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create authority content

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Create Authority Content for Serious Return in Your Blogging with Julia McCoy

Are you wondering how to create authority content for your blog to see major results online? This week’s #ContentWritingChat is especially for you! Our chat participants shared some amazing advice that will have you creating high-quality content in no time at all.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Create Authority Content for Serious Return in Your Blogging with Julia McCoy

Our CEO, Julia McCoy, joined in as a guest host for this week’s chat. Considering she provides valuable content on our own blog and for other websites, she’s a great person to teach all of us how to create authority content. Now, let’s dive into the recap!

Q1: 2 million blogs go out daily. How can you create content that positions you as an authority in your field online?

There are obviously a lot of blog posts being published on a daily basis. This makes it hard to stand out online, but it can be done if you position yourself as an authority. How do you do that? Check out this advice from the chat:

Julia’s advice is to have something to say that actually matters. She says you need to know your audience, write to be read, and be consistent by always showing up.

Lexie’s advice is to make sure you know your audience so you can truly connect with them. This is going to help you build trust, therefore establishing you as an authority with your targeted audience members.

When you provide practical, actionable advice that addresses the needs of your audience, they’ll appreciate you for it. When they see that you can solve their problems, it starts to build your authority and keeps them coming back for more.

Don’t forget that you need to use data and cite sources to back up the points you make. You don’t want anyone questioning whether or not your content is reliable.

Focus on YOU. You should always strive to do your best when you create authority content.

If you want to be an authority, you have to earn it. Kristen said you need to be dedicated to your audience and to quality writing.

Q2: Discuss how to find and reach your audience personally to create authoritative content at is of specific value to them.

Are you wondering how to find and reach your audience when creating content online? Here’s what you need to know:

Julia shared some great tips for getting to know your audience. She suggested researching your market with Facebook Audience Insights and Google surveys. For your existing audience, you can email your list a survey that asks questions you want answers to. Then, hop on the phone with a few clients and have a chat.

Social listening is a great way to essentially eavesdrop on your audience. Figure out which platforms they spend the most time on and locate them. Pay attention to what they’re posting and talking about.

A great way to perform social listening is through Twitter chats. Cheval knows how beneficial they are when it comes to finding your target audience.

Javier suggests checking out some online forums and chats where your audience is hanging out. Be present on those platforms by engaging with your audience. Figure out what they’re struggling with and you can create content that solves their problems.

Facebook Groups are a great place to hang out! You just need to find the ones your audience spends their time in. Then, pay attention to what they’re saying!

As Seth pointed out, we can also learn a lot about our audience from the data we’ve already obtained. Check out your Google Analytics to learn more about who your audience is and what they’re interested in, for example.

Q3: What is one of the top authority content formats that earns SEO rankings, authority, speaking gigs, and organic leads?

What’s the winning content format that can do all of those things for your online presence? Here’s what some participants from our chat had to say:

For Julia, she’s all about the power of blogging. She knows the benefit that high-quality, written content can have.

Lauren feels that when you create authority content, any format can work. It’s more about providing good, unique information for your audience to consume.

As Lex said, it can also depend on your industry and your audience. You have to figure out what works best for your target audience, but also what works well for you in terms of creation.

Shelly knows that case studies can get major results when shared online.

Beth recommends writing blog posts that are at least 2,000 words to boost SEO. To build authority and speaking, she suggests trying podcasts or video. And for organic leads, valuable downloads are a great opportunity.

Q4: If you outsource content that positions you or a client as an authority, how can you make sure the writer is at that level?

If you’re going to outsource your content creation, you’ll want to make sure you choose a great writer. You want someone with experience and skills so you’ll be confident they can get the job done. Here’s some advice when it comes to outsourcing your writing:

Julia’s advice is to hire a writer that has industry knowledge in your field and amazing online writing skills. Once you do hire someone, she suggests that you continue to work with them closely. Reward your writers and help them grow to encourage progress.

As Jack said, hiring a first timer might be cheaper, but it’s also risky. You don’t want to waste your money on works that’s below your standards or littered with errors. You’re better off vetting writers to find the right fit.

Sarah agrees that a vetting process is essential. She suggests checking a lot of their past work to ensure they have the skills you need.

