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#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Get Quicker Results With Your Brand’s Content Marketing with Andrew & Pete

When it comes to content marketing, it’s safe to say that it’s a long-term game.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t experience some quick wins with your efforts!

And in this round of #ContentWritingChat, we were joined by a fun pair to share some tips that’ll help you start seeing the content marketing results you desire.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Get Quicker Results With Your Brand’s Content Marketing with Andrew & Pete

Our guest hosts for the October edition of #ContentWritingChat were Andrew and Pete. They’re a creative content marketing duo, podcasters, and speakers. Not only did they bring some fun to the chat, but they had a lot of great advice to share. Let’s dive into the recap!

Q1: Why is content marketing so crucial to the success of your online business?

For some of you, you may already be sold on content marketing. But not everyone is in the same boat! To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share WHY they think content marketing is so valuable for online business owners. Here’s what some of them had to say:

Andrew and Pete feel that creating useful, interesting, or entertaining content is the best way to build your audience online. Through content marketing, you’re able to attract customers to your brand and build trust with them.

Content marketing can help you get your brand’s name out there into the world. As Sarah said, it’ll help you establish your brand, gain a following, and increase your bottom line.

Content marketing will help you grab the attention of your target audience and help you keep it. It’s all done through giving them valuable information they want to see.

Want to connect and engage with your audience? Create a smart content marketing strategy that will help you build a community and grow your brand awareness.

As Jakub said, content marketing is the top driver of new organic traffic. That’s important for many businesses!

Julia shared a timely blog post that discussed the need to ditch old sales tactics of the ‘90s. And instead, she explains the positive impact that content marketing can have. This is worth checking out, folks!

And remember… If you aren’t giving people the information they’re searching for, they’ll find it somewhere else.

Q2: How can content marketing help you reach your overall goals? And what can it help you accomplish?

But how exactly does content marketing help you get from where you are right now to where you want to be? And what will it help you do? Here’s what you need to know:

As Andrew and Pete said, great content that’s delivered over time will help you build awareness, trust, credibility, and sales. That’s pretty awesome, right?

Great content builds authority. Authority builds trust. Trust generates conversions. Conversions will help you land the sales.

Lexie know that customers are essential to any business and she feels content marketing is key to helping you build relationships with them.

Content marketing can help you reach all of these goals when done right!

And to do content marketing right? Make sure you know who you’re trying to reach and create the content that’s going to attract all the right people.

Q3: What are fun ways you can get creative with your content marketing efforts and stand out from the crowd?

Don’t let yourself get lost in a saturated niche! You have to find ways to stand out from everyone else to attract your ideal audience. These tips will help you get creative with your content marketing:

Don’t just focus on your own industry for generating new ideas. Look outside your realm to get your creative juices flowing.

Know what makes you unique and embrace that. As Maria said, if you do what everyone else is doing, you’re just going to get lost in the crowd.

It helps to know what kind of content already resonates with your audience. You can make use of what you’ve already created and expand it to other venues.

Gene suggests engaging your inner child, being retro or nostalgic, using humor, or voicing a contrarian viewpoint.

Don’t be afraid to seek support! If you’re a one-person team, Julia says it’s important to be kind to yourself. And if you do have others working alongside you, it’s smart to take their feedback and ideas into consideration.

Q4: Are there any strategies that will help you get a quick win with your content marketing? Or is it strictly a long-term game?

Is a quick win possible with content marketing? And if so, how can you make it happen? Pay attention to this advice from our chat:

For those quick wins, Andrew and Pete say you shouldn’t play it safe. They also mentioned collaborations as a great way to drive results.

Julia quoted Joe Pulizzi who said it can take a minimum of nine months to see results with content marketing. This means you have to be patient and consistent.

If a piece of content isn’t driving the results you hoped for, that’s a sign you may need to shift your focus. Pay close attention to the results you receive and be prepared to change course.

If you really want to drive quick results, try using paid ads to expand your reach.

As Bill said, embrace that you’re making a long-term investment with content marketing.

Q5: You can blog, start YouTube channel or podcast, and even write a book! How do you decide the next move in your content marketing strategy?

With so many options available to you, it can almost feel overwhelming! So, how do you decide which move is right for you and which one you should focus your attention on first? Here are some tips to help you make the decision:

When deciding where to direct your attention, think about your strengths, any gaps in the market, and where your customers are.

Consider your audience! What resonates most with them? That’s a good sign it’ll be worth pursuing.

Determine where your audience hangs out and then survey them. You can learn so much if you just ask.

A great piece of advice is to do something you’re good at and something that your target audience will enjoy.

Make sure that whatever you pursue, it’s something you’re comfortable with. Don’t forget to pay attention to the interests of your audience as well. Combined, you have a winning solution.

Lexie’s advice is to build off of what’s already working for you. This makes you more likely to experience a second win.

Not sure what’s working? Take time to do a thorough audit of your business, the platforms you use, etc.

Jakub said you should consider your resources, your audience, the goals you set for your business, your timeline, and your competition.

Q6: How can you measure the success of your content marketing? Any strategies or tools you rely on?

Are you measuring the results of your content marketing efforts? If not, you better start! To ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck, measure your success with these tips:

Engagement, audience growth, and monetization are three key metrics you should monitor.

But of course, you won’t know what to track if you don’t set goals first!

Your goals will determine which metrics you pay the closest attention to. For Express Writers, we focus on brand awareness and trust building, traffic, and sales.

Sarah said to keep an eye on your conversion rates, where traffic is coming from, how people are finding you, and if they’re linking to you. Google Analytics is just one of the tools she mentioned trying out.

Q7: What are your predictions for content marketing in the remainder of 2018 and next year? Which trends should we keep an eye on?

So, what’s ahead for content marketing? You might want to watch out for these trends:

Andrew and Pete say those that will stand out are the ones who will do something different with their content. They also said you’ll want to leverage pre-existing communities to stand out online.

Julia knows that ad costs are going up and buyer trust is dropping. That means we have to do something to change it! For her, she feels that comprehensive, trustworthy content is always the way to go.

Valuable content always wins, but incorporating video content never hurts! If video is something you’re passionate about and that your audience enjoys, give it a go.

AI and voice search are continuing to grow, so you’ll want to keep an eye on these important trends.

Love this chat and want to join? The #ContentWritingChat party happens on Twitter on the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central! Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat so you don’t miss out!

Don’t Treat Your Buyers Like It’s 1999: Here’s Why The Blood-Thirsty Sales Era is Reaching Tipping Point

Don’t Treat Your Buyers Like It’s 1999: Why The Blood-Thirsty Sales Era is Reaching Tipping Point & Why Content Marketing Works

According to the internet, sales (and salespeople) are dying. ⚰

Just take a look through a few headlines that crossed through three leading business publications:

For one, maybe it’s because today’s sales processes still focus on the product and the profit rather than the customer.

Plus, when you get down to the root of it, the majority of modern “sales and advertising thinking” still revolves around “let’s manipulate the audience’s emotions.” Ugh.

Look at this classic example from Mad Men, where a client meeting reveals exactly what advertising is all about… Making the consumer believe in whatever will sell the product, even if it’s harmful to them.

“Advertising is based on one thing: Happiness. And you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of the road that screams with reassurance that whatever you’re doing is okay. You are okay.”

– Don Draper

So what’s up with sales and marketing, and why has it so dynamically changed today? How can you get with the times? Let’s talk about this critical subject.

Does your sales process still focus on the product and the profit, rather than the customer? You could be a dying brand at risk of falling by the wayside. Learn why a 1999 sales process is detrimental to today's buyer, via @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

don't treat your buyers like it's 1999 sales and customers

Don’t Treat Your Buyers Like It’s 1999: Why Sales Doesn’t Work the Way It Used To

We’re exposed to so much advertising in our daily lives, we’ve become blind to it.

We have reached a tipping point.

Each day, we see thousands of ads and brand messages on web pages, in our emails, on social media, in magazines, on billboards, on posters and flyers, on commercials, in stores, on the radio, on our mobile devices, and even on brand packaging.

Ads have taught us, the audience, how the sales game works.

Most modern consumers are wise to the sales pitch, can spot it a mile away, and feel vaguely uncomfortable with traditional sales tactics that too-obviously focuses on wresting their money from their wallets.

Most modern consumers are wise to the sales pitch, can spot it a mile away, and feel vaguely uncomfortable with traditional sales tactics that too-obviously focuses on wresting their money from their wallets. @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

According to a HubSpot study, only 29% of people are willing to talk to a salesperson to get more information about a product. 62% prefer to research that same product online.

Content Marketing’s Power and Pull

It’s no wonder we respond so well to content marketing. When it’s done with care for the audience, it has a beating heart.

It’s no wonder customers respond so well to content marketing. When it’s done with care for the audience, it gives a brand a beating heart. @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

According to a survey published by Clutch, a B2B research company, 67% of people believe content marketing is “useful and valuable.” Meanwhile, a minority (33%) think it’s “biased and unreliable.”

The amazing thing about that remaining 33%? Content marketing still influences their shopping behavior in some way.

According to Clutch’s study, almost three-quarters (73%) of those who think content marketing is biased or unreliable have purchased products or services as a result of content marketing.

This means even if the content is overly promotional, it still has some value for the user.

What about people who value content marketing?

86% of them have bought products or services from a business directly because of content marketing, says Clutch.

86% of them have bought products or services from a business directly because of #contentmarketing. New research via Clutch, @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

What can we glean from these stats?

Content marketing has a power and pull that those traditional sales tactics utterly lack.

Why is this so? There are a few amazing reasons.

3 More Reasons Why Content Marketing & Inbound Content Surpasses ’90s Sales Tactics

1. Content Marketing Relies on First Contact from the Customer

Content marketing is an inbound marketing strategy.

What this means: Businesses who use it focus on pulling in customers naturally, as opposed to reaching out to them interruptively. TechTarget puts it this way:

“Inbound marketing is a strategy that focuses on attracting customers, or leads, via company-created internet content, thereby having potential customers come to the company rather than marketers vying for their attention.”

In other words, it puts the power in the customers’ hands. They have the first and last word on whether they will interact with a company, not the other way around.

In comparison, sales tactics seem intrusive, interruptive, and money-grubbing.

