#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Create Influential Content & Become a Strong Editor with Stephanie Stahl

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Create Influential Content & Become a Strong Editor with Stephanie Stahl

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 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:

Stephanie feels influential content contains three key qualities: credibility, creativity, and emotion. Does your content have these things?

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!

Jason feels influential content should trigger an emotional response in your reader. This is a huge part of establishing a connection with your audience.

According to Gene, influential content should be well-written, well-researched, and show deep insight.

Authority is a must for influential content! Kristen feels you can show your authority through your own experiences, but also through research and opinions.

Rebecca also feels that influential content should have an authoritative voice.

Lexie said that content is influential when it makes you think and act. Is your content inspiring your readers to take action?

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:

As Stephanie said, you need to treat your audience like your best friend. Get to know what they like and what they don’t so you can create the content that’s most appealing.

Kylee knows that you can’t start writing unless you’ve done your research about who your target audience is.

Lexie agrees that it’s all about getting to know your audience first. Talk to them and build a relationship first so you can understand their needs.

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.

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.

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.

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.

While you’re doing some trial and error, your analytics will become your best friend. As Alexa pointed out, the data you find here will help you create content that resonates.

Q3: What are the essential elements that every great piece of online content should have?

So, you want to make sure your content stands out! Well, there are a few things that great content always has. Here they are:

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.

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.

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.

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:

This is great advice from Stephanie!

Lexie suggests reading through a piece of content in its entirety before making any edits. This way, you can see if it paints the full picture you envisioned. If not, you’ll have some changes to make.

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.

Reading your content aloud can make a huge difference! This helps Lauren spot any mistakes she might have missed.

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.

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:

Being too wordy is definitely a no-no! Stephanie knows a great editor can help cut out any unnecessary words while still keeping the main points in tact.

Not editing your work is definitely a mistake! While it may be tedious at time, it’s worth it to review your content before hitting publish.

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.

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.

Lauren says you shouldn’t rely on the same old words and phrases all the time. Don’t be afraid to switch things up a bit!

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!

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.

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!

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.

Kylee knows that big chunks of text are definitely a NO! She also said to make sure your content flows from one paragraph to the next.

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:

Stephanie knows there are plenty of great tools out there, but sometimes it just doesn’t compare to a red pen!

Julia suggests taking in reader feedback, get critiques from a pro, and to read and write often.

Lexie knows that it’s all about practice. To be a better writer, you have to consistently practice writing.

Gaby is definitely a fan of Grammarly!

Lauren relies on Google Docs because it’s easy to use when editing content. It allows you to leave notes and see where changes have been made.

Danielle’s go-to tools include CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer and the Hemingway app.

Mara is also a Grammarly fan, but she also knows that her co-workers make all the difference when it comes to editing.

Never stop reading! You can get so much inspiration from reading what others have written. But as Lauren suggested, just try putting your own spin on things.

Q8: If we want to strengthen our content creation skills, are there any resources we should check out?

While you’re checking out all of those suggested tools, here are some additional resources to use:

Gaby suggests taking online classes, reading case studies, collaborating with others, and more. All are great options for strengthening your skills.

Danielle loves to listen to the interviews on the Longform podcast.

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.

How the Right Content Creator Can Completely Redefine Your Brand

How the Right Content Creator Can Completely Redefine Your Brand

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.
B2B Using CM
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.content creator blog

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.

Have you read our ultimate guide on What is a Content Strategist, yet?  Check it out here! You can read it online or download and save for later.

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.
Think big.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Creation Tactics & Methods for 2018

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Creation Tactics & Methods for 2018

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

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:

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.

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.

Sabina said that high-quality, valuable content is always research-driven.

Your content should be informative and engaging. You want your readers to feel they’re gaining something from the content they read.

Warwick feels great content should be actionable. Give your readers something to do next by including an effective call to action.

Your content should be readable, relatable, and relevant to your audience.

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.

