#ContentWritingChat Recap: Blogging for ROI in 2017: Where to Blog, SEO, and Writing Strategies with Julia McCoy

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Blogging for ROI in 2017: Where to Blog, SEO, and Writing Strategies with Julia McCoy

Are you curious about blogging for ROI in 2017? That’s what we covered in our latest round of #ContentWritingChat! And if you missed out, you’re in luck because we’ve created a recap for you and it’s filled with awesome tips. Keep reading to check it out!

Blogging for ROI in 2017: Where to Blog, SEO, and Writing Strategies with Julia McCoy

For this week’s chat, our very own CEO stepped in to guest host. Julia McCoy shared her expertise on blogging for ROI in 2017 and offered some amazing tips for writing, SEO, and where you should be blogging this year. We covered some of the key topics to help you succeed as a blogger this year, so make sure you read through them and start implementing this advice for yourself!

Q1: For those that aren’t convinced, why is blogging still so important for brands?

The reality is, many brands still aren’t convinced that blogging is worth their time. They don’t realize the value that it can provide to their audience and their brand overall. So, let’s convince them why they should be blogging! Here are just some reasons blogging is important for brands:

Julia knows that blogging is a must for brands! She even shared some pretty impressive data that backs it up. The graph above shows Express Writers outranking major competitors solely from blogging. She also shared some stats that are sure to convince you of the importance of starting your own blog this year.

As Annaliese said, blogging is a lead generation opportunity. So many people will stumble upon your blog and want to do business with you because of the content you share. She also said blogging helps you build influence, which is key to drawing in your audience.

Jason knows that blogging is a powerful way to establish an authentic, authoritative voice. Your blog is your place to share your thoughts with your audience.

Blogging is an opportunity to show off your expertise to your industry, but also to your audience. It’s a great way to connect with your audience and to start building a relationship with them.

To put it simply, blogging is an opportunity to expand your audience, share quality information with readers, and can help you establish your voice as a brand.

Cheval’s advice is important to keep in mind. Social media is like rented property when you think about it. You don’t own the platform, nor can you count on it to always be around. If a social media platform shuts down, you’re going to lose your followers and everything you’ve worked so hard to build (unless you’ve successfully converted them to readers, subscribers, and customers). Your blog, however, is one place that you truly own and are in control of.

Q2: Where should you blog this year besides your own website? Discuss how to find the right platforms.

While blogging on your own website is great, blogging on other sites can provide major results. There are a lot of benefits to guest blogging, but it’s all about choosing the right places to post if you want to make it work for your brand. Keep these tips in mind:

Julia recommends creating a target persona for your audience so you know what they’re like. You can figure out their demographics and also what sites they’re reading on the web. That’s where you should be sharing your content! Check out the blog post she linked for more information on creating your own target persona.

The key to choosing the sites to guest blog on is figuring out where your audience spends their time online. You want to post on the sites that your target audiences reads so they’ll discover you and head over to your website.

Jason also knows the importance of finding the popular blogs in your wheelhouse and guest posting there. It’s the best way for you to reach your target audience and hopefully make them a fan of your brand.

Varun recommends posting on forums that are specific to your industry, guest blogging on authority websites, and also using platforms like Quora, Reddit, and LinkedIn.

Another great option is to create content for Medium. Trying posting there a few times and see if you notice any results. Blogging for ROI is going to take some trial and error and you have to figure out what works for your brand.

Q3: What are a few SEO strategies all bloggers need to know if they want to get their content noticed?

It’s no secret that if you want to get your content noticed, SEO is very important. And we can’t talk blogging for ROI without mentioning some SEO tactics, can we? Of course not! So, in order to make sure your content gets noticed and attracts viewers, these are the optimization basics you need to know:

Julia knows how important it is to be able to conduct keyword research. She also said you need to know how to use H2s, H3s, alt tags, and how to write a meta description. It may sound overwhelming for beginners, but it’s all easy to figure out.

Sarah from ThinkSEM said you need to know your audience and what is going to resonate with them. Before you start thinking about SEO tactics, this is the first thing you need to consider.

As Sara said, it’s important to have a keyword tool handy so you can research which focus keyword is ideal for your content.

Once you have the right keyword, you can plug that into your content. You’ll want to use your keyword in the title of your blog post, the URL, the meta description, and throughout the post itself. As Mallie said though, it’s important that you don’t go overboard. Keyword stuffing is a huge turn-off for your readers and Google doesn’t like it either. They should be incorporated in a way that feels natural.

Yoast is a great SEO plugin to use if your site is running on WordPress. It’s very simple to use and it makes optimization easy for beginners and those who are more experienced. We use it here at Express Writers and highly recommend it!

Jeff knows that Google Analytics is another great tool to use as part of your keyword strategy in order to optimize your content.

Q4: How can you figure out what content your audience most wants to see on your blog?

In order to attract people to your blog in the first place, you need to create the content they want to see. Once they know you’re a source of great information, they’re going to keep coming back for more. But how do you figure out what kind of content you need to create for your audience? Check out these tips:

Julia recommends figuring out what your audience’s biggest questions are and answering them. You can use tools like Answer the Public and others to figure out what they need help with.

Not sure what your audience wants? Ask them! It really is that simple. You can create a survey and share it for readers to leave their feedback and you’ll easily see what they’re interested in. You can also post on social media to get suggestions.

Jeff also agrees that asking your audience what they want is a pretty powerful strategy. Not only does it provide you with great feedback, but it gives your audience the chance to have their voice heard. They’ll appreciate that.

Besides flat out asking them, you can also conduct a little research of your own. Figure out what they’re talking about, what they’re liking and sharing. Listening is key to understand your audience. Check out their conversations on social media and pay attention to the comments they leave and the emails they send.

It’s also worthwhile to see what your competitors are doing. Check out businesses that are similar to yours and find out what’s been working for them and what’s not. You obviously don’t want to copy their strategy, but it can give you plenty of ideas for what you can create.

Sending out a yearly survey is a great way to question your audience about their interests. Getting into the habit of doing it every year ensures you’re always updated on what your audience is looking for. It’s also wise to check your analytics to see which posts are more popular since it gives you an idea of what to create more of.

