Want to learn how you can create influential online content?
Wondering how you can strengthen your editing skills and polish everything you write before hitting publish?
Well, you’re in the right place! In this month’s #ContentWritingChat, we talked all about becoming a better writer and editor. Let’s dive into the recap!
#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Create Influential Content & Become a Strong Editor with Stephanie Stahl
Our guest host for today’s chat is @EditorStahl. Stephanie is the General Manager for our friends over at @CMIContent.
She’s joining us to share her tips on creating influential content and strengthening our editing skills. 👩🏼💻 pic.twitter.com/py84AgF6Vb
— Express Writers | Your Content Writing Team (@ExpWriters) June 4, 2019
Our guest host for this chat was Stephanie Stahl. She’s the General Manager for our friends over at Content Marketing Institute. And we were so thrilled to have her joining us to share some of her top content creation and editing tips with us!
Q1: What qualities make a piece of content influential?
We all want to create influential content that resonates with our target audience, right? But you might be wondering what exactly makes a piece of content influential and which qualities you should embody. Here’s what you need to know:
A1: Everyone wants to create content that people want to share. But to make it contagious, it needs three things: credibility, creativity, and emotion. #ContentWritingChat
For Gaby, it’s all about having a solid understanding of who your audience is. You simply cannot create the content they’re searching for if you don’t take the time to get to know them!
A1a) 4 words -> Invoking an EMOTIONAL reaction.
People are drawn to content they connect with. That’s why the word “resonate” is tossed around so much. If your content does not touch an emotional connection with the user, they’ll ignore it.#ContentWritingChat
— Jason Schemmel – Speaker & Podcaster #GSDChat🎙️🤯 (@JasonSchemmel) June 4, 2019
Jason feels influential content should trigger an emotional response in your reader. This is a huge part of establishing a connection with your audience.
— Gene Petrov – Ultra Human Leadership Coach (@GenePetrovLMC) June 4, 2019
According to Gene, influential content should be well-written, well-researched, and show deep insight.
A1: Influential content requires authority. That can come from experience, but is also shown through research and opinions. Studies have shown having an opinion or research is what makes your content the most linkable (yay #backlinks and #SEO!) #ContentWritingChathttps://t.co/dSN3jijPae
Authority is a must for influential content! Kristen feels you can show your authority through your own experiences, but also through research and opinions.
A1. I find content influential when the writer has an authoritative voice over the subject matter + projects it in their content. Also, I tend to stay away from content that’s meant to be informative, but is littered with opinion-based statements or anecdotes. #ContentWritingChat
Lexie said that content is influential when it makes you think and act. Is your content inspiring your readers to take action?
A1: Content should be engaging. Instead of creating and sharing content that’s redundant, offer your audience something useful like a downloadable asset, an informative video, or a stunning graphic. #ContentWritingChat
Alexa’s advice is to make sure your content is engaging. She also said you should provide something useful to your audience, not something redundant.
Q2: How can you be sure you’re creating content that resonates with your target audience?
It’s important that our content is written with our target audience in mind, but is there a way to make sure it’ll resonate before hitting publish? Check out this advice:
A2: Treat your audience like your best friend. Get to know what they like, what they don’t. What makes them want to hug you? Study your content performance data, talk to subscribers – really TALK to them. Don’t just make assumptions about their content needs. #ContentWritingChat
Kylee knows that you can’t start writing unless you’ve done your research about who your target audience is.
A2: Until you get to know your audience, it will be hard to create content that resonates with them. Build a relationship with your target audience so you can ask for feedback and learn what they really want. #ContentWritingChatpic.twitter.com/YnsidSvqGt
Active listening is where it’s at! Gaby knows this is a great way to discover what your audience is interested in and what they need help with.
A2: Most importantly: are they converting on it?
That’s the entire point of content — getting the audience to take SOME type of action (i.e. conversion). If not, work backwards to see where their interest is falling off.#ContentWritingChathttps://t.co/GJ92RIzfwf
One thing you can pay close attention to is whether or not your audience is converting on your content. As Sarah said, you want your audience to take some type of action after reading your post. If not, it’s time to make some changes.
A2: What I think is so interesting about this is that sometimes you think a piece will be a hit – and it really isn’t. Conversely, there are times when a piece you felt “meh” about hits it out of the park. So trial & error plays a part to a degree. #contentwritingchat
Like Michelle said, sometimes it just requires a little trial and error to figure out what works best for you and your audience when striving to create influential content.
A2: Track the performance of your content. What are the common qualities of the content that performs well? Also give your audience the opportunity to give you feedback and recommendations! #ContentWritingChat
You’ll want to pay close attention to your metrics if you want to figure out what’s truly performing the best. Caitlin suggests looking at the common qualities that your most popular pieces of content share. You can even ask for feedback from readers.
To understand and give your audience the information that they want, you have to know who they are, what types of content they like, and what gets them excited. Digging into the data will help you create content that will resonate. #ContentWritingChatpic.twitter.com/hpffOO0lGi
For Stephanie, great content has credible research, compelling interviews, an empathetic voice, and a little bit of drama. She also said it’s important to help your reader understand any facts and figures you quote so they’ll see why it matters.
It starts with a winning headline. Not advocating clickbait but spending time to maximize the effect. Many times people will share purely on the headline. It has to strike a chord – pique interest and create emotional connection. Try @CoSchedule or AMI https://t.co/verArWBO8R
— Gene Petrov – Ultra Human Leadership Coach (@GenePetrovLMC) June 4, 2019
Gene knows that a winning headline is key to a great piece of content! If your headline isn’t grabbing attention, people won’t bother to click. Just avoid clickbait titles!
Sarah said content should speak directly to your audience, include a CTA, have credibility, and be easy to read. She also suggests having a good visual layout and overall experience for website visitors.
A3. Headers that correspond to the content; images that correspond to the copy; and a combination of internal + external links that provide the reader with beneficial knowledge that expands on your topic or the smaller sub-topic embedded in your content. #ContentWritingChat
Headers, images, and links! All three of these elements are essential according to Rebecca. Use headers to split your blog post into sections and break up text. Images help provide captivating visuals. And links give readers more content to consume on the topic.