Think about how sales may have entered your own life, past and present:

  • Telemarketer calls in the evening just when you were sitting down to dinner with your family
  • TV commercials that interrupted the plot of your favorite show during the climax
  • Pop-up advertisements that seemed to proliferate on their own while slowing down your internet browser

It’s no wonder traditional marketing and sales leave people with a bad taste in their mouths.

Content marketing puts the power in the customers’ hands. They have the first and last word on whether they will interact with a company, not the other way around. This is why it works so tremendously well, says @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

2. Content Marketing Meshes Well with Modern Consumer Habits

In the age of Google, an encyclopedia of information on almost any topic you can think of is at your fingertips. People can research anything, anywhere, and research they do.

Via BigCommerce

Imagine you need to buy a new blender. Once upon a time, you would have gone to your tried-and-true home goods store, looked at two or three options, and then bought one.

Today, it’s more complicated. Most people will take to the internet and research exactly which model and brand will suit their needs best. They’ll compare prices, then check whether the blender they want is in-stock at a nearby store. If not, they’ll order it online.

According to a Demand Gen report on B2B buyer preferences, 42% looked at 3-5 pieces of content before getting in touch with sales to make a purchase, and 73% looked at a case study.

Content marketing is all about being part of this information-gathering process for consumers. It meshes with modern habits and meets them where they’re doing shopping research.

Today, 42% of buyers are looking at 3-5 pieces of content before getting in touch with sales to make a purchase, and 73% of buyers are reading a case study first. #Contentmarketing is all about being part of this information-gathering… Click To Tweet

Traditional sales techniques seem downright outdated in comparison.

3. Content Seeks to Give First, Then Receive

Another way content marketing pulls ahead of traditional sales: It seeks to give first, receive later.

The content you create is all about value for the reader. You want to give them something to chew on, something that educates, entertains, delights, or inspires.

You give your audience the best with the hope they’ll return in kind later, whether they opt-in to your email newsletter or eventually buy one of your products.

It’s about building a relationship with them based wholly on trust.

In a pointed article on Content Marketing Institute, Robert Rose puts it this way:

“Every digital experience we create should not only reflect our focus on winning a moment of truth – where the customer is paying attention – but in deepening the trust gained (or regained) in every step that precedes or follows it.”

Sales, on the other hand, seeks to build a selling relationship with the consumer. The salesperson or ad is there to convince you why you should buy, why the product is better than others like it, and how it will make your life better.

The focus is on the product, not the person. In content marketing, it’s the other way around.

That’s a huge difference, and it makes all the difference.

Sales seeks to build a selling relationship with the consumer. The focus is on the product, not the person. In content marketing, it’s the other way around. That’s a huge difference, and it makes all the difference. @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

Leave Sleazy Selling Tactics Behind & Do Content Marketing

Don’t treat your buyers like it’s 1999.

Don’t treat them as secondary in the buying process.

After all, if your buyer becomes dissatisfied with you, they can easily turn elsewhere for a similar solution.

Consumers today want to be first. And they want you, a brand, to make them feel like they are a priority.

Luckily, content marketing puts your customer first. And you can make a TON of $$ if you do it right.

So, build content.

Position yourself as an expert through high-quality, well-written content (we can help!), publish your content in a format where your buyer can find it when they need help, and serve your people first and foremost.

Give your readers value in content, earn their trust, and you’ll get much more than just one conversion or a fast sale. You’ll get a connection, a relationship – and maybe even their loyalty. In the long run, that is worth much, much more.

content marketing seo

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Marketing SEO

This week, we had our monthly community chat for #ContentWritingChat!

There was a lot of great information shared during the busy hour over on Twitter. And we’re recapping it all for you!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Marketing SEO

We conducted a poll a while back to see which topics our participants were interested in. One of the topics that came out on top was Content Marketing SEO, so we made it the choice for this week.

Q1: How do content marketing and SEO work together? And why is it important to utilize both?

To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share how content marketing and SEO go hand-in-hand and why both are important for content creators. Here are a few responses:

Jason knows that if you spend more time on one or the other, your content is going to suffer. It’s important to implement both content marketing and SEO if you want to see major results online.

As Sarah said, they work together to improve each other.

Good content isn’t worth much if it isn’t optimized for your audience to find it. Keep that in mind!

Julia said you can’t have high-ROI without a firm strategy and knowledge on how to use both.

You need great content and you need people to actually discover it. That’s why content marketing SEO is so crucial these days.

Q2: What are some tips to help you create content that truly resonates with your audience?

No matter what, it’s so important that your audience enjoys your content. To create content they’ll want to read and share, here’s what you need to know:

As Lexie said, it’s important to get to know your audience first. They will guide you when it comes to creating content they enjoy.

Once you know who your audience is, you can create with them in mind. Write about the topics they’re discussing to attract attention.

Cheval knows that listening to your audience is so important if you want to create amazing content.

Amanda also said listening is crucial. You can see what your audience responds to, what they comment on, what they talk about, and so much more. That can help guide the direction of your content.

When you pay attention to your audience, the answers will follow. Don’t be afraid to tweak your strategy to best suit them and their needs.

Debi knows it’s important to share content that showcases your expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.

Sarah suggests looking at your analytics. You can see what is grabbing their attention and earning conversions. Do more of what’s working to maximize your results.

If you’re feeling stuck for ideas, ask them! Danielle suggested surveying your audience to see what appeals to them. After all, they’re the best source to ask.

Make sure you’re answering questions people are asking. You want to deliver on an actual need that’s related to your business.

What is your target audience already talking about? Andrea suggests using tools like Quora or BuzzSumo to see what their conversations are centered around. This will give you a great starting point for your next piece of content.

Don’t forget to also check out industry trends. It can be very beneficial to talk about the hot topics of the moment.

Jason made a great point about putting yourself in your audience’s shoes. Figure out their pain points and what kind of information they’d like to have. Then, all you have to do is create it!

Q3: Does consistency matter to SEO when it comes to how often you post on your blog? If so, how often do you write new content?

Does it really matter how often you blog? Is there a magic number of posts you should be publishing each week? Check out this advice:

Julia knows that consistency is huge. You don’t want to drastically cut back on the amount of content you’re producing because your rankings can suffer as a result. However, you also shouldn’t publish somethings that’s rushed or low quality. You need both quality and consistency in order to succeed.

Sarah also knows how important quality is. No one wants to read fluff content. They want something that’s truly going to provide value.

Publishing regularly is great, but it’s only worthwhile if you’re publishing something that’s high-quality.

As Amanda pointed out, no one really wants to follow a blogger who isn’t consistent. Create a schedule that’s actually manageable for you and stick with it. That way, your audience will always know when to expect a new post.

Q4: What is one SEO tip more people should know and implement in their content creation?

Is there an SEO tip you wish more people would use? Our chat participants shared some great advice! Check it out:

More people need to learn how to effective conduct keyword research for their content.

Lexie’s advice is to tastefully use keywords within your content. You don’t want to fill your posts with keywords in a way that’s unnatural. It’ll turn off your readers.

Once you have your chosen keyword, you need to sprinkle it in a few key places throughout your blog post. Use it in the URL, image alt tags, the post title, meta description, etc.

A great headline makes all the difference! Include your focus keyword and make sure it’s something that intrigues people enough to click.

Sarah said you need to link to your new content somewhere else on your site. Internal linking is a big deal for SEO!

Don’t forget to give your images a description by adding alt text. It helps to make your images searchable.

You can also use an SEO plugin to help. Yoast is a great one for this if you’re on WordPress.

Q5: How has SEO changed over the years? Is there a tactic you used to use, but have ditched in recent times?

There are a number of old SEO tactics that are no longer acceptable to use. You’ll want to make sure you stay clear of them! Here are a few our chat participants have ditched:

Ranking blank pages and keyword stuffing are things of the past in the world of content marketing SEO.

Julia said the focus should be on your reader and the quality of your content.

Keyword stuffing, doorway pages, and cloaking… These won’t fly anymore.

Lexie said link building has changed in recent times. It’s important to get quality backlinks from reputable sites, as opposed to getting them from any old site.

It will surely be interesting how things change as the world of video and voice search continues to expand.

Make sure you’re always staying updated with the changes Google makes to their algorithm.

Q6: How do you know if your content is performing well? Are there certain metrics you like to track?

Once you’ve published a piece of content, it’s important to track how it’s performing. Metrics you’ll want to keep an eye on include:

What’s your end goal for your content? As Amanda knows, that’s what really matters because it’ll help you choose the right metrics to focus on. You might be looking for sales, comments, email subscribers, or something else.

Is your audience responding to the content? You want to know that what you’ve created is actually resonating with them.

Are you attracting attention from the right audience? It’s not doing you any good if you’re attracting all the wrong people.

Average time on site, click-through rates, and heat maps are just a few things you may want to watch.

You might even want to check out behavior flow charts to see how visitors move through your site.

Website traffic and email responses are just a couple metrics Devin likes to track.

Bounce rate, shares, comments, and more! These are all things any content creator may be on the lookout for.

Julia suggests tracking things like time on site, chats started for those running live chats, sales inquiries, and conversions.

Q7: Do you have any tools you rely on to create amazing, search engine-optimize content?

There are plenty of tools you can use to help with content marketing SEO. Which ones are the favorites among our chat participants? Check out these suggestions:

Lexie has a few essential tools in her arsenal, which includes Answer the Public.

You can’t go wrong with Google’s Keyword Planner, Google Analytics, and your brain power.

Yoast is a must-have for anyone on WordPress!

Yoast, Google Analytics, SEMrush, and Google Trends are tools Sabjan relies on.

Aisha is also a fan of Yoast, but she also likes to use Grammar Girl.

Debi knows that Google’s tools are essential for any content creator.

Anne also uses Yoast, Google Keyword Planner, and Google Analytics.

Quora, BuzzSumo, and Ahrefs, are also great tools to try out.

To make a splash with your headlines, use CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer. Danielle also like Hemingway app.

Q8: Which resources do you turn to in order to learn more about content marketing and SEO?

To expand your knowledge on the latest with content marketing and SEO, check out these resources:

Lexie has a few resources she loves, which includes Neil Patel, Search Engine Journal, and even us!

Cheval turns to SEMrush, Search Engine Journal, and Rebekah Radice for all the latest in content marketing SEO.

Moz is another go-to resource.

