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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.

Jenn 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.

Jenn 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.

Jenn said Google Alerts help her with her 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.

Jenn relies on Google Alerts, Twitter Trends, Google Analytics, and her 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!

#ContentWritingChat March 1 2016 Recap: How to Level Up Your Content Writing Career

Did you miss #ContentWritingChat this week? You’re in the right spot, because I’ve put together a recap of some of the best tweets from Tuesday’s chat all about How to Level Up Your Content Writing Career. Ready to learn? Let’s dive in!

#ContentWritingChat March 1 2016 Recap: How to Level Up Your Content Writing Career

This week, our guest host was Tara Clapper. Tara is the Blog Editor over at SEMrush and the Senior Editor at The Geek Initiative. (She’s also a moderator on Julia’s Facebook group: Learn Online Writing.) She joined us to talk about building your career as a content writer. Our chat this week was amazing. We had lots of new participants and a ton of energy going during the chat. It was hard to keep up with all the participation! Some of the fun kudos shared:

The SEMrush team was kind enough to share an offer for our participants, too:

Now, let’s get into the recap of the chat questions and leading answers!

Tara gave some great advice for anyone looking to switch to a freelance career. Don’t rely on just one employer. You never know how things will go and you want to make sure you have other options. As Kathleen said, you should get started NOW. Don’t quit your 9-5 job before you’ve established yourself in your freelancing career.

Julia, our CEO, didn’t quit her minimum wage job for writing cold turkey either. Build up your portfolio and start connecting with contacts first before you make the leap.

Laura gave some sound advice on staying firm to your rates, too.

If you’re wondering if content writing is the career for you, here’s how to tell: Make sure you’re fine with managing the business side of things. You are going to be responsible for finding clients and landing jobs. It’s all on you! And as Michael said, content writing needs to be your calling. You must have a passion for it in order to succeed!

We got some great tips from people in the chat about what skills content writers need to have! As Tara pointed out, you need to know the basics of SEO. Taking the time to optimize your posts for search engines is so important if you want to make sure your content gets seen. (And you do!) Grenae said you also need to know how to research and be able to meet deadlines. And as Ashby said, a good content writer needs to be able to engage his/her audience through storytelling. Storytelling is key to great writing to keep your audience interested and reading until the very end.

Julia points out that great headline creation skills are important here, too.

For the most part, everyone in Tuesday’s chat said keyword stuffing is OUT. Content shouldn’t be filled with keywords. They should be worked into the content in a way that sounds natural. Your readers don’t like articles stuffed with keywords and neither does Google.

We received a ton of recommendations for great tools to use in content writing. If you haven’t already, check out a few of these suggestions: CoSchedule’s headline analyzer, SEMrush, and Grammarly. But as Kristen said, you can’t rule out the good ol’ Thesaurus. It’s always helpful!

If you want to establish a good reputation as a content writer, take Tara’s advice: Go the extra mile. Clients will appreciate when you go one step further to create great content and build a relationship with them. Don’t forget to network with others in the community too.

Kathleen and Village Print&Media said it well, too: be sure you’re observing deadlines, and stay true to quality.

Shayla points a great key of client satisfaction: actually being ahead of schedule, as a few others said too.

To land repeat work, both Tara and our CEO, Julia, agree: sign up with an agency. (Like ours! We’re hiring writers and editors!) An agency can provide you with regular clients so you get more work. Tara shared a great tip about keeping in touch with past clients. Stay top of mind so they’ll come to you when they need more work.

Where is content writing headed in the future? Tara encourages you to answer the questions people ask Google through your content. And Pat reminds us that long-form content wins – Julia confirms that we create it constantly for clients!

We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Be sure to join us on Tuesday, March 8th, 2016 at 10 AM CST!

9 Reasons Picking Up A Book And Reading It Today Will Help You Succeed As A Writer

There is nothing new under the sun. And guess what, I am not the first person to have said that. In fact, it was written in Biblical times by King Solomon. So if nothing was new back then, imagine how much more true that is today?

No matter what you write, you are not going to come up with something that has never been said before in some way—unless you are talking about exclusive news, are Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, or

What will make your content great is the unique spin you put on that old concept. When you read, you experience all of the things you want to express.

And once you have experienced them, you are much better equipped to share with others.

9 Quotes from Literary Geniuses that Tell You Why Reading Makes Your Writing Better

Reading makes you a better writer whether you are writing a novel or copy for your latest product. However, do not just take my word for it. I am going to prove my point through copious references to the words that have inspired me all from the mouths of the greatest writers and thinkers. You won’t be able to argue with me, because you have to admit they know what they are talking about. Which means all my reading has already paid off in writing this post alone.

  1. “Genius is one percent inspiration … “ – Thomas Edison

So what if the other 99% is perspiration. Even Edison recognizes that to really be a genius, you need a little bit of inspiration. That is the purpose of books: to inspire the reader. When it comes to writing, reading a book does not magically make you a wordsmith. It does not have any actual magical powers.

Writing takes a lot of hard work. If you want to be a genius writer, you are going to need to put in that 99% of perspiration that Edison suggests. However, while you are putting in that hard work, do not forget that one percent. Read a book, and be inspired. That is part of the genius formula.

  1. “Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.” – William Faulkner

George Deeb wrote an article for Forbes that says mentors are one of the most valuable resources you can get if you are an entrepreneur. Well, if writing is your enterprise, then you have access to some of the greatest mentors throughout time.

Take advantage of this. Tap into the resources of the masters and learn from them. Within the pages of a book, you will find all of the secrets of writing success. What other profession allows you that type of opportunity?

  1. “It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” – Oscar Wilde

Believe it or not, your reading preferences reflect on who you are. What do you enjoy reading? Sci-fi, romance, mystery? There is no right or wrong answer here, but your reading choices do say something about you.

They should also say something about what you write. When you write what you like to read, you know that you are pleasing somebody. And since one of the things reading does is show you that you are not alone in how you feel or act, you know that if you please one person, you are likely to please many.

So read to determine who you are, then write for that person. You will find that many other people want to read the same things as you.

  1. “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.” – G.R.R. Martin

One of the best things about reading is that you get to have an adventurous life even between all of your real-life adventures. As a reader, you get to discover things that non-readers never get to.

Great writers do not just tell you what they want to say, they show you what they want you to feel. They put you in the shoes of their characters so that you are the one fighting the white walkers or becoming the mother of dragons.

How does this translate into great writing? You have to be able to take your readers on an adventure. Whether you are writing the great American novel or you are selling sneakers online, you have to convince the reader that they are part of your story and that they want to continue on with you.

