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blog content

#ContentWriting Chat Recap: How to Create Blog Content That Sells & Ranks

How would you like to create blog content that ranks on the first page of the search results?

Wouldn’t you love it if your blogs could sell your products and services on autopilot?

It sounds like a dream, but it’s totally possible when you have the right strategy in place!

And luckily, we’re here to help you make it happen with our latest #ContentWritingChat.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Create Blog Content That Sells & Ranks

This week was our monthly community chat where our participants are in the spotlight. They voted for the chat topic, but since it was a tie, we decided to combine the two winning options for one amazing conversation. Let’s dive into the recap!

Q1: How do you plan your content strategically to ensure you’re reaching goals in terms of sales and ranking higher?

If you want to see major results online, you have to get smart about your content. But how exactly do you do that? Here’s what you need to know about strategic planning:

Jeff suggests building a content calendar around your key goals for the year. This will ensure you’re being smart about the work you publish and achieving major results online.

It may help to try Bill’s tactic! He suggests working backwards by determining your end goal and figuring out what steps a reader needs to take to get to that point.

Lexie’s advice is to learn all about your audience. You need to discover what they’re looking for in terms of content so you can deliver it.

Creating a series of topics can be a fantastic move since everything will connect with each other. It’s the perfect way to interlink your blog posts.

You can also learn a lot from looking at your competitors! See what they’ve done in the past and what you can learn from them.

Q2: When seeking sales online, what tactics can you use to promote your products/services through blog posts?

If you aren’t actively promoting your offerings through your blog posts, you’re missing out! In order to boost sales online, try implementing these tactics to generate income:

Julia’s advice is to get to know your audience and develop a content plan that answers their questions. She also mentioned how we use CTAs at the end of our posts to drive sign-ups, sales, etc.

Make sure you’re providing value, solving a problem, sharing your own experiences, and encouraging people to take action.

It’s so important to build a relationship with your audience. Lexie knows this is essential to establishing trust with your readers, which will make them more likely to purchase.

Amanda’s advice is to build relationships, offer advice, and then give it to your audience. Don’t forget to ask for the sale as well!

Try writing blog posts about the products or services you offer. It doesn’t have to be done in a salesy way, but it can be a how-to guide, best practices, or a case study. Even placing banners in your sidebar can be helpful!

Share the research, facts, best tips, and how-to advice that will get a reader’s attention.

Bill suggests telling a story or sharing a case study.

Both Jeff and Sarah urge you to not forget that call to action!

Q3: How can you determine if your blog posts are actually leading to sales?

Once you’ve implemented the previous tips, you’ll need to keep an eye on your metrics to see what kind of results you’re getting. You have to know if your efforts are effective, after all! Here’s how you can see if those sales are really rolling in:

Be on the lookout for conversions. Are sales consistently coming in? That’s what you need to watch for.

Erika suggests setting up goals in Google Analytics because this will help you track the most important metrics. And she said to use UTMs when sharing content.

It’s all about the analytics! Sarah suggests even paying attention to the keywords your audience is searching.

Take full advantage of Google Analytics because it holds so much data.

And if you’re still not sure, don’t be afraid to ask people how they discovered your products/services and what made them buy.

Q4: If you aren’t seeing sales from your posts, what improvements can you make to turn things around?

The sales are coming as plentifully as you would have liked… Instead of sending yourself into a panic, you need to make some changes! Here’s some advice:

First, you want to look at why you aren’t making sales. Lexie suggests seeing if users are bouncing right from the post. She said you may then need to change your CTA or take other steps to lead people to your offering.

Bill said you might not be seeing sales because of poor messaging, poor distribution, or wrong timing.

Sarah suggests changing up your layout, imagery, headline, or CTA. There are a number of things that can be done to boost sales. That’s why you always have to test!

Spend time getting to know your audience better and make sure you’re delivering the content they want to see from you.

This is great advice from Kim Garst that was shared during the chat!

Q5: What are the most important factors in creating blog content that ranks on the first page of search results?

So, you want your content to show up on the coveted first page of those Google search results… In order to make it happen, there are a few things you need to know!

The content should be properly researched, contain long-tail keywords, provide images and stats, should be written in a way that’s easy to understand, and should solve user intent.

This is great advice from Neil Patel’s blog!

As Erika said, your content needs to be the best if you want to rank on the first page. She suggests discovering what the gap is with the pages that are currently ranking at the top. How can you improve and make your blog post better?

Always determine what’s in it for your audience and make sure it’s clear to them.

Don’t forget to examine your website itself. Sarah said that your user experience needs to be good, which includes fast loading time, clean coding, and more.

Q6: Are there any other ways you can boost your organic reach for your online content?

Besides relying on Google, how else can you grow your organic reach? Try out these ideas:

These are all great ideas from Himani!

There’s nothing like a great blogger collaboration! Guest post on their site while you guest post on theirs! It’s a fantastic way to expand your reach.

As Sarah knows, generating those links is very important online.

Try participating in Facebook groups or LinkedIn groups. Amanda knows how useful they are for making connections online.

If you have employees or influencers you work with, have them share your content as well.

And always remember that a great visual can really do wonders for your content!

Q7: What are your favorite tools for seeing how well your content ranks in search results?

There are plenty of tools to help you track how your content ranks! These are some favorites among our community:

For Jeff, it’s all about Moz.

Erika relies on Moz, BuzzSumo, bit.ly, and Google Analytics.

SEMrush, Moz, and Google Analytics are must-have tools.

Julia’s go-to tools are worth checking out!

Q8: Which online resources have help you to become a better, more strategic blogger?

Twitter chats provide so much value!

Andy Crestodina definitely provides amazing content!

Julia enjoys learning from Content Marketing Institute and Joe Pulizzi, Caitlin Bacher, Ann Handley, Copyblogger, and HubSpot.

Darcy loves ProBlogger, Blog Tyrant, and SmartBlogger.

How would you like to join us for the next #ContentWritingChat? Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat on Twitter, then be there for the chat on Tuesday at 10 AM Central!

content writing

8 Keys to Content Writing Success (for Freelance Writers & Marketers Hiring Writers)

These days, content is apparently king.

But writing content that rules over your competition is not that simple.

According to Time, the average reader spends only 8 seconds reading a piece of content. 

(That’s probably gone down some, considering that statistic is a few years old.)

So it goes without saying: creating engaging, valuable content that helps your target audience is vital.

These days, in order for businesses to increase traffic and revenue, it’s essential to invest in content marketing — and therefore, expert content writing.

According to CMI, higher quality content creation accounts for 78% of content marketers’ increased success in the industry, over the past 12 months (CMI’s 2018 Benchmark).

cmi 2018 benchmark content

What’s more, 47% of marketers today are outsourcing their content.

cmi 2018 benchmark

So, we’ve established how much content creation matters today — and how nearly half of all content created is outsourced!

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re one of three individuals:

  1. A writer who has heard of content writing as being one of the most profitable forms of writing.
  2. A content writer looking to brush up on your skills to get yourself ahead of the game.
  3. A marketer or business owner who is looking to step up your marketing strategy by hiring a content writer.

No matter what drew you to this article, you will walk away with a clear understanding of a major factor in online business success:

Successful content writing.

Let’s get into the good stuff!

content writers guide

What is Content Writing – Rather, What’s Good Content Writing?

Written content comes in a number of mediums: blogs, social media posts, web pages, articles, white papers, video and audio recordings.

It is information on a specific topic focused on a targeted audience.

The key here is audience.

If written content fails to attract its target audience, there’s not much point to the content to begin with.

A lack of audience engagement in your content results in a low ROI.

So then, what makes attractive written content?

Think about the best movie you’ve seen recently.

Got it?

Why do you like it? Was it the special effects or music score? Maybe it had a great storyline or focused on a topic of interest.

Chances are, the best film you can think of was a combination of these aspects in order to make it memorable.

So what’s my point?

Good content writing is similar in the way that it combines several key aspects in order to engage readers and perform well in search engines.

Impressionable writing requires creativity, SEO tactics, consistency and purpose.

We’ll soon delve into ways on how to achieve this.

But first, let’s cut to the chase:

Why is Good Content Important?

Quality online content drives marketing in almost every respect.

If your content is also optimized for search engines and draws organic traffic, you’ve hit the jackpot.

Leading businesses know the value in this and are looking for the talent to create it. The internet is a crowded place and it’s only becoming harder to stand out.

State of Inbound

While good content brings in audiences, great content generates higher conversion rates.

This is THE trick in driving revenue.

Lucky for you, we’re going to reveal that trick.

We’ve laid out easy-to-follow guidelines which focus on:

  • What content writers should strive for
  • What employers should look for

8 Keys to Successful Content Writing

Successful content writers have it all.

Aside from being wordsmiths, they are SEO specialists, social media gurus and expert marketers.

They create the online content, which drives traffic, charms Google and turns skimmers into subscribers.

Although this description seems loaded, it’s easier to grasp when broken down.

So, what are we waiting for?

Successful content writing in 2018 is:

Amy Pohler giphy (4)

Amy Poehler!

Just joking.

1. Audience-Focused

Reel in your audience and you’ll reap the rewards.

This is because Google’s main focus is keeping searchers happy.

So, if you’re catering to audiences, Google will cater to you.

By creating relevant and helpful content that puts your audience first, you will enjoy more success. It’s a healthy cyber relationship.

To know how to help your audience, you need to understand their pain points.

Research your competition and take note of what they’re providing.

A competitive content audit can help you focus on WHO your competition is and HOW they’re positioning themselves in front of your shared audience.

When you know your audience, you can answer their burning questions in a voice that speaks to them.

Remember: healthy cyber relationships rely on communication to survive.

2. Dynamic

The best online content writers can master a wide-range of writing styles.

Why’s that?

Content writing projects come in all shapes and sizes.

New Media Services sums it up well.

quality content summary

Some examples of online content forms and their individual styles are:

  • News: Short and concise paragraphs, including the summary of the story near the top of the content piece.
  • Blogging: Friendly, inviting and opinionated. See any of the posts on the Write Blog for examples.
  • White papers: Long-form while providing a solution to a problem.
  • Case studies: In-depth information providing valuable knowledge based on research of a certain scenario.
  • Ad copy: Concise and convincing with the goal of increasing conversion rate. Scroll Facebook on any given day and you’re bound to see ads in the right panel. Here’s an example of an ad from a consultant that makes millions using ads.
  • Ebook: A powerful marketing tool, which can be offered free to boost email subscribers or sold as a product. Here’s an example.