Danielle loves to read content from HubSpot.

A few of Carla’s favorites include Content Marketing Institute and Medium.

Don’t forget to use social media to see what others are talking about online.

And in case you need another reason to join our next chat, Devin said one of his top resources is our very own #ContentWritingChat.

Twitter chats, blogs, and Google searches are all great, but sometimes it helps to just have a conversation with people in your industry.

Join us for the next #ContentWritingChat! The fun happens every Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time over on Twitter! You can follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for all the latest.

content marketing strategy

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Marketing Strategy

Did you catch our latest #ContentWritingChat? We had our monthly community chat, which is when we skip having a guest host and allow our audience to choose the chat topic. We ran a poll the week before and the winning topic was Content Marketing Strategy!

If you could use some help putting together an effective content marketing strategy for your brand, you’re in the right place. We’ve compiled some of the tweets from this week’s chat into a handy dandy recap!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Marketing Strategy

In Tuesday’s community chat, there were some amazing tips shared by our participants. You’ll learn the basics of a great content marketing strategy, tools and resources to help, and how to measure your success. Keep reading to check out all the advice!

Q1: Why is it important to have a content marketing strategy for your brand?

To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share why they feel it’s important to have a content marketing strategy in place. If you need a little convincing that it’s worth the investment, you’ll want to read through these tweets!

As Julia said, a content marketing strategy is everything to the success of your content. When you have a strategy in place, you have a much better chance at succeeding in your work.

If you don’t have a strategy in place, how you can expect to make progress and reach your goals? Iain knows that having a strategy is a must.

When you have a strategy for your content marketing efforts, it provides the guidance you need to keep moving in the right direction.

A strategy helps define the purpose of your brand. Plus, it helps you break down all the steps required to help you reach your goals.

As Sarah said, you need a strategy for any kind of marketing you’re doing. This tells you what you’er aiming for so you can stay on the right path.

Having a strategy gives you measurable actions, cohesive messaging, and ensures you aren’t scrambling to throw something together at the last minute.

You can product much better content when you have everything planned out in advance. Plus, it’ll keep your entire team on the same page, which is very important.

Maureen said your content marketing strategy is the driving force behind the channels that do the outreach.

Q2: What are the essential elements of every successful content marketing strategy?

To get started with a strategy of your very own, you need to know where to begin. These are some essential elements you’ll want to have in place:

A great strategy all goes back to knowing who your audience is and understanding them.

Sarah feels good research, resources, and tracking are essential. She also pointed out that you need to know who your audience is and how to reach them. Don’t forget to set deadlines, meet them, and monitor your efforts.

Julia shared a helpful graphic of the four keys she teaches in her course!

Knowing who your audience is, what kind of content you’re going to share, and what your goals are make up just a few of the essentials of a great strategy.

Andrew also agrees that knowing your target audience is a must. He also mentioned that it’s important to know the desired outcome you hope to achieve, platforms you’re using, and more.

Mallorie said you need a defined objective and an understanding of your target audience. You also need to be able to adapt and make changes along the way if needed.

Cheval knows it’s important to listen to your audience to see what they’re chatting about. This is a great way to get to know them better.

Measurable goals, your target audience, tactics to reach the right people, and metrics to track progress are all essential.

Iain recommends setting SMART goals with your content marketing strategy.

Q3: What kind of goals might a brand set for their content marketing efforts? Which ones do you focus on?

Every brand is going to have different goals for their content marketing strategy. However, if you’re just getting started, you might wonder what kind of goals they often set out to reach. Here are some great tips from the chat:

As Sarah pointed out, the goals you set will depend on your business objectives. Either way, you need to make sure you’re tracking your progress.

Conversions are definitely a major goal you’ll want to track with your efforts. Jason also recommends tracking things like click-through rate, leads and sales, and how much reach you’re getting.

Proving valuable, relevant, and consistent content is always key. It’s the best way to build relationships and establish trust, as the Source Media team knows.

You may want to track web traffic, community growth, and how many leads/sales you’re getting.

Maureen also knows that your goals are going to be different from what everyone else is doing. However, if you’re new, she said you may want to track awareness by viewing traffic to your site and how long they’re spending on your page. If you’re moving people through your funnel, conversions are key.

Lexie said different types of content are going to have different goals. She said you may want to track website traffic, sales, or social shares.

Web traffic, leads, and community growth are all common metrics to track within your business. As Rebecca said, you want to make sure you see how your audience responds to your content. Make adjustments as needed.

Tony knows goals are going to differ for everyone. Whether you want to see shares, clicks, sales, or something else… You need to focus on what’s right for you.

Q4: Describe your process for building your own strategy. How do you get started?

Ready to craft your strategy? We asked everyone in the chat to share the initial steps in their strategy-building process! Here are some of the answers we received:

Cristy’s advice is to brainstorm. She’ll use paper or a whiteboard to jot down ideas, which she then moves into a spreadsheet. Another tool she’s used in the past is Asana.

Sarah said to start with your goal and work backwards from there. You need to figure out how you’re going to achieve that end result, which will help you plan your strategy.

Clearly defined goals are essential to Jason. As he pointed out, you won’t be able to hit your target if you don’t know what you’re aiming for. Set goals first before working out the details.

Julia knows that a content marketing strategy will look different for every brand. It needs to be targeted to their audience in order to see the best results. Know your topic and then figure out what your audience wants to know and how you can help.

Maureen shared some great advice that’ll help anyone that works with clients. You want to know that the company understands their audience and their marketing before moving forward.

Knowing the brand voice, conducting audits, doing customers research, and more! These are all essential steps to consider.

Know who the target audience is and where they want to go. This will help you create the content that resonates the most.

Debi also agrees that knowing who the target audience is plays a major role.

Q5: What’s something you intend to cut from your content marketing strategy for next year? What will you keep?

Sometimes we notice things that just aren’t working within our strategy, which means it’s time to cut ties. While other times, we see what’s been successful so we can create more of that. Here are some things people will be cutting and keeping in their strategy in the new year:

The team at ThinkSEM is going to focus on being more flexible with their calendar and still plans to join plenty of Twitter chats.

Lexie said Netvantage will continue to focus on high-quality, long-tail keyword content.

One of the things Rebecca will be doing is shifting to even more video content, which continues to be essential for content marketers.

As Debi said, if it’s not working for you then you need to cut it out. If it is working, make sure you embrace it moving forward.

Q6: How do you know if your strategy is effective? Which metrics do you track?

Once you’ve implemented your strategy, you need to know if it’s actually effective. To do this, there are key metrics you’ll need to track. Here’s what you need to know:

As Lexie said, it all depends on the goal of your content. This can differ based on what you’re trying to accomplish, so keep that in mind.

Debi frequently looks at Google Analytics to see how any content marketing efforts are performing.

Julia knows it’s all the conversions! You want to ensure your efforts are actually helping you grow and make a profit within your business.

You might want to track link clicks from other site and search engines, as well as any search terms you’re ranking for. This can help you see how your content is performing.

Cheval focuses on how his blog has grown in terms of readership.

Sometimes you just get that feeling that things are working out! You might notice more phone calls or emails coming in for potential customers, which is always a great thing.

Remember that it all goes back to your unique goals. Once you know what those goals are, you’ll know which metrics are important to track.

Q7: Do you use any tools to help you manage your content marketing efforts? If so, what are they?

With all the tools that are available today, there are plenty that can help with content marketing. Check out these recommendations from Tuesday’s chat:

Debi’s go-to tool is Google Analytics.

Evernote is great for storing ideas and planning content, while Trello is handy for outlining larger projects.

Sarah’s essential tools include WordPress, Teamwork, Google Sheets, good old fashioned pen and paper, and brain power.

Google Drive is a must these days!

Lexie loves using Google Drive, WordPress, and Yoast.

Feedspot, Buffer, and Hootsuite are Carla’s favorite tools.

Cheval also relies on Hootsuite for social media scheduling.

TweetDeck, Hashtagify, Canva, and Pablo by Buffer are all great tools to look into.

Q8: Which resources help you strengthen your content marketing skills?

If you want to learn more about mastering content marketing, take a look at these suggestions:

Lexie know Twitter chats are where it’s at! They’re great for making connections and learning new things.

We have another Twitter chat fan! If you aren’t already joining chats, you should make it part of your content marketing strategy ASAP.

Twitter chats and trainings (online and in-person) are essential for Rebecca.

Julia has a list of blogs she reads daily, including: Content Marketing Institute, Smart Blogger, Copyblgoger, and Copy Hackers.

Twitter chats, podcasts, blogs, email lists, and social media are all great ways to learn new skills.

And here’s a great reminder from Cristy: always be learning and strive to improve.

Want to join the Twitter chat fun? #ContentWritingChat takes place every Tuesday at 10 AM Central! Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat to stay updated!

#Contentwritingchat

content marketing trends

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Marketing Trends for 2017 with Dennis Shiao

Are you up-to-date on all the latest content marketing trends? In this week’s #ContentWritingChat, we shared all the hottest tips and trends you need to know for a successful content marketing strategy.

Does that sound like just what your brand needs right now? Keep reading for the recap of our latest chat! It’s filled with some amazing advice that you’ll want to implement ASAP!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Marketing Trends for 2017 with Dennis Shiao


Our guest host this week was Dennis Shiao. Dennis handles content marketing at DNN Software. He shared some great tips with us throughout the chat, which you won’t want to miss! Let’s dive into the recap for everything you need to know on content marketing trends for 2017.

Q1: Why is it important to keep an eye on content marketing trends? How can it impact us as creators?

Not feeling convinced that you should be keeping up with the latest when it comes to content marketing trends? These tweets will show you why it’s important for all content creators:

Keeping an eye on the trends will help you plan your strategy. As Dennis mentioned, sometimes you ride the trend and sometimes you go the other way. When you understand the current content marketing trends, it can even give you ideas on how to start a new one.

His general advice is not to follow just just follow them. Dennis feels there’s value in being different, so make sure you embrace that.

Julia knows that knowing the latest trends is essential for content creators. You want to stay updated on the platforms, tools, and SEO to better serve your clients.

Content marketing is something that is constantly evolving and you need to keep up to appeal to your audience.

Being aware of trends also helps keep your content fresh and relevant.

As Lexie said, knowing the trends shows your clients that you stay on top of all the latest information. It’s going to help them see that you really know your stuff!

