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blog content

#ContentWriting Chat Recap: How to Create Blog Content That Sells & Ranks

How would you like to create blog content that ranks on the first page of the search results?

Wouldn’t you love it if your blogs could sell your products and services on autopilot?

It sounds like a dream, but it’s totally possible when you have the right strategy in place!

 

And luckily, we’re here to help you make it happen with our latest #ContentWritingChat.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Create Blog Content That Sells & Ranks

This week was our monthly community chat where our participants are in the spotlight. They voted for the chat topic, but since it was a tie, we decided to combine the two winning options for one amazing conversation. Let’s dive into the recap!

Q1: How do you plan your content strategically to ensure you’re reaching goals in terms of sales and ranking higher?

If you want to see major results online, you have to get smart about your content. But how exactly do you do that? Here’s what you need to know about strategic planning:

Jenn suggests building a content calendar around your key goals for the year. This will ensure you’re being smart about the work you publish and achieving major results online.

It may help to try Bill’s tactic! He suggests working backwards by determining your end goal and figuring out what steps a reader needs to take to get to that point.

Lexie’s advice is to learn all about your audience. You need to discover what they’re looking for in terms of content so you can deliver it.

Creating a series of topics can be a fantastic move since everything will connect with each other. It’s the perfect way to interlink your blog posts.

You can also learn a lot from looking at your competitors! See what they’ve done in the past and what you can learn from them.

Q2: When seeking sales online, what tactics can you use to promote your products/services through blog posts?

If you aren’t actively promoting your offerings through your blog posts, you’re missing out! In order to boost sales online, try implementing these tactics to generate income:

Julia’s advice is to get to know your audience and develop a content plan that answers their questions. She also mentioned how we use CTAs at the end of our posts to drive sign-ups, sales, etc.

Make sure you’re providing value, solving a problem, sharing your own experiences, and encouraging people to take action.

It’s so important to build a relationship with your audience. Lexie knows this is essential to establishing trust with your readers, which will make them more likely to purchase.

Amanda’s advice is to build relationships, offer advice, and then give it to your audience. Don’t forget to ask for the sale as well!

Try writing blog posts about the products or services you offer. It doesn’t have to be done in a salesy way, but it can be a how-to guide, best practices, or a case study. Even placing banners in your sidebar can be helpful!

Share the research, facts, best tips, and how-to advice that will get a reader’s attention.

Bill suggests telling a story or sharing a case study.

Both Jenn and Sarah urge you to not forget that call to action!

Q3: How can you determine if your blog posts are actually leading to sales?

Once you’ve implemented the previous tips, you’ll need to keep an eye on your metrics to see what kind of results you’re getting. You have to know if your efforts are effective, after all! Here’s how you can see if those sales are really rolling in:

Be on the lookout for conversions. Are sales consistently coming in? That’s what you need to watch for.

Erika suggests setting up goals in Google Analytics because this will help you track the most important metrics. And she said to use UTMs when sharing content.

It’s all about the analytics! Sarah suggests even paying attention to the keywords your audience is searching.

Take full advantage of Google Analytics because it holds so much data.

And if you’re still not sure, don’t be afraid to ask people how they discovered your products/services and what made them buy.

Q4: If you aren’t seeing sales from your posts, what improvements can you make to turn things around?

The sales are coming as plentifully as you would have liked… Instead of sending yourself into a panic, you need to make some changes! Here’s some advice:

First, you want to look at why you aren’t making sales. Lexie suggests seeing if users are bouncing right from the post. She said you may then need to change your CTA or take other steps to lead people to your offering.

Bill said you might not be seeing sales because of poor messaging, poor distribution, or wrong timing.

Sarah suggests changing up your layout, imagery, headline, or CTA. There are a number of things that can be done to boost sales. That’s why you always have to test!

Spend time getting to know your audience better and make sure you’re delivering the content they want to see from you.

This is great advice from Kim Garst that was shared during the chat!

Q5: What are the most important factors in creating blog content that ranks on the first page of search results?

So, you want your content to show up on the coveted first page of those Google search results… In order to make it happen, there are a few things you need to know!

The content should be properly researched, contain long-tail keywords, provide images and stats, should be written in a way that’s easy to understand, and should solve user intent.

This is great advice from Neil Patel’s blog!

As Erika said, your content needs to be the best if you want to rank on the first page. She suggests discovering what the gap is with the pages that are currently ranking at the top. How can you improve and make your blog post better?

Always determine what’s in it for your audience and make sure it’s clear to them.