Lauren agrees that visual elements are a must for influential content. Plus, they’re great for sharing on social media.
A3 Cont. – this should go without saying, but friendly and relateable copy is a MUST. If I can’t understand the article because you’re using jargon, I’m an immediate bounce #ContentWritingChathttps://t.co/2B822uUzbQ
Claire’s advice is to make sure your copy is friendly and relatable. This will draw your audience in, not repel them. Plus, she mentioned the importance of cutting down on jargon, particularly if it’s something your audience won’t understand. Write in a way that’s easy for them to get what you’re talking about.
Q4: Are there any key things editors should keep an eye on during the editing process? Tips to make it easier?
Editing your content doesn’t have to be stressful! If you can outsource it, that’s great. But if not, this important tasks falls on your shoulders. These tips will help you polish your content so it shines:
A4: My fav tip comes from CMI’s @anngynn – “Show, don’t tell.” Content is better when readers can visualize what the text conveys. Make them feel like they can see what you see or hear what you hear. #ContentWritingChat
A4: I always think an editor should read through a piece of content fully once before making any suggestions. Then if the content doesn’t paint a full picture, that is your starting point before getting to the technical stuff. #ContentWritingChatpic.twitter.com/X7PLtQGdrF
Making sure the writing is clear and easy to read. I’m a big fan of the @HemingwayApp to help me keep sentences short and understandable for everyone.
I also like to make paragraphs short & create more white space/appeal with bold/italic/underline, etc https://t.co/Ixg3DlZH1R
— Gene Petrov – Ultra Human Leadership Coach (@GenePetrovLMC) June 4, 2019
Gene loves to use the Hemingway app to make sure his writing is clear and easy to read. The app helps him keep sentences short and understandable. And since he keeps paragraphs short, it makes his content more readable.
One piece of advice that Gaby shared was to use a style guide. You can create one for your own content or refer to one if you’re working with a client. This way, you can be more consistent in the voice you write with and the overall appearance of the content.
A4: Always keep the education level of your audience on your topic front of mind. Sometimes the expert author may be writing at too high a level for the audience to understand. #ContentWritingChat
Think about the education level of your readers before you begin writing and while editing. As Caitlin said, sometimes the writer can be more advanced in an area than the reader. This can lead to the usage of jargon or complex ideas that your audience might not understand.
Q5: What are the top mistakes writers make when editing their content and how can editors help them?
When it comes to editing, we sometimes make mistakes! To avoid them, check out these mistakes shared during the chat so you can be on the lookout:
A5a: Probably the biggest mistake is being too wordy. Superfluous. Redundant. (Like this tweet!) Let’s face it, writers love words! But a great editor can help cut out the fat without the writer feeling defeated. #ContentWritingChat
Since Sarah edits her own content, she knows how challenging it can be sometimes. Her advice is to step away for a bit and come back to it with fresh eyes. This way, you’ll be more likely to catch mistakes and spot places for improvement.
Editing tips I use daily:
1) Read aloud (or have Word read it to you)
2) Let it breathe – you catch things you didn’t see the first time around
3) Use a tool or human editor (both can miss things, however)
4) Change the font to help catch errors #contentwritingchat
Michelle’s advice is to read your work aloud, take some time away and then return to it, use a tool and/or a human editor to catch mistakes, and change the font to better spot errors.
A5: Leaning on the same couple phrases or words in your writing. This happens a lot for writers who write about a single topic. Don’t use these things as a crutch, instead explore new ways to say the same thing. #ContentWritingChatpic.twitter.com/YBNq33dhzV
When it comes to editing, you also have to recognize when enough is enough.
Q6: When editing a blog post, how can we determine its readability and whether or not it will captivate our readers?
Readability is very important when it comes to your blog posts. But what exactly makes a post readable? These tips will help!
A6: If an editor stumbles over details, is confused by the “point,” or gets bored half-way through, it’s time for a re-write. And that’s okay! Every writer needs a great editor. Work with an editor you respect and you’ll never take the edits personally. #ContentWritingChat
If an editor stumbles over details, gets confused by the point, or gets bored… That’s a sign something needs to change. If your editor feels like that, there’s a good chance your reader will too.
A6: Reading through content start to finish without making any edits the first time around. If you struggled to get through the content because it was boring, you’ve got some work to do. #ContentWritingChatpic.twitter.com/sRawJof09s
Lexie suggests reading through your content from start to finish without making edits. Were you able to get through it or did you get bored? Boring content needs some work!
A6: The Readability Analysis in WordPress can provide some basics to think about. When you see elements like passive voice, transitions, paragraph length, subheading distribution, etc. highlighted for you, it can be a useful starting place in your editing. #ContentWritingChathttps://t.co/arQxvyS3vD
Jennifer suggests using the readability analysis in WordPress if that’s where your site is hosted. It can provide some helpful insights into where you can make improvements.
A6: For some people, they find it helpful to use tools like Hemingway editor. The big thing for me, is making sure there are no big chunks of text and that it flows well from one paragraph to the next. #ContentWritingChat
Having big chunks of text makes your posts harder to read. Break things up into smaller paragraphs, utilize headings, bulleted lists, and images to enhance readability.
Q7: Are there any tools you rely on to be both a better writer and editor?
There are plenty of tools out there that can improve our writing and editing skills. Which ones are worth trying out though? Here are a few suggestions:
A7: There are plenty of great tools to help with brainstorming, grammar, headline writing, story boarding, and more. Sometimes it is just a matter of having a good, red, editing pen 😊. #ContentWritingChat
Julia suggests taking in reader feedback, get critiques from a pro, and to read and write often.
A7: Being a better writer takes practice. The more you write, the better you get. Going along with that, reading quality & well-written articles can also help make you a better writer. #ContentWritingChatpic.twitter.com/H3GlZhvbD8
A7: Google Docs is great for editing because you can leave notes within the platform to show your writers why you’ve made the changes you have. @G2Rebecca is the QUEEN of editing and always leaves the most thoughtful tips and tricks for us. #ContentWritingChatpic.twitter.com/ea3vK37pDv
Danielle’s go-to tools include CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer and the Hemingway app.
