#ContentWritingChat March 29 2016 Recap: How to Develop Your Voice in Content Marketing

Did you miss #ContentWritingChat this week? Or maybe you just wanted to check out some of the highlights from Tuesday’s chat? Either way, there’s no need to worry. We have you covered!

Unfortunately, our scheduled guest host was not able to make it to the chat, but our awesome CEO, Julia McCoy, stepped in as our host for the week. She joined us as we talked all about How to Develop Your Voice in Content Marketing. Now, let’s dive into the recap!

Q1: Why is finding your voice and story so important in content marketing?

Finding your voice and your story is important when it comes to content marketing. You need to be yourself in order to be unique and stand out from the crowd. Here’s what Julia, Sarah from ThinkSEM, Andrew, Kyle, and Michael had to say.

As Julia pointed out, there’s a ton of content on the web today. If you want your content to stand out from the rest, you need to develop your voice and infuse your writing with it.

Sarah mentioned that knowing your voice and your story can actually help you reach the right audience. Your voice is important when it comes to attracting your target market to your content.

Andrew and Kyle both know the importance of finding your voice when it comes to content marketing. They agreed that using your personal voice will help draw people to you and your content.

A great piece of advice from Michael: be genuine! Don’t try to copy someone else or be manipulative. You need to be true to who you are.

Q2: How can brands and businesses hone in on their voice?

Now that you know why finding your voice is so important, how do you figure out what your voice really is? Check out these tips:

Julia knows that research is key when it comes to finding your voice! Get to know your audience and develop content specifically for them.

Both Village Print & Media and Andrew agreed that part of developing your voice comes from knowing the core values behind your brand. What does your brand stand for?

Ryan shared a great tip with his answer: keep track of what your audience is engaging with. When you get to know your audience and you understand what kind of content resonates with them, it can help you in developing your voice and story.

Q3: What are some key tactics to creating great content today?

Do you want to start creating better content? Take a look at some of these tips that were shared during Tuesday’s chat and start implementing them as part of your content strategy:

Julia summed it all up with her answer! The keys to creating great content include time, investment, creativity, genius, and storytelling.

As Andrew and Sarah pointed out, you need to do some research on your audience if you want to create great content. After all, you’re creating it for them! Figure out what they want and need and how you plan to deliver it to them. Then, you just have to go for it!

As Liliana said, great content is informative, but you should also leave your audience wanting more. That’s the key to coming them back every single time.

Another great tip is to stay updated on current events and trends. (Both Kyle and Village Print & Media know this is a must!) As Kyle said, you just need to make sure you put your own unique spin on it. Share your thoughts and opinions as a way to add to current events or trending topics.

Q4: What are some don’ts in creating content today?

To make sure you’re creating awesome content for your audience, you’ll want to make sure you avoid these “don’ts”:

Don’t forget to target your specific audience. And don’t forget to have a promotion plan in place. You need to be able to spread the word about your content once it’s published so you can get more readers.

Don’t create content for the sake of creating content. It’s much better to create a few high quality posts for your audience than it is to create a bunch of posts that aren’t up to par.

Michael and Chris agreed on this one. Don’t focus on selling all the time. Instead, focus on helping your audience and providing value to them.

Don’t forget to optimize your content for search engines. Learn the basics of SEO and take the time to implement it for every piece of content you write

Q5: How is storytelling part of finding your voice in content marketing?

Storytelling plays a major part in attracting customers to you and your brand. To make it part of your brand’s voice, check out these tips:

As Julia said, you can use your story in a variety of ways to draw in your audience. You can implement your story into your social media ads, blog copy, your about page, and more.

As Kyle and Resume Strategists pointed out, storytelling is a way to draw in your audience and get them to care about and relate to your content.

Brittany believes your story is a core element of your brand. It should be infused into everything you do. Very true, Brittany!

As Rohan said, when you’re passionate about your story, it will help you discover your voice.

Q6: What are some tools that can help the storytelling process?

To help with the storytelling process, we got some amazing recommendations from people in Tuesday’s chat. Take a look and start checking out these tools and tips for yourself:

Julia knows that creativity is very important! She also recommended Canva, which is a tool we love to use here at Express Writers. It makes designing captivating images so much easier.