As Carla pointed out, getting references is always a great idea. See if there are any other bloggers or industry professionals that can recommend someone. It’s always great when someone can vouch for their work.

Ken suggests getting samples from the writer that showcases their knowledge in your field. Closely review the first bits of work they submit to you.

Lexie agrees that asking for samples is a must. As she said, you wouldn’t want to hire someone without seeing their work first.

Q5: What are some do’s in creating authority content?

If you want to create authority content for your blog, there are a few things you absolutely must do! Want to find out what they are? Check out this advice from the chat:

Julia said you need to know your audience, first and foremost. She also said it’s important to develop brand style guidelines for a consistent voice. You can even hire great writers and editors to help you out.

Sarah’s advice is to know your audience and create helpful, relevant content in a format they love.

Make sure you’re doing your research and answering the questions your audience has. Your content should serve a purpose.

You want to make sure your content solves a problem your reader is facing and present the information in a way that’s easy for them to understand.

Sabjan said to understand your audience and provide what they want.

Include research, interviews, statistics, images, and video content. As Stephanie said, you should never beef up your article with fluff.

As Jim said, you need to make sure your facts are right. There’s nothing worse than publishing an article with the wrong information.

Beth’s advice is to try to be original in your style and point of view. This will help draw people in and help them connect with you. You want to share your own experiences as well, as it helps tells your story.

Q6: How can you create awesome visuals to accompany authoritative content?

We can’t forget that our written content needs great visuals as well. How do you create ones that stand out? Here’s some advice:

As Julia said, our team develops short infographics for authority blogs. We also have our designer create visuals sized for every main social media platform. Each graphic is branding in our color scheme.

Jennifer, like many others, is a big fan of Canva. They’ve made it easy to create professional-looking graphics.

Another Canva fan! For those who are searching for stock photos, Death to Stock is a great one to check out.

Maria suggests following a color scheme for the images you create. This helps them stand out as being unique to your brand. You also want to use high-quality images. You can even edit stock images to help your graphics stand out online.

If you’re not great with design, there’s no shame in hiring a designer. Adam said it’s helped him seeing better results online.

Q7: What are some processes to fine tune, perfect, and publish a killer piece of authoritative content?

What do you need to do in order to create authority content for your blog? Here’s what you need to know:

Julia suggests having a workflow with stages developed and support members in place. She also said you should take your time at each stage, instead of rushing it.

Some key stages in order to create authority content include: researching trends and keywords, brain dump, outline, write, edit, design graphics, and prepare to publish.

Sarah said you should write, revise, and edit. She said to step away from the content for at least 24 hours before proofreading or have someone else do it.

Danielle agrees with leaving time in between a final edit. It allows you to see your work with a fresher perspective.

Remember that first drafts are rarely read to publish, which is totally okay. That’s why you need to make time for editing. Cristy said having someone else take over the editing process is helpful. They’ll catch mistakes you missed.

You want to define the point of your post, outline top talking points, and make sure the tone matches your target audience. Those are all essential steps for a great post.

Lindsey suggests creating a checklist in a tool like Trello to keep you on track. You can outline what you need to do before, during, and after when creating content.

Q8: Which brands or marketers stand out as an authority online through the content they create? Tag them!

Which brands or marketers can you learn from? Check out these great content creators:

You’ll want to add Julia’s favorites to your reading list!

Are you following any of these content creators?

Knowing your audience, sharing great visuals, and storytelling are all essential. Cristy feels these brands do a great job at that.

Content Marketing Institute always does a great job!

Lexie shared some great resources as well! Search Engine Journal, SEMrush, Sprout Social, Content Marketing Institute, and even the Express Writers blog are great places for high-quality content.

Want to join the next chat? Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat, then join us every Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time!

#Contentwritingchat

authority content

Want to Be An Online Success? You Need to Be An Authority (& The Backstory of How I Launched Authority Content)

Around Thanksgiving of 2016, I launched a new content level after training my staff for a few months on how to deliver it and having Josh, our CTO, develop a matching product in the Content Shop.

Authority Content.

Before then, we had two levels: general, and expert writing.

For my new Authority level, I trained a handful of my best expert writers and built a structure around it that kind of looked like this (my rough internal sketch):

authority content writing

It’s far more than what I can represent in one circle, though.