Q7: Grammarly is great for telling me when I hit the space bar too many times (why do I always do this?), but honestly, there’s no better tool than the brains of my co-workers. They’re so smart that it blows me away. #ContentWritingChat
Mara is also a Grammarly fan, but she also knows that her co-workers make all the difference when it comes to editing.
Q7: Read, read, read, read! That way I can take inspiration from content that has driven me to act, see what new/interesting things others are doing, and see how I can try it with my own twist. #ContentWritingChathttps://t.co/odTw8PsKke
Influential content just isn’t the same without great graphics! Our favorite is Canva, but Michelle also loves Pablo by Buffer. Ready to join #ContentWritingChat for yourself? We chat on the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central! Just follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for all the latest.
Thinking about hiring a content creator for your business? Just do it.
You’ve probably heard that line a few thousand times before.
The magic of Nike’s signature call-to-action wasn’t built by accident.
The content creators, writers and marketers behind the campaign crafted a line that would make the brand feel more inclusive.
It speaks to everyone, not just athletes, by urging them to follow their aspirations.
Plus, it’s catchy as heck.
Would you want the same thing for your brand?
A lot of your success and reach online comes down to finding the right content creator.
This is a necessary step when it comes to building your brand. 91% of B2B marketers agree.
Adding an expert content creator and writer to your creative team will save you time, money and shape your brand’s identity.
So what are you waiting for? Just do it.
Let’s talk more about the role of a content creator in business, why a content creator benefits you, and a brief history behind today’s modern content creator.
What is a Content Creator?
You may already be familiar of the job of content writing and content creation without ever having come across the terms.
Unlike some of it’s comrades that disguise themselves in tricky acronyms – LBO, BT, BI, SQL, GN – content writing and creation is exactly what it sounds like. (By the way, at least one of those acronyms doesn’t exist, see if you can find it!)
Content writers create content to garner interest in your brand. Blogs, web pages, ad copy, social media posts, ebooks, how-to guides, videos, this very paragraph you’re reading – it’s all the work of highly skilled content creators.
The main difference between anyone simply making a WordPress site, creating a post and jotting down their feelings and a content writer is the hidden technicality of this type of writing.
As you read this blog you’re coming across keywords, links and other techniques that content writers weave in to the content to optimize it for the web.
Can you tell?
I hope not. Content creators are ninjas of the written word. They adhere to the rules of SEO by sneaking them in without interrupting the natural flow of the content.
No matter what, the ever-changing algorithms of optimizing online content will always fall behind the number one rule. The one rule to rule them all: creating high-quality content.
Why You Need a Content Creator
Unless you plan on heading up your company by day and transforming into a content writing ninja by night, the best solution is to hire an expert content writer.
Fulfilling a detailed content strategy shouldn’t be another box to check on your daily to-do list.
Gaining the full benefits of content writing requires 100% attention. You want someone passionate about growing your brand who can bring fresh eyes and follow through on your content strategy.
Not convinced? Let us show you why you need to hire a content creator:
1. It’s Cost Effective
How often do you come across ways to both grow your business and save money?
Outsourcing content creation to a freelance writer or agency will save you the time and cost of training them. In fact, the highest percentage of outsourced content marketing is content creation.
Content creators charge a multitude of prices, so the best strategy before hiring is to know what you want and how much you’re willing to pay. Remember that quality is key to successful online content.
You may be able to get a cheap deal on Fiverr, but quality content isn’t something you bargain for.
We break down our pricing into three quality levels to cover a range of content needs.
2. It Will Save You Time
Content writing is more complex than churning out a few blogs when you feel like it. It takes time to produce high quality content because it’s more than just writing.
This type of content creation is a mix of research, editing, proofreading and formatting to craft high-ranking and high-traffic content relevant to your brand.
It’s okay that you don’t have time to memorize the latest SEO trends for 2018. This responsibility will be taken on by your content writer.
3. Fresh Content Will Keep Your Brand Relevant
Bringing in a content writer to be the voice of your brand will give your audience a whole new perspective.
Content creators are like students taking a course on what your company is. They will learn the ins and outs of your brand identity and turn it into a conversational piece to relay to your clientele.
Consistent content will also keep your online presence up to date. Posting fresh content across all platforms will help you rank higher in search engines. Are you convinced yet?
Before you hire a content creator it’s important to have a clear understanding of what you want. Set your goals so that you can communicate them:
How do you want to sell your brand?
What type of content do you need?
What is your budget?
Do you want someone in-house or outsourced?
Answering these questions will point you in the right direction.
How Did We Get Here? The History of Content Creators
Content writing wasn’t born out of thin air.
It comes from a long ancestry of using messages to communicate.
Finding a connection between a blog centered on Apple’s new iPhone robot and Egyptian hieroglyphics may seem like a stretch, but just hear me out.
From the prehistoric era to today, writing has been one of the top modes of disseminating information.
Perhaps we’ve traded out wooden tablets for Android tablets since then, but at its core, the goals of writing have always remained.
Where Today’s Content Writing Originated: Going Back to Mesopotamian Cuneiform in 8,000 B.C.
The essence of all writing is described as a “system of graphic marks representing the units of a specific language.”
The first recorded writing system was the Mesopotamian cuneiform, which evolved into four phases from 8000 to 1500 BC:
Clay tokens: stood for symbols of a code to categorize and track the amount of items you had. Clay was formed into geometric shapes to mirror the goods they were representing.
Pictographs: signs and impressions that represented numbers and specific items. These symbols replaced physical tokens.
Logographs: or symbols that represented phonetic sounds. For the first time, writing was no longer tied to counting or tracking objects. People wrote names and titles.
The Alphabet: signs that stood for one particular sound that the voice made. This made room for combining multiple signs to represent a whole new word. From the first alphabet came many more renditions, each originating from a particular region.
With each new written form of communication, came the intrigue in spreading that information to a wider audience.
By the time 1450 rolled around, Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press brought forth a revolution. There was an enormous demand for sharing and preserving ideas in print.
In the 1970s, the first renditions of the internet were introduced and the written word was launched into cyberspace.
We’ve been disseminating information from pixels on a screen ever since.