Much like us at Express Writers, Omi Sido is another fan of Canva! Use it to create designs for your blog posts, social media content, and more.

Andrew recommended using BuzzSumo and BuzzStream. Both are great tools for discovering new content and seeing what is popular lately.

Analytics are another great tool to use because you can see what is resonating with your audience. When you see what actions they’re taking and what content they’re enjoying the most, you can create more of what they like.

Jeremy knows you can’t underestimate the power of editing. Before you share your content, review it to make sure everything is relevant and interesting to your audience. Eliminate anything that doesn’t fit or add value.

Q7: What are key content formats of today (i.e. blogs, videos, etc.)?

There are so many ways you can create content these days, but what you create will largely depend on you and your audience. Here’s what some people in the chat had to say:

Julia said podcasts are huge right now. And she should know! She just launched one of her own: The Write Podcast. She’s been joined by some amazing guests so far to chat about content marketing. Be sure to check it out!

For some other popular content formats, she also suggested livestreaming. Apps like Periscope and Blab continue to grow in popularity. What was her most important tip? Make sure your content is evergreen. Create content that will remain relevant and won’t be quickly outdated.

As Andrew said, the content you create depends on where your audience is. Think about where they’re spending their time online and what types of content they enjoy the most. Create with them in mind.

Village Print & Media knows that video content is important right now, especially on apps like Instagram and Snapchat. Are you using these platforms for your brand?

We saw even more love for video from Alberto who suggested utilizing Snapchat, Blab, Periscope, YouTube, and Facebook Live. Is your audience using any of these? If they are, you should give them a try!

Q8: What do you think is ahead for the content marketing industry?

We always love to hear the thoughts of people in the chat. When we asked what they thought was ahead for the content marketing industry, many of them had the same answer (video).

Julia, Kyle, and Michael are all tuned in to what’s hot lately because they know video is only going to get more and more popular. Video content is a great way to stand out from the crowd and help you develop a connection with your audience.

Sarah said that content marketing will become more about connecting with your audience and starting a conversation with them, as opposed to being so focused on selling.

As Zala pointed out, no matter what, you need to find a way to be creative. That’s always a must!

We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM CDT for great chats centered around content writing and marketing!

The Ultimate State of Content Marketing In 2015

The Ultimate State of Content Marketing In 2015 – Infographic

Content is here to stay: no doubt about it. But how is content considered successful today, based on search engine ranking potential and real value-add to readers?

The Ultimate State of Content Marketing In 2015

We’ve gathered the top factors of successful content for 2015, based on over 15 top sources (including major content marketing studies) in one comprehensive infographic. Enjoy, and don’t forget to share and comment! (Transcript below the infographic of the content and resource links.)

The Ultimate State of Content Marketing In 2015
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Did You Know? Crucial Content Stats For 2015

  • 95% (9 out of 10) B2B marketers in North America use content marketing.
  • 60% of marketers use content marketing WEEKLY.
  • 41% of marketers confirm content marketing has a positive ROI (Stateofinboundmarketing)
  • 82% of prospects find relevant industry content most valuable (Marketo)
  • Engagement is the most frequently cited objective for content marketing by US B2B marketers. (Curata)
  • Content marketing is now defined as using/creating content that is not promotional but interesting or valuable in itself. (Emarketer)
  • Buyers are most likely to share blog posts more than any other content form. Next most likely shared content form: infographics. (DemandGenReport)
  • Whitepapers used to be one of the most popular content forms (in 2013); now, 95% of buyers prefer shorter content formats. (DemandGenReport)
  • In social media, buyers are more likely to be on LinkedIn & Twitter. (DemandGenReport)
  • Length matters: Blogs that are at least 2,500 words on a 10+ year old domain rank the best in Google. (serpIQ) Content at least 3,000 words gets 2x the amount of shares shorter posts do.

Six Key Factors of Content Success In 2015

What makes successful content tick? Let’s take a look.

1. Quality is the number one ranking factor.

Although authority and relevance win the rankings (Redevolution), quality is the number one ranking factor for web content (Neilpatel).

2. Useful content posted consistently will succeed.

The keyword is useful; if your readers gain something from reading, they will share and engage. Correct SEO copywriting is essential for websites.