Maureen brought up a great point about testing. When you monitor and try out new trends, you can test to see how it works for you. You’ll know what’s the right fit for your brand and your audience.

As Ray said, part of reflecting and planning your future growth is looking at the past and present when it comes to content marketing. It’s important to reflect to see where things have been, where they’re going, and how you can adapt.

Q2: What have been the top content marketing trends to implement into your strategy so far this year?

Have there been any game-changing trends you implemented into your strategy this year? Our chat participants shared a few that were essential for them to incorporate:

For Dennis, he knows that high-quality content is a clear winner. He’s been focusing on publishing less, but striving to produce even better content.

The team at Netvantage is doing the same. Quality always beats quantity when it comes to the content you’re producing.

When you’re creating content, you also need to deliver what your audience wants. Bill is committed to focusing on his existing customers and learning what they need, instead of guessing on what he should be creating.

Kristen knows that recycling content is a big trend that is really paying off these days. It helps you make the most of what you’ve published in the past. She also said testing new content formats, such as podcasts, is also beneficial.

Even Dennis knows podcasting is a trend that’s still on the rise! Although he hasn’t started one of his own yet, he does listen to a lot.

For Shelly, it’s all about making sure the content she produces leads back to her bigger business objectives.

People are certainly getting more visual with their content this year, which is something that won’t be going away any time soon. Whether it’s graphics or video content, people are loving great visuals.

Interactive content is certainly a great way to engage your audience and get them to take action.

Q3: Many marketers have stepped up content production. What are your tips for managing the content planning and creation process?

With more people taking their content seriously, it can sometimes get tricky managing the content planning and creation process. If you need some help in this area, check out this advice:

Dennis knows the importance of having clear processes and software to help teams, both big and small. He also mentioned how crucial it is to have a great plan in place. It’s definitely going to help you stay on track in the long run.

Julia also recognizes the importance of great team members, as she’s managing a remote team that’s all across the world. When you have an amazing team behind you, you can really see major growth when it comes to your content.

Maureen suggests having a calendar coordinator or a content manager to help bring everything together. Having someone dedicated to this role will help everyone stay on track and meet deadlines.

However, you aren’t doomed if you don’t have a team behind you. As Brittany mentioned, there are plenty of experts out there that can provide information that’ll help you out.

Kristen encourages you to map your content back to your goals. She suggests planning quarterly goals and/or themes to guide your content.

And editorial calendar is certainly helpful when it comes to the planning process. You need to determine how often you want to publish and what topics you’ll be focusing on.

Megan is also a big fan of having an editorial calendar in place.

As Lori mentioned, it’s great to have a plan, but you also need to be flexible. Be open to making last minute changes to create content for the topics that are relevant in the moment.

Natasha outlined some key steps that are essential to success! It all goes back to listening to your audience and understanding their needs.

For Bryn, repurposing content is a must. It’s going to help you make the most of the older content you’ve already published. All you have to do is find ways to make it fresh again. She teams up with other departments to make this happen.

Q4: What should a content marketer do when they just aren’t seeing the results they hoped for?

If you aren’t seeing the results you hoped for, it’s important that you don’t just give up and quit. You need to figure out how to fix the situation. Here’s some great advice for you:

First, Dennis said you need to resist the urge to give up. As he pointed out, content marketing is a long-term endeavor. You have to hang in there and keep moving forward, despite any failures you may encounter. He suggests taking some time to reflect because you’ll return feeling refreshed and with new ideas.

Dennis also said to consider your distribution efforts. Could that be where you’re going wrong? You can’t just expect people to find your content. You have to be proactive about spreading the word. He also recommends talking to your readers, customers, and industry experts to receive feedback on the work you’ve done.

Lexie also agrees that seeking feedback is a good idea. It’s going to help you deliver the content your audience truly wants.

Varun’s advice is to stop, analyze, and restart. You can take inspiration from your niche and other industries, plus take feedback from your audience into consideration.

Lex said you need to ask yourself if you’re monitoring the right goals with the best metrics. You also need to know why those are your goals so you know that you’re working towards.

It’s also a smart idea to look at what IS working for you so you can focus on those platforms/formats/etc.

Going back to the advice Dennis shared, Danielle also recommends focusing on distribution. Find new ways to spread the word about your content so more people will check it out.

For Kristen, she’s found sharing her content via email has always been effective.

No matter what, you have to keep plugging away. You’ll see results in time if you don’t give up.

And finally, don’ forget to be patient!

Q5: How have you seen content marketing change in the past few years?

Wondering how the content marketing world has changed in recent times? Take a look at these responses from the chat:

As Dennis pointed out, there’s all kinds of content floating around these days. It’s not just about blogging because others are turning to live video, podcasting, and so many other formats.

The expectations of your readers have also never been higher. You have to make sure you’re delivering something that’s worth their time.

There’s no denying that we have to work harder to get our content noticed these days.

To stand out, Debi suggests focusing on expertise, authority, and trustworthiness in the content you publish.

Video continues to grow in popularity as the years go on. It’s something that won’t be going anywhere, whether it’s on Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube.

Max also agrees that video has taken off in recent years, especially on social media. You want to have a winning strategy for creating and promoting the video content you produce.

Content creators are expected to do so much these days. They have to be skilled not just with writing, but also with SEO, marketing, social media, and video among other things.

For Ray, he’s seen more small businesses take content marketing seriously. He says it’s made it easier to educate them on it.

Q6: Where do you see content marketing going in the next year or two?

Do you have any predictions on the future of content marketing? Here’s what some of our chat participants had to say:

Dennis sees content moving to non-traditional platforms, such as smart watches. As he mentioned, your content needs to appear when and where your audience needs it.

Kristen predicts advanced personalization that provides a customer-centric approach will be the future of content marketing trends.

Bill predicts that people are going to focus more on their owned channels and use others to drive traffic back to their home base.

Lexie definitely sees video continuing to skyrocket. She thinks live videos that include customers or brand advocates will be the big thing.

As for Jeff, he predicts artificial intelligence will be used to deliver the right content to the exact target audience.

Virtual reality could also play a huge role in content marketing, as more companies are adopting it.

Julia sees even more brands appreciated the growth that content marketing can bring.

Q7: What are your favorite tools for managing your content marketing strategy?

Are you looking for some good tools to manage your content marketing strategy? Check these out:

Dennis relies on Google Analytics and Excel to manage his content marketing strategy. He also likes to get on the phone and chat with customers. It’s a great way to learn more about them.

Evernote is a fantastic tool for storing content ideas and keeping them organized.

Like me, Brittany is also an Evernote fan. She also likes to use Excel for creating an editorial calendar.

Julia relies on SEMrush for ranking and SEO tracking, Mangools for keyword discovery, and BuzzSumo for finding hot topics.

From Google Docs to Evernote and others, Ray has a plethora of tools he likes to use for content marketing. They’re all worth checking out!

BuzzSumo is a go-to for Shelly.

Keiana likes to use Google Analytics and Hootsuite.

For email marketing, Max sticks to MailChimp for sending content to his subscribers. He also likes that their analytics are easy to understand.

Jeff’s list of tools includes: Google Analytics, Moz, Asana, and Curata.

Q8: Do you have any top resources for learning the latest in content marketing trends?

If you want to learn more about the hottest content marketing trends, where should you go? Check out these amazing resources:

Dennis likes to read posts from Content Marketing Institute, Contently, and Orbiteers. He even mentioned Express Writers!

Social Media Today, Social Media Examiner, and the Jeff Bullas blog are all great sources.

Lexie is spot-on with this answer! We can learn so much from the Twitter chats we join.

For Jeff, he’s learned a lot from our own #ContentWritingChat and Content Marketing Institute’s #CMWorld.

As Zachary said, it’s not just about sharing your answers. You can also take in the responses people share and learn from them.

Cristy likes to use Digg to find new blogs and publications to check out.

Another great way to find new resources is to search Feedly or podcasts for information on content marketing.

Ready to join the fun? Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat on Twitter and join #ContentWritingChat every Tuesday at 10 AM Central!

content marketing strategy

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Marketing Strategy 101 with Julia McCoy

Do you have a content marketing strategy in place for your brand? If not, it’s time you create one! However, you might be wondering how to get started and that’s where we come in. In this week’s #ContentWritingChat, we talked all about the basics of creating a content marketing strategy of your very own. Keep reading for the recap!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Marketing Strategy 101 with Julia McCoy

Our guest host this week was our very own CEO, Julia McCoy. As a content marketing expert herself, it’s no surprise that she had some amazing advice to share with everyone.

Q1: What is a content marketing strategy and why is it important for today’s brands?

To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share their own definitions of a content marketing strategy. We also wanted to find out how important they felt it was to have a strategy and why. Check out a few of the responses we received:

As Julia said, a strategy will drive the guidelines, creation, execution, and tracking of your content marketing. She knows it’s necessary if you want to achieve ROI and make goals happen with the content you create.

Kyle feels it’s all about crafting a consistent schedule of content to tell your brand’s story to win over your customers.

Annaliese said having a strategy in place gives you an established process for why you’re doing what you do, plus guidelines on how to do it.

As Maria pointed out, having a strategy is partly about knowing what you want to say, how to say it, where to say it, and who you’re saying it to. These are all essential things to figure out.

This is a great way to look at it! Jeff said your strategy is your road map from where you are to where you want to be. It’s important to set goals and create a plan of action to help you get there.

Q2: Before you can begin creating content and planning your strategy, what do you need to figure out?

Now that you know what a content marketing strategy is, you’re probably feeling ready and inspired to create one of your own. But before you can get started, there are a few essential things you need to figure out. Take a look at these tips:

Julia’s first tip is to figure out what makes you different from everyone else. When you know what your Content Differentiation Factor (CDF) is, you can embrace that and stand out from the crowd. (Read her Search Engine Journal article she linked to if you want to learn more!)

Next, she encourages you to discover who your audience is. She shares four key tips in the graphic she included with her post. You can learn about this more in-depth in the content course she’s creating.

Sarah knows it’s important to know key information about your audience. Who is your target audience and what do they need? Where do they hang out? What will make them convert? This is all important to figure out so you can create content accordingly.

Lexie agrees that it’s crucial to know your audience first. Once you know who they are, you can create the type of content they need in their lives.

