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content strategy services

Explaining Our Content Strategy Services at Express Writers (4 Ways We Can Strategize & Save You Time)

This blog was originally written in 2015 and updated in October 2019.

This will hardly come as a surprise, but we love content. ❤

Our entire business is built on content, but it goes beyond that – it’s in our blood.

We know that great content is one of the most powerful ways to grow your business, find new leads, and stand out among your competitors.

You don’t have to take our word for it, either, the numbers speak for themselves:

Great content gives your business the attention it deserves, but just publishing without a plan is hardly what we’d call a solid strategy.

What you need is a sustainable, data-driven process, that can help you grow your business and keep giving you positive results over the long term.

You need a content strategy, and that’s where we come in with our expert content strategy services.

4 Highly Recommended Content Strategy Services to Help You Create Winning Content

1. A custom editorial calendar

2. In-depth keyword research

3. Topic planning for your blog and website

4. Expert content strategy consultations

We didn’t select any of these services at random. These are many of the same processes that we used to grow Express Writers to the point where it is today (I’ll talk more about this in a second!). Now that we know what works and why, we’re ready to share these services with you to grow your own business.

To have a working and winning content strategy, you need 4 components: a custom editorial calendar, keywords researched, topics planned, and expert guidance. Get these essentials with the help of @ExpWriters. 💥 Click To Tweet

Developing the Right Content Strategy Helped Us Grow — and It Should Help You Too

Here’s how I know just how effective a well-planned content strategy can be: it’s how we grew Express Writers to the point where it is today.

It took years to figure out and, more importantly, perfect the entire process, and I didn’t want to settle for anything less than perfection.

Within 2 years of implementing our content strategy, Express Writers boomed to 6 figures and then 7 in annual recurring revenue (ARR).

We weren’t doing all that bad before, but the growth was insane, and I can boil that down to two things:

1. Our content strategy. We’re not really into creating content for content’s sake. Instead, I developed a content strategy process that focuses on high-quality, authority-level content, guided by in-depth SEO research. Once I got clear on the six areas of content strategy we needed to clarify and implement, our real content success began to happen.

(My first foray into content strategy was when I built a simple team-only inner training on content strategy, as far back as 2015. Today, I’ve taken these cores and developed them into a $1,000 course with over 100 enrolled students, and a book that tops the charts on Amazon.)

2. The amazing team we have in place. FACTS: If you want to execute a winning strategy, you need expert, talented help in your corner. 💯

At Express Writers, we’re content experts first, a team secondly — not the other way around. We love what we do, and that has always come first.

We didn’t scramble for our expert hats and then market ourselves. We earned a real status by building real skills, and THEN sold services to our clients in our agency.

Read about our standards here.

I’ve talked extensively about the content strategy we implemented to grow Express Writers. However, if I had to sum it up in a few words, it would be these.

Stop wasting time with low-effort content. Instead, put real effort into high-quality pieces and SEO.

It sounds pretty simple when you put it like that. However, the amount of research, planning, and work that goes into executing a solid content strategy is mindboggling, particularly as your website starts to grow.

Remember how I mentioned it took us years to perfect the process? And that’s coming from people that do this for a living!

We have succeeded mostly because of the content strategy we've implemented throughout the years. The lesson: Stop wasting time with low-effort content. Instead, put real effort into high-quality and your #strategy. 💯 Click To Tweet

4 Ways We Save You Some Serious Time and Trouble with Our Expert Content Strategy Services

You already understand the sheer power of content when it comes to growing an online business, so let’s talk about how we can help you.

1. We Put Together a Custom Editorial Calendar that Fits Your Goals (📌It’s a Must-Have!)

You want your website to rank for as many keywords as possible, which means you need content.

A lot of websites focus on putting out as much content as possible at a breakneck pace, but that’s not a winning strategy. What you need is a plan and, as simple as it may sound, a calendar.

That means a week-by-week plan that outlines the content you’re going to publish. That way, you have a bird’s-eye view of what topics you’re going to target and when.

Here’s how it works: You tell us what your niche is, what your business is about, and what sets you apart. Our crack content strategists do their research, and here’s what you get:

  • A two-month editorial calendar, including perfect-fit keywords and topics your audience will love.
  • Tentative schedule dates designed to maximize the returns on your content.
  • An easy-to-understand report using an Excel template.

Those are the basics, but all our services also include plenty of extras. Our editorial calendars also include lists of influencers we recommend you engage within your niche, BuzzSumo content analysis reports, and an evergreen guide on the metrics we use.

Every single editorial calendar we send is put together by our team of content strategists. We use industry-leading software to help you make smart content decisions, but behind the curtain, it’s all humans.

Here’s a sneak peek at one we built for our clients in the clothing/retail industry.

Two months is the minimum we offer for our editorial calendar services because simply put, it’s the shortest period in which you can start seeing tangible growth. Content marketing is all about the long term, hence the calendar approach!

2. We Tackle Keyword Research for You (Using Industry Leading Software)

Do you want to know the secret behind websites that get dozens of thousands of visitors and shares on every article they publish?

Not a single page or blog goes live that doesn’t have a ton of research behind it.

If you want search engines to give your content the love and attention it deserves, you need to play by their rules. That means figuring out which keywords have the best potential ROI and using that information to drive your content decisions.

There are a lot of tools you can use when it comes to keyword research, and our team of content strategists uses the best software in the industry, including SEMrush and Mangools’ KWFinder. We spend the hours you don’t have to, to find amazing keywords that will help your content go to the next level.

Here’s what our keyword research services for blogs and websites get you:

  • Keyword research for blogs: You get a full SEMrush report that includes our top 15 keyword choices that can get you the best results for your blog. On top of that, we also include up to 200 additional keyword opportunities you should explore, as well as up to 3 headline suggestions for potential topics.
  • Keyword research for the web: Keyword research isn’t just for blogs, and our keyword research service for websites get you a report on 10 high-ROI keywords you should explore with your copy. You also get up to 200 high-potential keyword suggestions.