Today: The Shift for Content Creators and Businesses
The power of words is undeniable.
From Shakespeare to hashtags, it’s all about condensing down your identity into a series of signs and symbols.
You can persuade, influence, communicate and create an impact without ever making a sound.
Imagine the impact you can make writing to the four billion people using the internet worldwide?
Well, that made your ears perk up.
The demand for creative content has always been a major part of business strategy. Whether it’s print ads, press releases or commercials, companies have found ways to speak directly to their audience.
Then came Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
With over 3 billion active users, social media has become the language of the people. It didn’t take long for companies to realize that they needed to jump on board to become a part of the conversation.
But it’s more than just showing up.
Having a Facebook account or generic landing page is not enough to sell your brand. The audience on the web today researches services and products they want to support. They buy from brands they want to be associated with.
Customers are looking for a full fledged relationship with your brand, not a one night stand.
To build that relationship, you need to speak to their needs. The best way to do that is through carefully crafted content.
Content writers can turn generic blogs into love letters.
It’s not a skill to be overlooked. Content writing was named one of the top freelancing skills for 2018, with the median salary of over $40,000 a year.
Creating Great Content: It’s More than a Blog
Even if you spend only a few minutes scrolling through articles, chances are that you soak in some of the information.
With the unique ability to speak directly to their targeted audience, content writers are able to recognize what is important to the reader.
The impact of their words reaches far beyond the time you spend actually reading or viewing their content, even if you don’t recognize it.
Remember, we’re ninjas.
The best content creators find what’s at the core of the product they are selling, and emphasize that. Dos Equis was never associated with the most interesting anything until their manly mascot came around.
Putting creativity at the forefront of your content strategy is a way to reach consumers without overselling your brand.
One content creator, Nanette Burstein, and her team turned the negative connotation of “like a girl” on it’s head in the Always marketing campaign. The #LikeAGirl movement urged girls and women of all ages to aspire to reach bigger goals and celebrated their accomplishments. The content Nanette created associated Always with female empowerment while also selling more feminine products.
Metro Trains had a very simple message for passengers: don’t mess around on trains. Instead of posting signage and warnings, their creative team designed a video depicting “Dumb Ways to Die” with a catchy jingle and cute characters to match. The result? Over 165 million views on YouTube and counting.
I think they got their message across.
Content creation does not have to be directly associated with the products you’re selling. It’s about creating content that’s appealing to your target audience while also sharing your message.
Creating valuable content transcends your products. At the end of the day, you’re building a relationship between your audience and your brand.
Content Creators that Care: Building My Team to Support a Growing Industry
Though my brand, Express Writers, absolutely does offer high-quality content services, I also grow it as a means of supporting a community interested in online content.
Beyond the products we sell, we offer resources to businesses, freelancers and anyone wanting to learn about content marketing.
I started the Write Blog, Write Podcast and #ContentWritingChat as a way to continue the conversation about what’s important in the writing world to everyone, not just our customers.
I’ve even built an online content marketing and strategy course to help everyone learn the skills to be successful in the content realm.
You, too, can become a member of the content creator ninja society.
There’s no need to keep these skills secret. Content creation is not about competition. The purpose of writing has and always will be to share and preserve valuable content.
Maybe your creative content team will come up with the next gem worthy to have a seat next to Coca Cola’s “Share a Coke,” or Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef?”
The possibilities are endless when it comes to building content around your brand.
So don’t take Volkswagen’s “Think Small” advice, no matter how well it worked for them.
It’s your content.
Could you use some help with your content creation?
Well, you’re in the right place!
During this week’s #ContentWritingChat, we talked all about content creation tactics to help you create better content and to do it more efficiently.
Let’s dive into the recap for all the tips!
#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Creation Tactics & Methods for 2018
Join us for our monthly community chat on Tuesday, March 13th at 10 AM Central Time! ??
This was our monthly community chat, where we put our participants in the spotlight! The topic of Content Creation Tactics was the runner-up in a recent poll we conducted to see what you wanted to chat about.
Q1: What characteristics make a high-quality, valuable piece of content?
To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share the characteristics of a high-quality, valuable piece of content. After all, you have to know what makes a great piece of content if you want to ensure your work fits the bill! Here’s what a few people had to say:
A1: The content has to be consumer-centric. If you write to their pain points, questions, areas of interest, you’re going to be providing some semblance of value to them. Keep the consumer at the center of your efforts! #Contentwritingchat
You want your content to be consumer-centric. Write blog posts that address their paint points, answer questions, and pique their interests. That’s going to help you create content they love and appreciate.
A1: I think it depends on the goal of that piece of content. However, content that either solves a problem, answers a questions, or keys in on a hot topic that’s relevant to your target audience will time and time again provide value! #contentwritingchat
Keep in mind that it all depends on the goal of your content. As Maria pointed out, you’ll want to create content that solves a problem, answers a question, or chimes in on a hot topic that’s relevant to your audience.
Make sure your content is relevant to your target audience. If it’s not, they won’t find it important and they won’t bother reading it! Sarah also mentioned that timing, emotion, and creating a need to act are also important factors.
A1: Valuable content is always research-driven. If you don’t know your audience’s pain points/needs/habits, you won’t be able to create high-quality and helpful content that addresses them. #ContentWritingChat
Your content should be informative and engaging. You want your readers to feel they’re gaining something from the content they read.
A1: Great content must be actionable – something the reader can do immediately and make a difference. I’m also following the rule of the 1st sentence which is to get the reader to read the 2nd sentence. The goal of the 2nd is to get them to read the 3rd etc #contentwritingchat
b) most well-researched, well-written piece on the topic
c) original thoughts (stands out on its own)
d) great use and placement of visuals (from GIFs to screenshots)
e) optimized for search#ContentWritingChat
— Julia McCoy | #SXSW 2018 (@JuliaEMcCoy) March 13, 2018
Julia feels great content should be comprehensive, well-researched, well-written, and it should contain original thoughts. She also knows visuals can play a big role in the success of a blog post.
Lexie’s advice is to consider what your audience wants. How much are they willing to read each week?