Don’t forget to figure out what your goals are. When you know what you want to achieve, it’s going to dictate the end result of your content.

Kyle also agrees that it’s important to know what your goals are ahead of time. Are you trying to increase brand awareness or land conversions? Is it something else? Figure that out beforehand so you can create the content that will help you get there.

Jonathan chimed in about the importance of setting goals as well. Figure out what a successful piece of content looks like to you and what that means before moving forward.

This is a great answer from Jason. He said you want to determine who your audience is, including their demographics. You also need to establish your brand’s voice, the types of content you’ll be producing, and how everything will work together.

Gaby shared an impressive list of things you should figure out before creating content. She said you should understand: brand/content purpose, message, objectives, audience/target, content topic, industry, and brand voice.

Q3: What steps are required to develop a content marketing strategy for your own brand?

Now it’s time to get into the actual steps of creating a strategy that works. Here’s some helpful advice that will get you started on the right foot:

Julia recommends figuring out who your audience is, keywords, and your defined content types/costs. She also suggests having an editorial calendar, creating a content promotions strategy, and knowing how you’ll perform tracking and maintenance.

Know who you’re writing for, which content types you’ll create, and put together a calendar to keep you organized.

Brittany outlined her recommended steps and made it easy to follow along. She says to: gather your insights, outline your business goals, determine your budget and timeline, create personas, establish a process, create calendars, write and edit, and measure.

Roslyn’s advice is to know the demographics of your audience and the best way to cater to them. This is essential in creating content that gets results online.

You need to know who your audience is and where they hang out online so you can reach them. It’s also helpful to identify your brand’s voice as well.

It’s also helpful to know how you’re going to differentiate yourself from everyone else around. With so many people talking about the same things online, you have to spin that content in a way that will stand out and attract your audience.

Q4: What content types are crucial to help your brand become an authority online?

If you ask any brand, most of them would say they’re on the path to establishing themselves as an authority online. They all want to become the go-to resource for their target audience. But what kind of content can you create to help make that happen? Check out these responses:

Julia encourages you to focus on your own website first. Create amazing content for your blog and then build content for other platforms. Other channels to direct your attention include guest blogging and building a presence on social media.

There are a variety of things that will dictate the types of content you produce. It can depend on your brand, objectives, messaging, your industry, your market, your audience, and also the resources you have.

Annaliese agrees there are a few factors that will dictate the types of content you produce. One thing to consider is what your audience prefers. Do they enjoy videos or are they bigger fans of written content? Figure that out because it’s going to play a factor for your brand.

Tony knows that visuals and written content go hand-in-hand and are essential elements for any brand to create.

Cheval’s tip is to start doing live video broadcasts. It’s a great way to humanize your brand and connect with your audience in real-time.

Brittany said she would direct her focus to video content, guest posting, and creating other visuals.

Ultimately, what matters is that you create valuable content that addresses the questions your audience has. When you can deliver what they want and need, they’ll begin to see you as an authority in your field.

It all comes down to sharing relevant content and taking the time to engage with your audience. That’s how you start making an impact in your industry.

Q5: How do you measure the effectiveness of your content? If you aren’t seeing results, how do you make improvements?

In order to know if your content is helping you achieve the results you want, you’re going to have to measure how well it’s performing. Even more important, you’ll need to know how to make tweaks if you aren’t seeing the results you’d hoped for. Here’s some helpful advice:

Julia’s advice is to set up a tracking project in SEMrush. It’ll allow you to analyze rankings, which can be very helpful.

Eddie’s advice is to set S.M.A.R.T. goals and objectives beforehand. This will allow you to see what you hope to achieve and which data you’ll need to track closely.

Mallie also agrees it’s important to know your goals ahead of time.

Again it all goes back to the goal you set, whether that’s reach, conversions, or something else.

If you find you need to make changes, Annaliese suggests making simple changes. Tweak one thing at a time through A/B testing to see what’s working and what’s not.

Kyle also sees the value in running A/B tests to see which images and copy are the most effective.

Q6: What are the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to developing their content marketing strategy?

If you want to set up a strategy that’s successful, you’ll want to avoid some of the common mistakes that can be disastrous. Here are a few examples so you’ll know what to avoid:

You don’t want to be one of those brands without a content marketing strategy, do you? Julia knows it would be a mistake to not have one in place.

Not having a strategy at all is certainly one huge mistake.

Justing winging it and posting on a whim might sound like a fun idea, but it can set you up for disaster.

Don’t be so focused on the money that you immediately start pushing the sale. You need to build trust with your audience first if you want them to convert.

You should be all sales all the time. Instead, focus on building a community with your audience.

It’s more important that you focus on your customers, as opposed to talking about yourself in a self-serving way all the time. Talk to your audience and listen to what they have to say. Learn from them.

Q7: Which tools, calendars, and other resources do you rely on when developing a maintaining a content marketing strategy?

With so many tools and resources available, you’re sure to finding something that will make creating and sticking to a strategy even easier. Take a look at these tools:

Julia’s favorite tools include SEMrush, as well as a few others. They’re worth checking out if you haven’t already!

The Netvantage Marketing team relies on Google Docs as well as a few other tools to get their work done. It’s clear they know what works best for them.

Google Drive tools, Google Analytics, Keyword Planner, Twitter, WordPress, and Yoast are all great options.

Elizabeth’s go-to tools include Evernote, CoSchedule, and Google Sheets.

Sarah is a big fan of HubSpot.

Feedly, Canva, Piktochart, and Buffer are all helpful tools to rely on.

Mallie keeps it simple with an Excel spreadsheet plus a pen and her paper planner.

Danielle said her previously job relied on Google Docs. As she said, it’s not fancy, but it works. All that matters is that you use tools that are efficient and get the job done.

Q8: Which brands do you think are killing it with their content lately?

Which brands are doing an incredible job with the content they publish? Check out these:

Julia loves SmartBlogger, Content Marketing Institute, NewsCred, and CoSchedule.

Lori is a fan of Sue B. Zimmerman’s work.

The Rising Tide Society is one brand that consistently puts out great content.

Be sure to join us on Twitter every Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time for #ContentWritingChat! Follow our accounts for all the latest: @ExpWriters and @writingchat!
#Contentwritingchat

internal communications

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Internal Communications Tactics for World-Class Content Marketing with Pam Didner

Did you catch the latest #ContentWritingChat? We had a great discussion all about internal communications tactics. This is one chat you’ll definitely want to check out if you manage or are part of a team so you all can work together effectively. Keep reading for the recap!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Internal Communications Tactics for World-Class Content Marketing with Pam Didner

Our guest host for this chat was Pam Didner. Pam is a marketing strategist, speaker, and author. The topic of internal communications tactics was inspired by her book, Global Content Marketing.

Q1: Why is internal communication so important for successful content marketing?

To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share why they felt internal communications was important when it comes to content marketing. We received some great responses and here’s what some of the chat participants had to say:

Pam knows that internal communication can help keep everyone on the team aligned. When everyone is on the same page and they’re all working together, amazing things can happen.

As Julia said, great internal communication is so important when it comes to content marketing planning and executing. It’s crucial for all of us here at Express Writers, especially as a remote team.

Varun said communication is key for clear and effective messaging, which is a must for content marketing.

Mallie knows it’s important to keep your content strategy cohesive, which is why it’s essential that you and your team communicate regularly.

As Iva said, if you aren’t able to communicate well with your own team, how can you effectively communicate with your clients and your audience?

Q2: How would you define internal communication(s) in content marketing?

We know why internal communications plays such an important role within content marketing, but what does it all actually mean? Take a look at these responses from Tuesday’s chat:

Pam’s definition of internal communications in content marketing is: coming together through strategy and working together via processes and tools. She also states that it’s about following the workflows you have in place.

Maureen said it’s the art of communicating ideas, value, and relevancy of content to those across the organization.

When it comes to the Express Writers team, Julia loves to have frequent meetings to brain dump ideas and curate ideas as a team. It allows everyone to co-create.

For Elizabeth, it’s all about having a system that allows every team member to be aligned and on the same page. After all, it’s so important that everyone on a team is on the right track.

Providing clear direction to your team and stepping back to allow them to shine is all part of internal communications for Cheval. It’s great to collaborate as a team, but you also want to give everyone room to do what they do best.

Q3: What are some key steps in creating internal communication tactics?

To create internal communication tactics for your team, you’ll want to read through this helpful advice from the chat:

Pam’s key steps include: align on the objective, agree on a strategy and tactics, execute tactics, and host regular meetings to follow-up.

Elizabeth’s advice is to find the right tools for your team to use. What works for one team might not be ideal for yours, so choose the tools that are going to be the most useful to the work you do. Then, take the time to train your team on how to use it so everyone can get the most from the tool.

Jason suggests having a method of communication that everyone on the team can use. You want to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Make sure you’re approachable with all members of the team. Create an environment where they feel comfortable opening up with questions and problems they might have by encouraging them to share.

Don’t forget to bring every team member on for meetings because you never know who could have the next big idea.

Jeremy suggests setting expectations for meetings when it comes to their frequency, how long they’ll list, and creative flexibility.

Q4: How can different businesses apply those general steps to their specific content marketing needs?

These steps can be applied to a variety of businesses. You just need to know how to make it all work for your unique team. Here’s some advice:

Pam’s advice is to apply those steps by knowing your business objectives, your products, and your team’s communication challenges. You can work together to create a process that’s ideal for your team.

Know your goals and what you and your team need to achieve. Encourage them all to get involved and share thoughts, ideas, and opinions. You want your team to feel comfortable engaging with you.

Julia suggests asking everyone on your team to contribute content ideas. Everyone has different ideas that are worth being shared.

As Jeremy said, you want to build excitement around your brand and your team can help you do that when you co-create on content.

Maureen’s advice is to set up a communication schedule. You can answer questions and provide your team with actionable steps for them to take next.

Set goals, define content need, divide the work, and discuss any problems that have come up.

And remember, the fundamentals of communication can be applied regardless of business type. Stay in touch with your team and allow everyone the opportunity to let their voice be heard.

Q5: In your experience, what are some of the most efficient tactics?

What are some of the most efficient tactics for internal communications? Check out these responses from the chat:

Pam encourages face-to-face conversation. She feels this makes it easier to communicate with other members on your team. If you’re a remote team, you can always try video chatting to make it feel more like you’re with the other people.