Don’t forget to examine your website itself. Sarah said that your user experience needs to be good, which includes fast loading time, clean coding, and more.

Q6: Are there any other ways you can boost your organic reach for your online content?

Besides relying on Google, how else can you grow your organic reach? Try out these ideas:

These are all great ideas from Himani!

There’s nothing like a great blogger collaboration! Guest post on their site while you guest post on theirs! It’s a fantastic way to expand your reach.

As Sarah knows, generating those links is very important online.

Try participating in Facebook groups or LinkedIn groups. Amanda knows how useful they are for making connections online.

If you have employees or influencers you work with, have them share your content as well.

And always remember that a great visual can really do wonders for your content!

Q7: What are your favorite tools for seeing how well your content ranks in search results?

There are plenty of tools to help you track how your content ranks! These are some favorites among our community:

For Jenn, it’s all about Moz.

Erika relies on Moz, BuzzSumo, bit.ly, and Google Analytics.

SEMrush, Moz, and Google Analytics are must-have tools.

Julia’s go-to tools are worth checking out!

Q8: Which online resources have help you to become a better, more strategic blogger?

Twitter chats provide so much value!

Andy Crestodina definitely provides amazing content!

Julia enjoys learning from Content Marketing Institute and Joe Pulizzi, Caitlin Bacher, Ann Handley, Copyblogger, and HubSpot.

Darcy loves ProBlogger, Blog Tyrant, and SmartBlogger.

How would you like to join us for the next #ContentWritingChat? Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat on Twitter, then be there for the chat on Tuesday at 10 AM Central!

content rules

7 Rules to Creating Great Blog Content For 2015

Eager to jumpstart your content marketing efforts for 2015? The quality of your blog posts and the topics that you choose will be more important than ever for the success of your website. Google started a SEO transformation several years ago and today, the process seems to be complete. Content has gained central position when it comes to optimization and promotion. Do you know, however, what it will take to make your blog successful in 2015?

1. Length and Quality

Quality content is focused and lacking fluff. This doesn’t mean, however, that the pieces should be short.

SerpIQ statistics show that the top 10 Google search results for particular keywords are usually about 2,000 words long. Longer posts provide more flexibility in terms of keyword placement and they also boost the audience’s engagement. The conclusion is simple to make – write at least 1,500 words per blog post. If you have detailed knowledge of the particular topic, you’ll find the task to be a relatively simple one.

Longer posts increase your chances of getting quality backlinks, they are shared more often and they will probably be quoted by others, as well. Make sure that you have a unique approach and look at the topic. The more original and in-depth your blog posts are, the more valuable they’re going to be.

2. Have a Distribution Plan

Good content is essential but how about coming up with the right distribution plan? Knowing how and where to share your content will boost visibility and make it much easier for you to establish that loyal audience.

Content creation doesn’t end when the posts are written. Focus a bit more on marketing and selecting the right distribution channels. Social media have become the standard in the field and your pages should have been developed by now. Try distributing your content through Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon and Scoop.it, among many other possibilities. Testing each of the channels and evaluating the response will help you determine which ones deliver the best results in terms of content promotion.

Content distribution doesn’t have to be paid. Syndication and social bookmarking are two quite simple approaches, enabling blog and website owners to reach new, targeted audiences.

3. Content Repurposing

That’s right, content can be repurposed. In fact, this approach will deliver great promotional results in 2015.

Content repurposing doesn’t focus on the creation of new text. It simply makes the blog posts that you already have written available to a bigger number of people. In addition, you can use the content that you already have to create an informative piece for an entirely different medium. A series of blog posts, for example, can easily turn in a podcast.

You can also change the length and the style of blog posts. An interview with an industry expert can easily become an opinion piece later on. You generate original content but you rely on source material that has already been created.

Repurposing comes with a number of key advantages. It’s good for your website’s optimization, it enables you to reach audiences that look for information in different ways, it makes content creation easier and it gives you the possibility to capitalize on the most successful content you’ve written in the past. There’s no need to come up with something brand new each time. Some well-established topics and popular blog posts can easily be repurposed to simplify the task of keeping your blog updated.

4. Go Visual

Are you still relying excessively on text? A few visuals will make your content much more engaging and interactive.

Visuals grab the attention of the website visitor. If people like what they see, they’ll probably go through the text, as well. The human brain processes images faster than text. In fact, it perceives an image in 1/10th of the time needed to understand text.

