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customer love

Love is In the Air:​ 7 Unique Methods to Inspire Customer Love for Your Brand

It’s Valentine’s Day!

Time to enjoy the sweet, sweet flavor of chocolate-covered strawberries, write a perfume-scented note to the person you love (if you’re the type that handwrites, like me), and/or receive an abundance of chocolates, roses, and maybe a special date. If you’re single, you might be basking in a bowl of Ben & Jerry’s, a chocolate bar, and a tad of Netflix binge-ing.

Whatever the scenario, love is the name of the game today—if that’s loving on yourself, or your special someone.

We’re taking this opportunity to talk about a topic that’s crucial to your brand this Valentine’s Day (and far beyond):

Building real, authentic customer love for your brand.

Here’s the problem, and why many customers still feel “un-dated” or, worse yet, “broken up with” after they engage with a brand.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Brands still think that it’s okay to stay in a ho-hum relationship with their customers. #valentinesday @JuliaEMcCoy” quote=”Brands still think that it’s okay to stay in a ho-hum relationship with their customers. It’s okay to stick with average, and not try any harder. #valentinesday @JuliaEMcCoy”]

The hard truth? Those lackluster exchanges eventually find their rock bottom, and your readers will eventually move on to more vibrant and exciting brand experiences.

To avoid this now is the time to use all the tools in your tool belt to create a brand that your customers can’t help but love for years to come.

customer brand love

Fortunately, it’s easier than you might thing. Heck – you don’t even need a pair of wings!

 7 Cupid-Worthy Methods for Making People Fall in Love With Your Brand

Whether you’re a new brand or an established company looking to deepen your relationship with your customers, these seven tips are your Valentine’s Day holiday go-tos.

1. Go Beyond Posting to Social Media, and Engage with Your Fans

It’s not enough to just be present on social media.

After all, anyone can have a profile.

Instead, you have to engage. 

What are you giving your customers to fall in love with if you’re not engaging with them? How do you engage? Why should you matter to them? What are you giving them in return?

Now is the time to think outside of the box. Instead of just tweeting once or twice a week, use Twitter to start a Twitter Chat that answers questions around a hot topic in your industry! I did this exact thing when I set out to create a Twitter Chat in January 2016, and #ContentWritingChat was born. It’s been an incredible journey of user engagement, brand awareness, and community growth since then. To learn more about our Twitter Chat and get some ideas for your own, check out our hand-curated roundups of each live tweet hour in weekly recaps on our site.

Our Twitter Chat has worked wonders for us, especially when it comes to creating brand loyalty. In December of 2016, we asked our participants how long they’d been joining us – the average was “eight months!” That’s some serious longevity—the relationships your brand can build through Twitter with real engagement can last forever.

2. Blog to Win Customer Love

Blogging is a critical component of creating a lovable brand. By developing relevant, in-depth blog content, you can show your clients that you care about them and that the feeling is mutual.

Blogging to win a customer’s eternal love, though, requires that you take it a step further.

Instead of just writing or creating average content (we call that the floating-by blogger syndrome), this type of blogging demands that you focus on answering the biggest questions in your industry with seriously in-depth, long-form content (check out our recent long-form content guide for more information on this topic).

Here’s what you need to do to go a step further with your blogging this Valentine’s Day holiday.

– Find The Top Questions In Your Industry.

There are a few great tools for this. Quora is one of them:

Quora Screenshot

 

The amazing answerthepublic.com is another great tool for this:

Answer the Public Screenshot

 

 

Both platforms are designed to allow you to access customer questions according to industry, keyword, or category, and they can be fantastic resources for finding the top inquires in your industry.

– Look at the Top Posts And Recreate Material Based On The Inspiration You Gain From Them.

The best way to be a blogger your readers fall in love with is to give them what they need. When it comes to their questions, this means being the one who provides insightful, long-form answers that go deeper than the average writer. Take a look at what’s performing well on these top question sites and adjust your content accordingly.

3. Find Content That’s Ranking #1, Create Yours to Rise Above

Using KWFinder, it’s easy to locate the content that’s ranking #1 for a phrase when you do a keyword search. Here’s an example of what a search looks like in the dashboard:

KWFINDER screenshot

On the right, you can see a list of results. For this search, “content marketing,” the top result is Content Marketing Institute’s “What is Content Marketing?”

Using KWFinder or a tool like BuzzSumo, you can find the content that’s ranking #1, and then find a way to create content that is better than the competition.

Look for gaps or weak areas in the material. What did the first author miss? How did he or she fail to meet the needs of customers? Did the readers walk away wanting something? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” you’ve got an avenue to blow that post out of the water.

4. Create a Podcast!

[clickToTweet tweet=”Did you know that 21% of Americans listen to a podcast? That’s an astounding 57 million Americans! – @JuliaEMcCoy” quote=”Did you know that 21% of Americans listen to a podcast? That’s an astounding 57 million Americans! “] (EdisonResearch)

For years, Buffer ran a blog. Eventually, however, they turned it into a podcast called The Science of Social Media. Since they made that decision, they’ve enjoyed massive engagement.