3. A lot of time will be spent crafting perfect headlines.

Five times as many people read the headline as read the actual body copy. (David Ogilvy) (represent in a statistic?). This means when you write a headline, you spend 80c out of a dollar (also represent in a statistic possibly?)

Headline copy is one of the top 5 MOST impactful elements for lead generation. (MarketingSherpa)

4. Content auditing is the best way to monitor content quality.

Say goodbye to bad content: embarrassing content and outdated links won’t happen again if you maintain content auditing (Copyblogger).

Content auditing tools: a content expert’s human eye, time, SEMRush

5. Content curation is becoming mainstream.

Most marketers are now utilizing content curation as a key component of their content marketing strategy. 56% of marketers say that quality content is their greatest content marketing challenge. Curation is a top solution for this challenge. (Forbes/Curata)

Curation tools:, Quora, Curata, Storify,

6. Creativity will be in demand as content marketers strive to rise above.

Today, SEO copywriting isn’t finished when the content is well-written or even useful: the content must also excite the reader. The more creative the content, the more the engagement.

Storytelling will be in demand as a top engagement tool to connect audience to content. (BruceClay) Just remember: not everyone is a storyteller. (Wordstream)

Examples of awesome creativity in content: Basecamp’s, Redbull’s

Liked this infographic? Buy one, custom-made to your marketing needs, from us in our Content Shop today!


Statistics – Full Reference List

Marketing Sherpa l

Neil Patel l

Kapost l

Dev-Edge Internet Marketing l

Copyblogger l l

Redevolution l

Emarketer l

Content Marketing Institute l

Demand Gen Report l

Forbes l

State of Inbound 2014 Hubspot l

Curata l

serpIQ l

Bruce Clay, INC l

Wordstream l


wasting money on buying links

Still Spending Money On Links? Why You Should Buy Content Instead

Back in the “pre-historic” days of Google, just before the first major Pandas rolled out in all their glory, there was such a thing as links.

Through the use of links, from the use of a “linkwheel” to the worst of the negative, black-hat SEO link structures, webmasters were able to gain almost overnight rankings. This dramatically changed in 2011 when the first major Panda update from Google cracked down on thousands upon thousands of websites.

These websites lost first-place ranking and huge revenue streams overnight. The outcry was awful. However, in time, the terror changed to a realization the Internet was getting better. Instead of links and spam-filled, over optimized content, it was time to invest in real, readable blogs, web pages, and content that were written by qualified people and optimized for the reader.

Today, in 2014, exactly how do links still factor in? Do they factor in at all, or offer any use for us? Let’s take a look!

Are Links Still Important?

The biggest thing many people have forgotten is that link building is very different from content marketing.

You need to make sure you have a strong content marketing outlined first before considering your links. Here’s the thing, links and SEO are all about getting you to show up in the search results. Once you’re there, you’ll probably start doing the samba and feeling pretty great about yourself, but if your content is crummy, you’ll lose any visitors you get.

Unfortunately, people aren’t seeing this and are still shelling out lots of dough for links in their content instead of buying great, valuable content. According to a survey held by Moz, about 40% of people they polled said that their businesses were focusing 51 – 75% of their SEO budget on link building. This leads one to the assumption that only a small portion of SEO budgets are aimed at getting great, quality content for their sites. This can really come back to bite you in the tush if you aren’t careful.

7 BIG Reasons Why You Should Start Investing In Great Content

As the majority of blogs out there are pointing out that quality content is becoming more and more the name of the Google game. You either have great content or you start to lose. It is a harsh statement, but quite true.

Let’s take a look at why content marketing is something you should be investing in:

1. Quality Content Keeps Visitors On Your Site Longer. Once you get people to your site via search results and ranks, you are going to want to keep them on your site. If you don’t invest in content, you will not keep those customers. While seemingly unfair, many people are going to skim over your content to see if it is worth their time to read; if they feel that it isn’t, then they will click right over to your competitors. Keeping people on your site opens up the opportunity to become more than just visitors, but clients as well. Basically, investing in content keeps people on your site and converts them into leads. Sounds like something worthwhile, doesn’t it?