Statistics suggest that content containing visuals generates up to 94 percent more views than texts that are not accompanied by illustrations or photographs. Content that has both photos and videos will get 48 percent more views. Visual content can easily go viral and it will generate more inbound links.

You have so much freedom, when it comes to picking visuals. Illustrations, slideshows, cartoons, diagrams and infographics are all audience favorites. Interactive graphics will be taking your visual content to the next level. These graphics can be clicked to reveal more information, which makes them interactive and highly engaging.

5. Do Competition Analysis Frequently

The online world is highly competitive. You can set your clock by paying attention to what the competition is doing.

If you haven’t been doing competition research until now, you’ve been missing on a huge source of inspiration. The blogs and websites of other entities inside the niche can help you come up with new topics. In addition, you’ll get to assess the audience’s response in order to determine which themes get people interested.

Competition research can also help you come up with partnership ideas. Though many (including Matt Cutts) have claimed that guest posting is dead, this technique can still deliver excellent marketing and optimization results.

Such partnerships give you access to a brand new audience. They result in more popularity for your website or brand. Optimization isn’t everything when it comes to being successful online. Joint efforts in the field of content creation can deliver excellent PR (as in press release rather than PageRank) results without being expensive.

6. Think about the Needs of the Mobile Crowd

So many experts have said that 2015 is going to be the year of mobile. Take this fact in consideration when writing and formatting your copy. The same applies to the design of your website. Make sure that the mobile crowd is finding it easy to access, read and interact with your content.

There have been claims about user experience affecting the Google ranking algorithm for some time. The number of individuals accessing web content through mobile devices is growing all the time. You cannot ignore and underestimate the needs of this audience, especially if you want to make 2015 your most successful year.

Mobile UX may become a ranking signal used by Google. Talk to your webmaster about the mobile design of your website, its load speed and accessibility. A few basic fixes will make it easier for you to address the needs of the mobile crowd and thus avoid a potential penalty.

7. Select the Right Technology and Plugins

Well-researched and well-written content is the heart and soul of every online marketing plan. Apart from paying attention to your writing skills, however, you should also think about the tools boosting the appeal of your content and making the entire process easier.

Need a bit of assistance in terms of plugin and software selection? Here are a couple of great picks that will simplify the content creation process:

  • Yoast SEO Pluginit addresses all of your SEO needs in a simple and easy to use functionality. The plugin for WordPress ads focus keyword, SEO title and meta description fields to each of your posts. Your content gets thorough SEO analysis before being published, enabling you to make necessary fixes. In addition, you’ll get keyword suggestions, enabling you to rank each of your pieces for the right phrases.
  • Social Metrics Pro: this WordPress plugin gives you detailed information about how and where your content is being shared. The plugin provides information about sharing on the most popular social network, enabling you to learn what the audience wants and make your content creation efforts more targeted.
  • Buffer: enables you to do more effective social media marketing. You get to choose the channels for each post and schedule when it’s going to go live. This automation possibility simplifies the task of social media marketing. The app also enables you to reshare older content through the Buffer dashboard, as well.
  • Editorial Calendar Plugin: this free plugin doesn’t help a lot with content creation or SEO. It, however, plays an important role in helping you organize your efforts. The editorial calendar enables you to write down content ideas and notes about these. The date reminders will let you know when you need to publish a new piece and which topics you’ve been thinking about.
  • Post List Featured Image: the plugin displays the featured image for each post in the administrative panel, right next to other content characteristics. The thumbnails you get to see side by side give you a really good idea about the images that really pop out and engage the audience. Consider this plugin a visual preview that you can use to make aesthetic adjustments before posting.
  • Organize Series: a very useful plugin that enables you to create series of posts on the same topic. It gives you a full archive page, as well as information about the posts linked to each other. The plugin is essential for organizing your blog and increasing the logical flow of your content.

Creating excellent blog posts in 2015 will form the backbone of your marketing strategy. Your passion for a topic, writing skills and understanding of contemporary trends will all be essential for making the most of your online presence. The same applies to the selection of the right tools and automation features.

Photo credit: nzphotonz / iStock

 

 

killer blog content

10 Keys to Create Killer Blog Content

Developing killer blog content is important. Why? Let’s just put the amazing benefits in a tiny nutshell, shall we? Quality blog content can promote new traffic from the search engines to your website, improve relationships with your direct audience and consumers, and show people that you know what you are talking about, by establishing you as an authority.

 

What is Blog Content?