I started my own podcast mid-2016, called The Write Podcast. Designed to echo industry questions and create more in-depth information for our audiences, The Write Podcast has been a fantastic tool for us, and we’ve heard from many listeners how much it’s helped their efforts grow.

Podcasts are working very well today for a few reasons. In addition to the fact that they’re the ultimate on-the-go form of content (you can listen to a podcast at work, at the gym, in the car, etc.), they’re also a very conversational and approachable form of content, which makes it easier for listeners to develop an attachment to your brand.

Worried about how your podcast will do since you’ve never created one? Know the tools you need, and set a goal of doing at least five episodes and then reevaluate. You’ll learn as you go and, while the first few episodes might be a bit rough, it will be, at the very least, a fantastic learning experience that will help put you in closer contact with your customers.

Check out the Twitter chat recap I had with Madalyn Sklar, host of her own podcast Twitter Smarter, all about how to podcast!

5. Encourage User-Generated Content

User-generated content is hot right now, and it’s only going to get hotter. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, make your love for your customers reciprocal by showing your readers you care about them as much as they care about you. Engage people with your brand by having them add content to your social media profiles or pages.

Run contests, social campaigns, Instagram giveaways, and more. The more you can bring your customers into your online presence, the more lucrative it will be for you! After all, ads based on user-generated content earn a 4x higher click-through rate and a 50% decrease in cost over traditional ads.

What’s more, making user-generated content a central part of your content strategy is a great way to make your brand unique, show off your commitment to your customers, and secure a consistent influx of fresh content for your company.

6. Ask Your Readers What They Think

What do your readers want to see more of? Are they hungry for more tutorials? Do they wish you’d cover content you don’t?

Are they interested in other topics or conversations? You’ll never know until you ask, and reaching out to your customers about these questions is one of the best ways to earn their love and stand out as a customer-centric brand, both now and in the future.

Poll them!

If you’ve never polled your readers before, it’s the first step to creating the type of unique back-and-forth that only the best brands enjoy. To create polls that engage your readers rather than alienating them, follow these tips:

  • Keep it short. Don’t overwhelm your readers with dozens of options. Keep it short, sweet, and simple. The more to-the-point your poll is, the more helpful the information you gain from your customers is likely to be.
  • Keep it relevant. Every question on your survey should fulfill your end goal, whatever that is. If you add anything that’s even moderately irrelevant, you risk turning your customers off (a serious Valentine’s Day marketing faux pas) and damaging the helpfulness of your survey.
  • Keep your rating scales consistent. If you’re asking users to rate certain parts of your site or content, don’t ask them to rate it on a 1-5 basis in one section of the site and a 1-10 basis in another. The more consistent you can be, the more valuable the information your customers will return.
  • Don’t Ask Leading Questions. If you ask leading questions, you’re not doing much besides shooting yourself in the foot. Give your customers room to speak their peace, but don’t lead the in the direction of any one response.
  • Thank Respondents! Answering a survey or poll takes some time, and your readers deserve to know you appreciate it. To thank them, give them a bonus in the form of an incentive or discount. You’ll strengthen their relationship to your brand and increase the likelihood that they’ll complete your next survey, as well.

7. Reciprocate When Your Customers Reach Out

All good relationships have to be give-take. If your clients keep giving to you, but you never give anything back, you’re going to lose them. With this in mind, reach out to your customers when they share your content, write on your Facebook timeline, like your Instagram posts, or engage with your Pinterest material. The more seen and heard you can make your readers feel, the better chance you’ll have of making them into lifelong evangelists for your brand. Plus, you make them feel special, which is what Valentine’s day is all about.

Customers + Your Brand = A Match Made in Heaven

Great relationships take time, and you can’t force your customers to fall in love with you overnight. You can, however, take a series of proactive steps to make your brand more appealing and memorable to your clients, and encourage them to stick around for the long-term.

While many marketers assume the only benefit of long-term customer relationships is more sales, it goes a lot deeper than that. While loyal customers are more reliable and easier to sell to, brands with a strong batch of long-term customers also look more trustworthy.

By creating a brand that your readers and customers love and feel loves them back, you can simultaneously secure your success as a company and ensure that you’ll get enough adoration from your customers to make even Cupid jealous!

taxbreak 2017 cta

content marketing in 2017

Why You Should Choose Content Marketing in 2017 & The Best Forms of Content to Invest In Today

Today, content marketing is one of the lowest-cost, highest return marketing efforts.

But don’t take my word for it – for example, listen to Kraft, who publicly revealed at Content Marketing World last year that their content marketing ROI was four times higher than that of their most targeted advertising! Or, check out our own case study that reveals how content marketing is responsible for 95% of our business revenue.