In one piece of Authority content, no less than five of my team members at Express Writers are involved in creation: our team content manager, a Content Strategist doing a tad of SEO research, an Authority Writer that I’d personally trained, our designer to create themed graphics for it, and a high level content marketing editor to review it all at every stage. I work with our content director to help train and pick the Authority writer, so you might as well say six.

Why did I launch this?

It wasn’t just to launch a content level with a high price tag (this is our highest cost service yet, ranging from $300-$900+ per piece).

It was after I spent a year studying, watching, and listening to the trends in content in online marketing.

I digested thousands of articles, analyzed even more headlines, and wrote hundreds of blogs myself. Some of which rose to the top, some of which didn’t.

I saw a formula starting to distinguish itself. I saw something repeat itself over, and over.

Those that were practitioners of this emerging formula were creating this level of content, and promoting it in their niches. Content tailored correctly, to the right audience.

But beyond just catching my eye, if the content was created right, at a true authority level, it held my gaze – and I subscribed for more.

[Keep reading for the full story.]

why create authority content

Content Creators That Reach Authority Level Are the Ones that Win Online

Let me give you two examples of the content I came across last year that held my gaze.

Last year, there were a LOT of new bloggers coming on the scene.

I mean it when I say a lot.

For example, I’m in a Blogging Newbies group, with the member numbers in the 100,000+ range.

I saw day after day, sometimes moment after moment, an announcement from someone about their new blog going live. In my LinkedIn groups, I saw the phenomenon, group after group. I saw it across my connections online, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram. New blog up! New blog up!

[MarketingProfs says that 2 million blogs are now created every day.]

It’s kind of scary, isn’t it?

Almost a doubt that can whisper in your ear: there’s no way to stand out.

But there is.

Out of all those new blogs from last year, quite literally millions, two bloggers still stick in my memory today.

TWO!

So yes, you can stand out, but you can’t be any less than an authority to do so. Let’s talk about who stood out.

The Two Bloggers that Stood Out in One Year, Grabbed My Eye, & Held My Gaze

1. Tor Refsland

This dude grabbed my eye early in the year. I invited him on the Write Podcast and published his guest episode in October last year. (Check it out here.)

In 2016, Tor was known as timemanagementchef.com, but now he’s over at torrefsland.com. Which is smart, because I mean, look at this list…he’s a celebrity with a known name by now:

  • Top personal development blog of 2016, Wisdom Times Award
  • Won Most Epic blog post from one of my favorite bloggers, Jon Morrow himself
  • Top 100 personal development blogs
  • Wrote a blog that generated 20,000+ page views in 6 days!
  • Public speaker on stages with gurus like Rand Fishkin
  • Featured everywhere…podcasts, guest blogs, just Google his name

These feats were accomplished by Tor within his first 12-18 months of blogging.

So he’s a pretty epic authority.

What caught my eye was one of the content pieces he published. One of many with a very similar structure.

Screen Shot 2017-02-24 at 9.53.15 PM

Read it here.

Thousands of words, and Tor’s unique style: a TON of one-liners.

Screen Shot 2017-02-24 at 9.53.35 PM

3,000-5,000 words on average and tons, tons, tons of scrolling – but it’s so easy to read, you don’t even notice.

(Don’t get any ideas that that’s the “emerging formula” I’m talking about, by the way. That’s just Tor’s epic style.)

Check out one more blog Tor did last year that I loved.

 

Screen Shot 2017-02-24 at 9.56.41 PM

Does that grab your eye or what? The blog itself is very in-depth and there are some fantastic lessons for all bloggers (read here).

2. Michael Pozdnev

Michael caught my eye from an Inbound.org post mid-2016, and I’ve been following him since. His blog iwannabeablogger.com features incredibly long-form, intense blogging guides that are jam-packed with information.

The crazy part?

He’s been creating for 15 years, so this guy is by no means new. But something he created in 2016 and shared on Inbound.org made waves enough to catch and grab my attention. Here’s the title of that post:

Screen Shot 2017-02-24 at 9.40.22 PM

Dude. This post ROCKED. I read a few of his other blogs, grabbed his free ebook, and I realized this guy was an authority to be reckoned with. I recommend following Michael on Twitter: @MPozdnev. And go check out his content.

Why We Remember, Learn, Use, and Share Content Online

Why do you share content?