Kristen also knows your analytics can be helpful when it comes to content creation. See which posts get the most traffic and which posts your readers spend the most time on to see what works best.

And as James said, it all goes back to understanding your audience.

Q5: How important is it to include a call to action in your blog posts? Describe an effective CTA.

A call to action essentially tells your reader what the next step is. What do you want them to do after reading your blog post? Do you want them to leave your site without engaging with you, possibly to never return again? Definitely not! That’s where a call to action comes in. Check out these tips for crafting an effective CTA:

Forgetting a CTA could cause you to lose out on leads. Not good! Check out our post on crafting a CTA for more in-depth tips.

Check out a few of our CTAs above!

If you’re blogging for ROI, then it’s essential that you prompt your readers to take action. A clear CTA will tell them exactly what to do and will encourage them to follow through.

As Jeff pointed out, you also can’t assume your readers are just going to take the action you want them to take. You need to make it clear and empower them to follow through.

Zala said you shouldn’t make your readers guest what they need to do next. Make it clear what you want them to do with a CTA.

Your content should serve a purpose and it’s important to let your audience know what’s next. Sarah recommends that all CTAs should be visible, understandable, and well-placed and in order to be effective.

Without a CTA, there isn’t much of a purpose to your post, is there? Make sure it’s well-written, compelling, and concise in order to inspire action.

Q6: What are the secrets to making blog customers convert into real customers and clients?

Once you have people visiting your blog, you want them to take that next step with your brand. You want them to ultimately become customers and clients. How do you make that happen? We’ve got some great advice for you:

Julia’s advice is to choose targeted reader topics and provide thorough answers. Don’t forget to also optimize your content and to add a CTA.

Annaliese said you need to create high-quality, targeted content that leads readers through your funnel. This is key to seeing them finally convert.

Value and CTAs are two keys to success when it comes to blogging for ROI.

Focus on solving the common problems your audience is facing. They’ll appreciate you for it and you’ll be able to establish yourself as an authority in the process.

Don’t forget to engage with your audience as well. This helps to build a trusting relationship with them, which is key to ultimately making a sale.

Great advice from Michael: helping sells. Commit to helping your audience and you’ll start seeing results.

Q7: Do you rely on any tools to create amazing content for your blog? Share your favorites!

With so many tools available to us today, there are plenty to choose from that can help in content creation. Here are some suggestions to check out:

Be sure to check out Julia’s three favorite tools!

Mallie is all about her editorial calendar and so are we. No matter how you create your calendar, what’s important is that you actually use it.

WordPress, Google Analytics, Twitter, and Yoast are all great tools to use! Don’t forget how important that creative brain of yours is and time.

Quora, Reddit, Canva, and Bitly are all helpful tools.

Hemingway and Moz are two popular tools for content creators. Do you use them?

Maria is a fan of Trello for keeping things organized.

These are great suggestions from Sabjan!

Taking pen to paper is always so satisfying! Sometimes it’s just a lot nicer to do things the old school way as opposed to typing or punching out laters on our phone’s keyboard.

Q8: Which blogs do you read on a consistent basis? Tag them and let them know!

To wrap up our chat on blogging for ROI, we wanted to know which blogs our audience loves to read. Here’s what some of them had to say:

Julia likes to read content from Content Marketing Institute, Steve Rayson’s BuzzSumo posts, and Neil Patel’s blog.

Much like Zachary, we’re big fans of Gary Vaynerchuk here at Express Writers.

Annaliese enjoys reading Hootsuite’s blog.

These are all great suggestions from Rebecca!

You’ll want to add these sites to your reading list!

Don’t get so caught up in consuming content that you forget to embrace the world around you. As Shannon said, you need to pay attention and you’ll surely find some ideas for your content.
We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time for great chats centered around content writing and marketing. Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on our new topics and guests!

#ContentWritingChat June 7 2016 Recap: How to Consistently Find Fresh Blog Topics

#ContentWritingChat June 7 2016 Recap: How to Consistently Find Fresh Blog Topics

Did you miss #ContentWritingChat this week? There’s no need to worry! We have you covered with a recap of Tuesday’s chat, which was filled with great tips to help you come up with your next blog topic.
Let’s dive into the tweets!

#ContentWritingChat June 7 2016 Recap: How to Consistently Find Fresh Blog Topics

This week, Monika Jansen joined us as our guest host. Monika is the founder of Jansen Communications, as well as an experienced online copywriter. She shared key tips on creating “fresh” content for your blog.

Q1: What are ways to come up with new topics for your blog?

The truth is, sometimes it’s hard to come up with interesting topics to write about on your blog. Instead of stressing as you try to come up with ideas, check out these tips:

Monika suggested starting with your FAQ. Odds are, you’re getting a lot of questions from clients or readers of your blog. Address those questions in a blog post. It’s so simple, but it’s effective because you’re giving your audience exactly what they want.
If you’re still stuck, just ask your audience what they’d like to see from you. They’re the best people to tell you what they’d like to read.

Kyle knows it’s important to keep your content relevant to your product or service. His tip is to choose topics that haven’t been covered yet or haven’t yet been covered in depth. Ask yourself what could use more coverage in your field and start writing.

Jenn likes to use Google Alerts and also tracks hashtags to see what other people are talking about. This is a great way to alert you to trending topics or questions people in your field may have. Asking your colleagues for ideas is another great tip!

For Hannah, coming up with blog topics starts with a brainstorming session with the team at her job. If you have multiple people on your team, get everyone together to talk about ideas. They just might have some amazing tips you can use.

Our CEO, Julia, agrees that teamwork is powerful. She also likes to use BuzzSumo to research competitors for inspiration.

Don’t forget to read! You want to stay updated with everything that’s going on in your industry. Reading will help you come up with ideas, plus give you amazing content to share with your audience.

Erika said social listening is a great way to come up with content ideas. If you join a few Twitter chats, you’re sure to find people asking questions. Use those ideas to spark new content for your blog.

One thing to keep in mind via Michael: give your audience what they need, not just what they want.

Q2: What are your favorite tools/methods to help you come up with blog topics?

There are plenty of tools you can use to find blog post topics, plus a method or two you can implement. Here’s what our chat participants like to do:

Monika’s advice is pretty clear: read more often! Find books, articles, etc. in your industry and start diving in.