Right now, marketers are creating more content than ever to see return, and inbound marketers are spending more time than ever before creating content. In fact, 93% of inbound marketers are now creating content on a weekly basis. What’s more, more than half of the surveyed marketers say they spend more than six hours a week doing so. That’s a lot of time and commitment!

It’s clear that content is the way of the future for 2017 and beyond and that if you want to succeed in the coming year, you need to invest in it. Read on to learn more about the upward trajectory of content marketing, and how it can boost your business this year.

how to do content marketing in 2017

Will Investing in Content Make Your Brand More Successful this Year?

The simple answer is, YES!

Today, most marketers understand that there’s no way around content. After all, it’s the only reliable way to get around the influence of ad blockers, the best way to connect with audiences, and the longest-lasting way to build relationships that last with customers.

Just because most marketers understand they should be creating content, however, doesn’t mean most marketers have invested adequately in doing it. In fact, many marketers halfway it, pumping out cheap, poorly written content that does little but clog up the search engines, and fails at meeting readers’ needs entirely.

Contently calls this: “the zombification of content marketing.”

zombification

Sound terrifying? It is, and it’s a growing epidemic.

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Fortunately, there’s a whole host of things you can do to combat it.

When you pour your best into your content marketing – in creating engaging, valuable, authentic content, that you’re tremendously proud of – you break the growing zombie mold of typical content, and your brand will stand out online.

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5 Content Marketing Pillars to Focus on Right Now

Before we talk about which types of content you should be investing in, let’s talk about which content traits you’ll need to focus on to be successful in 2017. Here are the top five.

1. Storytelling

Scheherazade from Arabian Nights!

Scheherazade from Arabian Nights, featured in a post we wrote late 2015.

We’ve touted the importance of storytelling before, and we’re not planning on stopping anytime soon. There are a few great things about storytelling in content marketing. Namely, storytelling works with all types of content – ranging from video to written material, which makes it the ideal foundation strategy for your various content pursuits. What’s more, it appeals to readers on a universal level.

Think about it for a moment: Didn’t you love hearing stories as a kid? Don’t you still love commercials that make you laugh, riveting travel tales that make you gasp, or a great novel that sucks you in and won’t let you go? Of course, you do, and it’s all because these things are stories!

The appeal of storytelling is broad and universal. Include it in your content marketing and you’ll immediately see your audience transform from “ho-hum,” to engaged, compelled, and genuinely interested.

2. User-Focused Content

Nobody likes a narcissistic company that just tells everyone how awesome they are all the time. In fact, this is a recipe for failure! Instead, a critical foundation of modern content is that it be user-focused. The more you can involve your customers in your online content, tailor it toward their experiences, and ensure it reflects their voices, concerns, and passions, the more successful they’ll be.

In fact, if you look around at modern content, you’ll find that many of the most successful companies out there barely enter their digital content. Sure, they’re in there as supporting cast members, but the target audience is the star – always the star.

This is as it should be, and it’s a wise thing to consider as you think about how to invest in content for a more profitable 2017.

3. Mobile-Friendly Content

No matter what you choose to invest in, make it mobile friendly. On the same level of importance as story-dense, user-focused material, mobile-friendly content is everything right now, and you can’t expect your brand to make much progress online if you’re not catering to your share of the more than 50% of Google search queries that come from mobile platforms.

4. Strategic Content

All the content you create should be strategic and intentional. While it’s one thing to put out short-form content or funny, original videos, everything you do should be supporting a larger content or marketing goal. If it’s not, you’re wasting your marketing budget and your team’s time.

5. Helpful, Relevant Content

Regardless of whether it’s a video, blog post, meme, or infographic, your top priority in all of your content creation efforts should be to make everything you create relevant, helpful, and quality. Without these three pillars, your content will fall short, and you won’t enjoy the massive ROI content is so capable of producing.

Successful Growth in Content Marketing: What Kind of Hot Content Should You Invest in?

If you want to succeed in content marketing, you need to invest in the RIGHT content. Otherwise, you could risk adding to the fluff that’s already clogging up the content sea. Here are the top 5 types of content to focus on in 2017 and beyond:

1. Expert Content

Expert content is no secret. Google demanded it in its 2015 Search Quality Evaluator guidelines, and influencers in virtually all industries have touted its importance since then. In addition to helping you rank better (Google may punish sites that feature poorly written content, or content that doesn’t possess the level of expertise the subject requires), expert content is the only real way to build your business.

By positioning you as an authority in your industry, giving you a platform to showcase your knowledge, and helping you gain more qualified leads, expert content can go a long way toward overhauling your entire online presence and making your content investments more lucrative in the coming year.

Still not sure what expert content means? It means content written by expert copywriters, like the ones we have on staff here at Express Writers. Readers can tell when a page is written by a subject-matter expert, and when it’s written by a novice. And, believe us – they’d rather read the former.

2. Live Streaming

 Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve likely noticed how much traction live-streaming content has gained in recent months. From platforms like Periscope to Facebook Live and Meerkat, live streaming is a hot trend in content right now, and when you use it right, it can boost your brand big time.

