastic content online, but these are just a few you need to check out:

These brands Carrie suggested are definitely worth checking out.

All of these brands Julia mentioned are great content creators.

The writers at BuzzFeed definitely do a fantastic job!

Brittany is a big fan of Travel Alberta and their user-generated content.

HubSpot, Buffer, Huffington Post, and more! These are some of our favorite content creators, too.
We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM CDT for great chats centered around content writing and marketing. Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on our new topics and guests!