A2 Content frequency/velocity should depend on 2 things:
1) consistency (w/o consistency, your brand authority will NOT get built)
2) your level of comfort. Never publish rushed. If you’re tight on time, GET SUPPORT! Hire a writer… @ExpWriters can help!#ContentWritingChat
— Julia McCoy | #SXSW 2018 (@JuliaEMcCoy) March 13, 2018
Julia feels content frequency depends on consistency and your level of comfort. As she pointed out, you should publish something that was rushed.
A2 #ContentWritingChat It is definitely important to keep blogs updated regularly, but you shouldn’t force yourself to upload content to keep the blog updated if the content if going to lack quality. Quality over quantity every time!
Uploading poor content just so you don’t miss a publishing day is not a smart move.
A2: You want to create new content consistently for your audience; but, don’t waste peoples time. There is too much content out there. Be sure your content is unique and relevant to your audience. #ContentWritingChathttps://t.co/cfSDFAm5mQ
— Lori Anding? Smallbiz Social Media Expertise (@southbaysome) March 13, 2018
Create content consistently, but don’t waste the time of your readers. Lori’s advice is to create something that unique and relevant.
This is interesting research via Forbes! Keep this in mind when creating your content calendar.
A2: Frequency depends on your audience and how often they are engaging with your content. Look at the stats. I think frequency is a little different for everyone. You have to find your sweet spot. #ContentWritingChat
You always need to know your audience and what they’re interested in. Start developing a relationship with them to get to know them better.
A3: Surveying your audience is the best way to figure out what they want. You can also use sites like @answerthepublic to find long tail keywords! Make sure your content has both brand tie in and audience benefit! #ContentWritingChat
Jenn suggests doing surveys, polls, or turning to other groups to come up with content ideas.
A3: We deploy social listening to see what our target audience is talking about. From there, we pick up on trends and hot topics and put our own spin on it. It’s all about creating relevant copy. #contentwritingchat
A3: I listen with my eyes. I like to take note of trending topics and what people in my niche are interested in. From there, I figure out if I can add any value to that conversation by creating content around that topic. If yes, the blog writing begins. #ContentWritingChat
Maria pays attention to trending topics and what the people in her niche are interested in.
A3: twitter, and specifically twitter chats, are good places to discover trending topics and to get ideas of what people are interested in (questions that are being asked, topics being discussed #contentwritingchathttps://t.co/0BTy9dagfr
Scott knows Twitter chats can tell you a lot about your audience and which topics are worth covering on your blog.
A3) Analytics – social media monitoring/listening gives you a real-world flavor for “hot topics”, and web/blog analytics gives you opportunities (like search terms, location, etc). #ContentWritingChatpic.twitter.com/FdKcMNgu2p
Gordon suggests checking out your analytics. You can learn a lot by looking are things like search terms.
A3: Checking out analytics is a great way to devise more content ideas. What did your readers love? What did they search for to find you? Where did they click off to once they finished reading? That tells you what they’re looking for and you can target that. #contentwritingchat
Sabina’s advice is to dive into your analytics to see what your readers have loved in the past. She also said to determine what they searched for to find you, where they left your site, and more. These are all great ideas.
Annaliese said to research your competitors. Find out what’s working for them and determine how you can put your own spin on it. You can also use topic generators for ideas.
Q4: Share your tips for creating your editorial calendar. How far in advance do you plan? How do you choose what to write about?
Creating your editorial calendar is certainly time-consuming, but it’s the best way to ensure you stay on track with your content. If you’ve been struggling to create a calendar and stick with it, check out these tips:
A4: Strategize a couple months’ worth of topics & lay out when you want them published/amplified, but pro tip: be flexible! If something else comes up (i.e., client work or even a new/different blog post topic), roll with it! It’s not the end of the world.#ContentWritingChathttps://t.co/cePe2iZxAT
Cass tries to plan content a month in advance, which is great!
A4: I think it’s helpful to create a theme around your content each month. Then, you can choose the content that’s relevant and will help you achieve whatever goal you’re hoping to reach. #ContentWritingChat
Kristen and the team she works with focus on quarterly and monthly themes for their content.
A4. While being prepared and planning your #content is necessary to keep up with the never-ending #content stream, it’s also important to remember that you want your news or the topics you write about to be relevant and not too old. #ContentWritingChat
Make sure you’re always relevant with the content you’re publishing. No one wants old news!
A4 People need to use what works for them, different strokes for different folks. I am usually 3 to 4 months out but I always save room for some hot topic or something I want to get out right away #ContentWritingChat
Just remember to do what works best for you. What works for one brand might not be the best option for your team.
Q5: Describe your writing process! Which steps are essential for you?
When it comes to content creation tactics, we all have different steps we follow. It’s all about doing what’s right for you, after all! However, that doesn’t mean we can’t draw inspiration from others. Check out the essential writing steps some of these chat participants take:
A5: Before I start, I check whether my content will be relevant at the time I set for publishing. Will it be successful?
I then research the topic to make sure I have the most up-to-date info.
I outline my ideas and start drafting… #ContentWritingChathttps://t.co/wQSM3LBiSV
A5: RESEARCH. We spend the majority of our time doing our research, interviewing stakeholders, researching more. Credibility and proof points are key to producing relevant/accurate content. #ContentWritingChat
The Launch Marketing team also relies on research before diving into the writing process.
A5 My writing process involves a lot of support + scheduled quiet office time.
I need both to produce amazing content.
My scheduled quiet time = Topic research/writing
Support = beautiful custom visuals, additional copy, post optimization and scheduling#ContentWritingChat
— Julia McCoy | #SXSW 2018 (@JuliaEMcCoy) March 13, 2018
Julia relies on scheduled quiet time in her office to get writing done.
Kristopher also needs quiet time to get writing done, but he likes having soft music playing in the background. From tehre, he plans and outlines his work before moving onto writing.
A5. My writing steps:
1. Choose topic based on goals, analytics data and research
3. Take a break and come back to the copy with a fresh mind
4. Publish/submit if I still like what I’ve written. If not, research again and repeat from Step 2.#ContentWritingChat
Choose your topics based on your goals, analytics data, and research. Then, begin writing. Afterwards, you should take a break before coming back to do your editing. This allows you to review your work with fresh eyes.