According to Variety.com, live-streaming overtook television in 2015 as the media delivery choice of preference, and that trend has extended to social platforms and apps in spades. Today, customers expect a company or brand to be available to them 24/7, and any brand that falls short in this will fall out of favor with its clients.

That said, investing in live-stream video can give you a highly approachable way to engage with your audiences and grow your online following. Once more, though, don’t take my word for it: consider platforms from Facebook to Twitter, which have made live-streaming the near-center of their content strategy in recent months.

3. Newsletters

If you think newsletters sound so 2015, think again. Today, newsletters are a critical content platform that can allow marketers to expand their audiences and produce positive ROIs. Companies from Buzzfeed to The Washington Post have used newsletters to dramatically expand their audiences (The Post, for example, increased newsletter subscribers by 145% year-over-year), and promote more sales.

For best results, ensure that your digital newsletters are optimized for all viewing devices and filled with relevant content. You should also include an exciting CTA that links to something relevant within your company or website.

4. Native Advertising

Did you know that more than 200 million people are currently using adblockers? Unless you’re a superhero, there’s virtually no way you’re going to get around all that software, and your chances of having your banner ad clicked are practically shrinking before your eyes. Don’t despair, though! There’s still a way to get into customers’ heads and hearts.

When you use native advertising, which offers helpful information rather than intrusive CTAs that disrupt user experience, you’re more likely to enjoy engagement and interest from your audiences. What’s more, since Native advertising integrates smoothly into various host environments, it’s easier to implement and use – even for small businesses.

Even The New York Times has named native advertising as one of the top tactics that allowed it to survive the explosion of adblocking software!

5. Virtual Reality

Sound a little wild to you? This is 2017, and VR has become a massive part of the tech landscape!

virtual reality

Today, many of the smartest brands on the web are using VR as a unique way to engage clients and differentiate themselves from the competition. While it might not be the one-stop-shop that social media or blogging is, it’s still a helpful tool that can benefit your company and your brand.

What’s more, it’s right in line with what the influential millennial consumer group wants.

According to a study conducted by the Harris Group, 72% of millennials would like to put more money into experiences than physical things. With this in mind, investing in VR content can be a great way to snag these high-value consumers and keep them with your brand.

Check out a few ways to include VR in your marketing strategy on Entrepreneur.

Invest in Content for a Bright 2017

The growth of content marketing is upon us! From expert copywriters to virtual reality content, there are dozens of smart investment opportunities facing your brand this year. To start your content game off strong, don’t be afraid to revisit your content budget and invest more in these cutting-edge technologies and content types.

Not only will your ROI increase, but your readership and sales will, as well.

Looking for the right copywriters to make your digital content shine this year? Visit our Content Shop to view our content packages and choose the one that’s right for you!

content marketing in 2017

8 Ways to Win at Your Content Marketing in 2017

As 2017 looms just around the bend, it’s easy to predict that content marketing will seriously be on the rise. 

In 2016, we saw big moves in favor of content marketing: growth of the industry as a whole, and national brands opting for content marketing over traditional ads and media.

Content marketing is already more impactful than traditional advertising – it costs 62% less, and generates 3x the amount of leads that traditional ads do.

Influencer marketing was realized when, in 2016, CNN made the move to buy a YouTuber’s entire presence, channel and mobile app (Casey Neistat, who had amassed 6 million organic followers), for a cool $25 million.

Buying influencers and exclusivity to their engaged audiences will be happening more in the New Year, as predicted by top expert Sam Hurley in our expert predictions roundup.

If you’re a serious content marketer, you can bet that your skills, audience, and presence will grow in value in 2017 – you might even be approached for a major buyout! So, with content marketing growing as a mainstream form of brand marketing more than ever, how can you go into 2017 putting your best content foot forward?

Fortunately, we’ve got your complete road map right here. Read on to learn best content marketing tactics for the New Year (and beyond)!

winning at 2017 content marketing

8 Proven Ways to Win at Content Marketing in 2017 & Beyond

Whether you’re looking to enhance your content, earn more visibility and serious ROI in the New Year, or focus on attempting to rectify a less-than-perfect user experience, these eight tips can make your content more successful in the coming year.

1. Combine your written content with compelling visuals

Sure, adding a photo to your blog post makes it pretty, but it also does so much more if you take that visual and go the extra mile. Recently, at Express Writers, we’ve started asking our lead designer to come up with handmade Adobe Illustrator designs for all our featured blogs (like this one). The difference? More social shares, mentions of, and traction on all of our blogs.

Here are a few quick stats about the benefits of adding visual content to your written pieces:

  • Adding colored visuals to a post makes people 80% more willing to read it
  • People remember 65% of what they see and only 10% of what they hear
  • For 34% of marketers, visual content is their most critical asset
  • When content has a relevant image, it earns 94% more views

Remember that today, “content” doesn’t just mean written content. Instead, it’s a broad term that also takes into account visual, audio, and video material that can enhance and improve the written content you publish.