A successful writer is experienced in these fields.

Through this expertise, they can help businesses achieve specific goals with quality content.

3. Expertly Written

Know your topic like the back of your hand.

Once you’ve formulated an idea for your content, be sure to follow through with it.

How exactly should you follow through?

You’ve guessed it:

In-depth research.

Your readers are coming to you for reliable information. If you’re wishy-washy about the subject, your readers will pick up on it and immediately move on.

The way to exude true confidence is through knowledge.

The way to obtain this knowledge is through deep research.

If you dig deep into your topic and deliver the details with a knowledgeable and conversational voice, your content will ultimately become more helpful.

This expert help is what Google values.

More importantly, it is what audiences are searching for.

Successful content writers offer expert problem-solving with every piece they write.

4. Readable – Super Readable.

Readability comes in a number of guises.

However, the trick that hooks most readers is flow.

Let me explain:

Nowadays, readers scan.

As scary as it is, the average attention span of humans is dropping.

Based on data from Microsoft Corp. study

So, to catch their attention, you need to write…

The.

Way.

People.

Read.

Audiences want to easily get material, and walk away having learned something.

Bam. There you have it.

So how do we do that?

Here’s how you can create more readable content:

  • Be engaging – This means cut the fluff. Create content that is clear and concise. Audiences want the most amount of information in the easiest and most digestible way possible.
  • Use the active voice – The active voice is much more powerful and engaging.
  • Proofread – By taking the time to scan through your writing before posting, you can make sure the content is easy to read. This DIRECTLY impacts your ability to engage audiences and keep them reading.
  • Use clear structure – By formatting your content into short paragraphs while using bullet points, numbered lists, and multiple subtitles, you encourage readers to read the article in full. Studies show the success of using formatting patterns that mimic the way audiences read.

Not only will your audience prefer easy-to-read content, Google will too.

If your content sounds ‘strange,’ when read aloud, it can affect your page ranking with Google now.

Since the Google Hummingbird update, the need for readable content has never been more important.

5. Creative

One word is key here: ideation.

According to Cambridge Dictionary, ideation is, “the action of forming ideas in the mind.”

Content writers must continually formulate ideas for either full stories or angles on a specific topic.

Sound familiar?

A content writer’s ability to consistently create many different concepts, ideas and angles that appeal to a specific audience is key to successful online content marketing.

Let’s go back to the statistic

cmi 2018 benchmark content

Where most people go wrong is right here, at the ideation stage.

Sujan Patel, co-founder of Voila Norbert, believes more time spent in the ideation stage will save writers wasting their time in creation, in this article on CMI.

sujan patel

Read The Secrets of Content Ideation: Why 4 Out of 5 Articles Fail

The link between ideation and creativity starts with your title.

By finding the right blend of creative writing and keyword use in your titles, you can entice searchers to visit your page.

This can boost click through rates (CTR) which in turn helps you increase page ranking.

6. Consistent

Being consistent is what keeps successful content writers alive on the web.

This consistency can be implemented in a number of ways:

  • Voice – Your voice defines you and your brand. Keeping this consistent is crucial for successful content writing.
    After researching your audience and topic, you’ll be able to develop the right voice. Your audience will get to know you through your tone and approach. This is comforting and professional, so stick with it!
  • Posts – By consistently posting quality content, the chances of you attracting a steady readership increases.
    A popular online marketing tool for businesses to build brand awareness is through the use of blogs. Blogs feed consistent content to the web, which helps readers find your site and learn more about you and what you offer. Furthermore, blogs also support your brand and creates authenticity. In fact, last year, 65% of marketers planned to increase their use of blogging.
  • Focus – Whatever you do, don’t waver when it comes to your content’s focus. With so much competition, it is crucial that you keep your content focused. Picking a small niche and writing about topics under the same umbrella often leads to greater success. Don’t hop around aimlessly, or you’ll risk losing the loyal audience you’ve created.
  • For example, let’s say you follow an amazing food blogger who you get almost all your dinner ideas from. She comes up with healthy and quick meals that fit perfectly with your lifestyle. One day, you visit her site expecting a daily recipe, but instead, find a post on color-coordinating your wardrobe. The horror! Chances are you’d be turned off by it and would quickly search for a substitute food blogger. Audiences expect you to provide what they need — consistently.

7. SEO, CSS and HTML Smart

A successful content writer is a Jack of all trades…and a master of many.

Although they don’t need to be experts at all of these skills, a basic level of knowledge does come in handy.

Being able to quickly adjust a site’s HTML format in times of need will save you the HUGE hassle of postponing everything to track down a web developer. These skills will also help you improve the aesthetics of your content.

In terms of audience engagement:

While content writing leads, attractive visuals please.

Via: ContentSEO

What is of greater importance, however, is this:

SEO.

Successful content writing isn’t possible without good SEO knowledge.

Point blank.

In this day and age, if you’re not comfortable with SEO basics, you may as well get comfortable with page 3 or 4 of Google.

Ouch.

8. Social Media-Friendly

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

When audiences aren’t searching through Google, almost all eyes are on these platforms.

Via: Hootsuite

The ability to capture attention on social media is one of the most powerful tools in digital marketing.

Once quality content is marketed effectively on social media, it has the ability to ‘go viral.’ This significantly boosts SERPs and your ROI.

It can generate a wider readership, which boosts site traffic and can lead to higher conversions.

In short, a solid social media strategy can pave the way for your content to make huge profits.

Social media platforms are also a magical tool in helping you personally connect with your audience.

This connection can develop a sense of community. As this grows, so does your number of subscribers and ability to answer your audience’s specific questions, directly.

What Are the Main Takeaways From This Guide?

Competition online is heavy.

The key to win over readers is to know what you’re writing, who you’re writing for and how to help them.

Furthermore, you must write in a way that pleases the Google gods.

As content writing continues to dominate the business of online marketing, the demand for expert copywriters with content marketing skills will increase.

In the end, your overarching goal should be clear:

Create quality content.

By producing high-quality content that provides value for your readers, solves their problems and gives them new insights, you will work your way to the top.

Now you have the keys, what’s stopping you from opening the doors to success?

Need Help?

Freelancers: To graduate to the next level of content writing success, check out my training: The Content Strategy & Marketing Course.

Clients: For a content writing team you can count on, learn more about our story here and try us out today.

writing schedule

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Getting Into a Writing Schedule with Kelsey Jones

As content creators, getting into a writing schedule helps us to stay organized and keep on track when it comes to our work. But how exactly do you create a writing schedule that works for you? That’s what we talked about in this #ContentWritingChat! If you need a content creation schedule of your very own, this is the chat for you! Keep reading for some helpful tips!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Getting Into a Writing Schedule with Kelsey Jones

Our guest host for this week’s chat was Kelsey Jones. Kelsey is a marketing consultant, as well as a writer and the creator of MoxieDot. She knows how important it is to set a schedule and stick to it if you want to see results, so she shared tons of helpful advice with everyone in Tuesday’s chat!

Q1: What is the importance of having a writing schedule? How can it benefit content creators?

Not convinced you really need to have a writing schedule of your very own? We asked our chat participants to share why they think it’s important and how it can be beneficial. Check out what some of them had to say:

Kelsey knows that having a schedule ensures she actually makes time for writing.

Julia knows that having a schedule and sticking to it is going to give you the discipline you need to get your content creation done. Without a set schedule, you risk procrastinating on your work and possibly not even finishing it.

She also reminds us that we shouldn’t fall into the trap of over scheduling. Julia said to allow time for inspiration to strike. And remember that one amazing post will always beat 10 crappy posts.

Think of having a writing schedule as your own deadline. As Jim said, it adds a little pressure to give you that motivation to produce new content. Sometimes you need that to actually create something new.

Having a schedule will ensure you’re staying productive and it holds you accountable. You don’t want to miss those deadlines you gave yourself, now do you?

Accountability, forward planning, and consistency are just a few reasons having a schedule can be beneficial to you.

When you’ve laid out a plan, you’ll always know what needs to be done and when it needs to be done by. This is going to be crucial in helping you stay on track with your content creation.

Jess said that consistency and scheduling help her beat procrastination when it comes to writing. If you find you often procrastinate on writing, try setting a schedule and seeing if it helps you out.

As Bill said, there’s no need to wonder what you should write when you have a schedule and a strategy in place.

Q2: When writing content, do you have a specific process you follow? If so, share it with us!

How do you successfully write a piece of content? We asked everyone to share their processes with us, so take a look at what they had to say:

Kelsey starts by brainstorming topic ideas. She then likes to write headers and then begins creating her content. She even shared some of her favorite tools for coming up with great ideas.

Julia shared the five-step process that’s used to create content here at Express Writers. Do you follow similar steps?

Once you have an idea, jot down your thoughts, perform research, and then flesh out your post. Take some time away before coming back to proofread it. Once you’ve finished editing, you’re ready to hit publish!

Once Jeremy has written his first draft, he selects visuals, writes some more, and then goes into the editing phase.

The team members at Netvantage all have different processes, which is absolutely okay. The one common thing they all start with is keyword research.

After you’ve published your content, don’t forget to measure your results and repurpose it, just like Amanda does.

Q3: How do you make time for writing in your day? Do you find you’re most creative at certain times?

How exactly do you make time for writing in what is already a busy schedule? Check out these tips:

Kelsey started writing early in the morning, but she also enjoys writing while on the plane. The key is to figure out what works best for you and plan your writing schedule accordingly.

When making time for writing, it always helps to look to your deadlines. You want to make sure you get everything done in time, which means you need to schedule accordingly.

Ray makes time to write every morning, which helps him keep up the habit of regular content creation.

Debi also likes to write in the morning because there aren’t as many distractions for her.

On the flip side, if you find yourself most creative and productive later in the day, use that time to write! For Andrea, he writes mostly during 5 PM to 10 PM.

Kristi also prefers to write in the afternoon and evening hours, but she also knows it’s important to just dive right in whenever inspiration strikes.

For Sarah, she feels ready to write once the coffee kicks in!

Q4: What are your best strategies for becoming a better writer?

Even if you aren’t a natural-born writer, it doesn’t mean you don’t stand a chance of creating something amazing. You can always strengthen your skills! Here’s some advice that will help you out:

Kelsey’s advice is to keep reading. Whether you’er reading books, blog posts, or news articles, you can learn from it. She reads or listens to about two to three books per month, which is awesome.