A5: My writing process is a little funky in that I edit as I go along. My first draft always looks nearly identical to the final product. Maybe it’s not the most efficient way, but I’ll pause and find things to hyperlink along the way instead of all at the end #contentwritingchat
A5: Everyone has a different process. It’s important to find the one that works best for you! I personally like to do lots of research & create bullet points off of that to write. Sometimes I’ll leave content and come back to it. Then of course editing. #ContentWritingChatpic.twitter.com/uqAbScOG1f
And remember, do what works for you! If your writing process is stressful or frustrating, figure out why and make a change.
Q6: What are your favorite resources for learning how to strengthen your writing skills?
Luckily, there are plenty of resources out there that can help us become better writers. Which ones are worth checking out? Here’s a great round-up of suggestions from the chat:
Seriously, reading makes writers better. ?
I like to read bestsellers in marketing + a new blog from my top 5 favorite publications. I read at least 500w of stellar content daily. It inspires my content production SO.MUCH.#ContentWritingChat
— Julia McCoy | #SXSW 2018 (@JuliaEMcCoy) March 13, 2018
Julia knows reading other material is one great way to strengthen your writing skills.
A6: READING. My favorite resources are other writers’ work — be it books (my favorite), influencers in my industry, and my writer friends’ pieces.
Ashok likes to read content from Neil Patel, Search Engine Journal, and others.
A6: Honestly, writing continuously is what’s best for strengthening your writing skills. You can read a lot of popular resources, which is helpful, but you have to put your skills to work. Practice makes perfect! #ContentWritingChatpic.twitter.com/NvHWOViORJ
Lexie knows that you have to put those skills to use because practice makes perfect when it comes to writing.
A6: It’s important to get in the mind frame that you can always become a better writer and learn new things. No one has it all figured out, that’s the beauty of it. I read a ton of books. “Words that Work,”Everybody Writes,” Writing that Works” are good books. #ContentWritingChat
• Human editors
• Hemingway App
• Paper Rater
• Grammarly (Not much of a fan of this because it has various conflicting guidelines based on the type of copy. But it’s okay once a while.)#ContentWritingChat
If you’re all about engagement, you’ll want to see those comments and conversations happening on your blog. Join us for the next #ContentWritingChat! We’re chatting every Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time on Twitter. Just follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for all the latest!
This week on #ContentWritingChat, we decided to switch things up a bit! As you may know by now, we typically have a guest host join us every week. Well, this Tuesday we decided to have a community chat and just let our participants be the main focus. After all, we do love each and every person who joins us for an hour of fun every Tuesday!
This community chat went so well that we’re actually going to incorporate them into our #ContentWritingChat schedule every month. We’re even going to give you you the opportunity to give input on upcoming chat topics, so stay tuned!
But for now, let’s dive into the recap of this week’s chat where we talked all about content creation tips and trick for 2017!
#ContentWritingChat Recap: 2017 Content Creation Tips and Tricks
In Tuesday’s chat, we invited everyone to join us and talk content creation. Being that so many members of our #ContentWritingChat community are writers, it’s no surprise that they all had some great advice to share. Let’s get to it!
Q1: When it comes to content, what’s the first step you should always take before you begin creating?
Before you dive head first into writing content, there are a few things you should do beforehand! What might those things be? Here’s what a few of our participants believe are the essential first steps:
Sarah is spot-on with her answer! She knows that you have to determine what your audience needs to see before you can start with content creation. After all, if you aren’t sure what your audience needs, how can you create content that will resonate?
A1: Get to know your audience. Learn what information they need and how they want to receive it. #contentwritingchat
As you spend time getting to know your audience, you also want to determine how they like to receive content. Do they prefer a specific content format or a certain platform? These are all important things to consider before you create.
A1. Date your audience. Get to know them before asking them to take a content journey with you. #ContentWritingChat
— Bourbon & Honey (@BrittanyBrander) July 11, 2017
We like the way Brittany put it! Date your audience to get to know them before taking them along on your content journey.
As Megan mentioned, research is a very important step to content creation. Before you can begin writing, you may need to conduct research to learn more yourself or so that you have sources to back up your ideas.
A1 Discover trends/ research topics that do the best on the specific platform you’re writing for. Analyze audience & SEO #ContentWritingChat
— Julia McCoy ? (@JuliaEMcCoy) July 11, 2017
Julia’s advice is to begin by discovering trends and topics and perform the best on the platform you’re writing for. You can then analyze the audience and SEO.
A1: Define goals, marketing objectives. How will content help you get closer to achieving those goals #ContentWritingChat
You can’t forget to set goals either! When you have clear goals in mind, you’re able to create the content that will help you achieve what you want.
Q2: What types of content do you create to build and maintain an authoritative, ROI online presence?
There are all kinds of content types out there in the online world! For that reason, it can be difficult to choose what’s right for you. Here’s some advice for you if you want to create authoritative content that helps you get results:
A2 Whatever types your audience prefers. Authority is a measure of trust, and speaking their language builds trust. #ContentWritingChat
— Lex (@estherproject) July 11, 2017
Les knows that it’s important to consider the content types your audience prefers. If your audience loves to read, they’ll probably enjoy your long-form blog posts. If they’re more visual, they’ll be happy to watch your YouTube videos and live broadcasts. Always keep their preferences in mind!
A2: Relevant, helpful content via a variety of mediums – must consider that people absorb information differently #ContentWritingChat
Elizabeth recommends trying multiple mediums for your content. This is a great opportunity to see what performs best for you and what your audience likes the most. Whichever content type you choose, it’s crucial that you share a relevant, helpful message.
A2 NEVER overlook your core content types if you want to build a killer authority SEO presence – blogs & landing pages #ContentWritingChat
— Julia McCoy ? (@JuliaEMcCoy) July 11, 2017
Julia urges you not to overlook your core content types. Make sure you aren’t neglecting your blog and the various landing pages you have on your site.
Infographics and blog posts are two ways you can certainly shine online!
Q3: What platforms do you publish on? (Your own site, guest platforms, etc.)