Brittany likes to use Google Keyword Planner and she also likes to check trends and hashtags. While they’re all helpful, she also knows sometimes you just need to brainstorm with a pen and notebook.

We’re also fans of BuzzSumo here at Express Writers, so we highly recommend it. Check out Feedly to see what other websites are posting about and it might spark some ideas of your own.

Erika is also a fan of BuzzSumo, which is awesome! Some other tools she uses includes: Google Adwords Planner, Meltwater, and Feedly.

Sarah from ThinkSEM knows Twitter is a great place to find ideas. She also turns to articles from industry experts and uses Google Analytics. Don’t forget to check out your analytics to see what people are searching to get to your site and what they’re searing while on your site. It’s the perfect way to discover new ideas!

Google Docs is a great place to brainstorm your ideas. TimeTap suggested taking a look at what other bloggers in your field are doing. You don’t want to copy them, but you can still draw inspiration from their content and put your own spin on things.

Q3: How can you ensure you consistently provide great content for your audience?

You want to make sure all of your content is amazing, right? These tips will ensure you’re always publishing your best content:

Monika’s advice is to write like you talk. Conversational writing will keep your audience engaged and help them to develop a connection with you. It’s much more personable.

Debi knows it’s important to address the pain points of your customers. What problems are they struggling with and how can you help? Address their biggest issues and answer their questions. It’s the best way to provide value to them.

Make sure you’re paying attention to your analytics. As Erika and Maggie said, you need to know what your audience is actually reading and engaging with. Provide them with the content that resonates with them to keep them coming back for more.

Varun suggested looking at your content through the eyes of your audience. Ask yourself if what you’ve written adds value. You can also ask for feedback, but make sure you actually implement what you’ve learned.

Similarly, you want to ask yourself if you’d find your content to be interesting. If the answer is no, it’s better to come up with a new idea.

Great advice from Hannah: test, learn, optimize. You need to make sure your audience is actually responding to your content, which means testing is very important.

Just give them what they love! It really is as simple as that. Get to know your audience and figure out what kind of content they enjoy so you can create more of that.

Q4: What makes a blog topic “fresh”?

So, what exactly is a “fresh” blog topic? Here’s what our #ContentWritingChat friends had to say:

Monika said it’s all about providing your perspective, your experience, your approach, and your tips. It’s your knowledge and personality that keep content fresh.

Kyle said a fresh blog topic could cover a current event or a new piece of technology. It could even mean providing a new point of view on a topic that’s already been covered.

Eliza said fresh blog content is relevant. If it’s relevant to your audience and the time, then you’re golden.

A fresh blog topic could be something new or it could be a new spin on something old. Add your perspective for a unique take on a topic.

As Brittany said, you can also freshen up old blog posts if they’re still relevant. We also like her use of “freshify.”

Well said, Julia! This is exactly right.

Q5: Should you incorporate trending topics into your blog content?

Should you write about trending topics on your blog? Check out these tips and see for yourself:

As Monika said, you can write about trending topics, but only if it’s relevant to your audience and your brand. Keep that in mind when choosing which ones you write about on your website.

It seems Ray agrees. If there’s a trending topic you want to write about, ask yourself if it’s the right fit for you. Is it appropriate for your industry or your company? Does it fit with your products or services?

Tim and Zachary said you should go for it, but only if it’s relevant to your niche. You don’t want to just jump on the bandwagon to be trendy.

When it comes to writing about trending topics, Kyle said to make sure you contribute to it in a meaningful way. You should be able to add value to your audience.

Consider your target audience and whether or not it serves your long-term goals to write about a certain topic.

Michael suggested seeing if you can spin trending topics into evergreen content ideas. Evergreen content is always great for your blog and can help bring regular traffic to your site.

Q6: What are some tips for being consistent when it comes to blogging?

How important is consistency as a blogger? It’s pretty important! Here are some tips to help you stay on top of your game:

Having an editorial calendar is key! Make sure you’re planning posts on the topics your audience is most interested in.

Fantastic advice from Christoph: never stop blogging. You need to make the time to commit to blogging on a regular basis. Scheduling your posts in advance is definitely helpful for this.

Sarah recommended having an editorial calendar. It’s a great way to keep you organized and you’ll never have to wonder what you should post. She also said to have a few posts ready to go for those slow weeks and months.

Like Sarah, Brittany also recommended having evergreen content ready to go for those times when writer’s block strikes.

Having a schedule is so important. Make sure your writers are aware of the schedule and stick to it as well.

Julia said to set aside time every week to plan out your content. You never have to stress about what you’re going to post if you plan in advance.

Jenn suggested checking your analytics to see if there are better days to post. If you notice one day is more popular than another, take advantage of it.

Great advice from Molly: set realistic expectations for yourself. You’re going to have to work your way up. You won’t see results right away.

Q7: How can you repurpose your blog content?

Don’t just leave your best content on your blog. Find ways to repurpose it!

Monika said to create graphics out of your best tips and share them on social media.

Here are some ideas from Julia: create quote visuals for posting on social media, make a SlideShare with great tidbits, or turn your written content into video content.

You can even turn your blog posts into podcast episodes. To drive traffic back to blog posts, include a round-up in your email newsletter.

You can even turn your post into an infographic or a complete eBook.

For Jenn, she reuses blog content by sharing it on social media, in emails, and in a magazine.

Molly said to keep an eye on your top performing posts. Make sure you update them with a new call to action, relevant links, etc.

Kelli knows link building within your site is important. Make sure you’re adding links to your newer posts in those old posts to keep people on your site.

Zachary was still sharing ideas even after the chat! He recommended choosing a favorite blog post and saving it as your pinned tweet on Twitter to drive more traffic to it.

Q8: What metrics can you measure to see how effective your blogging is?

How can you determine if your blogging efforts have been successful? Keep an eye on these metrics:

As Monika said, you should always consider what your goals are. Those are the metrics you should be measuring.

Are people sharing your content? Are they interacting with it in any way? Are they converting?

Are people reading your post, sharing it, and talking about it? What does your bounce rate look like? You want to get people to stay on your site once they land there.

Molly also knows checking your bounce rate and the amount of time spend on the page are important to measure. This will give you an idea of whether or not your audience found value in your content.