I can bet you it falls in one of these categories:

  • Simply put, it’s the answer to a question you searched.
  • It’s the most thorough answer.
  • You learned something.
  • You’re going to put to use what you learned (create that garden, build that birdhouse, promote that blog, build that website).

Simple?

It sounds like it.

But creating content that triggers the “remember / share / use / love” button from a reader isn’t simple, by any means.

Content that is created at Tor’s level, at Michael’s level, and at the level of all the greats online (Copyblogger, Jon Morrow, Jeff Bullas, to name a few others), is authority content.

Several key traits make up the content that we consistently love, share, and use to enhance our daily lives.

I’ve identified several of those traits.

But don’t hold your breath. I’m not about to reveal something incredibly revealing so you can go and do exactly what the winners do. You’re not going to learn the “top 10 ways to write a blog that is magic when you publish it.”

No.

It doesn’t work like that.

Sadly, creating content that will rise to the stars is 100% like the path to success.

It all comes down to the amount of work you’re willing to put in, the amount of resources you’re willing to invest in, and several skillsets.

7 Traits that Constitute the Authoritative Online Creator

1. They’re so good, you don’t even realize it. (This means many things: they’ve been blogging for years and years, they have search optimization and amazing writing skills down pat, they have incredible resources at their fingertips – from a designer, editor, to someone to help them behind the scenes.)

2. They know their space and they own it. They talk to their audience as naturally as speaking to a friend over coffee. Also, directly. You don’t want that friend getting into trouble on your watch, if you care.

3. They are beyond an expert. What they write about, what they teach, is so second-nature, well-researched, and well-done that it’s, quite simply, an authority.

4. Brian Dean’s Skyscraper technique theory is happening. Brian Dean expounds on that here. By the way, that blog came out in 2013, and everyone still talks about it. Hashtag authority. So the Skyscraper technique is where you go look at a city skyline and the tallest building stands out – that’s the type of content you need to be creating, because no tourist is going to visit second-best when they can tour the best. No Google reader is going to read second-best when they’re looking for a guide.

5. They know that strangers searching Google are looking for the best guide. See above. They create the best, deepest, most thorough answer to a Google searcher’s question. 

6. They never stop learning. Big one here. Being an early adapter is key to maintaining a killer authority level. You can’t not know the trends. And authority content creators never stop learning. The biggest, baddest, most guru-est of them all will tell you that continual learning is a progression, a path, to help make their best content happen. Especially in content marketing. Where Google’s algorithm is continually being updated, and you never know what SEO changes are ahead.

7. Consistency is happening. They never not publish. It’s really terrible – bloggers don’t vacation — but it’s the truth. You see their name, over and over again, in more places, week after week. You read incredible blogs on their site every Monday. You look forward to the next one coming out.

Warning: Authority Goes Against the Grain, So Stay Inspired

You’re going to have to go against the grain if you want to be an authority creator.

This content creation level isn’t for everyone.

By any means.

It isn’t for the faint of heart. The average blogger. Or the “I think I’m doing okay” content marketer.

It’s for those who:

  • Want to dominate Google and be the tallest building on the block for their long tail keyword with a long-form guide.
  • Can see the whole vision of why it’s vastly critical to create our best content, in an era when way, way too much non-performing content is going out.
  • Are a Rey in the middle of a million stormtroopers. (See below.)

There’s a reason 2 million blogs were posted per day in 2016 and only two bloggers stood out in the end to me.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Being an authority online isn’t easy. It’s a commitment not many people will want to take. @JuliaEMcCoy” quote=”Being an authority online isn’t easy. It’s grueling. It’s a commitment not many people will want to take. – @JuliaEMcCoy”]

I leave you with this inspiration on that topic:

In the middle of a bazillion of Stormtroopers,

stormtroopers

Strive to be a Rey.

Image credit theindependent.co.uk

[clickToTweet tweet=”On being an online authority: in the middle of Stormtroopers, strive to be a Rey. – @JuliaEMcCoy #nerd” quote=”On being an online authority: in the middle of Stormtroopers, strive to be a Rey. – @JuliaEMcCoy #nerd”]

Finishing the Story: How I Launched Authority Content As a Service

I hope I’ve impacted you in some ways as to the standard you need to be at if you want to make serious waves online.