Here at Express Writers, we rely on shared Google spreadsheets for topic ideas and Google Docs for co-creating.

Mallie suggests planning regular updates to check in with your team. You can see where everyone is at with their work, answer questions, etc.

Elizabeth agrees that having scheduled check-ins is the way to go. Set a date and time frame for your meetings and check up on your team.

Great advice from Jim! Encourage open communication from the start if you want to see the best results within your team.

Q6: What are some of the most useful tools/procedures to use for internal content marketing communication?

Which tools are procedures do our chat participants rely on for internal communication? Here’s what they had to say:

Pam’s advice is to select content creation and management tools to aid communications. You then want to create a workflow and define the roles and responsibilities of your team members.

Sarah’s tool suggestions include: a messaging platform, email, team meetings, and a content calendar. She also recommends being honest, open, and accessible.

For Maureen and her teammates, they’ve relied on face-to-face communication. Since they do often work from home, she said they’re going to start using Slack to stay in touch outside of the office.

The team at HeyOrca! relies on Slack, Trello, Canva, Grammarly, and Google Docs.

Elizabeth recommends Slack, Google Suite, Asana, and CoSchedule.

Iva recommends using the cloud, chat softwares, and a unified file system. She also encourages people to avoid email overload. After all, no one likes an out of control inbox.

Zachary loves using Google Drive for collaborating.

Varun said the tools you use should depend on the size of your team and the complexity of communication, which is great advice. What works for one team might not work out so well for yours. He does, however, suggest checking out Slack, Trello, WhatsApp, and even Facebook for Business.

Here at Express Writers, we recently invested in Zoho for our email, which has been proving to work out well for us.

Q7: How can you connect tactics with content marketing goals?

To connect your internal communication tactics with your content marketing goals, follow these tips:

This is helpful advice from Pam and something everyone should keep in mind!

Be sure to start by setting your goals, then work backwards from there to figure out how you’re going to achieve them. This will help you get where you want to be.

Maureen suggests making a flexible plan that aligns to your objectives.

Julia said to set realistic deadlines for your team and make sure everyone is aware of those deadlines and prepared to meet them.

Q8: What are some important metrics that will help us optimize and track our success?

Which metrics should you keep an eye on? This is what you’ll want to watch:

As Pam said, the metrics you track the closest will depend on your marketing goals and objectives. Your might track shares, impressions, discount offers, and many others.

Maureen and her teammates track placements, traffic, conversions, and closed deals.

Jeremy likes to track engagement and also what led to people taking the next step with your brand.

Remember that there’s no catch-all success metric, as Mallie said. You have to figure out what’s most important to your unique goals.

#Contentwritingchat

project management

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Project Management & Content Marketing with Brittany Berger

In the latest #ContentWritingChat, we talked all about project management and content marketing. If you want to learn some tips that will take your project management workflow to the next level, this chat is sure to help you out. Keep reading for the recap!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Project Management & Content Marketing: How to Have a Fluid Content Project Management Workflow with Brittany Berger

Our guest host this week was Brittany Berger. Brittany is a PR and Content Marketing Manager for Mention. She shared a ton of great advice with us, so be prepared to take some notes!

Q1: Why is project management important for content marketing?

To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share their thoughts on why they though project management played an important role in content marketing. Here are some of the answers we received during the chat:

Brittany acknowledges there are many different moving parts when it comes to content marketing. For this reason, there’s always the possibility something could fall through the cracks or your content could become misaligned with the goal. With a project management strategy in place, you can keep everything working as it should be.

As Sarah said, project management helps to keep everyone aligned when it comes to timing. You want to ensure everything gets done on time and that people are meeting deadlines. Having a strategy in place will help you make that happen!

Mallorie agrees that it’s essential for consistently meeting deadlines. It gives you the opportunity to set goals and create plans to help you achieve what needs to be done.

Benefits of project management: it keeps your content aligned, keeps you on or under budget, and keeps overwhelm at bay.

As if you needed more reason to create a strong content project management workflow for your brand… Julia mentioned it’s key to success.

Without project management, Cassandra said content marketing becomes chaos. And you don’t want that, do you?

Q2: What does content project management entail?

Now that you know what project management is important to your content marketing, what exactly does it entail? Check out these responses from the chat:

Brittany said content project management entails planning, organizing, and executing.

Structuring calendars, setting quantity, and deadline structure all are important aspects of project management. Julia also said you need to stay on top of the creation process and everyone involved.

Sarah said you need to have a goal, figure out your timeline, schedule and plan with your calendar, execute, and make sure you keep all team members on track.

You need to organized the who, what, and when of each of the content pieces you create.

Varun said you need to create your content calendar, know who will be contributing, important dates and events, deadlines you need to meet, as well as targeting and monitoring.

Know your budget, plan out your campaign, delegate tasks based on the strengths of your team members, and get started! Great advice!

Brittany brought up a solid point for those of who are working solo. Just because you don’t have a team behind you, it doesn’t mean you can take advantage of project management. You should still have a great editorial calendar and assign deadlines to hold yourself accountable.

Q3: What tools are the best for content teams to stay organized?

The great news is, there are a ton of tools out there that can make project management a lot easier. We received some great suggestions in response to this question, so be sure to check these out if you haven’t already!

Brittany recommends using tools that will help you communicate, store assets, and organize processes. There are many tools you can choose from to make each of these tasks easier!

She also shared that the team at Mention loves using CoSchedule, which is an amazing tool for planning out your content.

Evernote and Asana are two go-to tools for me. I use Evernote to store ideas and draft content, plus Asana keeps me organized when outlining larger projects and editorial calendars.

Bill is also a fan of Evernote and he flies on Google Docs and Sheets to stay organized when it comes to project management.

The HeyOrca! team loves using Trello, which is a handy app for planning projects and creating to-do lists. They also rely on Slack to communicate with one another.

The Digital Natives team recommends Google Drive, Slack, Glip, and Group Me.

The team at Netvantage relies on Google Drive and Basecamp to get things done.

For Shereese, she switches tools based on the work she’s doing. When handling client projects, she uses Wrike. However, Evernote is a go-to for her personal work.

Q4: How can content writers help prevent overwhelm when working on several projects at once?

The reality is, we often find ourselves juggling multiple projects at the same time. It can be a lot to manage, often resulting in feelings of overwhelm. To prevent that from happening, check out this advice:

Brittany’s advice is to look at each step in the process as its own thing. You want to break larger tasks into smaller, more manageable tasks. Not only is this less overwhelming, but it makes it easier for you to tackle the things on your to-do list.

Prioritize each of your projects and list them in order of importance. Start with what needs to be tackled first and focus on getting it done before moving onto the next.

Beki suggests dividing your time into manageable chunks for different projects. You can use a timer to keep you on track.

Breonna also agrees with blocking out time on your calendar. This ensures you dedicate ample time to each task so you can stay on track and make progress. She also recommends focusing on just one project at a time.

When you’re blocking out time for your work tasks, Bill said to make sure you block off some time for yourself as well.

Chris suggests setting realistic targets and goals, defined steps, and micro-achievements.

Sarah said to be up front when it comes to your schedule and let your boss or team know if you get behind on tasks that need to be completed.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Tony also suggests using plenty of Post-It notes!

Don’t take on more than you can handle. If you stretch yourself too thin, you become overwhelmed and the quality of your work will suffer.

Q5: How can teams maximize the amount of content they’re creating without burning out?

We all want to avoid burning out, especially when it come to content creation. So, how can we create plenty of content without crashing and burning? These tips will help you out:

Brittany shared some great advice with us. She said she separates the creative versus logistical parts of content creation. Collecting links, conducting research, getting screenshots and other similar tasks are separate from writing time.

Julia knows it helps to have a supportive team by your side, as well as a strong project management workflow.

Plan out your content in advance and then batch write blog posts, newsletters, etc. Once you get into that writing groove from writing one post, it’s much easier to keep going and write another. It’s a lot more productive to write three posts back to back then it is to write a blog post, complete another task, and then go back to writing blog posts.

Don’t forget to take advantage of the content you’ve already created. Michelle said you can repurpose and scale your current content, which will help you get more eyes on the stuff you’ve published in the past.

Kristen agrees that repurposing is essential. She said to take top-performing content and recycle it for multiple channels.

Cheval recommends writing in a notebook every day to prevent writer’s block. This is a great way to strengthen your writing skills as well.

Never stop creating! Zala said you should always collect ideas and brainstorm. She also knows it helps to create content in advance and repurpose what you already have.

While some audiences love long-form content, others don’t resonate with it as much. If that applies to your audience, you can break up longer content pieces into multiples to create a series. It’s also a great way to keep your audience coming back to your website.

Varun knows collaboration is one key to success when it comes to content creation. He also recommends setting priorities and being open to discussions with your team.

Jeremy’s advice is that you shouldn’t promise more than you can actually deliver. It’s better to under-promise and over-deliver on the content you create.

Q6: What’s the biggest mistake a content team can make when juggling multiple channels and formats?

There are a lot of mistakes a content team can make and we asked people in this week’s chat to share which ones they thought were the worst. Keep these in mind so you can avoid them!

Brittany said it’s a mistake to think of each thing as a separate project. She suggests looking at how everything works and interacts with each other.

If you aren’t communicating with your team, you’re setting yourself up for failure. You need to be open to working together and sharing ideas.

If you don’t stay in contact with your team, it can be chaos.

As Jason said, you shouldn’t assume someone has a task covered. This is where open communication comes into place. Keep in touch with your team to make sure everyone is on track.

Kim said it would be a mistake to not plan or have a strategy in place.

Not communicating with your team, failing to proofread, and not thinking through your content are all big mistakes in Sara’s book.

Jim suggests designating tasks to the specialists and letting them do their thing.

Don’t sign up for a platform and then fail to commit to it. If you join a platform, you need to post consistently and be present.

Don’t underestimate the size of your workload.

Don’t allow yourself to get discouraged because you can’t do it all.

Quit pushing quantity over quality. Quality is always more important in the end.

Q7: As a content writer, how can you keep ideas straight when working on multiple, but similar, projects?