Don’t forget to include a call to action (CTA) within your post. Then, track your results to see if people are responding.

Are you getting return visits to your site? You want to make sure people keep coming back for more. You should also track that important length of time on page, social media shares, CTA results, and email newsletter sign-ups.

Great tip, Jenn! Remember that not everyone will tag you when sharing your content on social media, which means you’ll miss some shares. Search your URL on Twitter to see all the shares from your site.
We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM CDT for great chats centered around content writing and marketing. Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on our new topics and guests!

7 Things You Can Do Now To Make Your Blog Traffic Start Growing

7 Things You Can Do Now To Make Your Blog Traffic Start Growing

We’ve all been there.
You launch a blog and create great content and then you wait anxiously, obsessively checking your blog stats and waiting to see a drastic boom in readers.
This process can get tiresome.
blogging seo comic
Your scenario could vary: maybe you’re dreaming of overnight fame or a life as a professional blogger. Maybe you just want someone, anyone really, to read the post you just spent four hours writing.
Whatever your reasoning may be, you’re not alone if your blog traffic is less than what you hoped it would be.
Many bloggers who start new sites expect a boom and get a trickle of traffic instead and, if you’re not careful, this drastic difference between expectation and reality can easily cause bloggers to become frustrated and disillusioned.
Most new bloggers struggle with this issue and, fortunately, there are many effective ways to boost your blog’s traffic.
Read on to learn more.

What Really Brings In Blog Traffic?

Blogs exist for different reasons, including but not limited to conveyance of information, building of community, encouragement of conversations and production of revenue. If your blog is getting a good deal of traffic, it’s a safe bet that your site is meeting the needs of the readers you’re targeting.

The 3 Pillars of Blog Traffic

People who read blogs often want the following things:

1. Interest

If you want people to visit your blog, you have to provide them with something interesting, thought provoking, helpful or exciting. Nobody is going to keep coming back to a site that features dull, dry, poorly written posts. Because of this, interest is one of the primary driving factors in creating blog traffic. It doesn’t matter at all who your target readers are as long as you seek to provide them with interesting content they can relate to.

2. Value

Does your content provide something of value to your readers? If not, this may be one of the reasons you’re not getting much blog traffic. Value can mean a variety of things depending upon who your readers are and what they want, but one of the easiest ways to increase blog traffic is to provide value in your content. How-to articles are valuable, VIP updates are valuable, coupons and promotions are valuable and high-quality, niche-related content is valuable. Readers who get something from a blog are far more likely to keep reading and to tell their friends about the page.

3. Consistency

Would you continue to visit a page that featured the same, boring post for six weeks? Most likely, the answer is “no” and you can bet your readers feel the same way. One of the best ways to boost your readership is to maintain a consistent web presence. Aim to add a new blog post at least once a week and consider sending out automated emails to your subscriber list when you do. Striving for fresh content is a great way to keep readers interested and expand your fan base quickly.

Ready? Get your pencils sharpened...

Ready? Get your pencils sharpened…

And Here Are 7 Key Steps to Boosting Your Blog Traffic

1) Create Great Content: Audit What You Have, & Ask Yourself Is it Great?

Although running a successful blog is about much more than simply writing well, crafting great content is by far the most effective way to expand your reader base and garner more blog traffic.
Crafting great content means using proper grammar, writing well and knowing who your audience is, but it also requires a mind for strategy. Being strategic in your blog-building efforts means that you’re seeking to meet a specific need for readers. Blogs are used by readers primarily for education and entertainment purposes and, either way, it’s important to give readers what they want.
If your blog is an educational platform, check out websites like Quora to see what readers like yours are curious about and then write posts that answer their questions. If your blog is an entertainment blog, watch the social and political climate for current events worth writing about or seek to provide humorous, relatable commentary about your niche-topic, like Brittany Gibbons does on her smash-hit parenting blog, Brittany Herself. By being hilarious and empathetic, Gibbons creates content people want to share and, as such, she’s made a name for herself in the blogging world.
Also, auditing what you have is a really good way your blog has what it takes to bring in traffic. It might be time to delete some fluff that may be too low quality, and could even be pushing people away.

2) Make Content Shareable

Once you’ve got great content, how do you get more people to read it? The main trick is to make your content as social as possible, meaning that you need to optimize your blog content for social media sharing. When you take into account that 74% of American adults are on at least one social media site, it becomes clear why this is important.
While it’s great to have a high-quality blog, a blog that isn’t shared across social media is going to have a very difficult time gaining readers simply because it’s not hanging out the same place the readers are. Although people do many different things online, 28% of most people’s daily online time is spent on social networking sites, which means you better get thee to Facebook.
In order to better promote your content across social media platforms, it’s wise to take simple steps such as adding a “share” button to your blog, doing some analytics research in order to share content when your audience is most active online or adding an image to a blog post and sharing it on Twitter.
Additionally, it is important to be active on a few different social media sites, such as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. This allows your readers to find you on their favorite social media site and interact with your content in the way that is easiest for them. Additionally, once you’ve begun to garner shares on social media sites, it’s important to keep up with and participate in the conversation in order to further increase your presence and reach. You can do this by commenting on other blogger’s comments, answering questions on Quora, joining niche-related forums, asking for comments or emails from readers and taking surveys.

3) Pay Attention to Your Design

Even if you have the best blog content is the world, nobody is going to read it if they can’t navigate your site. For this reason, it’s important to pay attention to blog design and ensure that your site is laid out in a way that offers a user-friendly experience.
Readers should be able to locate content quickly and easily (installing a search bar is a great way to facilitate this) and navigate their way around your page without stress. For individual blog posts, links should be a different color than the rest of the text and headlines should be offset using bolding and header fonts while big blocks of text should be broken into lists or small sub header sections.
The secret to building a beautiful blog site is that the template should be clean and simple, the layout should be uncluttered and easy to navigate, the home page should be one column and the overall feel should be unique and warm.