In order to get to a place where your writing transports your readers, you have to have been transported yourself. So reading allows you to travel to other places and have epic adventures, which will help you bring your readers along on all of the thrilling sagas you want write about.

  1. “The more that you read, the more you will know.” – Dr. Seuss

Reading is educational. When you read, even a novel, you learn. What you learn depends on the book. Maybe you learned about some theorem in a physics book. Maybe you learned about the Civil War in a history book. And maybe you learned about the strength of emotions between the pages of a Romance.

Knowledge is never a bad thing. In fact, it is almost always a good thing. So, educate yourself. You cannot teach others anything unless you first learn it yourself.

  1. “Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.” – John Locke

If you really get into a book, you cannot help but start thinking. Great writing challenges your viewpoints and makes you question everything that you thought you knew.

Once you learn to start thinking for yourself, you stop spewing out facts, and you begin to write real, compelling material. If you do not first learn how to think, then nothing you have to say will have real value to your reader.

Readers do not want to read a list of facts unless they are reading the news. They want you to give them something to really ponder. But to get other people thinking, you first have to learn to think.

Sally Kerrigan, a writer for A List Apart, points out that writing is thinking. When you write well, you are not just creating noise. Read, then, so that you can figure out the signal you want to send to the world.

  1. “Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.” – Lemony Snickett

Giving sources builds trust. Proving your statements shows you are not just making things up. Reading allows you to find the information that is going to help you prove to your authors you know what you are talking about.

In other words, if people do not believe you, nothing you say matters. So prove to them you are not just throwing up smoke and mirrors.

  1. “Think before you speak. Read before you think.” – Fran Lebowitz

Reading helps you form concrete ideas. It allows you to see viewpoints you might not ever before have thought of. It helps you connect with people of all cultures, races, religions, and genders.

If you want readers to connect with you, you have to first connect with them. Find out what people are thinking and what makes them who they are. Once you have developed empathy, it will come through in your writing. People will listen because they will see you really get them.

  1. “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” – Stephen King

Stephen King has created a name for himself not only as a writer, but as a writing coach. Josh Jones, on Open Culture, took away 20 tips on writing that he has gleaned from King’s own writing tutorial books and interviews. Basically, what Stephen King say you should do in order to be a good writer is what you do if you want to be a good writer.

There is no lesson here like educate yourself or learn who you are. The only point, and it is a huge one, is that Stephen King said if you want to be a good writer, you have to make time to read. And that is reason enough to go grab a book right this instant.

Pick Up a Book, and Change Your Writing

There are many reasons to go out right now and pick up a book. Your writing is only one of those reasons. Listen to the words of all the wise writers and thinkers before you. If you want to write successfully, read frequently.

Many great authors did not wake up one morning successful. They worked hard and discovered the path to success through trial and error. So use their trial and error as a map for yourself.

I’ve got to wrap this up now—Stephen King told me to go read something, and I’m going to listen.

 

 

6 Incredible Ways You Can Create Content Worthy of BBC’s Sherlock

Storytelling is an excellent tool to use in your content marketing strategy, giving your brand personality and connecting you with readers. It can help boost your content and shares, but just how can you go about telling a story with your content? Where can you get excellent inspiration?

In this blog, I want to look at the BBC’s Sherlock series, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as everyone’s favorite consulting detective and Martin Freeman as his loveable friend, John Watson. (If you’ve yet to watch this incredible series, it is available on Netflix and on DVD/BluRay.)

Let’s take a look at some great lessons you can learn!

How BBC’s Sherlock Wins at Storytelling

Since BBC’s Sherlock is such a great resource for storytelling, I am going to look at what you can learn for your copywriting. These are some amazing things the show does, and it can help your content incredibly.

1. It Utilizes Excellent Story Symmetry. Symmetry is a great part of storytelling and can make a story more impactful. This could be whether in the framing on a TV show like Sherlock or a Stanley Kubrick flick. However, Sherlock illustrates symmetry not only in filming but also within the story. When we get to the end of the first episode of season 1, we see John Watson taking things into his own hands, willingly saving Sherlock’s life. He could have been caught and even charged with a crime, but his friend was more important than his criminal record. When we get to the third episode of season three, the same thing happens, only this time it is Sherlock saving John in a similar fashion. He knew he would get caught and punished, but he wanted to protect his friend, knowing Watson would do, and has done, the same for him.

While you don’t have to create a symmetrical story like this, using symmetry in your posting can help to bring about consistency. Symmetry is soothing to many people and if you create symmetrical content, you could see more engagement and shares. You can create symmetrical copy with your writing or you can create images or videos that utilize it. Either way, it can help you stand out and make you look incredibly professional.

2. The Writers Utilize Emotion to Draw in Viewers. If you watch any season of Sherlock, you know that it can be an emotional roller coaster. What do you mean Moriarty did that and why is Sherlock listening to him? Who is this Magnussen and why is he threatening John and Mary? Whatever happens, people feel the anger, excitement, and sometimes extreme sadness due to the storytelling by the writers of Sherlock. One of the most intense episodes, The Reichenbach Fall, connected with many viewers and created a huge stir online. It still has an impact, even if you’ve watched it multiple times. 

Using emotion in your content can be a great way to draw in readers and convert visitors into leads. You can focus on a variety of emotions whether they are happy, sad, upsetting, or even cause anger. Always remember when dealing with emotions to do so respectfully, especially if you are going to write content on something people are angry about. Emotions can help you connect with your audience while also giving your brand a personal voice both on social media and within your copywriting. 

3. We See What Sherlock Sees. The show lets us in on what Sherlock sees by going over a person’s body or items and highlighting aspects with words. We learn that someone owns a dog, has a wife in labor, and more just from Sherlock’s glance. When this happens, we are all transported into being Sherlock. This is a great way to connect watchers with the show and help them feel like they are part of it. Breaking the wall between viewers and a show isn’t always recommended in television, film, or stage productions, but many BBC shows, like Doctor Who and Sherlock break it. When it is broken well, people can really engage with the story. Just think, if you’ve watched Doctor Who, how terrifying is it that the Weeping Angles are still stone because you the watcher are staring at them?

You can break that wall easily with your copy, and it isn’t as touch and go as it is with TV or stage. A great way to break it is to write in first or second person and ask your readers direct questions. It can be a rhetorical question like I did above about the creepiness of the Weeping Angels, or it can be an open-ended question that gives your readers the ability to answer with their own opinions and questions. Let people in on what you’re writing to build a great connection and relationship with them. Writing in something like second person can be a great way to draw your audience in and help them connect with your content.