It’s important to consider where you’re publishing your online content if you want to effectively reach your audience. We asked our chat participants to share where they dedicate most of their time and here’s what they had to say:
Julia knows it’s important to focus on your own website, as that’s online real estate you actually own. You don’t have to worry about a site or a social media platform shutting down. Secondly, she encourages guest blogging. You can use platforms like LinkedIn Pulse and Medium for this.
Her other piece of advice is not to be everywhere online. She says it’ll dilute your focus and you’ll also wind up spreading yourself too thin. Focus on the core platforms that you enjoy and that work for you.
Gaby publishes content on her personal website, other industry sites, and on social media. In the past, she’s even contributed to academic sites. It’s all about finding what works for you and just going for it!
A3. I publish on my own site, and I am trying to get published on some relevant guest platforms. #ContentWritingChat
Make sure you’re actually listening to your audience. Sometimes, they’ll you exactly what they want to see from you! Watch for the comments and questions they leave on your blog posts, in response to email newsletters, and also on social media.
A4: Your audience should inspire you! Your competitors can also be an inspiration; do what they did, but do it better. #contentwritingchat
— Netvantage Marketing (@netvantage) July 11, 2017
You can also draw inspiration from your competitors. Check out what they’re doing and what they’re missing out on. You may have the opportunity to do something better than they did or fill a need they’ve forgotten about.
A4: If you’re a business, look at your support tickets. You’ll get a stream of endless topics from there. #ContentWritingChat.
Allow Google to be your best friend! Lex recommends doing a little keyword and user intent research to figure out what your audience is searching for. Once you know, you’re able to create exactly the content they want.
Andrew relies on Post-it Notes to help him with the content creation process. He also recommends stepping away from your content for a bit and then revisiting it. This is a great way to make any final edits. He also said it’s helpful to ask for feedback from others.
A5: Biggest tip – don’t be afraid to just write. Give yourself 5 minutes to put out all your thoughts and then evaluate #ContentWritingChat
— Mallorie Cloum (@malocloum) July 11, 2017
Mallorie says you shouldn’t be afraid to just write. Sometimes getting started is the hardest part, so the best thing you can do is just start writing and let the words flow. It doesn’t matter if it’s a mess because you can always edit it later.
Q6: How do you ensure the content you create will help you achieve the goals you set for your brand?
If the content you write isn’t helping you achieve your end goal, what’s the point? Here’s how you can ensure everything you publish is having an impact:
Remember: everything you publish should track back to your larger goals. You need to publish content that serves a purpose and is working hard for you.
Q7: What do you predict for the future of content in 2017 and beyond?
The world of online content is always changing, so it’s important that we look to the future for what’s right around the corner. Here are some predictions our chat participants have made about what’s to come:
Cheval thinks a majority of online content will be created in video format. It’s one content type that has been on the rise in recent years and is showing no signs of slowing down.
A7 More video. More tools for creating content. And more dilution. Those that are creative + consistent = stand out #ContentWritingChat
— Julia McCoy ? (@JuliaEMcCoy) July 11, 2017
Julia also sees that video is on the rise, but she’s also predicting there will be even more tools for creating content. She said people will have to be both creative and consistent if they want to stand out in this busy online world.
BuzzSumo, Keyword Tool, and SEMrush are all great options for conducting keyword research. For editing, Grammarly is a popular option. And for anyone who wants an easy way to create graphics, Canva is awesome.
Beth loves to use the Hemingway app, which is another popular tool for content creation. Want to join in on the Twitter chat fun? Our chat takes place every Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time! Be sure to follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for all the latest!
There’s no denying that long-form content is where it’s at when it comes to the world of online content. That’s why we had to host a #ContentWritingChat all about this topic that’s so crucial for content creators. If you’re ready to learn more about the benefits of long-form content, how to create it, and how to promote it, you’re in the right place! Now, let’s dive into the recap!
#ContentWritingChat Recap: Long-Form Content: Distribution & Promotion Tactics, & Best Examples with Lisa Dougherty
Our guest host this week was Lisa Dougherty. Lisa is an entrepreneur and she’s also the Blog & Community Director over at Content Marketing Institute. CMI is one of our favorite resources and we were thrilled to have Lisa join the chat and share her expertise on long-form content.
Q1: Why should you consider long-form content in this age where so many talk about short-form content?
You’ve likely heard that we as human beings tend to have short attention spans. So, if this is true, then why are people pushing brands to create long-form content online? Here’s how longer, valuable content can actually benefit your brand:
A1a: Long-form content (2k+ words) typically performs better on social, increases website authority, plus links. #ContentWritingChat
— Lisa Dougherty (@BrandLoveLLC) May 2, 2017
A1b: Long-form content is more likely to generate backlinks signaling search engines quality content that ranks higher. #ContentWritingChat
Sarah feels long-form content allows you to go deep with your customers and strengthen your relationship with them. After all, when they fall in love with the valuable content you create, they’ll truly appreciate your work and become big fans of your brand.
A1: If it’s meaty, long-form content gives readers a lot of value. Still needs to be concise, actionable. #ContentWritingChat
— Darcy De Leon (@darcydeleon) May 2, 2017
Darcy knows longer content can provide readers with tremendous value, which they’re sure to love you for. Make sure that you keep your content concise and actionable to ensure they’re engaged.
A1 Long-form content offers a more complete narrative, which means you have to stay lively to keep attention throughout. #ContentWritingChat
As Jim mentioned, you’ll have to work in order to keep the attention of your audience when creating longer content. You don’t want them to tune out before finishing your post.
Q2: How do you ensure longer blog posts are captivating and hold attention all the way through?
With longer content, you’re going to have to hook your reader in the very beginning and then hold their attention to get them to read through your entire post. What’s the secret to making that happen? Check out this advice from Tuesday’s chat:
A2a: Capturing attention is hard in a noisy world. Tell your story w/ emotion. Use personal experiences. #ContentWritingChat
— Lisa Dougherty (@BrandLoveLLC) May 2, 2017
A2b: Write for your reader, not search engines, so they’ll keep coming back. #ContentWritingChat
Lisa encourages you to tell your story and infuse it with emotion. Share your personal experiences. It’s this kind of content that will leave people wanting to read more. She also said to write for your reader, not the search engines. While it’s fine to optimize your content for search engines, you need to create with your reader in mind. It’ll help you develop a stronger connection with them and they’ll continue to come back and read more.