It can be tough to keep ideas straight when you’re working on multiple projects. Here’s some advice to help you out:

Brittany likes to get her ideas out on paper as soon as possible. This is great for ensuring you don’t forget anything and allows you to map everything out later. She also recommends not switching back and forth between projects too much. Chunk your schedule to work on similar tasks back to back.

Jason also agrees that chunking your schedule is helpful. He suggests scheduling blocks when you work on just one project, instead of jumping between different things.

Mallie is a fan of blocking off time on your schedule as well. She even thinks it’s a good idea to give each project its own folder to keep things separate.

Julia relies on multiple to-do lists, content calendars, and Google Sheets to keep things organized. And you can’t forget a cup of coffee (or two)!

Kristen makes a new to-do list every day as well. She also uses project management tools like Trello to help.

Jeremy likes to outline and save drafts in his blog and in Evernote. This makes it easy for him to work on content whenever he wants.

Q8: What other content marketers are great at project management?

Who else is amazing at project management? You can get some inspiration from these content marketers:

Brittany has learned a lot from Nathan Ellering, Benjamin Brandall, and Jess Ostroff.

Julia is impressed with how Content Marketing Institute manages their workflow and editorial structure.

Cheval was too kind and including Julia and I in his list, along with Ann Handley.

Jeremy shared a bunch of great people with us. You’ll want to check them out if you aren’t already!

We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time for great chats centered around content writing and marketing. Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on our new topics and guests!

#ContentWritingChat, content marketing strategy

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Creating a Content Marketing Strategy 101 with Doug Kessler

It’s no secret that every brand needs to have an effective content marketing strategy if they want to see results within their business. However, many brands feel unsure of how to get started when creating a strategy of their own. This week’s #ContentWritingChat was all about the basics of creating a content marketing strategy, so there’s no more excuses. You can get started on yours today!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Creating a Content Marketing Strategy 101 with Doug Kessler

For this Tuesday’s #ContentWritingChat, our guest host was Doug Kessler. Doug is the is Co-Founder and Creative Director of Velocity. He shared some great insights with our audience about content marketing, so you’ll want to read through these tips and start implementing them.

Q1: Discuss the importance of content marketing for brands in 2017.

So, how important is it for a brand to develop their own content marketing strategy? And what kind of results will it provide once they have? Check out these tips from Tuesday’s chat:

Doug said that content marketing has turned into a mainstream strategy.

Julia knows just how important your content marketing strategy is when it comes to marketing. The stats she shared are pretty impressive!

As Annaliese said, content marketing has become expected of brands. She feels it helps you to build an interested audience and can establish you as a thought leader in your industry.

Content marketing can help you build relationships with your customers, which can ultimately lead to more brand loyalty. You’ll see these kinds of results when you do your content marketing strategy the right way.

The Digital Natives team said it’s key for establishing trust and adding value for your clients.

Q2: What’s the first major step(s) of a solid content marketing strategy for any business/industry?

When creating a content marketing strategy for your brand, there are a few steps you’ll have to take in the early phases. Here’s what you need to know in order to get started:

Doug said that the first step to creating a content marketing strategy is getting to know your audience. If you don’t know who your audience is, you can’t create the right kind of content to attract them.

To get to know your audience, you’ll need to do some research. It may be time-consuming, but it’s a must before you can get started with anything.

Know your goals and who your audience is. Once you’ve figured out those two things, you can start planning how you’ll connect with them and what kind of content you’ll create.

Annaliese agrees that it’s important to set goals before you begin creating your strategy.

Take the time to map out the journey you expect a customer to take. This is very beneficial to your success!

Bill’s advice is to list out your business objectives and the needs of your audience. This will help you start planning.

Tony recommends finding ways your audience likes to read and access content. Once you’ve figured that out, you can create exactly the type of content they’re looking for.

Q3: Content marketing vs. traditional marketing (i.e., TV spot): Your thoughts? Is one higher ROI?

Today’s brands still invest in traditional marketing as part of their content marketing strategy. There’s no shortage of ads on television. But is it really the most effective tactic or is content marketing the way to go? Here’s what our chat participants had to say:

Julia shared a link to her post that showed just how effective content marketing can be when compared to a Super Bowl ad.

Kevin’s advice is to figure out who your audience is and where they’re spending their time. Once you know that, you’ll be able to create content and put it directly in front of them on the platforms they’re using.

Keira brought up a great point about how consumers now crave relationships with brands. Those relationships are what help to build trust, which ultimately turns a follower into a customer. Conversations are key to building relationships with your target audience.

As Roslyn said, it’s also easier to track the success of content marketing than traditional marketing. This will help you to really see the results you’re getting from your investment.

Q4: Discuss a few favorite channels/content types that work for you (live streaming, guest blogging, etc.).

The channels and content types that work best for one brand won’t necessarily be what works best for another. It’s important to experiment so you can see what works for you, then make it part of your content marketing strategy. Here’s what seems to be working well for our chat participants:

Doug is a big fan of SlideShade, which we’ve also used here at Express Writers. If you haven’t tried it for yourself, give it a shot and see how your audience responds.

He also mentioned video, which is still very powerful today. Whether you’re uploading videos to YouTube or doing live videos on a platform like Facebook Live, it’s great for your brand.

As Julia said, she sees results from writing guest blogs for other sites and here on Express Writers. This Twitter chat and her book have also worked out well.

When blogging on your own site, make sure you do so consistently if you want to see results.

Annaliese has seen great results with guest blogging. It’s a fantastic way to increase your exposure since you’re able to get in front of a whole new audience. Social media engagement is also great!

For Sarah and the ThinkSEM team, they get the best results from blogging and sharing on Twitter.

Andrea is also a fan of Twitter, as are we here at Express Writers. Infographics are a great one as well!

If your audience is on Pinterest, it’s worthwhile to pin your content there to increase traffic back to your website.

Michelle loves joining Twitter chats. They’re actually a great way to connect with new people and to share your expertise. She also enjoys using the story features on both Instagram and Snapchat.

Meg mentioned email has been very effective for the team at Brandfolder.

Cheval knows that podcasting is great for building his authority within his industry. Even if you don’t see a return on your investment right away, it can happen over time.

Another point for podcasting!

This is great advice from Bill!

Q5: Share some ways to stand out in a sea of content. How do you find and showcase your brand voice?

With so much noise online these days, it can be hard to stand out. How do you do it? Check out these tips:

Infuse everything you create with your brand’s voice. Doug said Slack and MailChimp do a great job with this. Honesty is also important!

Great answer from Michelle, especially her point about authenticity and transparency.

Don’t be afraid to take risks and try new things. If something doesn’t work out for you, don’t get discouraged. Learn from it and move on.

Jeremy said it’s important to test the content you create. This allows you to see what’s working and what’s not. Make sure you’re also being helpful and serving others.

Make sure you’re also expanding your reach by utilizing SEO.

Don’t forget to engage with your audience regularly. It shows them that you’re human and helps to build a connection.

Q6: How can you identify if your content marketing strategy is actually working and generating results?

Once you’ve developed and implemented your content marketing strategy, how do you know if it’s working for you? These tips will show you what you need to track:

Doug’s advice is to measure everything. You can learn a lot by seeing the areas in which you’re growing.

As Kristi said, this is where your goals come in. You need to set goals for the content you create so you can see if it was actually effective. If it is, great! If not, you need to make some changes.

Make success specific and measurable from the get-go. This is great advice from Mallie!

Jacob is spot on with his answer. You don’t want to get lost in a sea of data, so know what you want to measure first.

Be sure to give yourself ample time to reach your goals. Don’t expect results overnight.

Julia knows it’s important to track leads. Your content brings in leads, which ultimately leads to more clients and revenue for your business.

As Sabjan said, it’s all about those conversions.

If people are engaging with your content, sharing it, and eventually becoming customers… You’re doing something right.

Q7: Share some favorite tools you rely on consistently for your content marketing.

If you’re looking for new tools to help with your content marketing, you’ll want to check out this list.

Doug loves using SlideShare and Evernote.

Like Annaliese, we also rely on Yoast here at Express Writers. It’s great for SEO and readability.

Evernote is great for storing ideas and writing drafts. Asana is awesome for project management. And we can’t forget about Yoast and Buffer!

These tools are all worth checking out!

Cheval relies on Post Planner and Buffer on daily basis to put content out for his audience.

Buffer, Trello, and Google Docs are key for Amanda when it comes to her content marketing strategy.

CoSchedule is great for planning out your content!

Q8: Share some predictions or observations on the state of content marketing for 2017 and beyond.

What do you think is in store for content marketing in the future? Check out these predictions:

Those who commit to content marketing will win, while those who dabble won’t.

Julia is predicting new platforms, tools, and smarter systems.

Sarah thinks it’ll become more important to hone in on your audience’s desires, as well as timing and placement of your content.

Now is the time to start committing to video content, as its popularity will only continue to grow.

Tony also agrees that video content is important.

Great visuals for your content will always be important!

Javier predicts that augmented reality will become a lot more common.

Work smarter, not harder with strategic content.

We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time for great chats centered around content writing and marketing. Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on our new topics and guests!

super bowl ad

How to Spend $37,000 for 2 Years of Content Marketing & Outperform a $5 Million Super Bowl Ad (Or, Why Content Marketing Is the Best Marketing)

Super Bowl ads cost a lot.

The average cost of an ad is around $5 million. Marketing for one commercial spot can cost as much as $1.25 million.

That comes out to about $41,600 dollars / second.

$5 million for one short spot?

Could it be wasted money?

The truth, according to a Stanford study, is that commercials by soda and beer companies have an insignificant effect on revenue. And 80% of commercials do nothing to boost sales or purchase intent, according to Bloomberg experts.

Here’s my next question.

Could content marketing outperform a Super Bowl ad?

I think so.

In today’s post, I’m making the argument that it can, by comparing a two-year investment in content marketing ($37k) vs. a 1-second Super Bowl ad investment ($41k). Read on.

super bowl vs content marketing

The High Cost of Being in the Super Bowl Ad Game

Companies justify the cost of advertising in order to keep pace with the competition, to give their brand greater visibility, and to keep consumers talking long after the winning touchdown is made.

To add to the mix, the rise of social media and advanced technology means we can share, YouTube, and tweet these commercials over and over again after companies have rushed to take the first place in line when commercial previews are unveiled in January.

Fun fact: the steep $5 million price tag is double what a Super Bowl ad cost ten years ago.