Gordon likes content to be emotionally engaging and well-composed.

As Lexie said, you want your content to stick with your audience long after they’ve finished reading it. That’s a sign of a great piece!

Q2: How often should we be publishing new content on our blogs?

Is there a magic number of times we should publish new content? It’s an age old question that many bloggers are faced with. And here’s what you need to know:

Lexie’s advice is to consider what your audience wants. How much are they willing to read each week?

Julia feels content frequency depends on consistency and your level of comfort. As she pointed out, you should publish something that was rushed.

Uploading poor content just so you don’t miss a publishing day is not a smart move.

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.

How often is your audience engaging with your content? It’s going to be different for every brand, so you need to find your sweet spot.

Know your audience, know your capabilities, and know your content goals. This will guide your posting frequency.

Q3: What are your best tactics for choosing topics to write about on your blog?

Deciding what to write about isn’t always an easy task. Fortunately, we have some great advice that will help you out! Read what these chat participants had to say:

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.

Surveying your audience or spending time on platforms like Answer the Public can be great content creation tactics.

Jenn suggests doing surveys, polls, or turning to other groups to come up with content ideas.

Social listening is always a great tactic!

Maria pays attention to trending topics and what the people in her niche are interested in.

Scott knows Twitter chats can tell you a lot about your audience and which topics are worth covering on your blog.

Gordon suggests checking out your analytics. You can learn a lot by looking are things like search terms.

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:

Sarah’s advice is to be strategic with your content, but to also be flexible. If something comes up, don’t be afraid to make shifts in your schedule.

Cass tries to plan content a month in advance, which is great!

Creating a theme around your content each month is a great way to ensure you’re working towards your goals. It’s also going to be helpful in deciding which ideas make it into the editorial calendar.

Kristen and the team she works with focus on quarterly and monthly themes for their content.

Make sure you’re always relevant with the content you’re publishing. No one wants old news!

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:

Is your content relevant for the time you’ll be publishing it? No one wants a stale piece of content, so make sure you’re timely. Also, ask yourself if you see this particular idea being successful.

Creating content all starts with research!

The Launch Marketing team also relies on research before diving into the writing process.

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.

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.

Sabina likes to edit as she goes along.

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:

Julia knows reading other material is one great way to strengthen your writing skills.

Sarah also loves to read, whether it’s books, content from influencers in her industry, or reading work her writer friends have created.

Annaliese turns to resources like Copyblogger and the Express Writers blog for tips. We couldn’t be more appreciative of this!

Carla knows her Kindle is a must! It’s a great way to get instant access to a plethora of books.

Grammarly is Gordon’s favorite tool to use, but he also attends meet-ups and trainings to learn more.

Ashok likes to read content from Neil Patel, Search Engine Journal, and others.

Lexie knows that you have to put those skills to use because practice makes perfect when it comes to writing.

Remember you can always improve your writing skills if you just dedicate the time and effort to the practice.

Q7: Are there any tools that will help you polish your writing before hitting publish?

Need help polishing your writing before hitting publish on that important blog post? These tools will lend you a helping hand:

Lexie relies on Grammarly, but she also likes to have someone else look over content before publishing it.

Jade uses Grammarly, then has his wife look over his work.

A second or third set of eyes never hurts!

The Hemingway App and Grammarly are two great tools to use.

Annaliese relies on the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer, Grammarly, and the Hemingway App.

Danielle’s go-to tools include Moz, Hemingway, and CoSchedule.

Read your content out loud or even backwards to see if you spot any mistakes.

Q8: How do you measure the success of your content?

Once your content has been published, the next step is to track its success. How do you measure its performance? These are the metrics to watch:

It all goes back to the goals of your content. That determines which metrics you track.

Your goals could be engagement, time spent on page, comments, and more.

Varun suggested tracking goals like brand awareness, engagement, lead generation, or sales conversions. All of them are great metrics to track.