For both those content strategy services, you can let us know if you want your content strategists to focus on specific regions or audiences from around the world.

3. We Come Up with (and Plan) Topics for Your Blog and Website

If you like to keep things simple, we can start off by researching the best potential keyword for one (1) piece of content for your blog.

Our goal with this service is to find the keyword with the best potential ROI for your business. Then we come up with a killer content idea built around that keyword, including a headline designed to get attention.

One perfect topic at the right time can have a significant impact on your business. If you want to hire us to come up with multiple topics for your blog and website, we’ll put them together for you using one of our custom editorial calendars. That way, you can see how the whole content strategy comes together over the long term.

4. We Plan and Go Over Your Content Strategy (Via Live Calls)

A big part of a successful content strategy comes down to research and numbers.

We use the best possible tools and services to see where the data leads us, and we use our expertise to help you make the best decisions based on that data.

However, numbers alone often don’t paint a full picture. That’s why we’re also happy to hop on a call via Hangouts or Zoom to answer any questions you might have.

If you’re not sure where to begin, a call is a great place to start. You get to talk with one of our content strategists and ask any questions you might have regarding topic suggestions, concerns about your overall strategy, reviewing your content, and more.

I personally train every single member of our content strategy team, so when you hop on a call with one of them, I know you’re in good hands!

Let’s Implement a Winning Content Strategy Together

Creating and publishing industry-leading content is no small feat.

Now imagine how much work it takes to do it week after week, for years at a time.

It’s a lot of effort, but implementing a well-planned content strategy has the potential to elevate your business to the next level.

All you need is a great team in your corner.

Creating and publishing industry-leading content is no small feat. It’s a lot of effort, but implementing a well-planned content strategy has the potential to elevate your business to the next level. 💥 Read more about how we help: Click To Tweet

If you’re ready to start planning a long-term content strategy, check out the individual content strategy services we offer, and let’s get the ball rolling!

content marketing plan

The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Content Plan For Your Content Marketing

Benjamin Franklin once said,

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Mr. Franklin was a smart man.

In the world of content marketing, attempting to move forward without a plan is a recipe for disaster.

There are tens of thousands of stories about businesses that have heard content marketing works and decided to give it a try.

They create 1 or 2 500-word blog posts a week, post them to their blog and social media pages for a few months, and hope for the best.

And then, after a little while, nothing happens. So they give up. They stop creating. They stop posting.

Why didn’t it work?

They were shooting at a forest, instead of a target.

To avoid falling into this trap, you need to know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there.

But how do you do this? By creating a bulletproof content marketing plan.

And this guide is going to help you do just that.

Let’s get started.

In the world of content marketing, attempting to move forward without a plan is a recipe for disaster. Learn more about building your best #contentplan yet for 🔥 #contentmarketing results Click To Tweet

content marketing plan guide

Why Do You Need a Content Marketing Plan?

Marketers that have a documented #contentmarketing plan have more success. @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

Take a look at this infographic from the team at Impact:

Content Strategy Infographic

As you can see, 89% of B2B marketers and 86% of B2C marketers are using content marketing.

But only 37% of B2B marketers and 40% of B2C marketers have a documented content marketing strategy.

Not surprisingly, the percentage of B2B and B2C marketers that have documented strategies is almost identical to the percentage of marketers that say their strategy is extremely or very effective.

This isn’t a coincidence.

Having a documented plan is crucial to content marketing success.

The 6 Steps to Developing a Rock Solid Content Marketing Plan

You know you need a plan.

Now we’re going to show you how to develop one.

Check out my comprehensive 6-week course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course, to learn every step involved in building profitable content marketing!

1. Know Your Goals and How to Measure Them

One of the most important aspects of developing a content marketing plan is to determine the actual goals that you’re trying to achieve through your efforts.

There are essentially five goals that content marketing can help you achieve:

  • Develop Brand Awareness
  • Drive Traffic to Your Website
  • Generating Sales Leads
  • Converting Leads into Customers
  • Improving Customer Retention and Driving Upsells

But knowing your goals isn’t enough.

You also need to know if what you’re doing is helping you get closer to reaching them.

My three-bucket goal strategy can help with that. In this strategy, I teach the usage of three main content marketing goals that lead to profits, and what types of content you can put in each bucket to get there. Learn more here.

different content types and their goal bucketsMeasuring content marketing success, as one would imagine, can be difficult.

In most cases, it will require a fair amount of tools to cover the measurement of all of your identified goals. For example, measuring website and blog metrics requires the use of Google Analytics. Keyword research means using tools like Mangools or SEMrush.

2. Identify Your One Reader and Where You’ll Find Them

As you probably already know, marketing doesn’t work very well if you attempt to target several different audiences.

Instead, you need to identify exactly who you’re targeting and then find out the best place to target them with your content.

CoSchedule’s Ben Sailer said it well: there are three main reasons to define your target audience. They include:

Three Reasons to Define Your Target Audience

But, how?

In this guide to creating a detailed target persona, we cover more on this subject. Here’s an example of a well-developed persona:

Need more help? Here’s the top 9 demographic areas you should know about your persona:

persona

Once you’ve deconstructed your persona, psychographics helps give you an understanding of how to talk to your target market.

Personality, attitudes, values, interests, hobbies, lifestyle, and behavior are all important things to identify here.

The easiest way to do this is by taking a look at the social behavior of people that fit your basic demographics.

What do they share, tweet, pin, and like?

As you generate this information, you can begin to shape your content messaging in a way that resonates with the audience that you’ve identified.

Chart_Brand_Personality-main-1

Once you know the demographics and psychographics of your target audience, simply find out where those people are spending their time. And then publish your content there.

Avalaunch Media put together a fun infographic that identifies the personalities of users on different social media platforms that can help with this:

social-media-explained-cats-600x3433. Perform a Content Audit

Content audits are important for many reasons.