With this in mind, find creative ways to start adding visual content to your written content. For example, publish an information-dense infographic in place of your standard weekly blog post or add a tutorial video to your next how-to post. Use video content to review products, provide customer service, or showcase new offerings, or include a series of in-depth screenshots in your next piece to educate and uplift readers. You can even grab a GIF or two to emphasis a point with a movie scene that everyone relates to.

In addition to enhancing your conversion rates, this creative, engaging, visual approach will also make your content more exciting and valuable to your readers.

2. Target your content more appropriately to specific audiences

Many people mistakenly believe that broader content will perform better online when, in fact, the opposite is true.

The more targeted you can get with your content, the better. You’ll be able to use long-tail keywords, which are easier to rank for. And, as a whole, more targeted content appeals to a smaller segment of the audience. While this may seem like a negative thing, it’s a fantastic way to bring in more qualified leads and make more sales.

When your content is directed at a particular set of people, rather than anyone who passes your way, your conversion rates will naturally be higher, and your content will naturally be more successful. What’s more, you won’t face such stiff competition from the “content sea” – the millions of pieces of content available to the public on a daily and weekly basis.

With all of this in mind, develop target personas to specify who you’re writing for, and keep them current enough that they reflect the outlook and problems of your actual audience segments. Update them as needed for maximum accuracy.

3. Make your content powerful enough to retain readers for life

Great, you have readers. Now what? You have to work hard to retain them, with better and better content in their niche interests.

This is a 10x goal of content you should be striving for. Sure, it is a big one – but if this is your goal, you won’t be publishing sub-par content.

Even if you’re publishing compelling and relevant content, it’s not worth much unless it’s inspiring your readers to stay with your brand for life. In 2017, the single best way to win at content marketing is to focus your efforts on user retention.

Here’s a fun fact to inspire you further. In addition to the fact that it’s easier to sell to an existing customer than it is to sell to a new one, loyal customers are worth ten times as much as their first purchase, which means it’s absolutely in your best interest to keep them around!

With this in mind, do the following things to boost your customer retention rates:

  • Post quality content on a regular basis
  • Engage with your readers by responding when they post, share, comment on, or like your content
  • Develop an easy way for your readers to subscribe to your content
  • Showcase old posts and favorite posts in a convenient manner so that readers can access them quickly
  • Offer incentives for your readers, including free content, giveaways, and prizes
  • Use a targeted and specific email marketing campaign to help your readers develop a relationship with your content

4. Encourage your readers to submit content (user-generated content)

What better way to focus on customer retention, engagement, and content creation than by encouraging your users to submit their own content?

User-generated content, or UGC, has a long history of inspiring trust in would-be customers (90% of customers report that their buying decisions are based on online reviews). It can also go a long way to populate your sites with quality content and help new customers engage with your brand.

Also, when you stop and realize that 80% of all online content is user-generated, it only makes sense to encourage your audience to create content.

To create user-generated content for your company, encourage audience members to submit photos, videos, or updates about how they use your products, goods, and services. Alternately, ask for their feedback on your top social platforms and encourage readers to share your posts and videos.

Burberry, founded in 1856, increased their e-commerce revenue a whopping 50% year-over-year when they launched The Art of the Trench website in 2009 (the idea of young CEO Angela Ahrendts, who took over in 2006 and decided to re-engage the older brand with online audiences). The success behind the site? UGC. Users could upload to and/or comment, on the site, on pictures of people wearing Burberry products.

burberry

Take some inspiration from Burberry and think of your own brand-centric hashtag or profile (or go all the way and do a site!) that is dedicated towards encouraging your fans to engage – upload, comment, bring their own content. All these things will go a long way toward improving your overall content strategy.

5. Use social media to promote your content, creatively

Content is only worthwhile when people can find and interact with it. That said, it’s essential to promote your content. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can be indispensable for this, but you’ll also need to take addition steps like guest posting and encouraging users to share your content for you.

But, since today’s social platforms are so saturated with other brand’s presences, you want to stand out. Think of starting a Twitter Chat, or posting creative, unique social posts that aren’t found anywhere else. Here’s an example of how to do that: have your team members, people that work in your company, give you a list of customer questions that you can create social media posts around. Custom graphics, unique blurbs fitted to each platform type (hashtags for Instagram, short sentences for Twitter), can all work to attract your fans and promote your brand organically via social media.

These simple steps can go a long way toward spreading the news about your content around the web and ensuring that it is seen by all the people it deserves to reach.

You might also want to invest in paid discovery platforms, like Stumble Upon and Facebook or Instagram Ads to promote your content even further.

6. Place a renewed focus on email marketing

In the last 12 months alone, BuzzFeed has added more than 1 million subscribers to their email list. What does this say about the claims that email marketing is dead and defunct? It dispels them, of course.