4) Optimize Your Blog for SEO

If you want to drive more traffic to your blog, this is one of the most important steps. Unfortunately, it’s also the step that most bloggers skip because it seems too difficult. Trust us, though, it’s not and skipping out on SEO only hinders your blog.
Currently, Google processes 3.5 billion search inquiries every day and that number is only rising. This immense amount of traffic can be a serious advantage to bloggers who properly optimize their blog content. Although SEO may seem scary on the surface, there are plenty of great guides to optimizing your content for SEO.
According to SEO-giant, Moz, “20% of the effort and tactics to make your content optimized for search engines will yield 80% of the value possible.” That said, go forth and don’t be afraid of SEO. Proper utilization can have a profound effect on the success of your blog.

5) Be Really Cool About Your Images

Images are a highly shareable form of visual content. Visual graphics, be they images, infographics or memes, resonate with the human brain much quicker than text-based content, evoking quicker response time and a greater connection. That said, blogs that feature images are much more likely to garner shares and attention than those that do not.
To increase the readership of your blog, begin including high-quality images in your posts. Be cool about it – don’t be the average joe.
This will instantly boost your blog’s shareability.
There are plenty of great images available through stock image sites like istockphoto.com and pairing this with the awesome Canva can get you some really amazing imagery for your blog.

6) Use Links

Everyone appreciates links – including but not limited to search engines, readers and other bloggers. When you’re writing a post, make an effort to include links back to your other blog posts as well as to external sources that have a high domain authority ranking.
These links work in several different ways: first of all, they make your text more visually interesting and help readers interact with and learn more about unfamiliar concepts or external sources. Secondly, links provide a shout-out to other high-quality blog sites, which builds kinship and provides you with valuable contacts for further blogging endeavors.
Other site owners can see your links to their sites via Google Alerts or a simple look at their blog site’s top referrers. When your links are high quality and you’re using great anchor text, links are a great way to earn points in the blogging community and inspire other bloggers to link to your site, as well, which provides both sites with more readers and a larger reach.

7) Embrace Guest Blogging

When it comes to increasing your blog’s traffic, guest blogging is a tactic that can’t be overlooked. Writing guest posts for other sites and accepting guest posts onto your site is a great way to build community, provide value to a new set of followers and build relationships with fellow bloggers.
When you’re just starting out, it can be tough to position yourself for guest blogs but, many times, it is as simple as reaching out to a blogger you admire and pitching a guest post. The worst that can happen is that the blogger will say no and, if this happens to be the case, don’t get discouraged.
Leverage your friends, family and personal connection for guest blogs and keep offering your writing skills to blogs you admire. At some point, you’ll land a few guest blogging opportunities and your traffic will most likely increase.

Building Blog Traffic: It’s Possible and You Can Do it!

Building blog traffic can seem like a difficult task but, truly, it comes down to a few simple skills that anyone can master. By ensuring you’re offering great content that is interesting, valuable and consistent, optimizing your blog content for social sharing and SEO, providing a great layout, adding images to your post, utilizing high-quality links and making an effort to give and receive guest blogging, you can be sure that your blog will see an uptick in traffic.
Although it may be a slow progression, it pays to avoid becoming discouraged. Blogging is not a get-rich-quick scheme and, as long as you’re creating great, reader-focused content, you’ll achieve blogging success.

18 Ways to Grow Your Traffic Through Blogging

18 Ways to Grow Your Traffic Through Blogging

Blogging is such an incredible tool within content marketing—one of the most powerful ones, too. It gives you a unique ability to reach out to a wider audience and gives you the chance to write on a variety of things from why people need your product to what colors a dress might be.
Most importantly, it also gives you the ability to grow your traffic and bring in new visitors, giving you the possibility of increasing revenue. Let’s look at just how you can do this with a few excellent blogging practices.

18 Incredible Ways to Increase Traffic With Great Blogging Practices

Just how can you grow your traffic through your blog? Let me walk you through some great points that can help you improve your overall content marketing campaign! Be sure to let me know which of these practices reach out to you in the comments.