NY Times Graph

Graphic from NY Times

Can you afford to spend that much on content marketing?

The best of content creators could come up with a variety of efficient ways to spend $41,000 dollars in their efforts aside from a 30-second television spot.

Content marketing doesn’t have to be crazy expensive. And there are many ways a brand can spread a message that are both cost-effective and impactful.

Check out these incredible content marketing statistics:

  • 61% of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog. (BlogHer)
  • 70% of consumers say they prefer getting to know a company via articles rather than ads. (SlideShare)
  • Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing. (Demand Metric)

See the pattern? Content marketing costs are less expensive and the preferred method for consumers to get to know a brand. This frees us up to explore other avenues in our quest to deliver authoritative and authentic copy.

Thankfully, those methods are cost-effective, allowing us to market a brand without a hefty price tag; we’ve gathered three effective tools and some powerful stats to show you how.

Ready to jump in?

The Math: Content Marketing Costs vs. Super Bowl Ad Costs

super bowl infographic

 

(Content costs based on our agency services at Express Writers. Keep reading for the breakdown.)

Why High-Quality Content Marketing Plays a Vital Role in a Brand’s Life (& 3 Winners)

Content marketers have proven time and again that they don’t need to spend thousands of dollars per second on flashy advertising in order to be successful. Reasonably-priced content marketing has the potential to make a difference to a brand’s online life.

High-quality tools like e-books, blogging packages, and social media can do wonders for a marketer’s efforts and bring a new vitality to a brand’s online presence for a non-millionaire price.

Here are three cost-effective, lead-generating content tactics you can use when you don’t have millions to invest in a Super Bowl ad.

1. Ebooks

With the right promotion and the support of a collaborative team, an e-book can not only generate leads, but also be the tool that converts. An e-book can set you apart as an authority in your field and can serve as a powerful source of information for your audience for years to come.

Another benefit of ebooks is the opportunity to deconstruct the content into smaller pieces, which could include:

  • a series of newsletters
  • blog posts
  • podcast series
  • a list of do’s and don’ts

Barry Feldman over at Convince and Convert calls this the “e-book equation.” He notes that while planning for your ebook, it should be formed in such a way to “cast a wide net over a fertile area that traces to one of your strengths,”  then outlined, researched, and written with the knowledge that it will “foster offspring.”

2. Blogging

In the 2017 Content Marketing Institute Benchmarks report, 75% of B2C marketers noted that blogging was one of an average of seven marketing tactics used in their efforts; this fell just under the top answer of social media content

SlideShare CMI

Graphic from SlideShare

Just over half of those surveyed said blogging will be most critical to their content marketing success in 2017.

In their most basic form, blogs are easy to use and can cost almost nothing to maintain. As a converting tool, blogs can be the fuel that moves readers to your social media channels and sales pages. Blogs are the place where SEO is maximized.

Successful blogging in today’s world of content development is easier than ever. The accessibility of quality tools for content marketers leaves us with little excuse for delivering subpar content on an inconsistent basis.

  • Quora is a question-and-answer site that will help content creators with new ideas for topics. (link)
  • BuzzSumo allows you to enter a topic or website into the search box and find the key influencers to help promote your content. (link)
  • Canva lets users express creativity through custom-made images, and many of the elements are free. (link)

If used consistently and creatively, blogs can be a powerful tool in your arsenal. Why does consistent blogging win? Read more here.

3. Social Media

The rise of social media over the past several years has had both a direct and indirect impact on content marketing and search engine optimization. Having a social media presence is not only one way to build brand awareness, it also connects us more closely with our audience with opportunity for engagement.

In the CMI research mentioned above, social media channels followed email as the top for distribution of content, which means marketers are becoming more aware of how important it is to be linked to sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Why invest in social media?

  • Nearly 70% of Americans use social media to connect with others and engage with content. (Source)
  • Vision trumps our other senses. We remember 10% of what we hear and 65% of what we see. (Source)
  • Tweets with images received 18% more clicks than those without. (Source)
  • 81% of marketers found that increased traffic occurred with as little as 6 hours per week invested in social media marketing. (Source)

Social media continues to be an important and affordable component of an overall content strategy, and with the right approach, it’s reach can be wide.

What A 2 Year Investment in Content Services Can Bring You

The services available from our own agency offer a higher value for the cost, and our clients receive much more than they would with other avenues. Our team is made up of trained and committed writers, designers, and social media experts who combine their trained approach with industry knowledge to deliver top-notch content for your needs.

Here are just a few of the high ROI services available from our specialists at Express Writers.

  • Ongoing blogging plan: Choose this plan and we will provide your website with 16 blogs per month with up to 1000 words each. Includes branded imagery, meta descriptions, and publishing. Every blog is SEO optimized, written by our engaging blog writers, and includes high-quality links and reader-friendly formatting (H2s / H3s). Proofreading by our editorial staff is included. Price: $980 per month. Additional services include content planning and expert writing. (See it here)
  • Authority blogs: Receive up to 4500 words backed with keyword strategy and research by our trained Content Strategists who will find a low competition, high opportunity long-tail keyword to include and optimize for in your content. Your content is then assigned to an industry-fit Authority Writer, and written from scratch. Original illustrations will be created by our designer and you will receive a feature graphic to use on social media. Price: $900 per month. (See it here)
  • Web pages: Custom Expert copy services begin at 500 words and include content written by a handpicked writing expert who specializes in your chosen subject. Select your word count, send us the details, and we will take care of the rest! Price: $90 per piece. (See it here)
  • E-book/whitepapers: These two products serve as the perfect lead magnet for content marketing. A ten-page e-book is created with expert copywriting and original illustrative designs crafted from scratch. Price: $750 (See it here). Our creative and experienced marketing team writers produce whitepapers for a variety of services and businesses that can be delivered as copy only or beautifully designed for your need. Price: $100 (See it here)
  • Social media plan: The social media Enterprise Plan offers you the maximum mileage for your content. You will receive custom-designed text images added to your posts, which will be posted multiple times daily to various platforms. Five custom premium branded images are designed and posted on a weekly basis, including to Pinterest. Price: $1025 per month. (See it here) 

A Content Success Story

Here at Express Writers, we remain committed to delivering custom content that works for our clients. Check out what happened when a marketing agency connected with us for their content needs.

Marketing Labs is a digital marketing agency located in Worksop, England that is dedicated to helping online businesses increase their website traffic and improve conversion rates. Their team of professionals includes many individuals who possess more than a decade of experience in the area of online growth and customer service. Based on their expertise, they were set to become a premier digital marketing agency in their area.

In their search for a copywriting agency that would bring a certain level of competency to the table, they realized they needed not only quality writing, but the speed and knowledge necessary to deliver authoritative content for their digital marketing efforts.

After connecting with Express Writers, our team began creating and implementing a content plan for the Marketing Labs blog, as well as cleaning up and optimizing the product description copy for one of their clients. The results were amazing.
EW Success Story 2

EW Success Story

See our success stories here.

The Marketing Labs team is now in place to become a leading digital marketing agency throughout all of England. As their CEO Matt says, “Being able to add the kind of quality writing (EW provides) to our services makes us an extremely attractive proposition to those seeking to optimize their digital exposure.”

Recapping the Challenges to Content Marketing

We can’t end without recapping some of the top challenges facing content marketers.

Going back to the CMI research in 2016, the top one was content strategy. The second challenge was time.

Only 40% of those surveyed claim to have a documented strategy; 42% plan to increase their content marketing spending over the next year.

If we want to enhance our efforts, we need both a documented strategy and a marketing budget. Those are two tangible steps we can start working on today, right where we are.

Once a strategy is documented (what you want to accomplish and when), and a budget is set (how much you can spend and on what), the next challenge comes with researching, writing, and scheduling all of that awesome content.

That is, if you have the time.

If not, there are some options out there.

  • Delegating a team member: If you are part of a larger team, there is a good chance someone is a skilled writer or social media guru who can take over the responsibility of content creation. Maybe that means hiring someone to join the team with the specific task of writing and managing your e-books, social media, and blogs.
  • Hiring a freelancer: A freelance writer may charge by the hour or the piece, and rates may be negotiable. Quality of the work may not be guaranteed, and you should remember that you get what you pay for. A freelancer may or may not be well-versed in the topics you are focusing on, so there needs to be clear communication so that the right message is delivered.
  • Working with an outside agency: A well-qualified agency with a reputation for excellence and a commitment to quality will have a team of trained writers who are prepared to fulfill your content creation needs. Beyond a single, pay-by-the-page blog post, a team of writers can be invaluable for e-book creation, ongoing blog plans, and social media management that will increase the visibility of your brand and put authority behind your message.

Is Your Brand Creating Content That Makes for an Extremely Attractive Proposition?

It can be a tough business, this content marketing gig. Almost half of us feel like we are only somewhat more effective when compared with a year ago, and that’s understandable.

We face deadlines and budgets and client expectations every day, and we all know time stops for no marketer. And that’s saying nothing for our life outside of work (hopefully you have one. If not, that’s a topic for another post).

While some things are out of our hands, there some things we content marketers can control.

We can do things like:

  • document a strategy
  • set goals for our content
  • develop a vision for our own brand that we strive to live out in our daily schedule

These are the basic parts of effective planning, and should be the basis for every piece of content we create. The strategy, goals, and vision for our brand need to be woven into the message we convey.

There are other things that are out of our control. Contrary to what we may believe, we can’t do it all, and we need the support of a collaborative team and guidance from industry experts.

We can’t perform miracles like:

  • put more hours in the day
  • accomplish all our goals without support
  • make $41,000 suddenly appear in our budgets for advertising (unless you can, in which case, give us a call)

For all that we cannot control, there are cost-effective, time-saving options that can work wonders for our marketing efforts and make us an extremely attractive proposition. The tools at our disposal like automated scheduling and the use of repurposed content are designed to make content creation easier and are a good place to start.

Consider is a partnership with an agency of well-qualified writers, designers, and social media managers who can take your good ideas and turn them into a conversion masterpiece.

Keep Moving Forward

We can’t all afford Super Bowl ads. But we can all take steps forward in the journey of creating high-quality, authoritative content that will engage our audience and keep them coming back for more.

All without breaking the bank.

Are you ready to connect with Express Writers? See our values, or get in touch today.