4. The Show Repurposes the Original Stories to Create Something New. Sherlock is one huge example of just how you can repurpose a story and create more for further content. The show has a lot of great source material to work with due to the many stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and the writers always make sure to create something incredible and unique. If they followed the typical storylines we all have memorized (see: The Hound of the Baskervilles) then it would quickly become a boring show. However, the writers make each episode different, adding their own twists to each and repurposing the content effectively to create a powerful story.

You can do something similar with your content by repurposing your other blogs and copy to create something new and impactful. You can use your older content to help build a story and create storytelling  that will connect with your readers while still using your existing copy. Repurpose content to see just how powerful it can become and how many clients and readers you are able to reach out to when you do this. 

5. Sherlock Gives Us More Content Than Most TV Shows. With Sherlock, the BBC gives you a lot of content for a TV show, which encourages people to watch even more. It can be a bit of a letdown when you start a show and realize that, while it might be on air for an hour, you only get 45 minutes of content. This can make people give up on a TV show, especially if it doesn’t have a captivating story like Sherlock. This show would probably be just as successful if it were only 45 minutes, but something that really sticks out to fans is the fact that we get a full hour and a half of content. This helps to immerse watchers and get them into the show more than a shorter series. While we only get three episodes, we get a lot of content per episode.

Your readers and clients are taking time out of their day to come to your website and read your content, and if you don’t provide them with enough, they could leave. However, if you provide them with more content than what they’re expecting, you can give them a great surprise and make them happy that they took time out of their busy days. You can give them a variety of content types or give them something free for taking the time to look at your site. Whatever you choose to do, you can help build confidence in your content and business by giving them more than they expected.

6. The Show Uses Visuals to Create a Huge Impact. If you take some time to watch Sherlock, you will notice that the showrunners don’t just focus on the written story but visuals as well. This is what helps make the stories even more powerful than they were on paper and any watcher can get easily immersed in the story when watching. The directors frame the shots gorgeously, and they focus on important details within the story, even if we don’t know what they are yet. In addition to simple images of streets and clues, the visuals of the actors acting out some of the most emotional scenes adds such an impact. Whether you are laughing at Sherlock’s attempts to surprise John or watching John cry with horror, you feel the intensity because of what you see.

According to Susan Kusinitz, at HubSpot, visuals are an important aspect of content and if you want to create something powerful, you need to make sure you utilize them. You don’t need to go quite the route of Sherlock, but if you film high-quality videos, share great images, and create infographics, you can connect with your audience quickly and easily. When you are crafting your content, don’t leave out the incredibly important visual aspects.

Did You Miss Me: Don’t Miss Using Sherlock for Great Content Inspiration 

As you can see, there is a lot of inspiration to glean from this show, helping you create powerful, impactful stories for your readers. If you need guidance to create epic storytelling content or would like experts to craft it, then look no further than Express Writers. We have some of the top writers who can create excellent story pieces for your content, as well as create different impactful content types by using similar aspects that the BBC uses for Sherlock. Don’t hesitate to contact us to see how we can help!

20 Marketing & Business Books

20 Marketing and Business Books That Will Actually Change Your Future

The world is full of great business books by awesome authors. I want to specifically look at the bookshelf of someone who’s involved in marketing and business and recommend the best-ever books they could put on their shelves.

I’ll admit to not reading each of these cover-to-cover (yet they are all on my must-read list), BUT I know plenty who have benefitted from reading them, and recommended them; plus, I am familiar with each of the authors . I hope you find this book list helpful!

Get Ready To Change Your Life With These 20 Business Books

Many entrepreneurs and captains of industry started off as regular people, but the books they consume changed who they are at a fundamental level so that they were able to make the decisions that put them into the positions they are today.

And, a book is like an insight into another person’s mind. People inspire people. Want to be inspired by someone? Read what they write and understand where they’re coming from. Business coaches, self-starters and entrepreneurs all write books detailing their thinking and the model of their success. By reading their books, you can pattern your thinking around theirs and reap similar results. Here’s a list of the twenty most influential business books I’ve come across that are very likely to change your future.

1. See You at the Top – Zig Ziglar: Originally rejected by over thirty publishers, this particular book is one of Zig’s greatest works. Although it’s a bit dated (it was published in 1974) a lot of the principles it teaches regarding your own personal motivations and how you get what you want are still relevant. Through a series of steps based around your own, honest self-evaluation, he develops a method for changing your outlook on life and your aims of accomplishing what you believe needs to be done. It’s not new information, but it’s a brand new way of looking at yourself.

2. So You Think You Can Write? – Julia McCoy: Authored by yours truly, this is a summary of all the lessons I’ve learned on how to craft successful, winning online copy after 5+ years in the field learning it on my own. I left nursing school and built a multi-million dollar company around online writing. Now, I’m sharing all the lessons I know so you can change your life by a) writing winning online copy for your brand that gains you rankings and reads or b) make a career out of online copy. It’s on Amazon as print and Kindle.

3. Maximum Achievement Brian Tracy: As far as motivational manuals go, this one is among the best available. Brian Tracy is a self-made-man. He outlines his tactics in Maximum Achievement and creates a roadmap for all of his readers towards success. Although the things that Tracy propounds should be obvious to anyone, the way in which he presents them makes you think critically about your goals and your results. It delves into the idea of result-oriented tactics. Even if you don’t follow what he says, his writing will forever change the way you look at a task.

4. The Art of SEO – Rand Fishkin: This book is a must-read for marketing professionals, simply because of how well laid out it is. Fishkin and company outline and define the important aspects of SEO, ranging from the basics to the extremely advanced approaches. And when I say it covers everything, I do mean everything. Anyone, at any level of SEO knowledge can pick up this book and learn something from it. It’s obvious that as time goes on, SEO will be even more relevant to everyday life, which is what makes this book an investment in understanding the future.

5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen. R. Covey: You’d be hard pressed to find someone in business and industry who hasn’t read this book. It belongs on the shelves of everyone because it helps you to get your mind focused on your tasks at hand. Covey developed a methodology for personal effectiveness that is as important today as it was the day it was published. Another oldie (this one was also published in the 70’s), the book goes back to the roots of what drives success and makes you think about your character first and your personality second, something that many books of the period seem to do in reverse. It’s definitely one of those business books that will affect the way you look at life.