Kelsey isn’t the only one who knows reading can strengthen your skills as a writer. Andrea knows there’s a lot you can learn from other writers.

Jess also agrees that reading is important. She says to learn new words, study the great writers, and even study bad writers. You can always take something away from reading their work.

Practice is key to getting better at anything, including writing.

Julia also knows how important practice can be. She says having a daily schedule is key.

Ray recommends getting some feedback on your writing. Have someone else (or a few people) read over what you’ve created and provide you with advice.

Jeff recommends reading often, but also finding someone to critique your work. You can help each other out and become better writers.

Networking is always a helpful way to better your skills. Take the time to connect with other writers and influencers and learn from them.

Callie recommends pushing your limits and taking on projects that challenge you. It’s a great way to explore new things and get better at what you do.

Q5: What are your tips for remaining consistent when it comes to writing?

How exactly do you remain consistent with your writing? Our chat participants shared some helpful advice:

Kelsey suggests scheduling writing time into your calendar as if it was a meeting. There won’t be any excuses for not getting it done when you’ve already block off time in your day.

She also says to make it easier on yourself by having a prepared topic list, a dictation tool, and a good beverage.

It all goes back to having a writing schedule. If you have a team, put someone in charge of creating and managing the schedule to ensure everyone stays on track.

It’s so simple, but it’s the most effective process. Plan your content, create a schedule, and stick to it if you want to see results. Maria knows this is key!

Having an editorial calendar, a style guide, and a content strategy will always be helpful when it comes to consistency.

Work deadlines into your writing schedule. Ray recommends setting dates you need to have research done by, when you need to draft, and so on. This will keep you on track and help you get everything done on time.

Jeremy also knows deadlines are important, but he suggests giving yourself some flexibility when needed.

Tony relies on notifications to stick to his schedule. You can add your tasks to a to-do list app or your calendar and set reminders so you don’t forget anything.

If it’s a lack of ideas that’s holding you back, go out and seek inspiration. Turning to other blogs and books can be just what you need to get those creative juices flowing.

For consistency in your style of writing, write in your own voice. Don’t try to be something you aren’t because people will see right through you.

You also want to write honestly and speak to your audience to get to know them and their needs better.

Q6: How do you know when the content you’ve written is great and ready to be published?

Is that post ready to be published or does it still need a little work? These tips will help you decide:

Kelsey usually knows something is great as she’s writing it because she starts to get into the flow. She also finds editing is easier on a piece of content she already likes.

Before you hit publish, have someone else look it over to proofread. They might catch mistakes you made or be able to offer valuable feedback.

Julia always has someone else look over content before it’s published. If everyone loves it, it’s ready for publication. If not, changes have to be made.

When you’ve said what you wanted to say in the way you wanted to say it, you’re good to go.

Don’t forget to double-check spelling, grammar, and links. Make sure you also add in some great visuals, too!

If you’re proud of what you’ve created, it’s time to hit publish.

Imagine yourself as the reader. If it holds your interest throughout, then you’ve done a good job.

If you’ve answered the question your readers have been asking, you know you’ve produced something great.

Not only do you want to answer your audience’s questions, but as Zala said, it also needs to be readable and optimized.

Q7: Do you use any tools to manage your writing schedule and your content creation process?

There are plenty of tools that can make the writing process easier, so there’s no reason not to give them a go! Check out these suggestions:

Kelsey is still searching for that perfect tool, but she’s heard great thing about CoSchedule and Trello. These are both tools so many of our chat participants rely on. She does like to use Google Docs, Grammarly, and the Hemingway app.

Debi seconds that Grammarly recommendation.

Asana is a handy project management tool that can also double as your editorial calendar. Evernote is fantastic for storing ideas and also for drafting content.

Jeff also uses Asana to keep track of deadlines.

Google Sheets and Docs, WordPress, the internet, as well as your time and your brain are all essential.

Evernote and Scrivener are definitely go-to tools!

Zala has a few digital tools she loves, but she also relies on pen and paper. You can’t go wrong there!

Max keeps it simple with a classic Excel spreadsheet.

Q8: Any final tips to share about creating and sticking to a writing schedule?

Any tips left to share? Here’s what you need to take away from this #ContentWritingChat:

As Kelsey said, if you aren’t feeling it then you need to take a break. Don’t push yourself, otherwise your writing may suffer.

If writing is your business, you need to treat it like one. Jim says to create goals, milestones, and rewards to push you along the way.

As Julia said, you have to commit. It gets easier once you’ve settled into your schedule.

Michele suggests setting deadlines a few days earlier to help eliminate last-minute stress. This gives you the flexibility of having more time if needed.

Jeff knows it all comes down to you, so just do it.

Don’t be afraid to collaborate. Talk to other writers and bounce ideas off of them.

Jot ides down whenever inspiration strikes so you don’t forget about it later.

Great advice from Debi! Keep inspired, be creative, and do it with joy.

Join us every Tuesday at 10 AM CST for #ContentWritingChat! Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat to stay updated on topics and guests.

#Contentwritingchat

how to improve your content writing

Learn How to Improve Your Content Writing: 7 Easy Ways to Buff up Your Content Now

What’s the one thing you need to do to master a new skill?

Practice, of course!

This is as true with learning to play tennis as it is mastering content writing: the more you practice, the better you get.

Today, content writing is a critical talent, and mastering it can help you stand out in the crowded online world.

Sound hard? Don’t worry, it’s easier than you might think. Just follow these seven simple tips, and you’ll be on the top of your content writing game in no time at all.

improve your writing

How to Improve Your Content Writing: Why Creating Great Online Content Matters So Much

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for all of 2016 (and maybe the decade before that, as well), you’ve probably interacted with some form of online content.

Whether it was a blog, a webpage, a social media post, or even a product description, online content has touched your life in one way or another.

This industry is nowhere near dying. In fact, it’s the opposite.

Today, online content is one of the primary sources that humans use to communicate with one another.

Sound crazy?

Think about it!

Regardless of what you do for work or fun, chances are that you interact with some form of digital content every day. Do you read blogs? Do you surf the web? Do you shop online? If so, you’re interacting with online content!

According to Adweek:

  • The average person interacts with 285 pieces of content every single day.
  • This rounds out to 54,000 words (the length of a novel) and 1,000 different links – consumed daily.
  • A whopping 63% of that content is written, while 37% is media content.

If that doesn’t put the importance of online content in perspective, I’m not sure what will!

Due to the rise of digital content, and the level of importance that consumers now place on it, learning how to improve your content writing is one of the smartest things you can do.

How to Improve Your Content Writing in 7 Steps

Regardless of whether you’re a marketer, blogger, small business owner, or just an online enthusiast, improving your content writing is one of the best ways to succeed in the digital world.

Here are seven tips to help you head into 2017 strong:

1. Up your image game

For most people, “adding an image” to a blog means plugging in a stock photo for the featured picture.

This is not enough.

Today, images make all the difference in a person’s willingness to read your content. In fact, HubSpot reports that content that includes a relevant image gets a massive 94% more views than content that is only text.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be a professional photographer to add images to your posts. Today, there are dozens of free and high-quality stock image sites you can take advantage of. You can also hire out custom images, or create your own on a site like Canva.

No matter what you do, make sure any images you include in your posts are high-quality – there should be no blurring or odd proportions – and relevant.

2. Dig deeper than average to verify facts and statistics

It’s easy to fill your writing with general statements. It’s much harder, however, to go to the source and find relevant, solid statistics to back up your claims. This is one simple way to beef up your online writing.

Today, it’s easier than ever to find quality statistics for any industry you’re involved in. A simple Google search with the word “statistic” at the end will reveal thousands, if not millions, of hits. Before you go plugging them into your content, however, you need to know how to determine what is a high-quality source and what’s not.

One fantastic, 100% trustworthy tool for determining this is Alexa.

Alexa is an Amazon subsidiary that allows users to access traffic and rank estimates based on mass browsing behavior. Alexa’s ranks are updated daily and the tool offers a quick view of sites that are high-quality and sites that are low-quality – the lower the site ranking number, the better it’s doing online.

To use Alexa, just head to Alexa.com/siteinfo, and type in your target URL. If it ranks over 100,000, it’s a high-quality link that you can include in your content.

Save this handy-dandy visual guide:

alexa ranking

3. Add an infographic

Right now, infographics are shared and liked on social media three times as often as any other type of content out there.

For an example of how an infographic can be used in a piece of online content check, out our recent post “Five Tips for Creating Irresistibly Tasty Holiday Content for Your Readers.”

This piece features the five tips as copy and designed into a fun infographic, hand-drawn and custom created in Adobe InDesign by our lead designer.

holiday content tips

 

While we could have just written the tips out, HubSpot’s statistics show that people play close attention to information-carrying images.

Never created an infographic before? It might be best to leave it to a pro.

We offer full-service infographic creation! Visit Infographics in the Content Shop.

Like any image, the infographics you use in your content must always be high-quality, relevant, and professional.

4. Publish a case study

A case study is one piece of content that announces “I have arrived!”

Here’s why: case studies are not something that every content writer produces. They take time, they take expertise, and they take real, demonstrable success that your clients are willing to let you share.

Because of this, they are an incredibly powerful type of online content that can serve to enhance your reputation and help you land more customers.

If you’re interested in publishing a case study, you’ll have to set a time frame and start paying close attention to your results. If you have a specific job or interaction with the client that you believe would be fodder for a case study, reach out to the client and ask for permission to share the details.

Once you’ve done that, hire a professional case study writer to help you get started.

5. Write more often

Malcolm Gladwell, the best-selling author, is commonly quoted as having said that it takes 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” to become an expert at something. If that’s true, the more you write, the better at it you’ll be.

While there are dozens of technical or professional ways to improve your online copywriting, one of the best things that you can do to get better is simply to write more.

The more you write, the more honed your skills will be, and the more efficient you’ll be at spotting mistakes.

In addition to making you a better writer, writing more often can also help you become more visible online, since it will naturally increase your social shares and enhance your network of readers.

6. Use a headline analyzer to test your titles

One of the simplest and most overlooked tools for writers is the headline analyzer. There are several different models out there, many of which are free.

Designed to test a headline for its concentration of emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and power words, a headline analyzer takes your headline, evaluates it, and lets you know what you need to improve.

If you’re just learning to craft a great headline, a headline analyzer is a fantastic way to catch common mistakes and pivot your writing style accordingly.