A2c: Headlines attract attention. Intros lure readers in. Keep both interesting and short. #ContentWritingChat
— Lisa Dougherty (@BrandLoveLLC) May 2, 2017
Lisa also shared some great advice when it comes to writing your long-form content. As she mentioned, headlines will attract attention. They are what will get people to your content in the first place. What will get them to read is your introduction and the content that follows. Make sure you keep it interesting and drawn them in.
A2 Put drafts aside for a day or two. Then read with fresh eyes. If your long-form content bores you, you have problems. #ContentWritingChat
When it comes to editing, Jim suggests letting your drafts sit for a day or two. Then, once you’ve had some time apart, you can come back and edit with fresh eyes. As he said, if your long-form content bores you, you have problems. You need to find a way to change it up before you hit publish.
A2: Long blogs require strategic formatting to keep reader interest: graphics for visual support, a captivating voice #contentwritingchat
— Elizabeth Greenberg (@BettaBeYou) May 2, 2017
Elizabeth knows longer blog posts will require strategic formatting in order to keep your reader interested and to lead them through the post. It’s also important to showcase your brand’s captivating voice.
How you structure your blog posts also plays a major role in keeping people hooked on your long-form content. You’ll want to use headings and make sure everything flows. Headings are great for separating individual ideas and it helps to break up big blocks of text. And making sure everything flows is important because you want to have high quality writing on your blog.
A2: Break up content with pictures (worth a 1,000 words) & subheadings can help keep the audience engaged. #contentwritingchat
— Netvantage Marketing (@netvantage) May 2, 2017
Pictures are another great way to break up text and they can also grab attention and keep people interested. You’ll want to add at least one eye-catching visual to each of your blog posts.
Erika knows subheadings and visuals are great, but she also suggested using bulleted lists. Bulleted and numbered lists are an easy way to make text scannable for your reader, which they’ll surely appreciate. And as she said, don’t write just to make your posts long. Only write as much as you feel is necessary to get your point across.
Q3: Once you’ve created an amazing piece of long-form content, how do you promote it to maximize your readership?
Once you have an amazing piece of content published on your website, you can’t just let it sit there to gather virtual dust. Instead, you have to be proactive about promoting the content you’ve written. Here’s how you can promote a piece of content and attract plenty of new readers:
A3a: Have a popular post widget on your website so top posts are front and center and can be easily shared. #ContentWritingChat
Lisa knows just how beneficial a “popular posts” widget on your website can be. If there are any posts you’d like to showcase, they can be featured in your popular posts section, which is great for keeping people on your site and reading more.
A3: Share it where your audience is! You should know where they are & what content they want. #contentwritingchat
— Netvantage Marketing (@netvantage) May 2, 2017
This advice is simple: share it! If you have something new that you’ve created and you’d like to send some more traffic to it, you can absolutely do that. It all starts with knowing who your audience is (and where you’re from) and also knowing what they want.
Promote your content on social media or to your email list. Ask influencers to help you spread the word or team up for media partnerships. And finally, organic traffic will do you wonders if you’ve optimized correctly.
A3c: Go visual with it! Can it be the basis for a live video? An infographic? A series of graphics? #ContentWritingChat
— Sara Tetzloff (@que_sara) May 2, 2017
Sara encourages you to find a way to repurpose your content. You can do so in a visual way, which means you could create a live video, an infographic, a series of graphics, or something else. It’s all about finding what works best for your brand and your audience.
Q4: What are other creative ways to promote long-form content for maximum mileage?
If you really want to increase the readership on a particular piece of long-form content, you’ll want to get creative with how you spread the word. Here are a few great ideas you can try out:
Lisa likes the ideas of sending email previews to those who contributed to a post or those who are mentioned in a post. You can send them the publish date, the URL, and any pre-written tweets to make it easy for them to share. When you take out the hard work for them, they’ll be more likely to spread the word!
Lisa also mentioned using the Click to Tweet feature to create ready-to-share posts for social media. This makes it easy for readers to spread the word about the content you’ve created. You also want to link to older, relevant content to keep people on your site.
You can even share it in relevant social media groups, on Reddit, various dedicated forums and discussion platforms, create infographics, and promote it via Quora.
Q5: Should you syndicate a great piece of long-form content on another site? If so, where is a great place to start?
To maximize readership, many turn to syndication as a way to repurpose content they’ve created. Is this really worthwhile though? And if so, how do you go about syndicating content the right way? Read these tips:
As Lisa mentioned, Google may not be a fan of content syndication. You’ll want to do some research before trying this out for yourself. To help, she shared a post from Content Marketing Institute so you can learn more about syndication.
A5 Develop a good, trusting relationship with another site, being sure of syndication terms in writing.Then try it. #ContentWritingChat
If you decide to move forward with syndication, keep Jim’s advice in mind. He suggests building a trusting relationship with the site first. You also want to make sure you’re aware of their syndication terms before getting started.
Hank agrees that you shouldn’t go overboard when syndicating. Choose wisely which platforms you want to post your content on.
Q6: What are ways you can repurpose written long-form content? At what point in the process should you start planning for repurposing opportunities?
To truly make the most of your content, you’ll want to repurpose it. This will help you breathe new life into older content and you’ll be able to reach a wider audience. So, how can you get started with this strategy? Check it out:
A6a: Extend life of posts by creating social assets such as YouTube videos, SlideShare, infographics, & quote images. #ContentWritingChat
— Lisa Dougherty (@BrandLoveLLC) May 2, 2017
A6b: Start planning right away. Find your evergreen content. Check your site analytics to find top-performing posts. #ContentWritingChat
Lisa suggests repurposing your content in the following ways: YouTube videos, SlideShare, infographics, and quote images. All of these ideas are great and are sure to help you get more mileage out of your content.
She also suggests getting started right away when it comes to planning how you’ll repurpose a piece of content. You can do this by finding your evergreen content and determining the best way to repurpose it based on your brand and your audience. Think about what they’d most like to see! It’s also wise to repurpose the posts that are performing the best.