They help determine a variety of things about your website, including:

Reasons for Performing a Content Audit

Moz says that performing a thorough content audit of your website involves quite a few steps:

  • Crawling all indexable URLs. Screaming Frog’s free SEO Spider Tool is a great way to do this.
  • Gathering additional metrics. In addition to URL and on-page metrics, you’ll want to gather info on things like internal and external links, traffic, content uniqueness, etc.
  • Putting your information into an easily digestible dashboard. The optimal option for this step is Excel.
  • Understand your dashboard. Sizemore mentions that, “a good place to start would be to look for any content-related issues that might cause an algorithmic filter or manual penalty to be applied.”
  • Write up a report. This report should summarize the findings, provide recommendations, and examine next steps for improving the site’s search rankings.

While this process may seem a bit intensive, it’s necessary to ensure that your new content marketing plan is put together in a way that it can be successful.

What If You Don’t Already Have Content on Your Site?

If you don’t already have content to audit, you can perform a content audit of your competitors.

And while doing this is important, you don’t want to get caught up spending hours and hours mulling over every single detail of a competitor’s website and content.

Use these tools to make the process faster:

  1. Screaming Frog’s Free SEO Spider Tool. This will give you the same information it would as if it was your own site.
  2. BuzzSumo. This tool will give you information about your competitor’s main content and how they’re performing on social platforms.
  3. Rival IQ. This tool allows you to view the top engaging content of multiple competitors at one time.

The goal of completing a content audit for your own website and those of your competitors is to be able to answer three main questions. They include:

3 Questions After Content Audit

When you’re able to answer these questions, you’ll be much better prepared to determine the type of content to include in your content marketing plan moving forward.

4. Generate Content Ideas

Coming up with content ideas is a major source of frustration for many marketers.

But it doesn’t have to be that difficult.

Here’s a comprehensive guide we put together on blog ideas: 20 Creative Blog Ideas for Writers: Never Run Out of Blog Ideas Again with This List!

creative blog ideas for writers

If you’re looking for tools to aid you in the process, Moz’s Keyword Explorer, Answer the Public, and BloomBerry are all great resources.

Moz’s Keyword Explorer

The Keyword Explorer from Moz is an amazing tool as it gives you up to 1,000 keyword suggestions based around a specific term or phrase.

Here’s a sneak peek of how it works if I was to type in the term ‘content marketing plan’:

Moz Keyword Explorer

Answer the Public

Answer the Public is a fun tool to use and can be an amazing resource for generating targeted topics for your content.

Here’s a look at the massive amount of topics generated from typing in a simple term like ‘baseball’:

answer the public

Bloomberry

Bloomberry is a tool developed by BuzzSumo that generates questions based on the keywords you type in.

The best part about this tool is that it scours the web for questions that people are already asking on social platforms like Quora.

Here’s an example of how it would work if I typed in the keyword ‘content marketing strategy’:

BloomBerry

With these tools and the resources that KissMetrics presents at your disposal, you shouldn’t have any problem coming up with plenty of topics for your content.

5. Know What Type of Content You Want to Create

Now that you’ve got a solid base for the topics and keywords you’re going to target, you’ll need to identify the type of content you want to create.

There are dozens of content formats to choose from:

Lists of Content Formats

Source: Hubspot

Now it obviously wouldn’t be wise or even possible to create content in each and every format on this list.

Instead, you should utilize the information gathered from your target audience research and content audits to determine what will work best for you.

But what about making sure that the type of content you’re creating is actually accomplishing the goals you’ve laid out for your content marketing plan?

The One Home-Run Per Quarter Strategy

If your goals are built around developing brand awareness, driving traffic to your website, generating sales leads, converting leads into customers, and improving customer retention, it goes without saying that you’ll need to create content that allows you to accomplish all of these things.

To do this, thought leader Doug Kessler has advised that you go with the one home run per quarter strategy.

For Kessler, a home run can mean anything from a 65-page ebook to a 30-page white paper.

So long as it’s extremely useful and relevant to your target audience, and something that they actually want, you’re good to go.

As Kessler goes on to mention, home run content does three things:

Home Run Content

Once you’ve created this content, you can gate it by asking interested readers to provide their email address, and potentially other relevant information, in exchange for a free download.

Jason Miller at LinkedIn did this with his massive ebook titled The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn.

To download the ebook, potential readers had to provide a ton information that was then used to turn them into leads.

Ebook Download Info for LinkedIn

And judging by the fact that the ebook has been shared over 3,000 times and downloaded many more, potential readers had no problem making this exchange.

Repurposing Your Home Run Piece

The best part about creating home run content is that it can be repurposed in dozens of different ways and then used to fill out the rest of your content calendar.

Rebecca Lieb, an analyst at the Altimeter Group, uses the turkey slice analogy for this process. As she says,

“I love using the turkey analogy…you start out with the turkey at Thanksgiving and that’s the main event, and then everybody knows that after Thanksgiving you’re eating turkey sandwiches, you have turkey on your salad, and maybe a little turkey hash. Journalists (and content creators) very quickly learn how to treat their stories and their sources like that turkey.”

So you’ve got your home run piece (which is the turkey served on Thanksgiving).

Now you can repurpose that home run piece into smaller pieces of content (using the leftover turkey for sandwiches, salads, and hash).

From the LinkedIn marketer’s guide, for example, Miller and his team were able to generate 50-60 smaller pieces of content that included everything from webinars and infographics to SlideShare decks and blog posts.

6. Create a Content Calendar

Now that you understand your target audience, have performed a content audit, and have plenty of ideas for content, creating an editorial calendar is the easy part.

While there are many different tools, such as CoSchedule, that can help you with this, you can also find plenty of free editorial calendar templates that will do the job just fine.

HubSpot offers a few easy-to-follow templates that look like this:

Editorial Calendar

The only downside is that you’ll have to fill out some information about yourself in order to get the free download.

Go Create Your Content Marketing Plan

You’ve got everything you need at this point.

Make the decision that this is going to be the year that your business dominates with content marketing.

Go.

Take action and get started with your content marketing plan today.

If you’d like some help with your content planning, our awesome team at Express Writers can point you in the right direction. We’re always happy to help businesses just like yours get on the right path to dominating with content.

fly high cta express writers

How to Do Your Best Content Planning This 2016

2016 is here – another year is upon us! And many people just like you are wondering what they’re going to do about their content marketing in the New Year.