Even for writers who are already professionals, a headline analyzer is a fantastic way to improve your online content and learn how to be a better writer across the board.

7. Find out which topics your readers want

Doing some research into trending topics in your industry is another fantastic way to immediately improve your online writing. Use a tool like BuzzSumo to locate trending content in your industry.

If you’d prefer to take it to the “streets,” head to a website like Quora or Reddit to figure out what your audience is talking about and what their questions are.

While most people assume that the topics they come up with are the ones their audience wants to read, the audience is the best resource for figuring out what you should be writing about.

With that in mind go to the places your audience hangs out. See what they are talking about. Once you’ve done that, bring it back to your blog. This is a sure-fire recipe for becoming appealing and compelling online.

Learning to Improve Your Content Writing Just got Easy

There are tons of cheap tips for learning to improve writing on the web.

At the end of the day, however, improving your online copywriting comes down to wanting to do it.

Here at Express Writers, we’re passionate about helping you improve your online writing. With the help of these seven tips, you can become a better online writer, learn more about the digital world around you, and grow your skills in 2017, and beyond!

Still need a bit of help managing your online copy writing needs? Contact Express Writers today to learn more about our team of experienced writers and purchase your content package now.

Custom Writing Service

What to Expect from a Custom Writing Service

If you’re like most marketers, you’ve probably considered hiring a custom writing service at one point or another.

But if you’re like most marketers that are new to delegating their online writing, there’s another side to that: you’re also probably not sure what to expect from working with a custom writing service.

We’re here to shine a light on the topic!

If you’ve ever wondered what a custom writing service is and what you can expect when you hire one, this post is for you. Read on to learn more.

Custom Writing Service, copywriting service, content writing service

Let’s Define a Custom Writing Service

A custom writing service is any company, individual, or firm that writes custom web content for customers.

Seem simple? It is, but it’s also very varied.

A custom writing service can write anything from blog content to print books, depending on what the customer wants and needs. Custom writing services are run by expert copywriters, marketers, and SEOs, and are designed to help busy marketers get the custom content they require, without the hassle of stressing over producing it in-house.

Check out a short list of what we do, from our pricing page (over 40 products in our Content Shop!):

express writers pricing

To see a full list of what our copywriters can handle, check out my guide: How Copywriting Works.

5 Standard Expectations to Have with a Quality-Oriented Custom Writing Service

If you choose to hire a custom writing service, you’ll be in for a unique experience. Because custom writing services are highly individualized by definition, the service you receive from the company or individual you hire won’t necessarily be comparable to anyone else’s experience.

The custom writing service is there to define, understand, and exceed your unique needs – that’s the whole point!

You can, however, count on a few standard protocols and methods from any custom writing service you hire. These are as follows:

1. A custom writing service will take time to consult with you about your needs

To serve you effectively, a custom writing service needs to understand what you hope to get out of the partnership.

For example, are you looking to populate a new site with content? Do you want to improve your leads and enjoy more conversions? Are you publishing an ebook and looking for someone to help you write or organize the copy? Maybe you’re looking to start a blog, but you don’t have time to manage it.

Whatever your needs may be, the first thing any reputable custom writing service will do is seek to understand them. This information is critical for the writing company because it allows them to do the following things:

  • Gain a deeper understanding of your company
  • Develop a plan to meet and exceed your goals
  • Craft custom content that caters to your corporate aspirations
  • Adjust existing content to support your business’s trajectory

When you first hire a custom writing service, you’ll want to be prepared to be as open as possible about your goals. This will help the company better serve you.

2. A great custom writing service will evaluate your current content

They won’t just throw a quote at you – a good writing service will actually evaluate where you stand and go from there.

If you’ve already got content on your site or blog, or if you’ve provided a layout for a bigger project, like an ebook, the custom writing service will evaluate it and reach out with suggestions, questions, or observations.

This helps the writing team you select get an idea of how long you want your content to be, which topics you’d like covered, what voice you’re looking for, and what goals you’d like the content to achieve.

For best results, be sure to maintain an open line of communication with the custom writing service. Remember: great writing flows easier when both of you communicate freely about the direction of the project. More tips on that in our guide on outsourcing your writing.

3. They will develop a content plan

Depending on the goals you set out earlier in the process, the custom writing service will now help you develop a content plan designed to meet the objective. For example, if your primary goal was to increase your social media following, the custom writing service may design a social content plan that includes several posts each week on all of your platforms. This plan would likely include a mix of curated, original, visual, and textual content to intrigue and inspire your readers.

This is a point at which you can expect to work very closely with the company. Does the plan adhere to what you had in mind? Is there anything you need clarification on? Do you want more detail about why a particular keyword is being targeted or why the use of infographics, for example, is so smart? All you have to do is ask! Any custom writing service worth its keyboards will be happy to help shine a light on these things for you.

4. Your custom writing service will optimize content for SEO

If you’re publishing web-based content for the purpose of marketing or lead generation, you can expect your custom writing service to optimize it for search engines and readers. Remember, your readers come first, but SEO is vital too.

Today, 81% of consumers research online before they decide to buy a product, and having content that is optimized for SEO is one of the best ways to ensure that your content appears when and where readers need it.

If you’re not familiar with SEO, a good custom writing service can help you understand it more deeply. Essentially, SEO is the process of optimizing content for search engine visibility and a positive user experience. This often entails methods like keyword inclusion and meta content optimization, to name just a couple.

The fact that so many custom writing services now optimize for SEO is one thing consumers love. Because today’s most visible content has all been optimized for SEO, hiring a quality custom writing service can help you remove the middleman and get professional, expert-level, properly optimized content from a single source.

5. They will publish content for you, upon request

If you’re looking to be as hands-off as possible with your content, it’s easy to find a custom writing service that will handle everything from the topic mining to the distribution for you. This is particularly the case when it comes to web content like social media posts and blogs. Dozens of custom writing services handle all of the publishing and distribution for their clients, and this is one simple thing that many marketers love about hiring a custom writing service.

Expect to pay more for this – if it’s done right, you’ll get a meta description, writing, and post optimization along with publishing.

5 Reasons Hiring a Custom Writing Service Is a (Very) Smart Idea

I mean, we are a custom writing service, but we above everyone else know how and why our clients benefit from our content. 😉

There are tremendous time savings and ROI benefits to hiring an outside writing service.

Now that you know what custom writing services do, let’s talk about why hiring one is such a good idea. Don’t be the marketer that underestimates the importance of custom content.

As it stands right now, 90% of shoppers find the presence of custom content helpful, and 61% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a company that delivers custom content. With that in mind, it’s clear that creating custom content is not just important, but critical, for any business that wants to build success in the world of online marketing.

If you’re still in doubt that hiring a custom writing service is a smart move, consider the following points:

1. A custom writing service will make you more competitive

Today, more than 86% of B2B marketers and upwards of 77% of B2C marketers take advantage of content marketing, and while many of them have in-house content creation teams, many hire their content creation out to custom content companies. If you’ve not yet jumped on the custom content bandwagon, the chances that you’re missing out on traffic are high.

Today, consumers don’t just want custom content – they expect it. And if you’re the only company in your industry that’s not giving it to them, you’re missing out on business. By hiring a custom writing service, you can populate your site and social profiles with high-quality, original content that caters to your individual consumers and helps to boost your conversion rates across the board.

2. A great writing service will diversify your content voice

Maybe you’ve been creating content in-house for quite some time now. And maybe it’s been going well. Perhaps you’ve noticed a drop-off in reads and shares, though, and you’re wondering why. Even if you have an established reader base, keeping your content fresh is difficult, and even the most loyal customers will begin to drift off if your content becomes stale or uninspired. Because of this, it’s essential to keep things fresh and do whatever it takes to ensure quality content at all times.

Hiring a custom writing service is a great way to do this. Because a good custom writing service has a team of skilled writers rather than just one or two individuals, you get the benefit of many people putting their heads together to create unique topics and write inspired content for your company. This benefits your readers just as much as it does your brand, and can go a long way toward improving your content’s performance on all of your distribution channels.

3. An excellent custom writing service will help you stay on track

If you’re running a business or trying to get a company off the ground, you’re busy, and it can be tough to hold yourself accountable to create a few blogs or social posts each week. Unfortunately, letting these things fall by the wayside doesn’t do anything but hurt your company in the long run. Today, custom content is more important than it’s ever been before, and if you neglect its creation because you’re trying to build a functional website or fix bugs in the system, you’re going to see a drastic drop-off in your visitors and readers.

When you hire a custom writing service, though, these problems cease to exist. While running a company is still hard, having the professional help of a custom writing service can make it much, much easier.

Because a custom writing service can take over your content creation efforts and free you up to focus on things like building your product, it’s the perfect tool for busy founders who need a break. When you hire a custom writing service, nothing has to suffer for everything to come into place down the line. Instead, you get the benefit of a successful company and quality content to reflect it.

4. Learn best practices from your up-to-date writing team

If you’re a little out of touch on best practices in content marketing, a good custom writing service can help bring you up to speed. Because the writers at a custom writing company write marketing and promotional copy for a living, they’re highly knowledgeable about the current best practices and industry standards.

While it may seem tempting to throw these things to the wind under the assumption that they don’t matter, best practices are more important today than they’ve ever been before, and finding a team that understands them and knows how to adhere to them is critical.

5. A custom writing service can offer technical know-how, as well

While good writing skills are essential, technical expertise is, as well, and a custom writing service can pick up on all of the picky aspects of SEO that you don’t understand (or simply don’t care to understand). By doing things like optimizing your meta content, adding alt. text to your images, and ensuring that your targeted keywords are utilized properly throughout your content, a custom writing service can deliver quality content that’s as functional for search engines as it is for people.

A Good Custom Writing Service: Your Secret Weapon for Success

A skilled, reputable, professional custom writing service is exactly what you need to build a successful online presence and ensure that you’re providing the content your customers and would-be customers need from your company.

While it’s tempting to think you can go it all on your own, a custom writing service can take the burden of content creation and distribution off of your shoulders and help you build a solid online company with a reputation for authority, leadership, and intelligence across the board.

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how content writing works

An Essential Guide: How Content Writing Works

Content writing is currently one of the most essential digital actions.