Be an authority. Put in the hours, the work, to stay ahead of trends.

And by all means, don’t hesitate to invest in a resource to help you, you know, not drown.

Remember why I launched Authority content here at Express Writers.

authority content

When I launched Authority Content, it was when we were ready to create the best content we’ve ever created. That means I spent a month prior to pick three of my most epic copywriters, and personally train them myself with a guide that I wrote another month prior. The guide I wrote revealed major traits of authority content and how to create this level for our clients. Our writers would have to do a ton of research per piece. I made sure they’d get great pay, for the time and blood / sweat / tears involved. Our Content Strategists are involved in picking out the best long-tail keyword for the content piece. We’ll either confirm the keywords the client has (using top SEO software and my internal team training) or find one from scratch. Lastly, our designer puts together themed graphics for the Authority piece.

So far, we’ve created Authority content with 100% success ratio.

Everyone that received this level is happy with it.

A few guides we’ve written:

  • Dental video marketing guide
  • How to build a website
  • How to grow your best Instagram presence ever

I can’t give you client names because we’re ghostwriters, but you might find one of them on Google some day. 😉

Image credits

Stormtroopers, theforce.net

Rey, theindependent.co.uk

All other visuals by Express Writers

CTA authority content

new at express writers services

This October at Express Writers: Expanded Team, Two New Services

Hi, blog readers!

Happy October, and thanks for joining me today…you’re in for some fun stuff.

First up, I’m sharing all about the staff changes and implementations we’ve done here at Express Writers this month.

Next, it’s all about the super cool new services launched today in the Content Shop!

Ready?

express writers new services

New Staff Members & Improved Quality Processes

This month, at Express Writers, we’ve been through some serious changes…although it’s been an absolutely crazy month, we’re ending on a very strong note.

For the past three weeks, I’ve been busy prepping and training our writers and managers for our two new services that are now live today in the Content Shop, Authority Content & Case Study Creation. The training I wrote and put out for Authority Content is super detailed – over 20 pages of exclusive, directional content that you won’t find anywhere else. I’ve worked one-on-one with our case study specialist, an inbound marketing expert, to craft the perfect case study for us before we started formulating how to sell it.

So, needless to say, I’m super excited about these two new high-ROI, turnkey content marketing services–read below for more details on both.

And, this month, we’ve been on-boarding and training new faces in the management staff to support the volume of incoming client inquiries and high-level project support. It’s been extremely hard to find reliable, high quality team members in the staff that can fully pass our rigorous tests and nail every part of the process, and be in our team every day working hard. We’ve had several people in staff come and go this year, who weren’t devoted to performance and the hard work it takes to survive in this industry.

It’s taken us a while to find the right people, but we’ve been able to onboard a fully dedicated staff editor for large projects ($8,000+ per month client spend), and a dedicated WordPress posting editor, besides our regular editing team. Bringing in a wealth of experience on all fronts, our new editors have our quality at heart!

Earlier, in September, I had the honor of hiring the talented Tara Clapper, who comes from SEMrush and brings a wealth in years of content marketing experience to Express Writers, from knowing the ins and outs of online content strategy to hosting webinars and networking at events. Tara has been very successful at helping us on the editing team and giving our clients spectacular insights for their content success.

Janeka, one of our social media experts, was recently multi-tasked with the role of Content Support Specialist, and she’s been rocking it out.

new faces in the staff october

New Logo & Content Shop Icons

As most of you know, we’re on the verge of a major relaunch we’ve been building for 1+ year: a custom developed Content Shop and teamroom. Till then, we decided to run with some major brand improvements early!

instagram-logoOur new logo is an expression of how our brand has truly taken flight this year, despite all the difficulties in our way. ✈️ As a content agency, we are constantly evolving, adapting, and growing. Writing is a skill that takes great mentoring and lots of practice to perfect. That is what we believe in, and our goal and mission as a content writing agency. This year, we’ve never been more focused on our mission and more capable of delivering amazing quality – the content that 2016 marketers need. It was time to take our paper plane and let it fly!

New look in the content shop: 40+ brand new icons for each of our services, shaped and colored in the flat, poly style of design that our new logo is in. Our designer rocked these out in less than a week!