  1. Blogging Can Increase Rankings and Bring in More Organic Search Traffic. A great reason why blogging can be great to grow your traffic is because it helps you rank higher on the search engines. Organic traffic is great, and the more you blog, the more likely you are to increase that. Remember that each blog you write is just one more landing page that gives readers and visitors a chance to see your web page and products. The more you write, the more landing pages you create, which helps you create more opportunities for your site to rank and be found. 
  1. Write Different Content Types to Drive Traffic. A good idea to help create blog posts that help drive traffic is to follow some of the findings from Newscred’s social media study. Researchers found that things such as “how-to” posts and lists brought in more social media traffic, as did blogs with evergreen topics. One thing the study also noted is that content types tended to be shared differently at different times throughout the year. This is a good reason as to why you should always research your audience and pay attention to your analytics. You can figure out which blog topics will do best at which times, giving you the chance to create great blog posts that increase traffic. 
  1. Share Your Blogs on Social Media to Increase Traffic Even More. Increasing traffic to your blog isn’t going to happen as soon as you write and publish. In fact, you are going to need to do a little more work to drive traffic through blogging. A great place to start with is social media. Social media is an incredible way to help boost blog traffic to your site, and you can do so in many different ways. Just work with your social channels and research your analytics to see what things you need to tweak and which things are working well for you. 
  1. Never Ever Forget About Email Newsletters. Another way to bring in more traffic with and to your blog is to send out information about your blogs in your email newsletters. You can promote a wide variety of things in your newsletters, and your blogs should be one of those items. Encourage readers to click and read your blog postings, and encourage new visitors to your site to sign up for a newsletter to know when you’ve posted a new blog. 
  1. Write On the Latest, Trendiest Things to Bring in Viewers. Something that can really help drive traffic with your blogs is when you blog about the latest, trendiest items out there. You can blog about new films and how they can inspire people in your industry, use memes that have gone viral, or any other currently trending item to help bring in visitors. Remember, you shouldn’t only focus on viral, trendy content. But it is a great idea to boost traffic. 
  1. Always Make Sure Your Blogs Have Epic, Impactful Headlines. According to Lindsay Kolowich over at HubSpot, headlines are a vital part of every single content marketing strategy. A headline is what convinces someone to click on your link, which then helps to improve traffic. If you want to boost your traffic through blogging, then always make sure you are creating powerful headlines that encourage people to click. This could be your only chance to bring in new viewers. 
  1. Utilize Different Keywords, Especially Long-Tail, In Your Blogs. Neil Patel points out that keywords, especially long-tail keywords, are vital to your blogging campaign. You need to make sure you are using excellent keywords that can drive traffic, and you should also make sure you use a variety to bring in a wider audience. Patel shows that you can increase your traffic and clicks by 78 percent when you use long-tail keywords, which is truly remarkable! Use your keywords, and bring in more traffic. 
  1. Make Sure Your Posts are Perfect for Your Audience. In the article I shared above, Neil Patel also points out how important it is to know your audience and have posts that are specifically for them. Research your demographic and the clients you already have to gather information on what your audience will like and want to see. You can also send out questionnaires and ask your social media followers what type of posts they’d like to see. The more you write posts that are perfect for your audience, the better your chances are of increasing your overall site traffic. 
  1. Have a Stunning, Professional Blog Layout and Design. Written content isn’t the only thing you should consider when trying to use your blog to drive traffic. You should also consider making sure you have a great and professional blog design with an easy-to-follow layout. This can help encourage your readers to come back and read future blog posts, and can even encourage them to read your past pieces. If your blog looks like it is thrown together, your readers aren’t likely to stick around for very long. 
  1. Utilize Images, Videos, and Infographics in Your Blog Posts. Along with a great design, you should also focus on visual content on your blog, as well. You can share videos with your clients, create an infographic out of a longer post, and attach images to your written content. This can help get more attention from a wider audience. People enjoy having multiple content formats to consume, and each of us consumes content differently. Give you readers and visitors options to help drive continual traffic. 
  1. Create Evergreen Content to Drive Traffic Constantly. Trendy topics are a great way to drive traffic, but those will only last for a few weeks or even a few days. Once the trend goes away, the traffic will dwindle; so how can you keep it going, as well as increasing it? You can write evergreen content that focuses on topics that don’t go stale. A great way to know if you’re writing evergreen topics is to pay attention to your topic and how you write. If you write something without focusing on trends or current pop culture references, chances are it is evergreen. If you’re writing or referencing something that is popular right now, then it isn’t. 
  1. Always Craft Excellent, High-Quality Articles. Increasing and maintaining traffic are two sides of the same coin, meaning you need to focus on both when creating your blog content. One of the best ways to make sure you are working on both is to write amazing, high-quality content. If you aren’t sure if you are writing high quality, you can always hire a copyeditor to look over it or simply hire a copywriter with training in high-quality web content. 
  1. Consider Covering News Topics on Your Blog. Writing on fun trends can make your blog pop and bring people in, but sometimes you should focus on writing something a bit more serious and informative. A great way to increase traffic through blogging is to write blogs on news pieces. If you’re in the social media world, then writing on what new thing Facebook is doing or a new social media channel will be great for news content. News content can be amazingly captivating for your audience while providing them with top information from the latest news sources. 
  1. Write and Publish Blogs Consistently. A consistent blogging schedule can also help increase your traffic. People like to know when to expect blogs from their favorite sites and companies, and if you set a schedule, they are likely to keep an eye out for your new blog. Set a schedule and play with it for a bit to see how often and which days work the best for you. Make sure you keep your schedule the same for a few months to get the best measure of what days work and also so that you aren’t constantly changing things around on your readers. 
  1. Engage With Your Audience to Promote Further Clicks and Engagement. Another great way to increase traffic with your blogs is to engage with your readers when they comment. Always be sure that you reply to a comment and consider doing more than the cursory, “Thank you for reading” response. You can ask your reader a specific question in reply to their comment or answer a specific question they asked. Engaging and conversing with them can help encourage them to come back and read your newer blogs, and can eventually convince them to become clients instead of just readers. 
  1. Don’t Hesitate to Pay to Promote Your Blog. Organic traffic is great, but sometimes you need that extra push to help increase website traffic with your blog. You can promote your blog through various ways such as pay-per-click ads or utilizing social media ads on channels like Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. This can help drive some traffic, and when people find your blog and see that you’ve spent a good portion of time and energy on it, they’ll stay. Once this happens, then you can be well on your way to getting organic traffic. 
  1. Comment on Industry Blogs and Link to Your Blog. You can also encourage people to visit your blog by commenting on industry blogs with a link back to yours. This doesn’t mean to promote your blog and get all spam-like. Write something that provides value to the writer of the blog, and if you have a similar blog you can mention it. In addition, many comment forms allow for people to share a website along with their name, which is a great way to help link people to your page without even mentioning it in the comment. 
  1. Allow Readers to Share Your Blogs Easily on Social Media. As I mentioned earlier, social media is a great way to increase your traffic through blogging. You can post your blogs to social media, but you can also allow your readers to share your blog easily through social share buttons. Putting up social share buttons on each post can help you reach a wider audience because, if a reader likes one of your posts, he or she can then click the social button and share to their channel quickly and easily. This can help bring in more viewers, and end up converting those visitors into clients. Never underestimate the power of a social share button on each and every blog post. 

Remember, Patience Truly is a Blogging Virtue

When it comes to increasing your traffic through blogging, remember that it might take some time. Even though a lot of viral content can make it seem like things happen in a snap on the Internet, the reality is that it takes time to build your presence. You want to be a trusted source, so follow these tips with your blogs to create a great presence and drive traffic. If you need help with creating blog posts that are engaging, then contact Express Writers. Our blogging services provide you with excellent, high-quality material that you and your readers will enjoy.

Our Top 10 Strategies To Becoming An Expert Blogger

Our Top 10 Strategies To Becoming An Expert Blogger

How do you become an expert blogger?
This is a question that’s asked by many aspiring content creators.
And it’s a good one. After all, blogging and content marketing are stronger than they’ve ever been.
91% of today’s businesses participate in content marketing. 
In addition, there are tons of ways to make money blogging in the modern world. For example, we use blogging to earn 99% of our leads and revenue around here at Express Writers.
And we’re not the only one bringing in the bacon through our blogging. Michelle at makingsenseofcents.com is a blogger I follow who travels the world and makes six-figures monthly through affiliate blogging. And Jon Morrow at SmartBlogger is a smart marketer who uses his blog to earn over $100k/month.
So, whether you’re attempting to start your own blog or looking to create content for other businesses, the opportunities are there.
And while there’s quite a bit of competition in this space, becoming an expert blogger is something that can set you apart from the field.
If you’re able to nail the strategies outlined below, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an expert in the blogging world. Let’s get started.
Learn how to become an expert #blogger in our 10-step guide. Click To Tweet
expert blogger

10 Strategies to Becoming an Expert Blogger

Ready? Let’s get into them!