For many creators, the task of content creation became stressful a long time ago and, now, many view it as more of a chore than a joy, especially given the importance and stress of it all. It’s one of the key marketing principles to include if you have a website and presence at all online.

Fortunately, there are ways to hack your content planning in order to ensure that you’re doing your best work in 2016 and that all the content you create is content that your readers are excited to interact with.

As a busy group of expert content creators, we know just what you need to know in order to do your best content planning this 2016! Here are our best tips.

content planning 2016

First: Defining Good Content Planning

The concept of content planning is pretty simple: content planning allows you to plan your content in advance in order to avoid frantic, last-minute crushes to create something as well as allowing you to ensure that your content is doing what it’s supposed to do: attract readers.

Content planning has many benefits, not the least of which are planning for seasonal content, ensuring proper keyword usage, taking action on reader requests, and promoting content variation.

The 5 Steps of Effective Content Planning

Great content planning is a little bit like planning a road trip: you need to know where you’re going, how you’re going to get there, and what you’re going to do once you have.

In order to ace your content planning in 2016 and beyond, you’ll need to follow these 5 steps:

1) Define your Destination

In order to plan content effectively, you’ll need to know what purpose you want your content to fulfill. Maybe 2015 saw you with large traffic numbers but low conversions or maybe you want to make more sales. In any event, you need to define the goal of your content before you begin creating it. A fantastic way to do this is to compile a list of primary and secondary goals.

Once you’ve laid out your goals, you’ll want to set a time frame for achieving them. Building relationships with your audience is going to take time and it’s unfair for you to expect anything to happen overnight. So, for example, maybe you say you’d like to increase your sales through content 20% by June of 2016. This gives you 6 months to test new theories, plan your content, and make changes to your company.

2) Identify Your Target Audience

Once you’ve identified your goals, it’s time to identify the people who will help them become a reality. Enter your target audience. These people are hugely important to your company and it pays to ensure that you’re doing everything you can to nurture and create content for them. Even if you’ve defined your target audience in the past, the beginning of 2016 is a great time to reevaluate it. Target audiences do change over time and it’s important to keep your marketing personas up to date and current.

To begin this process, sit down and consider the following questions: What demographics (age, location, income, gender, education, occupation, marital status) comprise your target audience? What do they value (interests, morals, attitudes, values, lifestyles, hobbies)? What are they interested in? What content medium (text, videos, podcasts) are they most likely to interact with? To get a fuller feel for your target persona, take a look at your current site visitors to determine what the typical reader is and what they want.

For more information about creating a buyer’s persona that helps you get a handle on who your target audience is and what they want, consider this buyer persona card from Manobyte:

 

persona_infographic

3) Define your distribution channels

Once you know what your goals are and who you’re speaking to, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to get your message out. Content planning extends far beyond blog posts and entails social media posts, video content, and a variety of other web-based platforms.

In order to determine which of these many channels will most benefit you, you’ll have to consider where your target audience likes to hang out. For example, if your audience loves Twitter and Facebook but isn’t so into Instagram, you’d be wise to begin your content distribution efforts on those platforms. If you’re new to content creation, a great benchmark to start with is Twitter, Facebook, blog posts, and Instagram. These four platforms combine to offer short- and long-form content, visual content, and interactive content, which is a fantastic foundation for new marketers to start from.

So, in conclusion, you’ll want to spend some time considering where your audience is, what content types they expect to see, which channels your audience is currently interacting with and where, if any, the content gaps are. Considering these things will help you put together an effective content strategy that truly caters to your unique readers.

4) Establish your team

According to Hootsuite, any content marketing strategy that’s up to snuff will follow the Rule of Thirds. The Rule of Thirds suggests that of all the content you post, 1/3 should be promotional, 1/3 should share ideas from industry thought leaders, and 1/3 should seek to build personal relationships with readers.

This is one of the reasons content planning is so important: creating good content takes time and no business can expect to adhere to the rule of thirds and create quality material without extensive planning ahead of time. For this reason, you’ll need to establish a team that’s dedicated to your content creation needs. Ideally, you’ll have a writer, designer, editor, and publisher to create content and help distribute it. In some cases, however, there aren’t enough people on-staff to handle these roles or a company simply doesn’t have the time to create content in-house. In these cases, outsourcing your content may be the wisest idea.

5) Create an Editorial Calendar

Once you’ve planned the what, where, and who of your content creation, it’s time to make it official. Developing an editorial calendar can help ensure that you stay on schedule and publish content at peak traffic times throughout the days and weeks. This can help produce higher traffic numbers and more engagement from your readers.

Two Huge Fundamentals of What Makes for Great Content

Now that you know how to plan your content, it’s time to consider how to make it great. 2016 is the perfect time to master content marketing and focusing on these helpful tips can make sure you do it in style.

1. Get Great at Storytelling

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it’s likely that you’ve heard something about the importance of storytelling in content marketing. Storytelling is virtually the only way to run a successful content campaign anymore, and it’s everywhere you look in the world of content. From our favorite blockbuster movies to the television ads that run during the Superbowl, storytelling is the #1 way to master content.

Plus, since we currently live in a world that is literally saturated by content, storytelling is one of the only effective ways to ensure that your content rises to the top and is actually seen by your viewers. Right now, 27 million pieces of content are shared across the web on a daily basis and U.S. media consumption recently rose to 15.5 hours each day. For this reason, 70% of B2B marketers are creating more content today than they did just a year ago and 56% of business bloggers are planning to hire additional staff within the next 12 months.

Think about these numbers in relation to your own life for a moment: of all of the digital, television, radio, and web ads you’re exposed to on a daily basis, how many do you remember? Chances are you can count them on one hand. What’s more, chances are these ads are ones that exhibit great displays of storytelling and have the power to make you relate to them, sympathize with them, and feel connected to them.