Other fun stuff: we’re going to be hitting up the Search Engine Journal Summit in New York City on November 2: my CTO Josh, Tara, myself, and our SME Krystal! (Want 15% off tickets and a chance to get a copy of my book for free? Check out the details here!) Come say hi if you’re in the area. We’d love to meet you!

Now… ready to hear about our new services that went live today?

express writers new services october

What Are the Two New Writing Services at Express Writers This October?

Let me start the new product discussion (yay!) by asking you a question…

Does there ever come a time when you write, create, publish, publish, rinse, repeat…

And you stand back and realize:

Where is the ROI in all this content that I put out?

There’s so much information out there about how to do it. More content, not less… but hey, let’s not forget quality over quantity

How do you trim the fat?

Create powerful, effective, meaningful content that WILL get ranked well and read, shared by real people who actually got something from your content?

There’s only one way: by creating the most authoritative piece on the subject.

But that means a ton (and I mean a ton) of work has to go into it.

First, you have to research to find your perfect low competition, high volume long-tail keyword before you even write it.

Second, you have to write an authoritative, expert, long-form post (1,500-3,000 words is what Google ranks the most) that nails the specifics of what the topic should give the reader, and is written in an engaging, readable, optimized style.

Thirdly: you’ll need to create custom graphics and visuals for your long-form piece to represent the key points, and finally, a feature graphic branded to you that will go with it everywhere on social media.

The Answer to Your Most In-Depth, Amazing Content Need: Authority Content

I took those points into consideration, picked the best four writers out of my team of over 50, and over the past month I sat down and created a workflow process where we nail all three of those points, called Authority Content. You know what? The workflow means four people are involved in creating one post.

That’s what it looks like nowadays when you want to nail content.

Be the biggest name in the book.

Outshine every other result in the SERPs and be THE result people WANT to click on…

And when they click through, present them with the content piece that answers every question they had on the topic.

Then, and only then, do you truly get ROI for your content.

Why create if you’re just adding to the noise?

Enter Authority Content.

Launched TODAY live in the Content Shop, I’m excited to offer a content product where I’m so sure we’ll nail the topic you want us to research and create an authoritative piece for, that your money will be given back if we don’t.

This month, I sat down, picked the best four writers out of my team of over 50 creators, and wrote a workflow process and extensive guides where we nail all three of those points. (I even created a five-point structure for winning at every single intro.) Then, I mentored my best writers on the process I wrote, tested them, and trained other team members for the other parts of the process (designing custom graphs, researching the keywords). I was hoping to launch it this week, but the quality process took longer than I expected: and today, it’s live!

You know what?

Four people from my team will be involved in creating one piece of authoritative content. Not counting editors. (Yes, they’re involved.)

Here’s a preview of the input form for Authority Content (activates as soon as the order is placed in the Shop, click the + to expand.)

See an example of an authoritative post on our site!

Second Product Out Today: Case Study Writing & Design (A Full Package)

A content type that is worth every penny of your time and money to invest in is case studies.

And, they’re a hot ticket item in content marketing, if done correctly.

You basically take a happy client of yours, create their story, and repurpose it as content that will sell your leads on why you.

You’ll need to interview your case study participant: if possible, get a direct quote. Take all the information and copywrite a beautiful, flowing case study with actual data. Then design it into a PDF for marketing; create a landing page where people can access it; and, if you really want to go places, write a blog story around it with a link to the downloadable resource.

Everything I just outlined is part of the process in how we create case studies. We have an exclusive, inbound marketing certified copywriter ready to interview and write; and our team designer that will put the PDF together in a beautiful design.

Our new case study service, live in the Shop, offers four services in one product:

  • Copywritten case study page (landing page)
  • Designed PDF (perfect for your marketing materials)
  • AND a short story blog about the success you had with your clients.
  • We even take care of approaching and interviewing your client participant, included in the cost and perfect if you don’t have the data or time to grab a direct quote (we’ll professionally represent you!).

Here’s a preview of the input form that’s live and ready to go as soon as Authority Content is purchased in the Shop (click the + to expand.)

See an example of a fully designed Case Study live on our site!

That’s It, Folks!

Convinced yet?

Go check out Authority Content in the Content Shop…

and Case Studies, here.

Thoughts, feedback or suggestions? Let us know in the comments!

online content strategy