1. Learn How to Write Well-Structured Blogs

Arguably, writing is 80-95% of the weight of a highly-successful blog.
Just look a few examples of top-ranking, top-shared, conversation-driving blog posts:

The structure and readability of these blogs are critical examples. This is the style you need to follow when you write a blog. For example, look at the readability and short, impactful-sentence structure of Morrow’s blog, linked to above:
blog post example smartblogger
Learning how to write a great blog is definitely an art and a science.
But once you learn the art of writing a great blog, everything follows. We have a free guide on how to write great SEO blogs that might help. And my book, So You Think You Can Writeis an excellent primer to learning online content writing standards.

Takeaway: Learn the structure and writing style of great blog posts.

2. Create Audience-Centric Content

Understanding this concept is the most important step on your journey to becoming an expert blogger.
Fortunately, it’s also a pretty simple one to follow.
There are essentially two types of content; content-centric and audience-centric.

Image Source

As you can see in the image above, content-centric blogs are those where the writers create content and then try to find an audience that will read and appreciate it.
Writers of audience-centric blogs, on the other hand, establish the audience they’re writing for and work to create content that’s designed specifically for them.
The more important point to take away from the image above, however, is that audience-centric content enables you to reach your maximum audience.
By identifying who you’re writing for, and what they want to hear, you’re giving your content the best opportunity to earn the interest of readers and be successful.
And isn’t that your goal?
Takeaway: Identify your audience and create content based on what they want to hear.

3. Stay Up-to-Date With Your Industry

Ten years ago, not many people were familiar with content marketing.
As time has gone on, however, the industry has developed and improved to the point where Marketing Mag projects that content marketing will be a $300 billion industry by 2019.

So, how has the content marketing industry grown so much over such a short period of time?
Because the amazing people that helped create the industry, and those that have joined since, have worked to constantly improve it.
Modern day blogging is MUCH different than it was 10 years ago.
In fact, it’s a lot different than it was just 3 years ago.
And because the industry is constantly evolving and improving, it’s essential that you stay up-to-date.

How Can I Stay Up-to-Date With the Industry?

You can start by paying attention to the movers and shakers.
People like:

  • Joe Pulizzi. Founder of the Content Marketing Institute. Author of ground-breaking books like Content Inc. and Killing Marketing.
  • Ann Handley. Head of Content at MarketingProfs. Author of Everybody Writes.
  • Jay Baer. Founder of Convince & Convert. Writer of four best-selling books related to content and digital marketing.
  • Brian Clark. Founder of Copyblogger.
  • Darren Rowse. Founder of ProBlogger.

In addition, there are plenty of great blogs to follow. Some of the best include:

To get the most out of these blogs, be sure to join their email lists to receive useful content to your inbox on a regular basis.
Takeaway: Follow top industry experts and blogs for tips and strategies that can improve your skills.

4. Research is Everything

Next to writing well is research.
Just like writing skills are integral to structuring a great blog post, research is everything to a well-read, informative, and accurate blog.
As Shout Me Loud contributor Chassie Lee tells us, research is the core of content marketing.
She goes on to say that:

“Research is the first and most vital step when developing and executing a content strategy. Without complete research, the steps of Ideation/Planning, Creation, Connection, and Measurement will be based on insufficient data.”

So, you know that research is important. But how do you actually do it effectively?

What’s the Best Way to Research Effectively?

This is where things can get a little tricky.
Because, while there are many ways to go about researching, you’re going to have to take the time to determine the strategy that works best for you.
In Neil Patel and Kathryn Aragon’s Advanced Guide to Content Marketing, they recommend a three step approach.

Researching and creating an outline can be time consuming. But by writing down ideas and researching them as they come to you, you can significantly reduce this part of the creation process.

References are essential to creating useful content. Be sure to gather any references you can that will help you make your point when writing.

Takeaway: Work to develop an approach to research that works for you and ensures you’re able to consistently create useful and relevant content for your audience.

5. Develop a Content Differentiation Factor (CDF)

While it’s true that becoming an expert blogger has a lot to do with gaining knowledge from others, that doesn’t mean you should just follow in their footsteps.
The ability to carve your own path, and differentiate yourself from the pack, is equally important on your quest to becoming an expert in your field.
But to truly separate yourself, you have to provide a compelling reason for someone to read and devour YOUR content instead of a competitor.
If a potential reader or customer were to ask,

“Why should I read your content over your competitor(s)?”

What would your answer be?

Creating a Competitive Advantage by Developing Your Content Differentiation Factor (CDF)

If your goal is to develop a competitive advantage, and give potential readers a reason to choose your content, then it’s essential that you develop a Content Differentiation Factor.
content differentiation factor
While establishing your CDF can be a complex and time-consuming process, it’s absolutely necessary if you want to succeed in the world of content marketing.
To create your CDF, you need to clearly answer the question of:

“What is your unique, standout perspective in your content niche that makes you an expert that needs to be heard?”

Because this topic is a bit too in-depth to cover within this post, I encourage you to check out my article on How to Find Your Brand’s Unique Content Differentiation Factor and Use It to Your Advantage for a more detailed resource on developing your CDF.
Takeaway: Take the time to develop your Content Differentiation Factor so you can provide potential readers with a compelling reason to view your content over your competitors.

6. Make the Readability and Usefulness of Your Content a Focal Point

As you begin to study other expert bloggers, you’ll find that almost all of them talk heavily about the short attention span of today’s internet users.
And it’s true. Modern day attention spans are undoubtedly shorter than they’ve ever been.
But that doesn’t mean you CAN’T capture their attention.
Legendary comedian Jerry Seinfeld has a different take on this topic than most. As he says:

In a lot of ways, Seinfeld is right. If you’re producing high quality content that captures the attention of your audience, people will read it.
To make sure they read it, however, you have to focus readability and usefulness.