Because of this, it’s important to master storytelling in your own content creation. There are many resources on using storytelling in your content marketing and many ways to do it effectively. One of the most important things to remember, though, is that effective storytelling can only come about when you know who you’re talking to, so the aforementioned target personal research needs to come first.

2. Consider the Millennials

The Millennials are coming! And they’re bringing with them specific web preferences and a whole lot of tech know-how. In addition to being very specific about what they like and what they don’t, millennials are a huge group (they’re currently the largest generation in the U.S. and individuals spend an average of 25 hours searching the web for authentic content on a weekly basis) which means that they wield some considerable market power. For this reason, content marketing needs to bend to millennials to avoid sinking altogether.

To keep millennials in mind as you plan your content for 2016, you’ll need to do the following things:

  • Listen. Nowadays, millennials want a real role in the creation of a company’s content. They’re happy to tell you what they’d like to see more of but if they don’t see results in a timely fashion, you can bet they’re going to hop right off of your page in favor of one that gives them what they want. That said, pay attention to your social channels and seek to incorporate the questions, desires, and interests of your millennial audience into your content planning efforts.
  • Personalize. Millennials will gladly divorce themselves from your site if it features content that isn’t authentic or is written only to make sales. That said, you’ll need to create content that feels personal for them. The use of personal pronouns can help with this, as can the use of your personal and brand stories.
  • Focus on your personal brand. Millennials could do without big corporations and are much quicker to bond with other people. For this reason, more and more companies have been working to amplify their personal brand. Consider Progressive’s character “Flo” or the Geico Gecko for a moment. Both of these personas are designed to give customers someone to bond with. For a real-person example, consider Tim Ferriss, who uses his personal voice, photos, and experiences to sell products and services.
  • Focus on visuals. Millennials love visual content. When you’re in the midst of content planning, you can’t afford to forget visuals. Millennials are quick to abandon sites with poor design and are much more likely to engage with sites that offer quick video updates, vertical displays, and beautiful images.
  • Make your presence multi-channel. Remember when you were determining which social channels your audience would love? With millennials, it’s likely that they’ll favor a few of them, so it’s important to meet your audience where they are. This ensures that the huge millennial audience can find your site wherever they love to interact and that all of your content is as shareable as possible.

When You Need Content Planning Assistance

There you have it – you now know how to plan your content like a pro in 2016 and beyond. But let’s face it, everything we just talked about takes work. And don’t forget, if you’ve found that you don’t have the time, know-how, or energy to tackle content planning on your own, it’s okay to hire pros to help you out.

Our content planning services are unique and not often seen in the world of content creation. Whether you need content for your blog or social media accounts, our team of SEO and content specialists will use tools like SEMRush and BuzzSumo to create a personalized content plan that’s sure to get you readers. Learn more about our content planning services here.

Express Writers Re-Launches June 2015: Our Membership Program, New Products, and Quality Updates

This June, our little ol’ team at Express Writers is becoming bigger and better than ever before.

We’ve spent some serious time and resources (might add, blood and sweat to that) to update our major content products and launch some brand new things.

One thing you can say about us—we are not your typical content writers. We’re a firm that’s dynamic, ever updating, and developing new things internally that are ahead of the curve. Our staff is passionate and involved, and we all love what we do! Ready to hear about all our new changes?

Express Writers Re-Launch This June: What Are Our Major Changes & Updates?

For about three months now, our CTO Josh McCoy has led his team of developers in creating an ultra-custom Membership system that will be accessible to our ongoing clients. As our CEO, I’ve sat down and recreated our major Content Strategy training and written tests for all our Strategists, as well as wrote and launched content standard quality tests for every single one of our writers and editors. Our team is better than ever before, and we’re staffing more people almost every week to keep up with our growth.

1. Membership Platform

The long-awaited Membership platform and program is finally here! Custom designed on a platform built from scratch by our development team, the Membership system replicates our Content Shop with an online ordering platform only accessible to clients who deposit and spend a minimum of $1,000 a month. When the deposit is placed, it activates the platform and clients will be able to see and order with their ongoing membership rates on every product. Besides the discounted rate access, membership clients will have easier input forms that allow them to simply upload monthly project specs: and we’ll also dedicate a project Editor to each membership client account that comes in with a style guide.

Membership Benefits:

  • Membership platform, allowing clients to access and order all the discounted products.
  • Dedicated Staff Editors, exclusive to Membership accounts only: we train one of our staff Editors on your style guide and requirements for long-term, specific editorial attention. This is an optional add-on, starting at $85 for 20 pages.
  • No contracts, ever. Just deposit and spend $1,000 per month.
  • Consistently lower rates on all our products – up to 20% off!

Learn more and sign up here.

2. Content Quality Standards Update

We’ve completed training and testing our entire staff of writers and editors on the proper use of high quality citations, checked with the MozBar, in all our blog content. We’ve also updated our content formatting rules to include high quality headlines and sub-headers that will better attract and engage readers. These fundamental quality updates will ensure your blog content meets and exceeds Google’s content standards. See our Content Shop Blog Prices.

3. Content Blogging Plans Update

We’ve done a thorough audit of how our blog plans work, and found that a word span within 1,500 words works best for the average blog. (Longer words are always favorable for Google rankings, as long as it’s quality: we recommend buying or creating single blogs over 2,000 words a few times a month for posting on your blog.) We’ve also created an additional plan for more versatility. All blogs will include high quality citations and text formatting. Lastly, we’ve introduced add-ons for blogging that include the revamped Content Planning service (a full monthly Editorial Calendar and more); as well as optional premium designed images that we can create for every blog. View our Blog Packages in the Content Shop.

4. Content Planning Replaces Content Curation

Formerly called Content Curation, our Content Planning is an entirely re-vamped product in our Content Strategy lineup, available as an add-on for all of our blog plans, single website pages content planning (research and title creation), and fundamentals package for clients with new websites or blogs.