The need for it, industry regardless, has virtually no limit. Talk of how content writing works, what result it produces, and how to effectively strategize around it, pops up in virtually every niche. Hospitals have site copy needs, mechanics start their own informative blogs, Mexican restaurants publish social media updates, and agencies of all types create a ton of content, from blogs, to landing pages and white papers (not to mention creating all of that x 10 for their own client base).

With all this content flying around, it’s easy to wonder where it comes from and how content writing works as a whole. If you’re new to the world of content writing, the entire thing could easily seem like an impenetrable mystery, populated by highly trained professionals that you cannot access nor understand.

Fortunately, learning how the world of online content writing works is a simple as understanding the mechanisms that make the process move. While it’s true that the world of content writing is complex, it is far from inaccessible.

We’re here today to talk about how content writing works, and which types of content you should get familiar with to build out your online presence. Grab a coffee, and read on!

a guide to content writing

How Content Writing Works: Understanding the Big Picture & How Content Types Support Each Other

The first step in understanding how content writing works is understanding how seriously interrelated content creation, and its elements, really is.

Today, it’s not enough to just have a blog or to just have a website.

Instead, the world of content writing relies on various types of content, ranging from a PR writing to social media, to come together and create one cohesive content strategy. Without any of these different pieces, the entire strategy falls apart, and content writing doesn’t work.

Here’s some of the major types of content, from our infographic last year:

types of online content

While it may seem like a lot of work to focus on creating 7 to 10 different types of content, the reason that each type of content is so essential is simple: each type of content, from white papers to blog posts, appeals to a slightly different segment of a company’s audience.

Plus, you need content that appeals to your audience at all levels – not just at a buyer level.

Not all consumers who arrive on your website are ready to buy something, and if you don’t have content to appeal to each of these groups and the dozens of smaller groups in between, you’re going to lose many of your leads, which will have an adverse impact on your company’s bottom line.

This is exactly why it is so critical to use various types of content in your content strategy and to understand how content writing works, and how each specific type of content relies on many other types of content to function properly. And, not limit yourself to creating only one or two types of content.

The 10 Pillars of Good Content Writing

If you were an excellent blogger, but you didn’t understand how to create any other type of content, you might succeed online for a while. The fact of the matter is that there is a high demand for blogs, people love to read them, and you’d likely see some return on investment.

Over time, however, your content strategy would begin to wear thin because it would be too one-dimensional. To thrive and continue from months and years, a content strategy needs enough pillars to equally disburse its weight. Know how content writing works when you understand the “big picture.” Here are the 10 top components of great modern copywriting:

1. Web Content

Think of content writing like building a house. In this analogy, web content is the foundation. Web content, which includes the text on individual website pages, landing pages, about us pages, contact pages, and more is the foundational content that every company needs to build an online presence.

Without this, readers cannot find the information they’re seeking about your company, and the rest of your content strategy has nothing to build on. As such, web content is the single most critical and essential type of online content writing in the modern world.

2. Blogs

If web content is the foundation, blogging is the framework for the house. Blogging is a primary category of filler content that provides structure and formatting for virtually everything else you do online.

Did you also know that B2C companies that blog 11+ times per month gain more than 4X as many leads than those that blog only four-five times a month? (Source: Hubspot)

Aside from your company’s web page, your blog is the place where consumers can learn the most about you.

Not only does it showcase your brand personality, but it also helps readers get a sense of who you are, what you care about, which topics to cover, and how much value you can provide for them, or not. As such, blogging is a highly essential type of online content writing, and when it’s done correctly, it can dramatically increase your views, your return on investment, and your overall success in the world of digital content creation.

Blogs today are as diverse as they are critical. There is no one-size-fits-all format for a blog. Instead, there are multiple styles of blogs including list blogs, “how to” blogs, “what to avoid” blogs, and more. By mixing and matching these various blog formats, you can create a diverse and highly functional online content strategy.

3. Social Media

Social media is the house’s furnishings and critical tools. You wouldn’t want to cook in the kitchen without a stove or spatula, and you wouldn’t want to develop an online content strategy without social media.

Think of social media as a supporting player: it’s not enough for a company to only have a social media presence, but companies without any social media presence whatsoever typically do not make it very far in today’s social dominated culture. For example, we’ve been able to do very well on Twitter and expand our profile reach to millions of users by starting a Twitter Chat, #ContentWritingChat.

Even small, local businesses use social media as a method to broaden their reach an appeal to leads. And with so many social media platforms to choose from, it’s easier than ever to find a distribution channel that aligns perfectly with your brand’s personality and message.

Today, platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Periscope, LinkedIn, and Twitter, dominate social media marketing strategies and provide targeted and ongoing value for brands and all industries.

4. Advertising & Sales Copy

Advertising and sales copy are the curb appeal of the home, when it comes to your online copy.

While everything may be cozy and welcoming on the inside, the job of advertising and sales copy, or curb appeal, is to showcase the unique attributes of the “home” to people on the outside.

Plus, advertising and sales copy applies to companies in all industries. A Mexican restaurant, for example, may create a sales-focused a blog post designs to pitch new menu offerings, or a digital services provider may create a series of social media updates around specific products, goods, or services.

Advertising and sales copy takes many forms, from social media to blog posts, and looks quite a bit different than sales copy of yesteryear. Today, advertising and sales copy read like an approachable appeal to friends. They’re not pushy; they are not manipulative, and they’re not misleading.

Honesty and value are the names of the game in today’s online writing environment, and companies that missed this mark will find that they’re advertising and sales copy do not perform as well as they had hoped.

5. Expert Copy

Expert writing is the art collection inside the home. At some point or another, all companies need expert writing. This is higher level writing on the web. Authority figures do this type of writing, and industries need this kind of writer.

Without expert writing, companies place their authority and relevance at risk, and may even be walking out onto thin ice with Google, which has demanded expert writing with standards outlined in their Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines.

While some companies believe they can get by without expert writing, or art, these are companies that ultimately will not succeed. Expert writing is the flair that finishes the structure, and it is critical for any business that wants to be taken seriously by the readers of its content.

6. Journalism & PR Writing

Journalism and PR writing represent the first significant gathering that fills the home with friendly faces. Critical for any company that wants to get the word about its products, goods, or services out across the web, journalism and PR writing serve the essential purpose of notifying people that something exists.

Think about building a new house: if you never invited anybody over, nobody would be able to see the hard work you put into the home. Your artwork, furnishings, paint job and construction would go unnoticed by everybody but you.

What a waste!

This is where journalism and PR writing comes in. Through pieces of content like press releases, for example, companies of all sizes and shapes can “invite people in.” This can serve to enhance a business’s growth and make the business more visible online. Don’t opt for cheap PR syndication, though, if you choose to go the press release route: go to local channels instead to publicize your written PR.

7. Creative Writing

Creative writing is that wacky sculpture you love so much you couldn’t help but buy. It’s unique, specific to you, and it makes you happy every time you look at it.

Creative writing is a genre that encompasses the super creative projects companies do, and it serves to enhance and support virtually every other type of content on this list. Marketing copy, for example, can be creative. Social media, blogs, web content, and even advertisements can be creative, as well. There’s no limit here. From a tweet to a blog, creative writing can be woven in anywhere.

Take this tweet, for example. Our creative SME Krystal came up with the copy on the card, which we took to our Twitter friends as a Christmas card:

In fact, many of the top-performing companies (such as Dollar Shave Club and Poo-Pourri) have made their businesses through infusing creative writing into their online content, and they’ve done it through hiring creative copywriters, much like those outlined in our recent infographic!

8. Q&A Content

Q&A content is the user guide to your home. It’s that drawer where you store all of the instruction manuals for your coffee makers, remote controls, tech gadgets, and more.

Even if you don’t look at it very often, those things are essential, and the minute that you don’t have them is the moment that you’re going to wish, more than anything, they were around.

Question and answer content serves two important purposes. On the one hand, it shows that you are familiar enough with your own business and industry to anticipate user questions and answer them thoroughly. On the other hand, it shows Google and other search engines that your site is authoritative and relevance, and can even help you rank in the highly coveted “snippet box” at the top of Google search results. (Check out our blog on how to rank in Google’s featured snippets.)

While your entire content strategy cannot be made up of questions and answers, it is essential to keep this little drawer of instruction at your disposal.

9. Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization is like a nest learning thermostat.

It operates in the background of your content and keeps everything together.

When you do search engine optimization right, it shouldn’t be obvious that you’re doing search engine optimization. In other words, standard SEO tactics, like keyword inclusion and back linking, should not be glaringly evident to your readers.

Instead, these things should serve to enhance rather than to tracked from your content. While search engine optimization is important on a technical level, it’s also one of the most critical aspects of online content writing because it helps people find what you’ve written.

One of the big components of search engine optimization, for example, is keywords. Keywords are relevant for the following reason: when people go to Google to find a piece of contents, they enter a string of words. These words are known as keywords, or “keyword phrases.” In the old days of SEO, one of the best ways to get your content found online was to stuff it so full of these keywords that there is no way readers could overlook the relation between your material and what they searched for.

Today, however, search engines and readers are more advanced, and you don’t need to stuff your content as full as a Thanksgiving turkey to get found online. That said, though, keyword still play a major role in online content.

When you include them naturally throughout your material, it makes it easier for Google to “read” your contents and match it up with user queries. This helps ensure that your content will see the light of day, and get the attention it deserves.

10. Testimonials

Testimonials are the various inspections that tell you and other people that your house is safe to live then. For example, if you were looking at buying a home, would you purchase one that had an evaluation that told you that the walls and ceilings were filled with black mold?

If you built a house, and the final once-over by the construction company revealed about the floors and walls were unstable and likely to fall in at any moment, would you feel comfortable being there, or inviting your friends to be there with you? The answer is no.

The same thing goes for your online content. Testimonials are an often-overlooked type of web content that tells other people “Hey, it’s safe in here. Come on over!” Statistics, proof that you’re worth the investment, are an excellent ingredient along with a brief, authentic “this guy is really worth his salt,” is all you need to make a great testimonial happen. Check out one that has consistently sold us, over and over, from our friend and client Matt Janaway:

testimonial

Critical for attracting new customers and maintaining your current clients, testimonials are an essential piece of online content that every business needs.

The Complete Map of Online Content: How Content Writing Works Hand-in-Hand

Still a little confused about how all these types of content work together? We created a map to help you visualize it:

web copy map

How Content Writing Works: A Cumulative Mission

Content doesn’t survive on an island.

Instead, it builds on itself to create a dynamic and diverse strategy. Between blogs, social media, and more, content comes together to create a solid online presence.