We can’t forget about conversions! Sarah also mentioned how the post is helping with SEO, if it’s acquiring links, and if it’s brining in traffic.

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!
cta content strategy and marketing course

#ContentWritingChat Recap: 2017 Content Creation Tips and Tricks

#ContentWritingChat Recap: 2017 Content Creation Tips and Tricks

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?

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.

We like the way Brittany put it! Date your audience to get to know them before taking them along on your content journey.

Having a message behind your content is important as well. You want your audience to read your content and be able to walk away with something of value. Make sure your content always serves a purpose.

Zala also agrees that your content needs to serve a purpose. Everything you publish online should add value to your audience in some way.

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.

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.

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:

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!

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.

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!

Brittany has been mostly focused on her own website, but she’s planning to branch out into guest blogging. It’s a great way to get your content in front of a wider, relevant audience.

Cheval mostly publishes on his own site as well, but he does like to repurpose articles on LinkedIn. If your audience is there, this could be a worthwhile strategy for you as well.

Sarah said the ThinkSEM team is focused on publishing content on their blog, in their email newsletters, and then spreading the word via Twitter.

Jeff enjoys finding valuable content via Medium. With a variety of articles and writers, you’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy.

Q4: How do you get inspired to create content ideas for your blog and social media?

It’s not always easy to find inspiration for new content ideas, which can often leave us frustrated! If you’re looking for ways to get your creative juices flowing again, check out these tips:

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.

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.

It also helps to look at support tickets, if this is a part of your business. If your audience is often asking the same questions, you can write content that answers them.

Javier suggests thinking about the challenges your clients are facing or may face in the future. You can create content that provides them with potential solutions to what they’re dealing with.

Anna checks Quora to find out what people are frequently asking there. She also turns to books and articles to gain inspiration.

Beth finds that she’s often inspired by other blogs. Whenever an idea strikes, she records it in a document where she’ll easily find it later.

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.

On the flip side, sometimes it helps to just get away from the computer for a bit. Get outside and go for a walk. Danielle said the fresh air can do wonders for your imagination.

Q5: What does your process for content creation look like? Any tips you can share?

We all have a different process when it comes to content creation! Here’s how some of our chat participants get started with creating:

Brittany’s process will have you on the fast-track to content success! Research, strategize, write, edit, publish, promote, repurpose, and then start all over again.

Once you have an idea, a great way to get started is with an outline and conducting research. These are essential steps that can help make the writing process much easier.

After she’s gotten an idea, Elizabeth begins outlining her content by jotting down the main points and ideas she wants to cover. This will help her be much more organized when it comes time to write.

For the Netvantage team, they start with keyword research.

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.

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:

Julia said you need to set and know your goal goals before you start creating. This will help direct you in the right path so you can actually see the results you were hoping for.

Not only that, but you should also know how those goals fit into your overall brand strategy.

After your content is published, you need to track your results to see how you’re doing. For Lalaina, she typically tracks blog views and clicks on her call to action.

As Gaby mentioned, it’s important to periodically reflect on your goals and the results you’re getting. If you need to, don’t be afraid to realign. It’s necessary if things aren’t going your way!

Zala agrees! You need to test, measure, track, and change accordingly. If you aren’t seeing results, make tweaks and test again to see how things change.

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.

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.

Shorter videos and user-generated content are definitely performing well, especially on social media.

Kavita also sees live video growing, with more brands starting to invest in this format.

And we can’t forget about augmented reality!

Compelling storytelling and visuals are always a winning combination!

We can expect an increase in visual content, podcasts, and automation tools.

Jasmine thinks brands will be using new ways to encourage reader engagement. After all, it’s so important that we stay in touch with our audience and build relationships with them.

Lex is hoping for a greater integration of SEO, as well as better use of metrics and analytics.

Q8: Which tools do you rely on to create amazing online content for your brand?