 

That’s really great. But let’s check out the fundamentals first. What is a blog? If you google “what is a blog”, you will find over 4 billion results, and without actually following any links, you can learn the following:

    • A blog is a website on which a person or company regularly posts opinions, informational links, and other useful or promotional content.
    • Blog as a verb means to add new content or updates to a blog.
    • The word blog originated in the 1990s as a shortened version of the word weblog.

So if this term has been around since the 1990s, and continues to increase in prevalence, shouldn’t you have gotten on board with it already? The answer is yes. And if you haven’t, well, let’s put it nicely—you’re about to get run over by a Mac track in obliterated SERPs rankings if you don’t get moving on starting a blog. (Sorry, that may not have been all that “nice”.) But I’ve got good news. Luckily for you, due to the popularity and importance of blogging, there is a ton of information available to help you get started.

 

10 Great Tips for Developing Killer Blog Copy

 

Because there is so much information available, you may have trouble sifting through it all to find good advice for creating great blog content. To simplify your search, what follows is a list of 10 great tips for developing killer blog content, gathered from the masses of information out there.

 

What’s in a Name?

Shakespeare may be right when he says that a rose would smell as sweet by any other name, but would you be likely to stop and smell the roses if they were called garbage, or feet? The title of a blog post gives it a name, and is assuredly one of the most important things to think about when creating content. The title will draw the reader in and make them want to read more. You might think that a title is there as a place holder, or just as a convention, but according to Pamela Vaughan, it is a potential reader’s first impression of your content, and can make all the difference. A strong blog title is:

    • Concise, about 7-10 words in length
    • Informative, sums up the content
    • Catchy, makes a reader stop to look further

This may seem like a lot to ask from a simple sentence, but these are just title basics, which can make or break your blog post. Start out with a solid title, and the rest will follow.

 

Heading in the Right Direction

Blogs need structure in order to be more easily read and understood, and the best way to structure your content is with headings. There are different levels of blog headings, which are described in great detail by Joost de Valk on Yoast.com. Some important heading information found here is:

    • H1 is the most important heading, and there is usually only one
    • H2’s and h3’s are sub-headers which break the text into sections
    • Headings should contain valuable keywords
    • Headings help a reader effectively navigate a piece of writing

In the case of your blog, the H1 would be your title, the name of your post, and would be the largest text in the piece. Any further subheadings would be smaller, and serve to break the text up into manageable sections and make it easier to read. A piece looks much less intimidating if it is structured with headings, and readers are less likely to get lost in or impatient with large blocks of text.

 

Get the Picture?

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and that means using pictures can sometimes convey just as much information as an entire blog. In fact, people would often prefer looking at a picture to reading an article, so if you incorporate images into your blog, you are appealing to your readers. Some great information about images in blogs can be found at problogger. There are many different kinds of pictures you could use:

    • Infographics
    • Photographs
    • Diagrams
    • Illustrations
    • And more…

Images are more likely to catch a reader’s eye than a block of text, and can be used to emphasize a point. Content becomes more stimulating and attractive when there are images to provide variety and perspective. It is important to remember that while images are a great way to spice up a blog post, they need to be relevant to the material. A picture of a kitty cat can be very nice, and in fact many a cat picture has been shared and viewed on the internet, but it is unlikely that it will have an effective part to play in your blog content. Be sure you are using images properly, and not throwing them in haphazardly. Appropriately incorporated images can take blog content to a whole new level.

 

List of Demands

As a few tips have already discussed, breaking up your text is important to make the reader more comfortable and more likely to continue reading. Lists are an excellent way to diversify your text and present information in a clear and simple manner. There are many different ways lists can be used, and 3 main types of lists for content marketing blogs:

    • Brief Lists – these usually contain short, informative statements or words, often with bullet points.
    • Detailed Lists – these often communicate more complex information, and each list item is a complete thought or paragraph.
    • Hybrid Lists – these combine elements of both list types above, and are very versatile for blogs.

Lists can change the appearance of a blog post to something much more attractive, and can help a writer organize information very effectively. Sometimes, an entire blog post can be written in list format, and the results are great.

 

Take a Second Look

Revision is a very important part of the writing process, no matter what is being written. Sometimes it can be difficult to revise what you have already written, because it feels like you have a usable finished product as soon as you have completed a piece. It is always a good idea to take a second look at your work, to check for errors, or even parts that could use a little tweaking in order to read better.

Blogs follow this rule as well, and if you find it difficult to review your work and revise it yourself, it may be a good idea to have someone else look at it for you. An outside look could catch typos your eyes skimmed right past, or find a bit of awkward phrasing that could use some work. When you revise your blog posts, you are taking precautions to put up work that is accurate and dependable. Your information is much more likely to be taken seriously if it is free of mistakes.