If you haven’t already, think of creating a consistent content presence today to boost your entire online presence, profitability as a company, lead growth, and so much more. Consistency, and integrating all the relevant parts, is key! Don’t stop at one, and don’t stop just a month in. We can help. Contact Express Writers for content consultation help today!

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how to write content for a website

How to Write Content for a Website

While content has many applications, ranging from social media to marketing and beyond, website content is by far one of the most common things that people want to learn how to write.

Designed to attract reader attention, provide value, and offer information, website content is the foundation of all content around the web, and it’s essential to know how to write content for a website in a fast, effective, and compelling way.

To be as useful and impactful as possible, website content can’t be rushed, sloppy, or completed with only a half-hearted effort. Instead, it needs to shine with relevance and value.

Here’s everything you need to do to learn how to write content for a website, and distinguish yourself from the crowd, in a nutshell guide in my #howtowrite series.

how to write content for a website

Focus on Value First – Always

Think, for a moment, about why people interact with website content.

They’re coming to a website to find out something about a company, a product, or a service. Maybe they’re a new customer looking to learn more about what a company provides. Maybe they heard about a cool new product and wanted to learn more for themselves.

Maybe they’re looking for a specific product and they want to do their research before they commit to buying. No matter what the case may be, website content is an essential vehicle for value and relevance, and it’s critical to provide this accordingly to customers.

With this in mind, website content must feature a few elements that are different and more pronounced than other types of content.

For example, it’s got to be more in-depth than social content, more professional than some blog content, and more personal than most marketing material out there.

To put it another way, people want to learn about your company, your brand and your mission through your written material, and it’s the job of website content job to do just that.

Want more on the topic of “how to write?” I wrote a best-selling book all about it!

How to Write Content for a Website: 7 Steps to Compelling Material

If you’re setting out to write website content, but you’re not sure where to begin, start with these tips:

1. Be original.

When we say “original,” here, we mean it in both senses of the word.

On one hand, the content you publish on your website should be original in that it doesn’t appear anywhere else on the web.

While this may sound like a simple concept, 29% of sites currently feature duplicate meta content, so it’s wise to pay special attention to the fact that everything on your site is original, and that you’re not lifting pieces from yourself or from anyone else.

Secondly, the content on your site should be original in that contains your unique brand voice, outlook, and mission. Again, people come to your site looking for relevance and information and the best way to provide them with this is to be as relevant as possible.

2. Create strong headlines.

If you didn’t know it by now, strong headlines are the center of all things content, even (and especially) on your website. While the purpose of headlines is indeed to drive interest, headlines are also a good place to think about how best to provide relevance and information.

Ideally, people should be able to visit your site, look at your headline, and understand what the purpose of a page is and what types of information they can expect to find there.

With this in mind, creating your best headlines will go a long way toward making your content more informative, and can help boost the engagement and conversion rates of your pages.

Blog topics require extra thought and care. For example, check out this list of strong headlines on SEJ – their most popular post section:

hot headlines

Using powerful adjectives – “Ridiculously Effective” – is a great way to garner interest in your headlines. We have a list of top power words here.

Looking at your competitors and using BuzzSumo to search most shared content topics in your industry is a great way to be inspired and start a list of fantastic topics.

3. Provide relevant links, prices, and information.

The more information on a website, the better. If you’re writing a pricing page, for example, input links to related services and provide your users with all of the information they may need to make smart decisions.

While some people believe that including things like pricing on websites isn’t a good idea, customers are often grateful to have as much information as possible, and this small step can go a long way toward boosting the functionality and relevance of your site.

We have a Transparent Pricing page on our website, which clients have always said they appreciate:

pricing page ew

4. Seek to provide answers in your website content.

When you write social media or blog content, a part of the process is knowing your audience well enough to address their fears, concerns and priorities. With website content, knowing your target audience is equally important, only you have to know them well enough to anticipate their questions and answer them before the customers have a chance to ask themselves.

When you do this, it helps show your readers that you understand their issues and that you’re willing to take a step into their shoes. It’s also a great way to make your pages more engaging, actionable, and targeted.

5. Be accurate.

Everything featured on your website should be accurate and current. Pricing information, for example, should always be up-to-date. You shouldn’t feature outdated services or bygone facts on your website, and it’s absolutely essential to ensure that the information you do provide is as accurate and interesting as possible.

In addition to helping your readers connect on a deeper level with your material, this will also provide a better user experience and a more exciting website for them.

6. Add images and video to your website pages.

A picture is worth a thousand words, and visual enhancement can work wonders for your website. With this in mind, consider recording a short product video and placing it on your product page or enhancing your “bio” or “about us” sections with images of your team, your workspace, your products, and your past successes.

These things provide a personal touch to a website, and can go a long way toward making the process more exciting and relatable for your users.

7. Keep it current.

Google loves fresh content, and this is especially essential for your website. Be sure that you’re not incurring google penalties by keeping all of your name, address, and phone number information up-to-date. This will help you provide the best experience to your readers, and can go a long way toward helping you rank well, also.

Learn How to Write Content for a Website Today

Website content is the cornerstone of all online material.

To ensure that you’re off on a great start with your website content, simply follow the tips in our blog today. In addition to providing you with new approaches to crafting compelling website content, these approaches will also allow you to put your own spin on the writing process.

cta button general copy

content better than competitors

5 Ways to Make Your Content Better Than Your Competitors (& How We Outperform Ours)

In a world where more than 27 million pieces of content are shared on a daily basis, it can be difficult to stand out from the “content sea” long enough to get noticed by new readers.

This is complicated by the fact that every business has competitors, and every single competitor wants to be stand out just as much as you do.

So, you’re in a field where other businesses are likely looking to cover the same topics, news, and events as you are.

That’s a tough deal.

So, how do you ensure that your content is what stands out from the crowd, and you’re the one rising above field competitors?

Let’s explore.

competitors and content marketing

Why Study Your Competitors? “Only the Paranoid Survive”

If you’ve been in the management world for awhile, you’re probably familiar with Andy Grove’s famous book Only the Paranoid Survive.

While Grove’s book title might seem dire, it’s actually a good lesson for anyone looking to outperform their competitors.

quote-only-the-paranoid-survive-andy-grove-76432

The truth is that, in today’s world, content is competitive and in order to gain a cutting edge on the other companies in your industry, you need to be able to foster and engage a deep-seated curiosity about what your competitors are doing and how they’re doing it.

Here at Express Writers, we’ve done just that.

While we wouldn’t call ourselves “paranoid” by any stretch, we’ve dedicated ourselves to outperforming our competitors.

Our Blog vs. Theirs: How We Outdid the Competition

As a content creation company, we pride ourselves greatly on being able to write amazing content.

Heck, check out this massive case study I just published on the fact of the matter: we outrank other writing companies by a whopping 5% on Google. We’re talking companies with literally 100x more funding than us. (Come on, guys, it’s as simple as using the service you provide! Actually…it’s a lot harder than that just sounded.)

So, one small facet of our overall content marketing picture is to look at what our competitors are talking about, and how to do it a lot better.

Check out how we did just that.

Here’s a real case study of how we’ve outdone our competition:

Them (Competitor): An agency in our industry field recently wrote a <500 word, general piece on “how to do content marketing for boring industries.” There was no formatting, sub headers, and it was written by a non-native English speaker (which would be okay if the writing flow wasn’t significantly off in a few sentences).

Us: We took the idea we saw from our competitor as inspiration, went a step further, and first researched a long tail keyword with a viable opportunity. Using SEMrush and KWFinder, both of which are our go-to SEO tools, we found out that “guide to writing for boring industries” gave us both a great long-tail keyword and an idea for a topic. We handed this to one of our full-time copywriters, Ashley. She put a piece together for the Write Blog that was more than double the length and offered practical points that every business owner could put to use on how to create content for their online presence even if they were in a “boring” industry. Ashley talked about the actual writing content part instead of the broader content marketing picture, as our competitor did (we got more nitty-gritty): she showed our readers how to develop a metaphor, use statistics, and more. The piece included much more research, outbound/relevant and high quality links, and practical solutions.

Here’s what the us vs. them looked like in the end. (Domain name removed from the competitor screenshot.)

competitor

Them: Under 5 social shares. No comments. No rankings.

screencast of professional copywriter blog

Us: 91 social shares, a couple comments. Ready for the cool part?

rankings

We be cool cats. #1 ranking for that keyword. Heck, we outdid Moz!

So as you can see, in the end process we don’t just “copy” topics from others when we do study our competitors. (I don’t condone that.)

We’ll go deep and look at what questions they’ve left unanswered in their content, or what’s missing from the value in the content, and how we can do it better. Sometimes, we’ll even look at the comments on the piece with questions from readers. And, we might back that up with checking to see what people are asking about on Quora in the topic; then we’ll write blogs to provide a fuller, clearer picture on the topic.

As mentioned earlier, because of strategies like these, we have more content ranked in Google than any of our copywriting competitors, by an entire 5% visibility on average. In Google, 5% is a big deal.

semrush

How’s that for a solid strategy?

While you don’t need to lose sleep over what your competitors are or aren’t doing, it will serve you well to pay careful attention to what they might be missing within their content and how you can do it better.

Here are five tips to get you started.

5 Key Ways You Can Write Better Content Than Your Competitors

When it comes to scoping out your competitors’’ content, there are a few key places you want to look. These tips will help give you a structure you can develop further as you progress.

1. Keep an eye on the competition

As is true with any sea, the content sea is always moving. Because of this, it’s important to stay on top of the game when it comes to monitoring your competitors. While we’re not advising that you install tracking software on their cars or anything quite that “out there”, we do advise that you use commonly available monitoring practices to keep an eye on their content creation efforts, especially in the following areas:

  • Links. Who is linking to your competitor and which posts are earning those links? It’s easy to monitor links by using a service like BuzzSumo link alert. This service will let you know every time your competitor receives a link to content they’ve published, so you can get a feel for what is performing well and what’s not.
  • Content performance. Of the content your competitor published in the last week or five days, which piece is the most popular and how many social shares is it getting? What topics did they cover in that same period? Which posts had the least interaction? BuzzSumo also offers content alerts that will allow you to see when your competitor publishes new content and how many social shares it has received.
  • Break-through content. Break-through content can be classified as any content that earns a high level of social shares or a high-profile mention from an industry influencer. Has your competitor published any and, if so, what sort of response has it gotten?
  • Social media mentions. How often is your competitor’s content mentioned on social media? Where are those mentions coming from? Not surprisingly, you can use BuzzSumo to track your competitors’ mentions, although you can also choose from a variety of other tools, including Google Alerts and SocialMention.