6. Rich Dad, Poor Dad – Robert Kiyosaki: Kiyosaki, a self-made multi-millionaire, explored the differences in conditioning between a rich parent and a poor parent and explores the differences between the thought processed between the two social classes. It’s semi-autobiographical and reads extremely easily. By applying Kiyosaki’s lessons to your own financial situation and change the way you perceive value. That’s a lesson that tends to follow you all the years of your life.

7. Ogilvy on Advertising – David Ogilvy: This particular book has helped many entrepreneurs figure themselves out. Ogilvy focuses on big-picture thinking, proposing that your most important ideas are the ones that are huge. Those ideas are the ones that drive your success. He also writes about dealing with negativity and always having your facts to hand, two things that serve you very well in day to day life. Although the book is mostly aimed at advertising professionals, everyone can glean some form of inspiration or insight from it.

8. The Magic of Thinking Big – David Schwartz: Schwartz deals with the mind-over-matter phenomenon. It’s a book that has changed the lives of many people by teaching them a time-honored lesson: “don’t sweat the small stuff”. It’s mostly self-motivational in content, but it does help you to overcome hurdles that your own mind erects for you. Most importantly, it has something for everyone, no matter what level of business you find yourself at. From employee to owner, everyone can benefit from reading this book.

9. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard – Chip Heath and Dan Heath: Everyone knows change is hard, but it’s also necessary. People are usually afraid of change because it means something different from the ordinary and would require people to leave their comfort zones to deal with it. Chip and Dan make a compelling argument for helping someone deal with change, whether it’s in the workplace or in life, by breaking it down and understanding change to make it less scary. It’s a very well-thought-out book that combines the psychological stimulus of fear with the physical and logical reasoning needed to overcome it. This book helps you master your fear of the unknown.

10. The 4 Hour Work Week – Timothy Ferriss: I acquired this book in my early twenties and it has been a source of constant motivation for me. Ferriss breaks down the modern view of success and replaces it with a simple philosophy, then gives you the tools you need in order to achieve this philosophy. When I got this book, I was skeptical about its claims but it does work. And what’s more, it gives you a different look at life in general. It makes you reconsider what you think of as “success”. Whether your treat it as an instruction manual or a motivational tool, it’s definitely something that’ll change your future.

11. Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? – Seth Godin: This book is based on the idea of leadership and potential. It helps you to marshal your resources and become indispensable to a company or organization. In a job market such as this no one is one hundred percent assured of their place in an organization. Overnight changes could render your position redundant. By becoming a linchpin you add value to yourself and if it’s one things companies love, it’s value. Godin teaches us to be the linchpin that holds organizations together by simply doing what we do to benefit the right people.

12. The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho: The only fictional entry on this list is here for a very specific reason. Coelho is noted for the way he explores the lives and personalities of his characters in his work. The Alchemist does that to an extent that most of his other works abandon in favor of the narrative. Although the premise seems to be that the universe will conspire to make things happen to people, the deeper meaning is that success comes to those who work for it. Through all the struggles of the protagonist we see a very human figure surpassing almost insurmountable obstacles in his quest. As an analogy for life, you can’t get any more accurate than that.

13. The Lean Startup – Eric Ries: When you have limited resources, how do you function? You get more creative and efficient to deal with those reduced resources. Ries has developed a different sort of mindset from what we are used to when it comes to putting together a startup business. In the 90’s startups were abundant because capital and speculation in the “electronic age” was high. With the eventual collapse of the startup market, it has become increasingly difficult to present and expand on a good idea because there were so many bad ideas. Ries gives you a whole new way to think about business that will definitely shape your future.

14. Maverick – Ricardo Semler: Most people have never heard of Semco, a Brazilian business that has a very unorthodox work ethic. Due to its unique business structure, it has managed to weather and even better a Brazilian recession and perform vastly better than its nearest competitors, both in production and worker satisfaction. Semler explores what makes Semco such a good place to work for his employees. It’s one of those books that leave you considering that worker happiness can actually lead to a more productive company in the long run.

15. The Score Takes Care of Itself – Bill Walsh: Starting with the randomness that pervades all success, Walsh takes a look at the things that are out of our control and then goes on to tell us that we should deal with the things within our control. As a former football coach, he was well positioned to know this. The advice he gives is simple and although we do this daily with a number of things, we never apply it consciously to our own life decisions. Walsh’s philosophy of leadership is the kind of thing that gives you hope for the future in a rational way.

16. Rework – Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson: Efficiency is the name of the game. At its core, Rework is a business manual, but it’s so much more than your run-of-the-mill step-by-step to success. Fried and Hansson give you ideas about how to circumvent the traditional method of developing a successful business with the same end result. The most important thing that you learn from this book is that success comes from doing, not talking. It’s a lesson that you should apply to both your personal AND your business life.

17. Traction – Gabriel Weinberg: Traction gives startup owners insight into previous startups that have managed to succeed over the years. By utilizing such well-known names as Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia), Alex Pachikov (Evernote) and Alexis Ohanian (Reddit), we get to see how these masters of business think and what got them to where they are today. Marketing professionals should definitely follow what he has to say since his statements are based around finding the right channels of communication for a particular business.

18. Seneca: Letters from a Stoic – Lucius Annaeus Seneca: For a book to survive over two thousand years, it has to be a pretty good book, right? Letters from a Stoic touches on the simple dictum, “actions speak louder than words”. As a life changing manual it can be pretty dry, especially when compared to the other business books that I’ve mentioned. Seneca’s letters have survived the test of time because these speak to a certain part of us and inspire us in ways modern works can’t. It gives us a sense of perspective that is lacking in many modern methods of motivation and inspiration, something that lingers with us forever.

19. The Intelligent Investor – Benjamin Graham: The newest installment of this book with added commentary by financial journalist Jason Zweig underlines the importance to investors of knowing the value of the product or company they’re investing in. Even if you’re not in investor, this book teaches some important lessons on financial risk management that are likely to benefit everyone to an extent.

20. The Hard Thing About Hard Things – Ben Horowitz: In any business, there will be hard situations to deal with. Horowitz explores in-depth the sorts of uncomfortable situations CEO’s and managers tend to find themselves in. As a semi-autobiographical writing on Horowitz’s life, we get to see how the upper echelons of a company deals with the hard decisions that they may have to make. It’s a very good manual for those aspiring to be the leaders of a group.