 

Sound Strategy

Developing blog content can be tough, especially because some information has been covered by many other people, and you want to put a fresh perspective on it. Just diving right in to content creation can work short term, but in the end could end up failing you. Creating an effective content strategy can be challenging, and some of these challenges include:

    • Finding enough topics to cover
    • Establishing flow of good, reliable content
    • Creating and preserving a tone for your audience
    • Finding the right theme to work with

It is important to take a close look at what kind of website you have, what kind of information your audience will expect, and how many different topics you can effectively cover. A great idea for creating your content strategy is to start a calendar. You can list the dates you want to post on for an entire year, and start developing topic ideas well ahead of schedule. This will keep you organized and help you find topics to write about each week.

 

Link it Together

Credibility is a big deal in the blogging world, and readers want to be sure they are getting information that is correct and helpful. A great way to establish the credibility of your information is to include links in your blog posts. Links can do several things for your blog:

    • Help you avoid plagiarism by citing references
    • Promote your own website or other blog posts
    • Show that your information is well researched
    • Back up your information or opinions with credible, supporting sources

Anytime you reference information you found on another website, add a hyperlink. This will also make your blog content more interactive, and help your readers find more information they need. This is especially useful for newer bloggers, who are establishing credibility. Supporting your ideas with those of well-established writers and documented research are very effective writing methods.

 

Keep it Relevant

When writing blog content, it can be easy to branch a little too far off topic in your enthusiasm on the subject as a whole. It’s great to show your in-depth knowledge on the subject, but sticking to the topic at hand will help you and your readers. A good way to rein yourself in and stick to your topic is to create an outline before doing any actual writing. If you write up exactly what you want to cover, you will be in less danger of veering off course. By adding as much detail to your outline as possible, you will also be assured of having enough material to create an effective blog post.

If you aren’t an outline person, and don’t want to try to adapt, then it is important to review your content before you post it. If you find yourself getting a little off topic, that’s okay. Make some revisions, and use it to your advantage. Write down the information you were including that wasn’t working with this specific topic, and use it to come up with more topics for later blog posts. This will help you with your content development calendar, and allow you to use your well-written material that wasn’t quite fitting in. Nothing goes to waste!

 

Make Every Word Count

A fairly recent idea has come up about the length of blogs, which we took a look at with a blog on is longer better for content?  The newer idea is that longer content is better than shorter content. It used to be widely accepted that blogs were meant to be short, because that’s what readers prefer. With new updates to search engine software, it has been found that longer blog posts are doing much better than previously.

That doesn’t mean that you should make your blog content long just to follow the trend. If you don’t have enough quality content to add that length, your blog will ramble fruitlessly and the length won’t help you. The most important thing to remember is Quality. This is what readers want when they go searching for blogs. The information needs to be useful, correct, and up to date. If the topic you are covering only needs 500 words, then that’s all you need to write. Stretching it out won’t help, and will lower the worth of your content. That being said, using an outline to find several useful directions you can take in your blog post can help you add valuable length which will optimize your content and give your readers a more satisfying product.

 

Keep up with the Competition

As stated before, there are many different blogs available now, because blogging has been around for decades. If you are looking to start developing blog content, or maybe to revamp your blog, a great place to start is checking out other blogs. Especially if you have competitors blogging in the same category as you, looking at what others are doing can help you find what will work for your site. This content is available for everyone to view, and you can bet that your competitors and fellow bloggers are doing the same thing.

There are certain standards that readers expect when it comes to blogs, and these standards evolve as technology does. Just as you would research information to help you write your posts, you should research other blogs for tips on what to do and what not to do. This can help you create more effective blog content that will keep readers coming back for more, and maybe even choosing your blog over others.

 

There are many different sources of information available about creating killer blog content, but these are some basics to help get you started. You can also take a look at SocialMediaExaminer’s excellent blog writing blog posts and Hubspot’s post on creating content that spreads naturally.  It is still a great idea to keep researching content methods and techniques, to keep yourself current and in the know, but if you follow these keys, you will be well on your way to creating blog content of which you can be proud.

 

 

blog content

How to Create Great Blog Content from Your Webinars & More

Stuck on blog ideas? It happens to the best of us. Constantly coming up with new content for your website or blog can be one of the most frustrating tasks. Have you ever thought about turning your latest company webinar into a solid,
long-form blog? If not, it’s high time you did!