By monitoring your competitors’ content activity, you can get a solid feel for exactly what they’re doing and how you can do better.

2. Dissect their content

Now that you know where, how, and how often your competitors are publishing content, it’s time to get started dissecting it to find places that you can do it better. To begin with, let’s think about the following measurements:

  • Content length
  • Images/visuals in content
  • Content quality
  • Keyword optimization

Content Length

How long is the content? If you read the comments, does it seem like readers are hungry for more or are there questions that were left unanswered within the content? Is the article too short for such a broad topic or too long and drawn-out for a simple one? Could you do the topic more justice by shortening the length of the content or expanding upon certain ideas? While there’s no specific benchmark for content length, long-form content (around 2,000 words) generally performs best in terms of engagement and social shares. Keep this in mind as you seek to create your own competitive content.

Images/Visuals in Content

Does your competitor use visuals in his or her content? If so, how many? Are the visuals well-placed and relevant to the body of the content? Are there other visuals you could include that would help enhance the readers’ understanding of the topic? Screenshots, for example, or charts? Would adding a custom infographic or a high-quality stock image enhance the feel of the piece. Conversely, would the piece do well with fewer visuals? While creating great content comes down to much more than just altering the visuals your competitors include in their pieces, it’s wise to take notice of another company’s visual strategy in order to enhance and outperform it.

Content Quality

This is a big one. Is your competitor’s content lacking in quality? Are there factual inaccuracies, outdated statistics, spelling and grammar mistakes, or other such content sins? If so, it’s easy to outperform this content. More and more today, readers and search engines want quality, expert content. Creating content that is better-written and more relevant than the content of your competitors is a great way to get your foot in the door and begin staking your claim as a leader in your industry.

Keyword Optimization

Is it obvious which keywords your competitors are optimizing their content for? Is it keyword-stuffed or are the keywords too sparse within the content?

Using a tool like SEMrush can help you gain insight into more than 120,000,000 keywords while also gaining access to analytics reports that tell you things like how your competitors are conducting their digital advertising, where their organic and paid search traffic is coming from, and how they’re using link building to enhance your content. This can help you glimpse the “bones” of their content strategy so that you can build up your own.

Here’s that screenshot I shared earlier, which was taken in SEMrush of the project we have set up there to analyze Express Writers against a few main competitors:

semrush

3. Create a new funnel

If you’ve noticed that there is a major piece that your competitors are missing (A social media outlet, for example, or an educational opportunity), it may be wise to create a new funnel.

This means creating content that operates from the standpoint of pre-established goals and is designed to be distributed on a very specific platform or in a specific format.

While this is often a labor-intensive approach, it’s a fantastic way to establish yourself as a leader in the industry and to create unique, original content that runs parallel to your existing website.

Here are a few ideas to create a new funnel for content:

  • Develop a course. Is there a distinct lack of a certain “how to” within your industry or questions that readers ask that nobody seems to be answering? Creating a course and an associated landing page can be a fantastic way to not only deliver this content to users by to establish yourself as the authority in the niche.
  • Dominate social media. If you’ve noticed that your competitors have a very weak presence on a social media platform (or several social media platforms) don’t hesitate to establish your own presence there. This will help ensure that you’re meeting all of your followers where they choose to interact and that you’re providing valuable content for readers on all platforms. Plus, if none of your competitors are there yet, it helps you ensure that your content will stand out that much more!
  • Create some infographics. Infographics are a fantastic form of content for anyone who wants to go viral in a hurry. If there is data in your industry that could easily be turned into an infographic, it’s wise to consider the possibility. In addition to being highly sharable, infographics are also fantastically valuable for readers.

4. Focus more on human interest

Sometimes, the weak point of your competitors’ content is not that it lacks information, doesn’t optimize for keywords correctly, or is poorly written – it’s simply that it declines to focus on human interest.

If you think about it, every piece of content you create elicits some type of reaction from your audience.

With many companies, however, that reaction is simply boredom. It doesn’t matter how statistically accurate or well-written a piece is if it doesn’t resonate with readers.

In light of this, it may be wise to identify the places where your competitors’’ content simply misses connecting with its readers.

Is there a place you can answer their questions better? Get inside their heads more efficiently? Help them solve their problems? Help them identify their problems? Is there a place you can simply be funny and make them laugh? No matter what type of content you deal in, these simple questions can go a long way toward helping you connect more efficiently with your readers.

Empathy, human interest, and impact are powerful factors in the success of content and if you can harness them to work to your advantage, you’ll find that you have award-winning content in no time.

One great tool to help you do this is ContentMarketer.io. This simple tool can help you connect with influencers and reach out to people you mention in your content and posts. Fantastic for securing mentions from influencers and helping rocket your content into the spotlight, this tool will quickly become a go-to.

5. Keep your eyes on the horizon

Remember the content sea analogy? If you don’t know where you’re pointing the ship, it’s easy to wind up somewhere you don’t want to be. In light of this, it’s important to balance your content monitoring efforts with a healthy dose of anticipating what’s going to come next.

Fewer people will be interested in content on how to start a great blog, for example, than they will about Google’s huge new algorithm release.

Novelty is powerful and people want content that stays up to date on the happenings within the industry. While creating time-tested evergreen content is important for the overall health and well-being of your blog, keeping your eyes on the horizon of your industry and being aware of developing trends is a great way to become to go-to for readers who want relevant and timely content.

To help yourself stay abreast of what’s happening, use a tool like BuzzSumo to track trending content and get a feel for what’s earning the most shares in the industry.

buzzsumo

Conclusion

At the end of the day, outshining your competitors’ content is as simple as paying closer attention.

By monitoring their content output, evaluating what gets shared and what doesn’t, and locating places that you can fill in gaps in their strategy, you can build a content strategy that will quickly outshine your competitors’ on every level. 

Don’t sell yourself short on great content. Head to our Content Shop and order high-quality, expert content writing today!

#ContentWritingChat, B2B vs. B2C content writing

#ContentWritingChat Recap: B2B vs. B2C Content Writing: Best Practices & Strategies with Sparxoo

Did you miss #ContentWritingChat this week? You can catch up with all of the amazing tips shared during the chat with our recap. Keep reading to learn about content writing for B2B and B2C!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: B2B vs. B2C Content Writing: Best Practices & Strategies with Sparxoo


Our guest host this week was Emily Culclasure from Sparxoo. Emily is their Content Marketing Specialist and had tons of knowledge to share with us!

Q1: What are the main differences between creating content for B2B and B2C?

If you aren’t already aware, let’s first talk about what B2B and B2C stands for. B2B means Business to Business. B2C means Business to Consumer. There are a few differences for creating content for each of these that you want to be aware of! Here are some tips from Tuesday’s chat:

As Emily said, B2B content often has a heavier focus on thought leadership to help establish both authority and trust. She said B2C content emphasizes benefits to the consumer.

The main difference is the audience B2B and B2C are targeting. As Annaliese said, you have to start with knowing your audience.

Lexie agrees that one of the main differences is the audience you’re creating for. It can change the tone in which you write, the type of content you share, and more.

When it comes to B2B, the content is usually focused on education content and industry knowledge. When creating content for B2C, it’s often more focused on emotion to draw in your audience.

Keystone Click knows you need to understand the needs of your audience and adapt your content accordingly. You should always focus on providing value, no matter who your audience is.

Our CEO, Julia, said the tone is often different when creating content for each. You want to make sure you’re speaking to your audience in a language that resonates with them.

Q2: How does user into factor in B2B and B2C content? What are the differences?

What are the differences between the two? Find out what some of the participants in this week’s chat had to say:

Emily said B2B buyers often seek data or statistics to prove a brand’s authority. Because a B2C buyer can be at any stage in the journey, brand awareness and relationship building is essential.

Sarah said B2B users often do thorough research when choosing a credible business. B2C often rely on their emotions.

Lexie knows that both are looking for information, but they’re often looking for different kinds of information. B2B wants more in-depth information while B2C is more about awareness.

Cheryl feels B2B needs to be more direct. She said a reader will often land on your website looking for a solution for an existing problem. You need to be able to provide that solution for them.

As Cheryl said, content for a B2B doesn’t have to be boring. You can still inform and educate your audience without being dull.

Pamela said that everyone benefits from education. Don’t assume your audience knows everything you know. Make sure you’re informing them.

You also want to keep in mind that the sales cycle for B2B is often longer. Make sure you’ve created content for your customer at every step of their journey.

Q3: What are some tips for creating an effective editorial calendar for your content?

We all know an editorial calendar is important. To help you create one that’s effective, keep these tips in mind:

Emily said to make sure you account for seasonality and timeliness. Consider what’s coming up and adapt your content accordingly. She also recommends balancing creation with curation and keeping your audience in mind.

As Sarah said, knowing your audience is essential. You have to know what they want from you, plus how often they’d like to see content from you.

Know the problems your audience is facing and plan out content that will help them.

Jeff feels it’s helpful to get together with your sales team to create content that’s appropriate for your audience.

Pratik said to include multiple people on your team including your SEO person and your copywriter.

Annaliese’s advice is to plan for the upcoming month. Don’t leave your editorial calendar until the last minute. When you have your content planned in advance, it makes content creation so much easier.

Kristen also recommends planning at least one month in advance. She said to keep in mind any important dates for your customers.

Planning ahead of time makes things so much easier. Figure out your best days and times to post. Get to know your audience and how they respond.

Lexie knows consistency is key! You want to stick to a schedule that works for you so your audience knows when to expect new content. It gives them something to look forward to.

Testing is a must! As Tracy said, you need to test to see which kinds of content resonate with your audience. It’ll let you know what you should create more of and less of.

The Jobs2Careers team finds Trello very helpful in organizing their editorial calendar.

For Justine, she relies on good ol’ pen and paper to create her editorial calendar. Do what works best for you!

Q4: What are some tips for succeeding at content marketing for a B2B? A B2C?

How can you succeed at content marketing for a B2B or B2C? Check out these tips from the chat:

With B2B content, Emily said to demonstrate your industry expertise and use industry jargon. She also said to make sure your USP is direct and clear to your audience.