BONUS, # 21: Zag: The Number One Strategy of High Performance Brands – Marty Neumeier: This book is a treasure-trove of information for the marketing professional and entrepreneur alike. The book focuses on understanding why certain brans are good at what they do and why some fade out of existence a couple months after hitting the shelves. It gives you insight into customers, audiences and understanding their unspoken signals. Neumeier says, “When everybody zigs, zag.” I could not have said it better myself.

For You: What to Read?

Understandably, not all of these books would fit into any specific category for any type of individual. Investors would have a different set of books that change their lives compared to marketing professionals and entrepreneurs. The books you read are usually reflected in the decisions you make and the steps you take to secure and promote your business. A couple of these books promote the idea of not having a business or profession run your life and to me that’s as important to your future as is dealing with your current position in life. These business books all have something to teach you, regardless of your field or position.

Reading these books (and starting with which one feels most relevant to you right now) would be among the best things you can do to enrich your life in the long haul. Grab a cup of coffee (or tea) and get started! And, let us know in the comments which book YOU love to read!

tide marketing tips

20 Excellent Content Marketing Tips You Can Learn From Tide

Content marketing is such a fun, interesting part of creating a website that converts. It can be daunting at times, but there are some truly excellent places to garner inspiration from.

Sometimes inspiration can come from unexpected places, like the laundry and cleaning products brand, Tide.

Let’s look at how they approach content marketing, as well as what you can learn from them. I promise you’ll learn some excellent tips that can help clean up your content marketing approach and make it sparkle.

20 Amazing Tips You Can Apply to Your Content Marketing

Tide is a great company with excellent product, and this company is one that knows it needs to focus on content marketing to bring in more clients—and creates great things in their content marketing space.

  1. Tide Creates Ads Based Off of Common Problems. When you head over to the Tide landing page, you will see a great section with different blocks of content. There are a wide variety of content pieces, and each one has a chance to answer a problem you have. For me, it addresses how to wash certain types of clothing, which is very helpful. For parents, it addresses things like how to keep your Tide products in an easy-to-reach place while also being out of reach for children. No matter what, Tide has made sure to answer your common laundry questions all on the landing page.
  1. Tide Personalizes the Landing Page To You. They do this by showing you a simple weather-in-your-area box. Heading over to Tide’s web page won’t just show you items that address your problems or needs. It is also personalized to show weather in your area. It is awesome to see my town’s name with a little weather widget on a huge brand’s website. Even though I know it is something built into the website, I still feel more of a connection with Tide by seeing something personalized.
  1. You Can Go Coupon Crazy on the Site. Who doesn’t like coupons? They help you save money on items you want and need, and we can all use some money saving techniques at some point. Tide knows this and the company makes it easy for you to click on a coupon box and be taken to a list of excellent coupons for your favorite Tide products. You can keep these coupons on your phone or print them off to take with you. Either way you are able to save money on products you need, which can really help lower that grocery bill when you’re checking out.
  1. Are You Washing Denim Wrong? As I mentioned in point one, Tide has many content blocks that help with problems you may have. One of mine is knowing just how to wash certain clothes, especially denim. Right there, on the home page, Tide links you to an excellent piece giving you tips and pointers on just how to wash your jeans and other denim products. I find this immensely helpful since washing jeans is something I do quite a bit of. It is great to find this, and while Tide would love for you to choose Tide products for washing clothing, the tips can work with other laundry detergents. This is a perfect example of giving your clients something useful instead of just focusing on selling your product.
  1. Tide Utilizes Multiple Content Formats. While perusing through Tide’s website, I realized that there isn’t just one type of content. Tide utilizes multiple content formats to give clients access to every aspect of the site no matter what the client is doing. The company shares videos, images, and written content for clients, which is absolutely perfect. This helps to give clients content they can consume no matter where they are and how much time they have.
  1. Help People Out and Look Great Doing So. People love to give back and help others in need, and Tide understands this desire. When you head to the website, you are given the chance to help someone out while getting an excellent, vintage-inspired t-shirt. When you buy a shirt from Tide’s Loads of Hope charity, $4 of your purchase will go towards helping people after a disaster. This is a great idea because it gives people something tangible to have while also helping others after terrible disasters take over their lives.
  1. You Get Even More Tips for Keeping Fabrics Safe. Remember how I mentioned that the landing page links to a great denim “how-to”? Well, Tide doesn’t stop there. In fact, the company has a whole list of helpful tips for washing any type of material. No matter if you are washing specific fabrics or need some help with how to de-clutter the laundry you have, Tide is ready with excellent, helpful tips for anyone. This is excellent because the company doesn’t always focus on the products, and readers who don’t purchase Tide products can still get help. This can eventually lead to those readers becoming clients simply because Tide gave them free help.
  1. Garment Stories Offer Excellent Advice for Style and Fashion. Tide also gives some fashion and style advice, because that is something clients will love. No, it isn’t specifically related to cleaning materials, but fashion obviously requires clothes, making this a great branch of content inspiration. You can see different “Garment Stories” from Tide, getting excellent tips for what to wear as well as how to care for your clothing.
  1. The Site is Laid Out in an Easy-to-Understand Fashion. Something that I really enjoy about Tide’s home page and landing pages is that it is all easy to understand. I can quickly find exactly what I am looking for, and not be inundated with a bunch of content that doesn’t interest me. My eyes scan over the site quickly and naturally, helping me skim until I find something I want or need. What a great example of how a website should be laid out!
  1. Tide Gives Helpful Tips for Parents. While not everyone who purchases and uses Tide are parents, there are quite a few who are. Which means that Tide knows it needs to reach out to the parent demographic. When you head over to “Tips from Tide for a Better Life” you will see a variety of postings giving tips to many people, including parents. The postings talk about messy games for kids that clean up well, as well as excellent games that can get your kids outside. Tide also focuses on safety, and how Tide can get out tough stains that kids inevitably get on their clothes.
  1. You Can Easily Access Their Social Media Sites. No matter where you go on Tide’s website, you can get easy access to all social media channels. This makes it very easy for clients to click on the social buttons and like or follow Tide to get more news and information from the company. Tide has Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest and use all very well for clients and fans.
  1. Do You Have Special Laundry Needs? Tide Helps. We all have special laundry needs whether it is cleaning workout gear to getting out tough stains and cleaning hard-to-clean fabrics. Tide covers all of these in the “Special Laundry Needs” section of the website. You can get a lot of suggestions and helpful tips from the company, making sure you clean every part of your laundry in the best, and safest ways.
  1. You’re Encouraged to Sign-Up for a Newsletter to Get Great Deals. Do you want easier, quicker access to deals and coupons, as well as news about upcoming products? Of course, you do. People love being up-to-date with their favorite brands and companies, and Tide understands just how much this can benefit clients and the business. When you head over to the website, you are encouraged to sign-up for Tide’s excellent newsletter, which gives you more access to great deals. You can also learn about new products quickly, learning if the products are something you will need for your laundry or clothing.
  1. The Social Media Campaign is Focusing On Upcycling and Recycling. A huge, and worthwhile, trend right now is taking care of the environment by recycling or “upcycling.” Upcycling is when you take something, like a Tide detergent bottle, and use it for something else. Tide is utilizing the trend to not only get more clients, and give them helpful tips, but also to do their part in protecting our planet. This is a great example of utilizing a trend, especially one for the greater good when it comes to social media.