 

Blog Content: Creating Something from Almost Nothing

 

Remember the old saying, “creating something from nothing?” I remember hearing this saying a thousand times over in high school. My art teacher was the most notorious for saying it. She’d put a blank paper or canvas in front of the class and encourage us to stretch our creative muscle by creating something from the nothing in front of us.

It takes talent to create something from nothing, and most of us are up to the task when the challenge arises. However, when it comes to our business we often don’t have the time to magically create web or blog content from scratch. So why not create something from almost nothing?

 

Turning a Webinar into Killer Content

The Content Marketing Institute published an article discussing some of the flaws with webinars. They are often incredibly lengthy and unsuited for those in our audience who are constantly busy. The Institute went on to recommend using your webinars to create compelling, high quality blog posts suitable for a larger, more diverse audience. We thought their idea held merit, and did a little research of our own.

Webinars are a proven means of reaching out to your audience and sharing your experience. They grant you the opportunity to be more visible online, and they provide thought leadership. While these little content gems can offer clear and specific value, they can also help you when you’re running dry on blog content ideas.

A great way to repurpose content for a hearty blog post is to reuse your previously released webinars. You can even condense your webinars into video blog form, turning them into more easily digestible online content pieces. Not only will the transition take minimal time and effort since the bulk of the work is already complete, but it will also grant you access to an untapped pool of killer content ideas when you’re struggling for blog topics.

Hubspot published a formidable article about how to repurpose a webinar into awesome blog content. Here are the key points to keep in mind:

  1. Create a short blog video. You can repurpose your webinar by condensing it into a 3 to 5 minute video reel to display on your blog. The script for the video reel can be displayed below the video in the blog. Since most webinars consume upwards to 60 minutes, these condensed bursts can attract a new audience.
  2. Turn the script into a blog. A 60 minute webinar is created from a lengthy script. With a little editing and the addition of a few fresh facts, you can repurpose the script into a well-written, lengthy blog that is search engine optimized.
  3. Use leftover Q&A. Often your webinars will have a decent amount of Q&A that you’ve cut out for time purposes. You can utilize this leftover content for blog post ideas and content.

 

Create New Blog Content with Interviews

Another way to fill your topic inventory is to use interviews to create new blogs. Forming a piece of content around an interview is one of the oldest and most compelling ways to improve your blog posts. Here’s why interviews pack a punch:

  • They create timeless content
  • They make an impact, regardless of the situation
  • They leave a strong, often emotional, impression

The trick to creating a compelling blog around an interview is conducting the interview well in the first place. This means you need to ask questions that open the door to gleaning large amounts of relevant information. If you’re working with an old interview, hopefully you kept good notes. You’ll need them to make the writing process as effortless as possible. If you’re interviewing in the future, here are some tips to follow to not only conduct a great interview, but also set yourself up for creating great blog content in the future:

  1. Consider your audience. When crafting questions to ask the professional you’re interviewing, it’s vital to consider what kind of information will bring the most benefit to your target audience. Focus less on technical information and more on the value your audience has come to expect.
  2. The mini case study. Ask the subject to talk about their life. Branch into personal terms, not just business. By doing so you will be able to extract how their quality of life and work has improved. Conveying this information to your audience will help them feel a strong emotional connection.
  3. Ask for out-of-the-box resources. By asking your subject to provide a list of their “best kept secrets,” you’re likely to walk away with resources your audience will find highly unique and valuable.
  4. Tap into inspiration. Ask the subject to share two or three things that have kept them going no matter the challenges before them. This single question can transform the interview, providing a goldmine of information the audience can easily connect to.

If you ask questions correctly and dig for in-depth answers, you’ll suddenly find yourself with a ton of information. You will be able to create a series of shorter blogs delving deep into each interview question, the response you received and how it applies to your audience. You’ll even find yourself able to create a solid, long-form blog covering the entire interview and drawing conclusions.

 

Video Blogs from Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts are growing more and more popular. Since Google’s search engine algorithms catalog posts to Google faster than anywhere else, it’s in your best interest to tap into this tool.

We recently came across an article that discussed how you can use Google Hangouts to create fresh blog content. Crafting video blog content is a great way to add to your content marketing efforts. Busy audience members will appreciate the occasional video blog because it’s something they can watch while on-the-go. If you haven’t made a video blog yet, here’s why you should:

  • Videos are often less intimidating than text
  • Google Hangouts makes it quick and easy to create, upload and share videos
  • Thanks to Google’s near instant crawling, video blogs can and will rank on search engines

 

Other Means of Crafting Great Blog Content

Another awesome means of crafting great blog content is to repurpose your podcasts. You can use the script to create a blog re-covering the topic. Introduce a fresh perspective or new information in the blog to keep it new. The effort involved in repurposing the podcast will be minimal, and you’ll quickly create an awesome blog.