According to Content Marketing Institute, 91% of B2B marketers rank email as their top channel for distributing content and ensuring overall marketing success.

email marketing study

Source: http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2016/09/content-marketing-research-b2b/

With this in mind, focus on developing targeted and valuable email campaigns in 2017. Not only will it benefit your readers – but it will also give you the metrics and insights you need to develop a more successful content presence in the coming year.

To ensure that your email marketing remains successful, follow these quick tips:

  • Write compelling subject lines that make your readers want to click
  • Address the reader directly with the personal “you”
  • Keep it short, snappy, and valuable
  • Make your links clickable and your CTAs obvious
  • Segment your lists for a more personal experience.
  • Test your campaigns for optimum performance
  • Split test your emails for maximum ROI

7. Print isn’t dead; utilize it for a stronger presence

While it may seem like print content is at risk of dying in the digital age, many publishers have turned to print content to enhance and improve their reader’s experiences. How cool is that?! Print is coming back, in an age of a saturated digital market.

Airbnb, for example, recently released an exclusive Airbnb mag. Other brands are following suit.

While you don’t need to go all in and develop a personal magazine of your own, it is a very good idea to find a way to incorporate print content into your daily publications, be it in the form of brochures or flyers for our local business. We’ve been successful creating custom flyers for events we’ve attended.

8. Hire expert writers to develop your content

Nothing will ever replace expert content, and it’s more important in 2017 than it’s ever been before.

To get the most from your content marketing, hire an expert, authoritative writer that knows your niche to craft copy that empowers your brand online.

In addition to turning out higher-quality content, you’ll also relieve some of the content burdens you and your brand likely feel. It’s a smart business move and an effective way to get quality content that will last you a lifetime.

Here’s to Your Best Content Marketing in 2017

If your goal is to dominate content in 2017, our eight tips will help.

From boosting your SEO to keeping your readers at the center of the content experience, there are dozens of things you can do to enhance your written content and make it more successful across the board.

Here’s to ultimate content success in the New Year!

New Year CTA express writers

EW 2017 Predictions header

2017 Expert Predictions Roundup: More Than 15 Experts Predict the State of Content Marketing & Social Media

Before Christmas, I was lucky enough to sit down with more than a dozen experts in our online marketing industry for some insider predictions into the state of content marketing and social media in 2017.

From entrepreneurs to leading consultants, speakers and authors, these experts each had something unique to add to the roundup below that offers us content creators serious guidance on how to create content in the New Year, and what to expect of the content marketing landscape as a whole.

Our design team did a fabulous job taking the predictions and putting it into an infographic. Read below the image for the full expert quotes – the infographic is an abridged version. Quotes and experts are placed in no particular order. Feel free to link to and share our post with credit back to Express Writers and this link. 

EW 2017 Predictions infographics

2017 Expert Content Marketing & Social Predictions Roundup: The Full Story

“2016 was the year of BIG. Many content creators came out of the woodwork creating HUGE posts à la 715 and one third reasons why you don’t have enough time to write more content.

But the majority of the posts lacked high quality content.

So let’s say that in 2017 your competitors will do this too (if they aren’t already). But this time they will add the high quality part. How the heck do you stand out with your content?

The businesses that will get the biggest ROI from content marketing in 2017, will be those who are able to:

  1. Produce content in their own voice (this is your #1 unique value proposition that your competitors can’t copy)
  2. Create high-quality content that actually solves the readers’ problem
  3. Focus on cooperating with influencers within your industry

If you take the three bullet points above and add dominating Facebook Live, it´s like pouring rocket fuel on a bonfire. It will go BOOM! (in a good way).”

– Tor Refsland

Follow on Twitter: @TorRefsland

Award-winning Blogger, Digital Marketing Strategist & Business Coach, timemanagementchef.com

 

“Leading content marketers will be delivering 3 key things in 2017: 1) personalized, 2) visual, and relevant content in a 3) specialized niche that they can own. Visualization, personalization and specialization!

“The marketing leadership mandate for 2017 is transforming the entire company culture. Consumers and buyers are tuning out (or blocking completely) self-serving promotion and ads. Leading marketers in 2017 will strive to create a culture focused on delivering value to their customers that translates into better marketing results. This is content marketing! The tip: focus on being human. Tap into your employees, customers and partners to tell THEIR stories.

– Michael Brenner

Follow on Twitter: @BrennerMichael

Speaker, Best-Selling Author of The Content Formula, CEO of Marketing Insider Group

 

“I definitely see a huge shift to visual storytelling over the last year and expect that to continue in 2017. Not only have visual social media sites like Snapchat and Instagram continued to grow, but we are seeing a clear shift in the way people prefer to tell their day to day stories, which is more visual. There is definitely a challenge for companies to see how their traditional marketing efforts will fit into a purely visual medium, but I think companies are going to have to get creative and get engaged, because I don’t see that trend going away anytime soon!”