Honing in On Readability

Making your content readable isn’t difficult, even if you aren’t a great writer.
Let’s take a look at a few tips that can help you with this:

  • Write short, to-the-point sentences
  • Include no more than 2-4 sentences within each paragraph
  • Break up your content with images, subheadings, and bullet lists

If you’re looking for a tool that can help you discover the readability of your content, Readable.io is a great free option.
Let’s take a look at the results when we plug in the article you’re currently reading:

As you can see, it gives us an overall grade while also providing more detailed statistics about things like keyword density, syllable use, reading level, and more.
Yoast SEO, which is a WordPress SEO plugin, is another great readability tool if you’re looking for something even more advanced.

Making Your Content Useful

Making your content useful is simple if you’ve already committed to creating audience-centric content.
So long as you focus on what your audience wants, and ensure your content serves as a useful and actionable resource, you shouldn’t have a problem with this.
Takeaway: Attention spans are only short when your content isn’t readable or useful.

7. Stay Consistent

Consistency and persistence is important in just about every part of life.
But it’s really, really important in the world of blogging.
And there are many reasons for this.
For one, as Forbes tell us:

“Without consistency, it’s difficult to build brand loyalty.”

If you aren’t able to develop a core audience that regularly reads your content, you’re going to have a very difficult time succeeding in the blogging world.
And, unless you’re consistently publishing content, it’s going to be impossible to develop that core audience and brand loyalty.
Consistency is also important for SEO reasons.
As HubSpot has found, blogs that publish 16+ blog posts per month generate about 3.5x more traffic than those that publish between 0-4 posts.

While there are other factors, such as content quality and promotion, that will have a positive impact on SEO and traffic, creating and posting consistently offers a clear opportunity to get ahead.
But if you don’t currently have the time or resources to publish 4x per week, that doesn’t mean you can’t succeed as a blogger.
Blogging, after all, is a long term game.
As DeMers also tells us:

“Posting at least once a week is usually sufficient to establish a regular core of readers, and these readers are typically the ones who will form the core of your brand community.”

Once the core of your brand community is developed, you can start focusing on developing more content in an effort to boost traffic and build a stronger SEO profile.
And, as your resources expand, you can begin to hire freelancers or content creation agencies to write some of your content for you.
Takeaway: Know that blogging is a long term game and that your ability to stay consistent will have a major impact on your success.

8. Make Promotion a Priority

Of all the ways that blogging and content marketing have evolved over the years, possibly the biggest change has been with the incredible increase in the amount of content being created.
In 2015, Marketing Profs reported that there over 2 million blog posts are written and published every day.
Not surprisingly, however, most of that content goes unnoticed.
Because while content creators are writing and publishing plenty of blog posts, many of them are failing to realize the importance of actually promoting that content.

How to Promote Your Content

This is a topic that’s FAR too in-depth to cover within this post. But, as we’ve mentioned, understanding how to do it will be incredibly important to your success.
So instead of giving you a brief summary, here’s a few great resources that can help:

Takeaway: If you want readers, it’s essential that you develop strategies for promoting your content.

9. Leverage Social Media to Build Authority

Becoming an expert is hard. But becoming KNOWN as an expert is even harder.
Fortunately, the power of social media enables just about anyone to make it a reality.
You just have to put in the work to do it.
Sujan Patel, a growth marketer who has used social media and content to build his own personal brand, is one of the foremost experts on this topic.
In an article he wrote for Forbes about the 9 Ways to Use Social Media to Build Your Personal Brand, Patel offers a few suggestions for building authority. They include:

  1. Find the Right Groups. Find the social networks and groups where your target audience is active. Facebook and LinkedIn both offer great opportunities for this.
  2. Keep Your Image Consistent. While it’s important to cater your content to the social media platform it’s being posted on, it’s also crucial to control your audience’s perception by maintaining consistency with how you represent yourself across the web.
  3. Engage as Often as Possible. Create a consistent posting schedule and be sure that you’re communication with your audience as often as possible.
  4. Give, Give, and Give Some More. Make personal connections with your audience and ask them what you can do for them. And, above all, avoid being salesy and promotional.
  5. Become Involved in Discussions. Show that you’re human and connect with others by getting involved in discussions. Not only is this great for visibility, but it’s an opportunity to offer your unique insights on a topic.

Takeaway: Social media and content marketing form a powerful team. Leverage this combination to build authority in your industry.

10. Don’t Forget About SEO

While it’s true that creating audience-centric content plays a crucial role in becoming an expert blogger, you still need to understand how to write content for SEO.
By doing so, you enable your content to be found via search engines and therefore reach its maximum viewership potential.
And while there are some technical aspects of SEO that can contribute to success with SERPs, most of the strategies necessary to succeed are fairly basic.
Here are five rules of thumb for great SEO content:

  1. Focus on 1-2 Long-Tail Keywords. Don’t overdo it with keywords. Focus on 1-2 that have the least competition and include them in your title, headers, meta description, and body copy.
  2. Design Your Post to be Mobile-Friendly. More and more people are viewing content from mobile devices. And, as Google is beginning to emphasize mobile-friendly design as a part of their algorithms, you’re significantly reducing your potential reach if your content isn’t mobile optimized.
  3. Optimize Your Meta Description. While the meta description doesn’t have a direct impact on search rankings, the words within it help searchers decide whether to click on your content or a competitor.
  4. Optimize Images. Search engines crawl for images based on their alt text. For this reason, you’ll want to be sure that you’re optimizing images (especially custom images) for search.
  5. Link Internally When Appropriate. By linking to other posts on your site, you’ll help keep visitors on your website while also sending signals to search engines about the relevancy of your content.

Takeaway: Be sure to optimize your content for search engines to maximize your potential reach.

Bonus #11. Develop Your Own Unique Voice and Style

I couldn’t end without tossing in an extra bonus point.
Question: Do you know of any cover bands that are more popular than the actual band that they cover?
I highly doubt it.
This is the reason why it’s important that you develop your own unique voice and style for your blog.
Takeaway: Develop a voice that is unique to you and avoid copying what others before you have done.

Start Your Journey to Becoming an Expert Blogger!

While the road won’t be easy, utilizing these 10 strategies will undoubtedly help you on your journey to becoming an expert blogger.
Use these strategies. Start your journey. You won’t regret it.
And if you need help — we can craft amazing blogs your readers will love. Talk to our team today.
express writers cta