If you’ve been blogging for any amount of time, you’ve no doubt had feedback in the form of comments on the blog posts themselves or through social media. You can often skim through comments and discover new blog ideas. For example, a follower may have asked a question or suggested that you cover the topic further by branching off in a specific direction. You can use these questions and suggestions to quickly create new content ideas.

You can also tap into customer reviews, testimonials and personal stories to brainstorm new blog content. The idea is to tap into the stories your customers and employees have shared and use these for blog content. Stories are a great way to inspire and motivate your audience. They create a deep-seated connection that shows you’re more than just a company, you’re an entity interested in providing the most beneficial experience for your customers and employees.

You can even repurpose your whitepapers and business presentations into hard-hitting blogs that address relevant topics of concern to your target audience. By condensing and covering such forms of content in blog form, you open up the window to link to and gain exposure for your whitepapers, business presentations and slideshows.

 

Two Heads Are Better Than One

If creating new blog content is an ongoing struggle that frustrates, you might consider the strategy of using two heads instead of one. In other words: consider hiring a professional copywriter. They can often suggest content ideas and topics that build upon the content they have already written for you. Hiring a professional can save you time and money, while lessening your workload and alleviating unwanted (and unneeded) stress.

Copywriting professionals are also experienced at repurposing content. If you’re looking to turn your webinars, interviews and podcasts into blogs or utilize Hangouts more efficiently, a seasoned professional can tackle the project effortlessly.

As you can see, topic ideas can come from all sorts of places. They are limited only by your imagination. If you’re still feeling a little iffy about how to produce great blog and content ideas, check out 20 Topic Ideas for a Steady Content Flow.

 

blog content

Longer Is Better For Blog Content: Truth Or Myth?

350, 500, 1,000, 1,500, 2,000… all of these numbers have been thrown at us when it comes to creating blog content. Some sources say shorter blogs are better because your audience doesn’t have time to read. Other sources say longer blogs are ideal because they build credibility, authority and SERPs. Finally, there are still more sources that claim shorter is better because it does everything a long blog does in a short, sweet package. So, which is it?

OK, so lately I’ve seen “shorter is better” circulating around on the Internet. While we DO have only 33 seconds to grab attention on a home page, a long-form blog over 2,000 words will actually get you noticed in search engine rankings. If you have a really good, poignant message in 100 words, but Google never ranks it—good luck Charley! Getting found is most important, and you can’t get found with a blog less than 500 words.

 

Ideal Blog Length: Short Content versus Long Content

 

Since Google dropped the Hummingbird patch, there’s been a new secret ingredient to getting noticed on the Internet: longer content equals higher rankings. Google indicated that content totaling 2,000 words versus 500 or less will rank higher on search engines. We here at Express Writers were skeptical at first. After all, up until this tidbit of information was released the rule of thumb was “less is more.”

We conducted our own case study in an effort to test this new secret ingredient out. We switched from writing 300 to 600 word blogs to publishing 1,500 to 2,000 word blogs. We made the switch in mid-November 2013. We posted our new lengthier blogs daily. Each post included at least one, sometimes two, stock images. We followed our usual search engine optimization techniques and shared each post socially. By mid-December 2013, we watched in excitement as our rankings took a huge leap upwards! Before switching to lengthier blogs, we had 7 keywords in the top 3 rankings on Goggle. After switching, we had 35 top keywords in the top 3 rankings on Google!

So, is shorter content better for blogging? Based on our study, we say this belief is a myth.

 

Myths about Content Length

When it comes to content length, we receive tons of input from all sorts of sources. Unfortunately, some of what we hear may sound great, but is really a myth waiting to be debunked. Let’s consider three:

  1. Reputation trumps content length. Tell me if you’re heard this: “He can write 100 words and get 100+ shares on it. Why? He’s been blogging for more than 10 years, and he reportedly blogged every day for that time. Today’s, he’s the “top blogger in the world.” Sometimes it takes that long to consistently build up a name.” Awesome! He built a name for himself. But the second his blogs lack value, his audience is likely to jump ship.
  2. Status means more than content. Consider Google’s Webspam Robot-Man. We like him. But really. Since he LEADS Google’s Webspam team, he can also write100 words and the entire world (well, Internet, well most of it…) listens. The rest of us can’t depend on our status to carry our content.
  3. Shorter content equates to more sales. When’s the last time you bought a product or service from a sales page that amounted to 500 words or less? In all likelihood, you haven’t. Potential customers want to know why they should buy from you. They don’t want hype and sales fluff, and they absolutely don’t want to be pressured. They want to be educated consumers, the sort who understand their purchase and clearly see how it will benefit them today and in the future. You can’t accurately convey this type of quality information in short content and expect to appear credible.