Our revamped product, Content Planning, adds a new section to the Editorial Calendar we deliver monthly, as well as overview reports, called BuzzSumo Analysis. In this analysis we conduct research on your industry influencers and what is currently trending on the web (the people who are succeeding at content in your niche) and using BuzzSumo, we’ll look at what content they are writing, how many shares it gets on what platform, and prepare a topic analysis report. Finally, our Content Strategists will identify any competitor and influencers shortcomings and notate how you can do it better with a few top suggestions and takeaways.

Tools we used: BuzzSumo, SEMRush, WordTracker, Hubspot/Portent title helpers, Quora, human eye of our Content Strategist.

Content Planning Offerings (view the Content Planning product in our Content Shop)

  • Content Planning Package: This is where you’ll experience the most out of our content planning products. Our ongoing Content Planning packages are for those who have our blogging plans and are looking for total content planning, organization, and creation. We’ll analyze what content is currently trending in your niche using BuzzSumo, research keywords and topics, and create an Editorial Calendar mapped out for best monthly content. Clients also get to talk to their Content Strategist in a 30-minute monthly strategizing meeting.
  • Content Planning Fundamentals: This is a packaged plan for those who do not have an existing content plan, blog, or web content going: or are looking to re-vamp their current content. Our Content Strategists will deliver a Content Planning Overview excel report with page or blog suggestions, full keyword analysis report, and a BuzzSumo Content Analysis. Clients can (optionally) meet with their Content Strategist for a 30-minute discussion.
  • Content Planning For Websites: Perfect for the new (or revamping) website owner who doesn’t know what pages to plan for and add to their website. We’ll conduct keyword research, deliver a BuzzSumo Content Analysis, and create an overview report that suggests categories and specific pages to add for successful web content. Clients can (optionally) hold a 30-minute meeting with their Content Strategist to share input.

5. Social Media Improvements

We’re now creating custom, branded & designed images with Canva, using our stock image subscription from Getty Images/iStock. These custom images will be created for and included in all of our re-vamped social media packages. Our social media managers have been fully trained on how to use Canva to create and post your branded images. Premium designed images have been proven to boost re-tweets and social engagement by 35%. (SocialMediaExaminer).

Here’s an example of a tweet with an image we created:

If your business isn’t taking advantage of this engagement tool, you are missing out. That’s why we’re integrating it into our products.

Why Canva?

Canva is quickly growing to be the #1 premium designed image creation tool and is used by millions of people! It allows the user to create beautiful, engaging visual elements that will attract and convert readers much better than a standard image. (Also, they are rocking out on their content marketing, we love these guys: see their blog.) We compared this tool to PicMonkey, the other leading one, and Canva has far more features (more templates that are social media and blog friendly, more options).

Besides premium-designed imagery, we’ve also trained our social media managers on using Pinterest. Every plan now includes Pinterest. This social platform is becoming more and more crucial for businesses to be present on: more than 72 million users exist here, a whopping 93% of which usually shop online while they pin. And pins with prices get 36% more likes (SproutSocial). Read more about why you should be on Pinterest on our blog The Rise of Pinterest: 5 Reasons It Should Be Part of Your Social Media Mix.

New Social Media Plans (view in the Content Shop).

6. Content Auditing

Our content auditing has undergone an improvement with the addition of BuzzSumo as a tool our Content Strategists will use to research and discover clients’ best competitors and influencers. We’ll put these findings on a new tab in the content audit report, with notes on what the competitor is doing for their blogs and social presence. These discoveries can help clients replicate the strategies of successful businesses in their niche in creating and sharing content, with actionable takeaways listed. We’ve also added Wordtracker, a Moz recommended keyword tool, as an additional tool besides SEMRush for even more powerful keyword strategy and research; and we’ve included PDF guide overviews that will explain the audit process and reports. View Content Auditing in the Content Shop.

7. Keyword Strategy

We’ve entirely revamped our research process for clients’ best keywords. Our former two products, keyword research and topic research, are replaced with one all-inclusive, comprehensive and powerful product: Keyword Strategy. For this new product, we now partner with and have a paid subscription to these three tools:

  • BuzzSumo, a leading content insight analytic platform
  • SEMRush, one of the best SEO software programs online
  • Wordtracker, a MOZ-recommend, high-performance Keyword Tool

BuzzSumo and Wordtracker are brand new to our team, we’ve just finished training our Content Strategists on how to use them. Our Content Strategists are fully trained and ready put to full use the power of our new tools to create a thorough keyword and content strategy. We put together clients’ best keyword findings in an Excel according to competition, CPC, search volume per month, and more; send a full content analysis from BuzzSumo that shows how hot a keyword or topic is currently trending online, and our Content Strategists will write full content topics using the keyword findings.

Deliverables: a full keyword research report, with top 10 keywords and over 200 full cut findings; topic research, where we’ll write 10 optimized, ready-to-go, topics using the top keywords in our findings for blogs and content pieces that you can create (or have us write): and a content analysis report generated by BuzzSumo to show you what content is currently trending on the Web for your keywords.

View our new Keyword Strategy product in the Content Shop.

8. Premium Designer.

We’ve fielded for a great designer to fulfill the marketing, infographic, and formatting areas of our content. Our new premium designer resource is an award-winning consultancy designer who currently creates visual content for Johnson & Johnson, ESPN, US Government, and many more worldwide companies. See an infographic example.

Our new design capabilities include:

  • Bespoke infographics
  • Illustrated print and e-book covers
  • Premium formatting and visual elements for e-books, brochures, whitepapers, and presentations
  • Storytelling character elements & more! 

 

That’s It, Folks.. For Now!

We’re excited to introduce this new and re-vamped lineup to launch off our summer, this 2015! And we’re grateful to each and every one of our valued clients that make it possible for us to keep growing and getting better.

Did you like our bespoke custom creation? You can have one too! Buy your infographic from Express Writers’ Content Shop.

website content writing service

7 Key Factors That Make Up An Exceptional Website Content Writing Service

Your site is nothing more than a pointless parking space for your logo and brand, if you don’t have good web content on it.

But there is a lot more to good content than offering up useful information.

Today’s internet reader becomes bored easily, so you have to offer up something fresh, creative and engaging every time — that is, if you want the reader to come back for more.