2.  Those Links and SEO Keywords Don’t Create Your Brand. Sure, links and SEO can help you rank as we have established, but the thing to remember is that it doesn’t build or create your brand. Only you can do that, and do it successfully. You know what you want out of your brand, what you want people to see, and, most likely, have an idea of how you will craft and achieve it. This is why it is important to invest in great content and content writers. You can easily give them the information you want to share, the voice you want them to use, and let them have at it. This gives your brand a personal touch that is completely lost if you are spending a significant sum of money on links.

3. You Can Save Money By Focusing On Content. Content is a great investment that you will see great returns on over time. You will realize that as you focus a great chunk of your budget on content that you are making more than you thought you would. The more you write and produce great content, the better your revenue will be. For example, if you spent time and money to optimize a product that helps people get to sleep without harsh additives, but not on quality content, you might not get as many purchases as you thought you would. With great content, you will turn that browsing individual into someone who wants to try your product. Like we’ve said time and time again, it isn’t just about getting a visitor to your site, it’s also about converting them into clients. Your quality content will do just that. Eventually, you may notice that you are able to invest more money in your budget for content creation, links, and SEO, but you’ll only get there if you make a content investment.

4. Content Ensures You Are The Expert In Your Field. When you are selling items online, you always want to make sure you come across as an expert or authority in your field. When you purchase items online, you most likely double-check to make sure the person whom you are buying from really knows what they are doing and understands what they are selling. The same goes for when people make purchases from you. A great way to establish yourself as an expert is through, well, content! Ah content, the magic term. Content is going to set you apart as a leader in the industry because you will have webpages, product descriptions, and blogs detailing information surrounding your products, services, and industry news. This is another great reason to move away from spending a large amount of your budget on links and SEO and move towards investing in content marketing.

5. You Will Generate More Client Interaction. Engagement is a big part of any company, and we are sure you already know that when it comes to making sales or dealing with clients face-to-face. A great way to engage in client interaction is to ask clients to give feedback. Clients might be more inclined to provide feedback if you have content that has engaged them in the past and many will be willing to make a review as soon as they receive the product. This is something that is important for all businesses; you can see that when you purchase a book from Barnes and Noble or make a purchase on Etsy. Within a week or two of making a purchase, you are asked to review an item. Now think back to when you last made an online purchase and left a review, did you feel more inclined to because of the level of interaction? Odds are you did feel more inclined. This should be a pretty great example of how other clients will feel when purchasing from you.

6. You Will Beat Your Competition Into The Ground. Besides just bringing in and keeping customers, investing in content will make sure you beat your competitors into the ground. Great, engaging, and high-quality content is going to help you standout from your competitors, especially if they aren’t on the content bandwagon yet. Clients really enjoy reading quality content because they feel like they are learning more about a specific product or service. Quality also helps them decide on a company because if the company has great content, then many believe the company will have quality products, services, and employees.

7. Your Reputation Will Be Maintained. Like it or not, you will get a few negative reviews at some point. While some might be justified, several others might just simply be trolls trying to bring your reputation marks down. This is something that is done for books, music, and any other time of product out there. Just take a glance at various Goodreads pages for books that have yet to be released, several have one-star reviews talking about how bad the book is or will be. Having consistently great content is going to help people know which reviews are truly one to take heed of and which ones they should just ignore. People will generally dig a little more than the basic reviews when they want to learn about the company, and this includes going to the business’s web page and seeing how they handle things. If your content is stinky because you’ve been focusing all of your attention on links and the rest on SEO, potential clients will begin to believe the negative reviews.

In Closing

As you can see, content really is the name of the game and will greatly benefit your company overall. You will start saving and making money, develop great relationships with your clients, and start beating your competition. Start re-considering your current link, SEO, and content budget and start restructuring it to allow for more investment in high-quality content.



Awesome Copywriting: Can It Replace A Commercial For Your Brand?

You’re sitting there and you have just gone through your site’s traffic statistics. You just released a snazzy new advertisement but have seen little change in the number of visitors coming to your website. You also haven’t had many calls or emails asking about your company or product. Your thoughts could be along the lines of, “What’s going on? I gave them the old razzle dazzle, and still nothing!”

Here’s a handy tip: commercials and advertisements aren’t actually going to bring in that many viewers.