 

What Truly Matters, Content-Wise

QuickSprout.com published an article about long copy effects on rankings and the truths of content. They covered three truths that are inescapable when it comes to blog content:

  1. Quality content is king. According to a serpIQ analysis, Google doesn’t prefer lengthy content simply because it feels more valuable. Google also prefers it because the data indicates that audiences like longer, meatier content. The average length that scored as “most liked” was 2,416 to 2,494 words long.
  2. Sites rich with content get more links. The trend is that people feel more content offers more value. If your website is rich with well-written, longer content, it will attract more people and result in more links.
  3. Social media prefers lengthier content. A writer for Quick Sprout took the 327 blog posts they had written for Quick Sprout and sorted them into two categories. The first category held posts of less than 1,500 words. The second held posts greater than 1,500 words. The writer discovered that the posts with a length greater than 1,500 words received 22.6 percent more Facebook likes and 68.1 percent more tweets than posts that were less than 1,500 words.

 

Lengthy content is also on the rise due to a notable change in user search engine queries. According to Hitwise, 8-word search queries have increased in use by 34,000 percent. People are far less likely to enter a keyword of 2 to 3 words into a search engine query. More and more users are using long tail keywords, or keywords that are anywhere from 4 to 8 words in length. The longer your content is, the more words you use and the more likely you are to rank when a person uses a long tail keyword.

 

Does Short Advertising Sell More?

Over the years, we have been conditioned to think that less is more and shorter ads sell more. While this might well have been true twenty years ago, today we live in a customer driven time where the customer’s want for knowledge outweighs our want to keep things short, sweet and simple.

BusinessInsider.com published an article covering just why short copy doesn’t sell more. They gave five “most common” reasons to support the notion that shorter blog content sells more; let’s take a look at how easy it is to debunk these five anti-truths:

  1. People don’t like to read. Granted, not all of us enjoy reading. But there is something we all do: we skim. We quickly look at titles and headings, pick out the tidbits of information that interests or applies to us and suddenly… we don’t mind reading at all—in fact, we LIKE it—because there’s something in it for us!
  2. People have short attention spans. True, most of us are forced to have short attention spans because we’re so insanely busy. But let’s face it: if something is important to us, or a topic catches our attention and speaks to something we’re trying to solve, then short attention span, “be gone!” We’ll read the content without hesitation and probably follow a link for further intelligence.
  3. People are in the habit of reading short messages. We’re texting in shorthand all of the time. We’re used to bursts of little information… when it comes to our social lives. When it comes to relevant topics, we’re ready for meatier info. We want to be educated consumers, not impulse buyers.
  4. People are too distracted by multiple media channels. How many social media accounts are feeding into your phone? At last count, I had 7. A friend of mine has every social media app available running on her phone. Yes, that’s a lot of channels, but most of us aren’t distracted by them. Those channels are our portals to thought provoking and attention grabbing topics that we’ll take time to read about, especially if the content is inviting, relevant and entertaining.
  5. People have their noses buried in their mobile devices. You better believe we do! That little handheld device is our window to the world. We can research anything from the palm of our hand. And guess what? We’ll READ the content we find if it’s relevant, beneficial and clearly has something in it for us.

 

While these five reasons could be used to support the argument that shorter content is better, they can just as easily be used to show how people are willing and eager to read longer, meatier content. The truth is people want quality. They want to know what’s in it for them. They want solutions to the problems they face today. And they aren’t afraid to tackle some moderate reading if it will benefit them.

So, is shorter better for blog content? Based on what readers and research are saying, no. This is a myth, not a truth. Your audience is interested in lengthier content, and lengthier content will get you noticed in all the right ways. A 1,500 to 2,000 word blog is more of a challenge to create, but it’s worth every ounce of blood and sweat. It’ll get your noticed, build your credibility, reflect your authority and accomplish the ultimate business goal: increasing sales conversions.