Enter the secret:

Talented website writers from a website content writing service, that can create expert copy for your niche and brand.

Let’s face it. Not every business owner is a good writer. Or handy with SEO. Or a conversion expert.

And let’s face it: a real copywriter, an expert website content writer, actually is all that.

Your investment will come back tenfold.

Let’s explore the key qualities a top online writing service will have.

website content writing

Hire A Website Content Writing Service to Serve Up the Right Content

So how do you nail awesome content each time?

We’ve compiled seven key tips that exceptional website content writers will utilize in creating great content.

Keep your content flowing and producing this year by hiring the right web writing service.

1. They get to the point & skip the fluff

Like we said, today’s reader wants you to get to the point and keep it as concise as possible. Don’t ramble on and on or go off on an irrelevant tangent — that’s just poor content marketing altogether.

Your web content should have an introduction that clearly tells the reader what he or she will gain by reading on. Then, your content must deliver on what you’ve promised. Use as many words as it takes to bring your point across and eliminate any unnecessary fluff just to reach a particular word count.

A knowledgeable web creator will know this.

2. Lists are loved & put to use

List formats are awesome! List-based sites, according to Grammarly.com, get tons of page views. Why? Because everything is grouped in neat little points and it’s easier for a reader to digest.

The title also clearly states what the reader is gaining by reading your web content. For example, if you title your content “Top 10 Copywriting Tips” the reader knows he’s going to get ten copywriting tips if he reads further.

3. They are headline gurus

Headlines can make or break your content. If you have a drab, uninteresting headline no one is going to click and read more. Think of a headline as an invitation to a web content party. The party is your content and your headline is what encourages people to join in on the fun.

So how do you write a catchy headline? According to an article by Social Media Today, a good headline is one that:

  • Is clear and tells the reader exactly what she’s gaining by reading your article;
  • Makes a promise to the reader;
  • Tantalizes, teases and even hits a nerve — compelling the reader to go forward;
  • Is a one-liner that is easy to share and understand.

4. They don’t make it just about you

Your web content shouldn’t be about you, ever. People don’t want to read about you, they want to know how you can help them. An expert website content writing service will know just how to tactfully do this.

Don’t expect many conversions if you boast about your product, service and how it all benefits you. Instead, turn it around and make it all about the reader. Tell the reader exactly what benefits they’ll receive by reading your content or buying your products. The word “you” should be throughout your content so that the reader feels as though you’re talking directly to them.

5. They’ll break up that wall of text

A wall of text turns readers away instantly. After all, if you walked up to a big wall would you want to climb it or walk around it? Reading web content online is the same thing. No one wants to sift through a wall of text — they want it broken down so they can easily climb over it, or, even better, walk through it.

Shorten up your paragraphs — quit being epic. Use short, concise sentences.

Put powerful statements, call-to-actions, and other important notations in their own paragraph, on their own line for maximum impact and visibility.

Just like we’re doing here.

6. They’ll infuse personality into your content

If you’re a dull dud, it’s time to add a spark of personality to your web content.

Be personable, talk to your readers as if you’re talking to a friend, and be true to your brand.

Are you a youthful brand? Think of your target customer and how they would relate to a person talking to them.

If you’re targeting older individuals, you will want to keep it professional, but still friendly. If you’re targeting the 21 and younger crowd you better toss in a few slang terms, add some fun to it, and be social.

The tone you use in your content, according to Search Engine Watch, should suit your brand’s personality and your target customer’s personality. Obviously, if you’re selling legal services you should sound professional and avoid slang, but you can still be friendly in the process, right?

7. They’ll offer expert insights

People want web content they can trust. There’s too much content out there that doesn’t showcase authority or a company’s expertise in the industry. Make sure your website content writing service offers expert advice. Ask for a few “how-to’s” or guides that are in-depth and teach the reader something.

Conclusion: Get Your Best Website Content Writing Service Yet 

The more effort you put into your web content, the more your content can do for you.

If you want to increase your conversion rates or get more social media recognition, consider your content first.

By following even a handful of these tips here you can give your content a much-needed face lift and make your content work for you.

We are a high-quality, proven website content writing service. Get high-level web copy from Express Writers today!

5 Tips for Maintaining Content Flow During the Holidays

You know it—these end-of-year holidays are some of the busiest times. From endless company gatherings to family events, you’re bound to be going from one spot to the next, and with very little breathing time in between. Here’s the conflicting part. As a website or blog owner, you know that content is important. Google demands website owners to take charge, publish on a predictable schedule and always keep up with quality.

 

Content Flow and The Holidays: Maintaining Your Flow

With the chaos surrounding the holidays, meeting Google’s demands and the demands of your family can easily overwhelm even the world’s best planner.

 

1) Holidays Aren’t Really Vacations

Let’s face it holidays aren’t vacations. Even when you go out of town, you won’t find much time to yourself. You have family to visit (remember your mother-in-law who has insisted you come out this year — even though “out” means 500 miles from home?); you have kids who want the perfect gifts; and you’ve got some decorations to deal with to bring up the spirit. There’s a dizzying array of demands on your plate — shopping, parties, cleaning, entertaining, baking, just to name a few.

There’s a heightened risk of anxiety during the holidays, according to the APA and while we cannot handle your shopping or baking, we can offer some insight as to how you can manage your content flow while you’re off dealing with the holidays.

 

2) Plan Ahead, Seriously

Once the holidays hit you’ll have little time to deal with much. So, a few months before the holidays you need to sit down and plan out at least two months of preset topics. If you already have a year-long content strategy, your topics should be already set and ready-to-go for the holiday span.

If you don’t have one, don’t panic. Instead, sit down (like now) and start writing out your topics for the next two months. Ideally you should have enough topics to go over Thanksgiving, Christmas and well into half of January (so you have time to recuperate and regroup). When you write out your topics, make sure to include:

  • A quick summary or bullet points about what you’ll cover in the post
  • Any links or photos you’ll use
  • Any keywords you plan on incorporating
  • Write out the title (if you can)
  • A posting schedule — when the blog will be posted

 

3) Wait, I Can’t Think of That Many Topics!