– Brent Csutoras

Follow on Twitter: @brentcsutoras

Founder, CEO at Pixel Road Designs, Speaker, Content Marketer, Managing Partner at Search Engine Journal

 

“I predict there will be a backlash against safe, mediocre content. Five percent of all branded content attracts 90 percent of the engagement. That’s not only a sign that you can leave your competitors in the shadows if you create something great, but also a clear indication that mediocre, safe content doesn’t do much for you. If you’re not adding anything new to the world and telling a great story in 2017, it’s just not worth pressing publish.

Also, distribution will be a much bigger focus. At many companies, content is silo’d away from social and paid media. As a result, there are a lot of brands creating content and just praying that people will magically discover it. That’s not how media works. Paid distribution will increasingly become a big buzzword this year.

Tip: Don’t hire a career marketer to run your content program. Hire an editor or producer who’s built and sustained a large audience before. That’s the common theme I see across 99 percent of all successful content marketing programs.”

– Joe Lazauskas

Follow on Twitter: @JoeLazauskas

Editor-In-Chief at Contently

 

“My prediction is actually the exact same as last year’s.

More companies then ever are investing into content marketing and it’s making it incredibly difficult to stand out from the crowd. The only way to do this is by creating high quality content. I call it epic content but it also goes by the name 10x content.

In 2017 people are going to catch on and flock towards epic content.”

– Sujan Patel

Follow on Twitter: @SujanPatel

Growth Marketer, GM at Web Profits, Entrepreneur

 

“Business leaders are beginning to understand the necessity of holistic content marketing practices. They get that it’s not just about the perfect press release, but the entire approach. I credit this largely to the omnipresence of HubSpot’s inbound marketing principles and 2016’s push towards storytelling. As a result, I predict digital marketing spend will diversify in 2017, and we’re already starting to see that in sales at Express Writers.”

– Tara Clapper

Follow on Twitter: @irishtara

Content Development Specialist, Express Writers

Speaker, Writer, Editor

 

“More and more data is collected through a brand’s digital marketing efforts. Brands and agencies will further personalize and customize offerings to their customers.   With the trends of major e-commerce sites opening physical stores (Amazon, Warby Parker, Birchbox, etc.), brands need to accelerate the integration of the online digital experience with that of the offline physical experience. The challenge is to seamlessly integrate the online and offline experience by leveraging and hiding complicated technologies from your customers. It will be important to understand the metrics of your company’s “outbound channels” and work with your marketing peers to co-own some of these goals.”

– Pam Didner

Follow on Twitter: @pamdidner

Content Marketing Expert | Author | Speaker | Adjunct Professor www.pamdidner.com

 

“The biggest content marketing trend I see is influencer promotion…but not as we know it. I believe more brands will begin ‘buying’ influencers so they are exclusive to them over a period of time…the power of that? Priceless!

Digital marketing is becoming more difficult each year…there’s so much noise, and always more competition. To rise above that, it’s the influencers who hold the targeted, engaged audiences, and loyal followers listen to their inspirations infinitely more than they do a Google or Facebook ad.”

– Sam Hurley

Follow on Twitter: @ Sam___Hurley

Social Influencer, #1 Digital Marketer, Founder https://optim-eyez.co.uk

 

“For 2016 I urged my audience to concentrate on quality of content over quantity in order to differentiate themselves in the increasingly overcrowded content marketing space. For 2017 I stick by that priority, but based on my experience in the past year I now temper it by saying, “Never sacrifice quality for quantity, but still strive for a consistent quantity of content.” By “consistent” I mean regular. The cold, hard truth of content marketing is that no matter how mind-blowing your last piece of content was, if you go silent for too long, you become forgotten. At Stone Temple we’ve adopted a strategy of planning for one “blockbuster” piece of content per month, while filling the in-between times with content that is still quality and useful, but easier to produce, such as content repurposed from our blockbusters (for example, a short video covering one aspect of a lengthy data study).”

– Mark Traphagen

Follow on Twitter: @marktraphagen

Senior Director of Brand Evangelism for Stone Temple, Speaker & Author

 

“In 2017, brands will build or buy their own media properties to disintermediate the giants of search and social.

What Joe Pulizzi calls ‘rented land’ is getting too expensive. Own your own audience!

Live video and interactive, data-gathering content will go big. The first because it’s cool and easy; the second because it will drive far better targeting (which always boosts ROI).

2017 tip for B2B marketers: double your efforts in bringing marketing automation, web analytics and CRM together so you can track content success.

Integrating marketing silos at the data layer will become a major imperative — brands need to own their own data and manage it like the strategic asset that it is.”

– Doug Kessler

Follow on Twitter: @dougkessler

Creative Director & Co-Founder of Velocity

 

“I foresee 2017 being a year where more content marketers stop wasting so much time and money on things that aren’t working. A ton of companies get little or no traction from certain tactics and channels—even some of the most popular ones, such as blogs and Facebook. I’m not suggesting you stop creating content, but I am suggesting to try new and different approaches when the ones you currently use aren’t producing traffic, leads, sales or whatever type of results mean something to your business.