Fortunately, content creation is made much easier with all the powerful tools we have at our disposal. If you’re looking for some new ones to try out, take a look at these suggestions:

Sarah’s go-to tools include: WordPress, the Yoast SEO plugin, Twitter, Medium, other blogs, newsletters, and even life events.

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.

Gaby is a big fan of Grammarly as well!

Julia relies on a variety of tools including: WordPress, Google Docs, Airtable, Yoast, Mangools, SEMrush, and BuzzSumo.

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!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Long-Form Content: Distribution & Promotion Tactics, & Best Examples with Lisa Dougherty

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Long-Form Content: Distribution & Promotion Tactics, & Best Examples with Lisa Dougherty

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:

Lisa said long-form content typically performs better on social media, plus it also increases website authority and earns you links.

More rankings, more shares, and more reads! Need we say more about why long-form content ROCKS?

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.

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.

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Other options to spice up your content include: adding infographics, video and podcast versions of your written content, and great pictures.

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:

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.

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.

Julia said you can share a great post by pinning it to your social media pages, repurpose it for social media posts, SlideShare presentations, videos, and more.

Know who your audience is and post the right content to them on the right channels (the ones they’re actively using).

Elizabeth recommends sharing content through social media and your email list. Make sure you’re repurposing content for the platform it’s been shared to so you know it’ll perform its best.

Teasing your content before it goes live is a great way to share a sneak peek and leave people wanting more. They’re sure to be excited about what you have coming up when they find out.

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.

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.

With the popularity of live video, Leah is spot on with her suggestion of turning a longer blog post into a Facebook Live. You can also use Instagram Live or Periscope.

Elizabeth is repurposing her content into videos, SlideShares, and podcast episodes. This will really help her reach a wider audience.

Martin suggests breaking up longer content pieces into smaller ones to get the most out of what you’ve created.

Longer blog posts can even be repurposed as PDFs and delivered as a freebie for your audience. You can also use it to create informative SlideShares.

Varun suggests creating memes, filming short-form videos, asking thought-provoking questions, and inviting your audience to share their opinions.

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.

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.

You’ll also want to make sure the site you syndicate with has a reputation for publishing high-quality content.

Also, make sure your target audience is reading this site so you can actually reach the right people.

On the plus side, syndication is a great way to get your content seen by a wider audience.

Because Google could see it as duplicate content, you may want to consider repurposing the piece instead. Find a way to make it fresh and difference so it isn’t repetitive.

One final piece of advice to remember: don’t overdo it. This can cheapen your content, so do all syndication with care.

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:

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.

Podcast episodes are another great idea!

You can even compile multiple blog posts on one topic into a single eBook.

Create social media posts, memes, quotes, infographics, and even more blog content.

Erica suggests considering what will work best for the other platforms you want to share your content on. You might choose to create infographics, timelines, videos, pictures, or Moments.

Jim likes to write content with repurposing in mind. This surely helps him to make the most of his content.

Elizabeth begins thinking about repurposing once she has created the original piece.

This is great advice from Martin. Don’t let your long-form content get stale. You can make updates months or a year later to keep the content fresh and accurate.

Q7: What’s an example of long-form content you loved recently? Share the link!

To help you get some inspiration from amazing long-form content, we asked our chat participants to share a link to a post they loved recently. Here’s what they shared with us:

All of these blog posts are worth taking a look at!

Q8: Who does an amazing job at creating long-form content? Tag them!

So, who shines at long-form content? Check out this awesome list:

Lisa is a fan of Buffer’s blog and the content they share. (We are too!) She also enjoys reading iconiContent.

There’s no denying that Neil Patel is a long-form content king!

Neil Patel, Buffer, and Hubspot are all great!

CoSchedule is another amazing place to read content.

The Jeff Bullas blog is also a favorite!

And our own guest host, Lisa, does a pretty fantastic job herself!
Join us every Tuesday at 10 AM CST for #ContentWritingChat! Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat to stay updated on topics and guests.