Yes, it can be hard to come up with a few months of topics on the fly, but the holiday season should be one of the easiest to pre-plan for. Think of the inspiration that is all around you — Thanksgiving gatherings, Christmas morning, fun treats to make with the kids, etc. Be fun, be holiday-inspired and just let the holidays guide your content. People around this time of year are craving holiday-themed posts, so feed their cravings. Need some more holiday marketing tips? Consider this article by the Small Business Association.

 

4) Now, Write Ahead

So you have a plan that covers the next two months. The next step is to write those topics up. Sure, that might require you to sit down and spend an entire week writing blogs, but by getting them done and scheduled you have one less thing to worry about this holiday season.

 

5) Consider a Managed Solution

Sometimes it’s just too much to plan it all out and write it up in a holiday crunch. If that sounds like your situation, a managed solution might be the optimum choice for you. A managed solution can be hosted in-house or outsourced to a content writing service. With a managed solution you can still remain in control of your blog topics or you can hand over the reins and let your content service pick the topics for you. While a managed solution might mean you’re paying someone else to manage your blog, there are some critical benefits that often outweigh the costs, including:

 

  • You’ll have a team of experts who know about blogs and content. They can devise a content strategy that keeps your posts coming regularly – which helps with your search engine rankings too.
  • You won’t have to worry about writing while you’re busy. A managed solution has a team of writers that whip up quality posts and keep up with your blog.
  • A content service is likely to have a team of editors, which means you save time on proofreading and editing.
  • Your content will be optimized with keywords, but also will be holiday-targeted, which means your content is more likely to be shared and go viral — double win for you!

 

Maintaining content flow during the holidays is crucial. Google expects you to publish on a regular basis and if you stop altogether, even to break for the holiday, you might notice a drop in your rank. Instead of risking the chance, add your blogs content to your to-do list for this holiday season.

 

 

stuffed content holiday turkey

How to NOT Stuff Your Content Like this Thursday’s Turkey

Thanksgiving is upon us. (Happy Thanksgiving, if you’re reading this!) While everyone else is dreaming about a succulent turkey with all of the traditional fixings, perhaps you’re dreaming about better SEO rankings. Okay, maybe you’re thinking about the turkey a little more.
 

No Content Stuffing, It’s Simply Not Allowed!

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we felt it was time to talk about stuffing. But we’re not talking about Grandma’s famous stuffing – we’re talking about keywords and how stuffing won’t be as satisfying as your Thanksgiving meal.

 

Keywords Are Like Cranberry Sauce

We all know cranberry sauce. It’s tart, sweet and just the right amount on the plate amplifies your Thanksgiving dinner to the maximum. Now, add too much cranberry sauce and your plate is overwhelmed and all you taste is that tart, bitterness that too many cranberries can give. It ruins your dinner.

Keywords are like cranberry sauce. Stuff too much into your content and it comes off bitter not only to your readers, but search engines as well. Today’s Google looks at keywords like that red, iconic condiment of Thanksgiving: just the right amount to finish off your content is perfect.

So what is keyword stuffing? If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it refers to a practice of loading blogs and web pages with keywords in high volume as an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings. Often, these keywords are awkward, placed randomly and really don’t improve the content — sometimes they are not even relevant to the content, according to Google Webmaster Tools. Filling pages with rapid fire keywords won’t do you much good and will certainly give your readers a reason to move on to a different site.

 

An example of keyword stuffing:

“SEO, SEO services, SEO Los Angeles.” Notice how there’s no sentence structure? Just a bundle of keywords? This is an extreme example, but hopefully you get the point.

 

Here, read another, we dare ya!

“Here at SEO Experts in Los Angeles, we sell the best SEO services in Los Angeles. So if you’re looking for SEO experts in Los Angeles, be sure to check out our SEO services. We’re the best SEO experts in Los Angeles.”

It’s awful and quite painful to even read, right? Trust me, your readers will think the same, if that’s what they’re greeted with on your website.

 

So Keyword Stuffing Doesn’t Work Then?

Nope, not anymore. Google and other search engines have smartened up. Keyword stuffing no longer works because Google’s algorithms are trained to look over a site and determine if keywords are used improperly or in an unreasonable number. If you have an ultra-high density of a particular keyword, Google will drop your rank rather than increase it. If you’re a repeat offender you might notice your site is removed from the search engine index altogether.

 

What Happens If I Keyword Stuff?

Okay, so let’s say you add too many keywords to your content. Just like the cranberry sauce example, you’re likely to get:

  1. Less engagement and sharing on your site. No one’s going to rave about your turkey (content) when it’s smothered in cranberry sauce.
  2. You’ll be penalized by the search engines for keyword stuffing and recovery isn’t fun.
  3. Your conversion rate will drastically drop (or disappear altogether).
  4. No one will bother reading your content — would you?

 

So How Do I Avoid Keyword Stuffing?

It’s easier said than done. First and foremost, quit fretting about your keyword density — this isn’t as important as you think. Focus on long-tail keywords, as the Content Marketing Institute suggests. These are phrases with three or more words that offer a high volume of searches and are more relevant to your content — and also less likely to accidentally stuff.

Review your keyword density before you publish. Less is always more with keywords so add a keyword or key phrase when it makes sense, but don’t focus on a density at a specific number. There is no magic number, but some say two to five percent is probably the safer goal to reach.

No matter what you do, don’t load your pages with irrelevant keywords. According to a recent article by WebProNews.com, using keywords that aren’t relevant to your content or brand marketing can be detrimental to your rank.

 

Some Tips for Success

  • Create a 12-month content strategy that has topics, titles and keywords that you will use (naturally) within the content.
  • Write to offer your readers value — don’t write for the search engines.
  • Create content that is practical and helpful. Be unique and show off your expertise — that’s why people are visiting your site in the first place.
  • Use title tags and descriptions for optimization.
  • Make sure your content is never duplicated.
  • Use spellcheck and grammar check — no one likes misspelled words.