It’s so much harder to stand out when you focus strictly on doing the same things as your competitors. It’s time to get creative. When everyone’s zigging, you need to zag.”

– Barry Feldman

Follow on Twitter: @FeldmanCreative

Digital Marketer, Author, Marketing Consultant at feldmancreative.com

 

“Today, marketers know they should do content marketing, but still not how to do it best. I think that 2017 will be the year of problem-solution growth and development in content marketing, as well as the growth of unique content types and outstanding writing with SEO as an afterthought, the reader as a forethought.

Solutions (unique tools, creative companies, brilliant thinkers behind them) will rise to the need of solving the ever-growing problem of too much content, not enough strategy.

Content will rise to the occasion, as well. We have a ton of platforms. Noise is growing. Content is multiplying. Rise above the noise by standing out with unique content types (try commissioning a hand-drawn, Adobe illustrated custom art piece for your next blog!), and creating your best content. Take a stand. Be yourself. Do insider research for your stance that takes you weeks to complete. Marketers will start thinking of SEO less, readers, more, and invest in content that truly stands out.”

Julia McCoy

Follow on Twitter: @JuliaEMcCoy

CEO at Express Writers, Best-selling Author of So You Think You Can Write?, Content Marketer

 

“I believe artificial intelligence will start to have a significant impact on content marketing in 2017. Content marketing is becoming more and more complex. Creating great relevant content is still a major challenge but the sad news is that it’s not enough. Not only do you need more and more content but you also need to optimize its lifecycle across multiple channels like the various social networks, email and SEO. Trying to do everything manually is overwhelming at best and impossible for many under-resourced marketers. Smart marketers will leverage AI not just to automate various tasks but also to have insights on what content to create, how and when to distribute it and how to optimize its impact.”

– Guillaume Decugis

Follow on Twitter: @gdecugis

Co-Founder & CEO at Scoopit, Entrepreneur

 

“I predict that Instagram will continue to grow as a preferred broadcasting channel.

Every business, brand and entrepreneur has the opportunity to use Instagram to amplify & promote authentic, entertaining, fun, creative content. Focus on the person who you are trying to do business and think about what they need. Not what you want to create.  It’s all about connecting on an intimate level and this can now be done through Instagram direct messaging, Instagram Stories and Instagram Live.”

— Sue Zimmerman

Follow on Twitter: @SueBZimmerman

#TheInstagramExpert Speaker, Consultant, Top @CreativeLive Instructor

 

“In 2017, I think accompanying media and visuals with content will continue to be extremely popular. Think explainer videos, gifs, infographics, social media images. People are raising their expectations when it comes to the way content looks, and it’s up to us as marketers to continue experimenting with how to present content that gets our audience’s attention.

In the New Year, I think video will continue to blow up. I see more and more people using Boomerang to create looping mini videos for Instagram, and live video on Facebook and YouTube (and now Instagram) will continue to be popular. Being live brings a whole new set of exciting challenges and content marketers should be thinking about how to best use live video, as well as thinking about how they repurpose it or tie it into their other efforts.

Continue to look for new apps and services to try, in 2017. There are new things popping up every day. For instance, I just heard about Ripl a few months ago and can’t wait to start using it. In addition, while you are learning and trying new things, don’t forget about your old content. Most website traffic comes from evergreen content pieces that could be months or years old. Set up a strategy to continuously improve these pieces and re-share them regularly on social media.

Kelsey: Please link back to MoxieDot.com (you can mention SEJ too, but I’d love a link to MoxieDot instead of SEJ :))

– Kelsey Jones

Follow on Twitter: @wonderwall7

Executive Editor at Search Engine Journal, #MarketingNerds Host, Founder at MoxieDot

 

“Predictions are difficult but we can be sure more content will be produced in 2017 than in any previous year. I suspect we will see more content in every format but particularly video. I believe marketers will act more like publishers and hence increase content volumes. Michael Brenner has recently made a great contribution to this debate.

Content marketers have to reach people, which means you have to be where they hang out. Pew Research have shown that this is primarily Facebook and their data shows Facebook’s dominance is continuing to grow. The data also shows that over 89% of people that use LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter also use Facebook and they use it more frequently. Thus I think we will see an increased focus on Facebook as the most important distribution and engagement platform, and increasingly see it used by B2B marketers.

Content marketing is about building an audience. Thus understanding your audience, the questions they ask and the issues they face is critical if you are to produce valuable and helpful content for them. Personally to break through the noise I think you need a strategy which combines producing regular helpful content with more infrequent blockbuster or ten times content. This might be a major research study or comprehensive guide which moves the needle. Something that has longevity and attracts links as well as shares.”

– Steve Rayson

Follow on Twitter: @steverayson

Director at BuzzSumo, Content Marketer, Entrepreneur

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