  1. Tide Re-Tweets Customer’s Tweets and Images. While doing the recycle campaign, Tide is making sure to encourage engagement with clients by asking them to send in images. When a client does this, the company re-tweets that person, which can help foster more engagement. This shows that there are other clients who are doing their part to help out the environment, which can encourage other clients to do the same. In addition, this is a great way to encourage more client engagement with a company.
  1. Tide Shares Tips from Other Companies. When Tide makes a social media post, they sometimes share great tips and information from other companies. Tide doesn’t share material from competitors, but when they share content from other companies, they are giving more information on a wide amount of topics for all of their clients. This can be about fabric softener from Downy or any of the company’s current cleaning partners.
  1. Social Media Focuses on Latest Trendy Items. If you take a quick glance at Tide’s approach to social media, you will see just how much they focus on trends. Whether it is Game of Thrones related or talking about the red carpet or Kentucky Derby, they have a post for it. Focusing on trendy materials when it comes to social media is a great way to help drive engagement and bring in more clients.
  1. Tide Shares Notes on Facebook for Quick, Consumable Content. Blogs are great, but sometimes people don’t want to leave Facebook by clicking on a link to the post. Instead of making clients click away from the social site all the time, Tide shares small “notes” with the Facebook Notes feature. This gives clients immediate access to excellent tips, which is a great way to create and maintain a business-client relationship.
  1. Each Post Has a Social Share Button at the Top. When you go around the Tide website, you will notice that each page and post has a social share button right at the top. This is a great way for the company to encourage social shares, especially when it comes to the various DIY and tip postings. Social share buttons can really help increase engagement and, if they are easy to access, they can promote your clients to share pages on their chosen social network.
  1. Looking for a Nearby Store? You can purchase your favorite Tide products from Tide’s website, but most of the time, people buy their detergent when they go grocery shopping. Because of this, Tide has implemented a great little feature that helps clients find Tide products at the nearest store. This is great because it helps clients feel, yet again like their particular experience is made specifically for them. It’s a great feeling when it seems like a brand is helping you every step of the way.

You Can Have a Squeaky Clean Content Marketing Approach Like Tide

As you can see, Tide has several excellent examples that you can learn from when it comes to content marketing. Just by following a few of the company’s tactics can help you create a better, more effective plan. Express Writers can help you create content for your marketing campaign that will help make your content and website awesome for all of your clients and readers. Take a look at our content services to see which can help you create a stellar campaign!

 

content creation

7 Ways to Show the World You’re Worth Listening To

You know that there is no business like show business, right? But who is to say exactly what is meant by “show business”? When you create content, you do so in an attempt to show readers that you know what you are talking about and that they should go to you if they want to learn more or use your service/product.

So when it comes to the show business of content creation, how can you make sure your writing is a box office smash? (Or at least a cult hit or award favorite)?

7 Methods To Shout From the Rooftops (Or Get Your Content A Lot of Viewers)

There are actually a lot of things you can do to make sure your content is seen by a whole lot of viewers, but here are seven good places to start.

1. The Preview Looked Good: Use Social Media to Attract Readers. Have you ever determined whether you would see a movie based off of its preview? There is a good chance that you have. Here are some things that my friends and I have been known to say after a preview:

  • “I didn’t think I would want to see that, but the preview looked good.”
  • “The preview looked funny, but they probably put all the funny parts in it. So it’s probably not going to be that good.”
  • “I’m disappointed. I thought I was going to like it, but not if the preview is anything to go by.”

You have probably said something similar at some point too. So what does that mean for content production?

It’s not just the writing itself that counts, it is all the small, social media content you do along the way to advertise for your content. What you say in the Tweet, Facebook post, or summary can be just as important as the actual content.

Because it is what viewers are most likely to see first, it is the main component in deciding whether they are going to read on. So you have to grab their attention there if you want to have any chance at grabbing their attention in the long-form post.

Moral of this point: If you can’t catch them in the previews, then you are not likely to catch them at all.

2. Be the Headliner: Create Good Headlines. Just like it is the star headliner that is going to draw a lot of the crowd, it is your catchy headline that is going to get people interested in reading your content. So you know that you need to work hard on crafting a great title.

Knowing you need a good headline and actually being able to come up with one, though, are two very different things. Not only do you have to get your creative juices flowing in order to write a good title, you also have stop trying so hard because people can always tell when you are trying too hard.

Luckily for all of us, there are all sorts of tools to help us create amazing titles.

  • Advanced Marketing Institute. The AMI has a headline tool that allows you to enter your headline and have its Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) ranked. It then walks you through how many EMV words a good headline should have and what type of EMV words you are using (e.g., intellectual EMV).
  • Crazyegg Blog. This post walks you through several ways almost guaranteed to convert readers and tells you why they are successful.
  • The Future of Ink. This post basically gives you some fill in the blank headlines that you can use with your own content.

Moral of this point: If the headliner isn’t drawing in crowds, then everything else had better be a hundred times better to make up for it.

3. Open Strong: Create Catchy Intros. After the opening night of a movie or play, reviews are going to come in. That opening could just make or break the show because if it gets all bad reviews, people aren’t likely to come back for the rest of the performances.

Think of your opening paragraph as the one that is going to get you the initial reviews. People are going to read it, and then they are going to determine whether they want to read more. If your intro paragraph is getting bad reviews, then no matter how good the rest of the content is, people likely aren’t going to be reading it.

On the other hand, if you capture the attention of your readers from your opening lines, then you have a better chance of making it to the end of your run (i.e., getting people to read the entire article.) So don’t ignore that opening paragraph or rush through it to get to the meat of what you are trying to say.

Moral of this point: If you want a long run, make sure you get good reviews from the opening.