Sure, they may spark interest here or there, and advertisements are a great way to get your company out there but you shouldn’t be focusing solely on that method. This blog is going to talk about how you can move your content marketing strategy away from purchasing several crazy expensive ads and how awesome copywriting can bring in customers. It is possible!

Commercials Are Expensive Nowadays

We all want to make sure we stay within our budgets and this can be difficult when advertisements cost so much. We see the prices, but we keep remembering all the marketing tips we used to hear, “Advertisements are worth their weight in gold! Invest in ads!” This isn’t the case anymore and you can actually save money with your content. You read that right, if you have great copywriting, you can bring in more viewers and save a couple hundred dollars in advertisement costs.

Chipotle Went The Extra Mile

A great example of using content marketing instead of traditional advertisements is Chipotle. We all remember that amazing infomercial they released in 2013. It told the story of a down-and-out Scarecrow who wanted his little garden to flourish into a well-working farm, but it was tough due to all the processed food business bullies out there. The video keeps going until we see this little garden grow into the Scarecrow’s dream farm and we see him setting up shop with a little cart to sell great quality food.

This wasn’t run as a typical ad on a major network like CBS or NBC; this relied solely on the Internet and going viral. It didn’t advertise anything specifically about Chipotle, it just told their story. Because of the layout of the video, people watched all the way through and were more apt to share this video with their friends online. The only time people will share a straight ad to their Facebook is if it is a hilarious Superbowl commercial, otherwise they don’t want to clog up their friends’ news feeds with even more ads. Chipotle knew this and took advantage of it. This was a great marketing strategy without sounding like a used car salesperson giving a sketchy speech.

Going The Extra Mile With Brand Marketing

Since you know about Chipotle, and have seen how successful their campaign is, it is time to consider how you can implement this into your copywriting and content marketing strategy. You are probably feeling intimidated because Chipotle has the funding to hire a great marketing agency, but you have to rely on yourself to market your brand. This is why you are sticking with expensive ads – you are terrified that you won’t get more customers if you don’t use them.

Well, let’s take a moment to look at a few ways you can implement this into your business, without seeking out very expensive marketing companies:

1. When Storytelling Becomes Your Advertisement. What we saw in Chipotle’s ad was a great example of blending storytelling and copywriting. Instead of making a commercial that sounded like something a politician would produce, Chipotle took a very genuine and honest approach by telling their story. They are a company that took a chance and made a huge decision to cut out genetically modified foods from their menus, meaning they would probably have to start charging more because this world is run on processed eateries. You can see the desperation for a healthier world and you can see that they believe the world is changing for the better. It is very powerful and inspiring, making you want to eat there more than if they simply stated their mission in an ad.

2. Web and Product Design Will Be Major Selling Points. In the Internet Age, your website and product designs must be out of this world and awesome. Great designs work incredibly well with your content, and will encourage many visitors not just to stop by but also to learn more about your company and to purchase your product or service. Learn who your target audience is and go to websites that are popular within that audience. For example, ModCloth is a very trendy website for Millennials – their layout can teach you a lot about designing for the Millennial crowd. You can also look to Accenture for a more professional, older generation look that is still quite appealing to younger generations. Just going to these websites will give you great inspiration on how to design your website. Never underestimate the power of a great design.

3. Active and Engaging Product Descriptions Will Save Money. You will find that product descriptions that are written in an active and engaging manner will save you a lot of money in advertising. A person may be interested in a product but if they do not find a great description, they’ll assume the product isn’t very good. Don’t think your product copy isn’t important and put it on the back burner. This will make a sale or break a sale, and if you treat it like it is unimportant, your customers will treat the product as unimportant, according to David Ogilvy’s tips on awesome copywriting. Focus on making all sales copy sound genuine and engage your audience. Try writing in a style that will speak to them and sell them on your product without coming across as overbearing and annoying.

Awesome Copywriting Matters

Storytelling, great product descriptions, and incredible web and product design is going to go a long way in marketing your business. In fact, it will probably go a lot further than those crazy expensive ads you have been posting and sending out. Your customers will be more than willing to share your product and services if you stay far, far away from the sales lingo none of us like to read. Try crafting awesome copywriting and an excellent content strategy to back up a handful of advertisements, and you will watch your client base grow!