For B2C content, she said to focus on building a relationship with your audience. She recommends focusing on aspirations, positive emotions, and storytelling.

Whether you’re writing for a B2B or a B2C, you still need to know the pain points of your audience. Create content that solves their problems.

Listen to your audience! They’ll tell you what they want to see. Great advice, Tracy!

Annaliese said to make sure you know what content you’re going to create for each stage of the customer’s journey when it comes to a B2B. You want to make sure they don’t get lost or abandon you.

Jacob’s advice is to write what you want to read. If it’s something you’d enjoy, your audience might enjoy it as well. If you don’t enjoy it, they won’t either.

Pratik said that once you know your audience, you can create content that is relevant, persuasive, and sticky.

As Amanda said, you should be consistent and timely in your content. She recommends looking for ways to engage and be available to your audience.

Q5: What kind of goals would a B2B or B2C company set for their content marketing?

What kind of goals would they set? Here’s what we found out during Tuesday’s chat:

Emily said goals for a B2B include increasing lead generation, lead nurturing, brand awareness, and engagement. Goals for a B2B include increasing sales, audience engagement, brand awareness, and customer retention.

No matter which audience you’re writing for, conversions are key!

Lexie said your goals will vary based on your industry. However, she believes the overall goal is to create a relationship with your audience that ultimately turns into a conversion.

As Julia said, you should tailor your end goals to your content and audience expectations. You should be sure to add relevant CTAs and track your ROI/conversions from the clicks you receive.

Justine said your goal might be to get more sign-ups to your email list, more business inquiries, sales, etc. Make sure you just tailor your content to help you achieve those goals.

Whatever your goals may be, keep them in mind and make sure you measure them to see if you’ve been successful or need to tweak your approach.

Q6: How can you ensure you’re always producing quality content online, no matter what kind of business you run?

How can you make sure your content is top-notch? Read these tips from the chat:

Emily recommends using industry trends to fuel your content. You should also focus on providing value, no matter what kind of content you’re creating.

Julia’s advice is to take the time to make sure it’s your best work. You don’t need to rush. It’s more important to take your time to create something that’s valuable and high quality. Before you hit publish on anything, ask yourself if you are happy with your work. Would you want to read it? If the answer to those questions is yes, then you’re good to go.

Annaliese said to test in the background. Measure results from your CTA and more to see how well it’s performing. You can even ask your audience for their input.

As Kristen said, your content should prompt your audience to take action.

Don’t be afraid to run content by your team. Get their thoughts and implement any feedback you receive.

Don’t forget that proper grammar always makes a huge difference. Take the time to edit your content.

Q7: Which content formats are great for a B2B to share? Which ones are great for a B2C to share?

Which content formats should you be sharing for a B2B or B2C? Take a look at the tips our chat participants shared:

Emily’s advice is to share case studies, webinars, white papers, and blog posts for B2B. For a B2C, she said to go for branded and user-generated social media content. She also said photos, videos, and infographics work well.

For B2B, white papers, infographics, and webinars are great. When it comes to B2C, go for fun blog and social media posts.

Annaliese recommends white papers, webinars, and demos for B2B. For B2C, she suggests eBooks and blog posts.

Lexie suggests creating case studies and infographics for B2B. She said they prove you’re capable of doing your job.

Try creating podcasts and webinars for a B2B audience. Share infographics, videos, and interviews for B2C.

Michael also feels case studies are beneficial for a B2B to share. He also said video content works for both.

Julia knows the power of long-form content. She said it can work well for both a B2B and a B2C.

As Megan said, you should consider your audience and also the industry you’re in. This will help you choose the right kind of content to share.

Q8: What are some B2B brands that do a great job online? What about B2C brands?

Which brands do a great job at creating and sharing content online? Check out some of these:

When it comes to B2B, Emily said HubSpot does a great job. She said they offering certifications, best practices, and more that add value to their audience. For B2C, she said Taco Bell’s humor and bold branding are effective in attracting their younger audience.

It looks like Annaliese agrees! HubSpot does a fantastic job at providing value to their audience.

All of these brands do a great job online!

Cheryl shared an amazing list of brands that are all worth checking out!

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. Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on our new topics and guests!

Need help with better blog content, monthly topic planning, web copy and more? Visit the Content Shop!

#ContentWritingChat June 14 2016 Recap: How to Write for Difficult Industries & Make it Fun

Did you miss this week’s #ContentWritingChat? If so, you missed an amazing discussion! There’s no need to worry though. We have a full recap so you can catch up and learn all about how to write for difficult industries.

Do you need proof that Tuesday’s chat was amazing? Take a look at this! We trended at #11!

#ContentWritingChat June 14 2016 Recap: How to Write for Difficult Industries and Make it Fun

This week, our guest host was Kathleen Garvin. This was Kathleen’s second time guest hosting our chat and we always love having her share her expertise. As an editor for The Penny Hoarder, she has loads of great advice to share on writing.

Q1: What are some of the craziest/most difficult industries you’ve written for?

To start off the chat, we wanted to see what kind of writing experience our chat participants have had. While some of them haven’t written for any crazy industries, quite a few had. Let’s just say their answers didn’t disappoint!

Kathleen has had to write for an extremely niche healthcare product before, which she found to be pretty crazy. She also said that personal finance was the most difficult for her because she found it boring.

Tara had to write for a rock hauling company. That sounds pretty weird, right?

It’s safe to say that Danielle may have had the craziest answer of all.

Different grades of steel? That sounds interesting.

Our very own CEO, Julia, had to write about trash bags. Does it get more fascinating than that?

Zachary had to write product descriptions for batteries!

Q2: How can you still maintain readability and creativity when writing for difficult industries?

When writing for a difficult industry you still want to make sure your writing is easy to read and creative. Check out these tips from the chat:

No matter what, you always need to keep the basics in mind. Kathleen said to ensure you have good grammar, correct spelling, and the right information.

Kathleen and Alberto were on the same page with their responses. Remember that you’re writing for people. Write how people talk, not like a robot.

Kathleen also suggests using images to break up the text in your article and interviewing people in the industry you’re writing for.

Address the interests and questions of your reader. You want to make sure you’re adding value for them.

Hardik said to make sure you get to know the industry and business you’re writing for. The more knowledge you have, the easier it’ll be to write.

Amanda said you shouldn’t be too technical in your writing. State the facts, but make sure it’s easy for the reader to understand.

Jeff said to give your content personality. That’s a sure way to pull readers in.

As Zlatka said, understand what your audience is interested in. Also, quit thinking you’re writing about boring content. It’s all in the mindset!

As Kathleen said, there are no boring topics… Only boring content creators.

Q3: Industry content can require extra research. Tactics/methods for best research?

If you’re writing for an industry that requires you to do some research, implement these tips from the chat:

Kathleen said to ask a lot of questions. Figure out what other people within the industry are asking and talking about. She also said to see what industry leaders are covering. Check out reputable publications to gather information.

If you need to have a membership to access industry-specific publications, ask your client. They may have a membership already.

Take your research to social media! You can search hashtags that are widely used by the industry you’re writing for in order to see what others are talking about.

Jeff said Google Alerts help him with his research. Consider setting up Google Alerts for the industries you write for so you’ll be notified of the latest news.

Tara and Jacob suggested using BuzzSumo to find experts within the industry.

Amanda said to gather as much information as you can. Read news articles, case studies, and anything else you can find. Don’t forget to get information from your clients, too.

Michael also recommended getting quotes and input from your client.

Danielle’s advice is simple, but it’ll help you be a better researcher. Keep all of the information you find in one document so you stay organized.

Q4: What are a few tips on writing to appeal to industry-specific audiences?

If you want to appeal to the audience you’re writing for, keep these tips in mind:

We agree, Kathleen!

Make sure you know who your audience is before you write. Brandie said to spend time chatting with them.

Julia knows you should always keep your audience in mind when writing. She said to write in their language. Don’t be afraid to get creative.

Be confident! Write as if you are an influencer within the industry and it’ll show through in your work.

Great answer, Jacob!

Jeremy said you shouldn’t write “down” to your audience. Speak their language and offer something new.

Q5: Show you SEO-optimize industry content?

Should you optimize industry content for search engines? Here’s what participants in Tuesday’s chat had to say:

Kathleen said you should. She likes to use Google Keyword Planner and SEMrush.

Do you want search engine traffic? Optimize your content!

Erika said to optimize your content, but remember that you’re writing for humans. Don’t write for robots.

Brittany said yes. She has been optimizing all of her web content for search engines.

Julia said to focus on your audience and expertise first, and then optimize your content.

Yes! Great answer, Cheryl!

If you want your content to be found, you should definitely optimize it!

If your audience can’t discover it, what’s the point?

Q6: Any recommended tools that help you create industry content?

What tools can help you when creating industry content? Check these out:

Kathleen knows Google Analytics is a must. She said to get to know your stats, data, and demographics. She also recommends Google Keyword Planner and SEMrush.

For Tara, she relies on BuzzSumo, SEMrush, and Answer the Public for researching and finding influencers.

Jacob is also a fan of BuzzSumo. We use it here at Express Writers as well. You should definitely try it out if you haven’t already.

Have you tried these tools? If not, you should!

Don’t forget about social media. You can use a tool like HootSuite to monitor what others are saying on social media platforms.

Amalia relies on analytics, trends, news, alerts, and specific blogs to help.

Larry is another BuzzSumo fan. He also uses Google Trends and Instagram to see what’s popular.

For Julia, she likes to use BuzzSumo, Google surveys, and KW Finder.

Jeff relies on Google Alerts, Twitter Trends, Google Analytics, and his own ears. Don’t forget to use your ears, writers!

Danielle uses BuzzSumo, Feedly, and Grammarly.

Q7: What are your favorite brand examples that are creating great industry content?

What brands are creating amazing industry content today? Here’s what our chat participants had to say:

Kathleen said blender company, Blendtec, is creating some pretty great content.

Have you checked out these brands?

If you’re looking for content within the tech industry, check out UX Magazine, Fast Company’s Co.Design, and Forbes Tech.

The brands Jim and Varun mentioned are all doing a great job at content creation.

Julia said Slack and NewsCred are both fantastic at industry content. She also loves Poo~Pourri.

Q8: Q&A for Kathleen.

Check out some of these questions for Kathleen:

Grammar and spelling are so important when it comes to writing!

Kathleen said to get higher-ups to contribute content. It’s a good idea to get others involved and sharing their expertise.

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. Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on our new topics and guests!