4. You’re Gonna Be in the Pictures: Use Images. I’m making a long, drawn out analogy here comparing writing to show business, so you can see why images are going to be an important component to what I am saying. If you want to be a success in show business, then you need to actually show something.

People like pictures. It’s just a fact of life. That’s why they say a picture is worth a thousand words. A good image will draw the eye so that the potential reader can see that great headline you created, which will cause them to read that opening line that is going to get you great reviews, which will make them read whatever it is you have to say. And all because you caught their eyes with a good image.

Images could even help your SEO ranking because Google loves images as much as us mortals. You can find free images on places such as Wikimedia Commons or by searching Flickr’s creative commons images. You can also set up accounts on platforms such as iStock in order to find pictures.

Moral of this point: People love going to the pictures, so give them a picture worth seeing.

5. Take 5: Use Breaks Wisely. Looking at a giant block of text is bound to give you a headache. It doesn’t matter what it says, it just looks intimidating. Think about going to a play. You are going to have notable act breaks and likely an intermission. Even movies, which very rarely have intermissions unless they are three plus hours long, have Act and Scene breaks. Imagine watching a movie that was done all in one shot. Sounds dull to me.

When you are writing any type of long-form content, you need those “Act” and “Scene” breaks not only to help guide the flow of the piece, but to keep from scaring off potential readers.

In order to do this, use subheadings (and give them the same consideration you give the title), bullets, numbers, charts, images, etc. Just whatever you do, don’t create a giant body of text and expect people to want to read it.

Moral of this point: Give people short breaks so that they can digest all of the great performances they have been watching (or reading as the case may be.)

6. Lights, Camera, Action: Don’t Just Use a Bunch of Words, Say Something Important. Everybody wants to see it because of the previews, the headliner is drawing lots of attention, the images are stunning, and the actual movie is … blah. This could be a big flop on Rotten Tomatoes. What went wrong?

You can do everything else exactly right, but it does not mean anything if the actual content is bad. People want action. They want plot. They want to be able to trust the piece they are reading. Don’t just say words to fill in space. Make every word count, and back up your claims with proof.

If you give people interesting content and prove that you aren’t just making things up, people are going to enjoy what you have to say and believe that you are an expert. That is the way you will become a success.

Moral of this point: Without a believable plot, no one is going to like the story.

7. They’ll Remember the Closing Act: Leave Them Wanting More. Now that you have done everything right, end strong. People like endings. Just recently, one of my friends was discussing a book with me, and he said that the book was good, but then it just kind of ended. He wouldn’t recommend it because he hated when books did that. What does this tell you? Wrap things up if you want to leave people satisfied.

When they are finished reading, people should have all their questions answered. What was the point of what they just read? Why were you the right person to tell them about it? And, perhaps most importantly, what should they do next?

In order to close strong, wrap up all your points. Did you ask why carrots are orange in the beginning, but you never finished with the answer? Then you aren’t finished yet. Did you write a great post, but never explained why the post was written? Then you aren’t finished yet.

The ending is where you can place your call to action if you have one – such as donate to a cause or fill out a form. It is also where you make sure all of your points are wrapped up.

Moral of the point: When they leave, the ending is what they’ll remember most: make sure they remember something great.

Successful Content Is Like A Well-Oiled Machine

Just like a movie is not just a preview or a scene or an actor, a good piece of writing is not just one thing. In order to be successful, you have to make sure everything is working together to be the exact thing your reader needs. Only then will it be successful.

Photo credit: Dmitrii Kotin/iStock

content

How to Influence Your Readers & Create Successful Content

Ultimately, with content, blogs, social media – any aspect of maintaining a marketing presence online – the goal is to influence people.

Whether you want to coax them to your side, convince them to buy your products, or convert them into loyal followers, your influential power matters.

In the beginning, it can feel like a tall mountain to climb. How do you build your reputation, your authority, and your presence so you can reach people in the first place?

How do you appeal to them, interest them, and move them?

This is a question people have been asking forever. Everybody wants to be liked and respected. We’re all human, and it’s a basic human need. As Dale Carnegie says in his iconic, best-selling book, How to Win Friends and Influence People:

“Dealing with people is probably the biggest problem you face, especially if you are in business.”

Turns out, the way you approach your online communication is everything. Every single blog post, social media update, direct message, email, comment, and tweet matters.

That’s a lot of pressure, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Instead, focus on a few key areas, and you’ll naturally build up your influence so people will gravitate to you without thinking about it.

Consider this your guide to creating successful content that will influence readers positively.

Your Guide to Influencing and Winning Over Your Audience with Amazing Written Content

how to create successful content

How do you build your reputation, your authority, and your presence so you can influence your audience? @JuliaEMcCoy discusses her 7-step guide to create influence with amazing written content. 🌟 Click To Tweet

Ready to get into how to grow your clout and influence your audience with successful content? Follow these steps:

1. Know Who You’re Talking To

First thing’s first: It’s impossible to influence anybody without a tailored, personalized approach.

Who are you targeting? Who are you talking to? Without this knowledge, you’ll have no idea how to frame your messages and make them relevant to your readers.

So, before you ever begin thinking about how to win people over, first identify who those people are.

According to G. Riley Mills for Forbes, there are three main aspects of audience discovery to consider. He applies these to public speaking, but they also may apply to any type of marketing communication. They are:

  • Demographics – General statistics pertaining to your audience group and identifying factors including gender, age, marital status, level of education, occupation, etc.
  • Psychographics – Personal information such as beliefs, values, opinions, loyalties, and feelings.
  • Situational factors – The factors that may change on a day-to-day basis that influence why your audience might seek out your solutions, products, services, or content.

Research each of these factors and build your understanding of your audience before you move on to writing content or communicating with them.

'It’s impossible to influence anybody without a tailored, personalized approach. So, before you ever begin thinking about how to win people over, first identify who those people are.' - @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

2. Know Your Objective (What You Want from the Interaction)

What do you hope to gain from posting that new blog, social media update, Instagram photo, or email?

When you have a general goal or objective in mind, tailoring your content to perform and complete that goal is much easier.

I shoot for three different “goal buckets” whenever I post a new piece of content. If the content won’t fit in one of my buckets or help me to advance toward a goal, I scrap it and move on to the next.

'I shoot for three different 'goal buckets' whenever I post a new piece of content. If the content won’t fit in one of my buckets or help me to advance toward a goal, I scrap it and move on to the next.' - @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

3. Write Content That Moves, Inspires, Entertains, or Educates Your Audience

Ultimately, content that’s moving, inspiring, entertaining, or educational is going to be valuable to your audience.

If your content doesn’t accomplish any of the above, stop. Re-evaluate your content goals, and set some if you haven’t yet. Then, try these tips in your content.

A. Get Personal

Getting personal in your content doesn’t necessarily mean sharing every tiny detail of your life (TMI much?) – although you can share relevant experiences, thoughts, and ideas.

Instead, it mostly means talking to your audience on a personal level. It means empathizing with them, speaking to their concerns, and relating to them.

B. Add an Element of Surprise or Delight

Injecting your content with surprise or delight will go a long way toward moving your readers. Use these suggestions to bring more light and life to your words:

  • Use opposites – To jerk your readers out of reading by rote, introduce opposites in your writing. This can apply to anything, including descriptions and metaphors. For example, when describing a problem, compare it to falling into a patch of prickly thorns. Then, flip the script and compare the solution to a cloud of feathers.
  • Embrace the one-liner – When you want your words to throw a punch at your reader, put them on their own line, in a one-sentence paragraph. For great examples of this technique used right, look at Seth Godin’s blog:

  • Share personal anecdotes – Put humanness back in your writing and describe personal examples of whatever you’re writing about, where relevant. For instance, perhaps you experienced the problem you’re discussing or maybe you have a good learning experience to share that relates to your topic.
  • Be yourself – Don’t write to impress. Instead, be yourself. Use idioms and turns-of-phrase you would insert in your speech when talking out loud. Crack bad jokes, litter your writing with puns, or include nerdy Star Wars references, if that’s your M.O. You do you.

C. Include Research, Data, Statistics, and Studies

Want to truly inform and educate your audience? Turn to research to ensure your content is stuffed to the brim with value. Don’t just spout off some numbers or facts without citing a reputable online source – you’ll actually damage your authority instead of strengthening it.

'Content that’s moving, inspiring, entertaining, or educational is going to be valuable to your audience. If your content doesn’t accomplish any of the above, stop and re-evaluate.' - @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

4. Be Human, Engage, and Connect

If you really want to influence your readers, find ways to connect with them and build relationships. The best way to do that is the simplest: Be human.

More specifically, be a friendly human on social media and across the web.

  • Engage and interact with the people you follow. Share posts, comment on posts, and add to discussions.
  • Participate in Twitter chats and live streams.
  • Reply to blog comments respectfully, thoughtfully, and with depth.

Building your reputation is about more than the content you publish or the online face you reveal on your website. It’s about every single interaction you have, no matter how seemingly small.

Think about this when you send that email, reply to that DM, or post that quick update on Twitter. All these small moments add up to how you’re perceived online – and whether people feel that they can trust you.

As you build that trust, you’ll build influence at the same time.

'If you really want to influence your readers, find ways to connect with them and build relationships. The best way to do that is the simplest: Be human.' - @JuliaEMcCoy on creating content that builds influence Click To Tweet

content shop

5. Craft Compelling, Irresistible Headlines, Subheaders, and CTAs

To influence your audience, every piece of your content needs to be convincing. That’s why care and attention should infuse your headlines, subheaders, and CTAs alongside the body of your content.

Headlines

A compelling headline will bring readers to your content, but, more importantly, it keys into their needs, wants, and pain points. This is what makes them click over to your piece versus the other guys’.

  • Touch a nerve – When you touch a nerve with your headline, you’ve succeeded. You’ve managed to get inside the reader’s head so deep, their problems have become yours. This should be your goal with every headline.
  • Don’t overpromise – Don’t overpromise in your headline. If you make a wild claim but fail to deliver on that in the content, it’s a letdown for the reader, and their trust in you will deplete.
  • Make the headline mirror the content – The headline should never be dangled like bait to make readers click. Instead, the headline should mirror the content, which helps the reader know what to expect when they invest their time to read it.

Subheaders

Subheaders have a few jobs to do inside your content.

  • Subheaders break the content into parts. It’s easier to understand your topic when it’s broken down into key ideas.
  • They make the content easier to skim and scan.

Neglecting your subheaders means you’ll make your content harder to read – and nobody has time for that.

CTAs (Calls-to-Action)

Your CTAs pave the way for reader action. Without solid CTAs, you will have fewer sign-ups, downloads, subscribers, and even purchases.

Every piece of content should tell your reader what to do next. If you don’t tell them, they’ll click away – and your amazing, influential content will go to waste.

Look at this recent post by Portent and note how they include a solid CTA to sign up for their newsletter at the very end:

‼️ In creating influential content, never forget about headlines, subheaders, and CTAs‼️ Know more about the steps in creating content that can help you build influence in @JuliaEMcCoy's 7-step guide. Click To Tweet

6. Build Better Landing Pages

Once you begin crafting influential content, you can’t stop there. Other key pieces for conversions need to get the golden touch, too, including your landing pages.

Landing pages are separate pages from your website, where visitors “land” after clicking a link or ad. The goal of your landing pages should be to get these visitors to complete one specific objective (usually, whatever your conversion goals dictate).

According to CoSchedule, your landing pages should have three elements:

  • A strong headline
  • Compelling body copy
  • An irresistible call-to-action

Building better landing pages means:

  • Making sure the page has ONE purpose
  • Using conversion copywriting techniques
  • Holding your audience’s attention and staying persuasive
  • Focusing on the benefits of your offer (rather than the features)
  • Keeping the offer about the user (NOT about you)

Without great landing pages, you’ll earn fewer conversions on your awesome content. While you’re building influence, authority, and trust, you have to make sure there’s a net in place at the end to cash in on it.

Without great landing pages, you’ll earn fewer conversions on your awesome content. @JuliaEMcCoy shares some tips on how you can create better landing pages that can help boost your influence. Click To Tweet

7. Optimize Your Content the Right Way

The final piece of the puzzle is optimizing your content so your influence can grow and spread organically. This means:

Optimize your content the right way. Make sure to invest in quality content, SEO, and a user-friendly and beautifully designed website. Know more tips on creating winning content that builds influence in this post by @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

To Build Online Influence, Build Your Content and Social Presence

Attracting your audience, moving them, and influencing them are no small feats.

To do it, you have to have four things:

  • Patience
  • Knowledge of your ideal readers – their needs and desires
  • Amazing content that speaks to those readers
  • A consistent web presence (including consistent blogs!)

If you’re just starting, start small. Rome wasn’t built in a day, right?

Lay your foundation for online influence brick by brick, and soon you’ll build a haven for your audience – one they’ll flock to in droves.

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