Are you searching for some great content marketing tips? You’ve come to the right place! We’re recapping our latest #ContentWritingChat, which was packed with tips you’ll want to start using today. Keep reading to see what our chat participants had to say!
#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Marketing Strategies for Bloggers with Lilach Bullock
Our guest host for this week’s chat was Lilach Bullock. Lilach is a speaker, as well as a social media consultant and trainer. She joined our chat to share some of her top content marketing tips for bloggers.
Q1: Discuss how important blogging is to content marketing.
Of course we know that there’s more to content marketing than just blogging. However, blogging does play a huge part in our content marketing strategies. Here’s what some of Tuesday’s chat participants had to say about it:
As Lilach said, blogging is very important to content marketing. She said it provides a way for you to give your audience valuable content. It becomes your place to consistently provide your audience with the information they need.
She also said a good blog offers value to customers and increases traffic to your website. After all, people will want to head over to your website to see what you’re sharing!
Our CEO, Julia, was spot-on with her answer! She said blogging is your consistent content platform. It’s also the voice for your brand, which is huge.
If you want to showcase your expertise and offer valuable knowledge to your readers, blogging is where it’s at!
Sarah knows just how powerful a blog post can be. She said you can send your audience to your blog so they can learn more. Then, you can encouraged them to take action from your posts. Of course, it’s also great if they share your posts because it sends more traffic your way!
Debi knows just how important blogging can be. As she said, it’s important to share great information that your target audience would be interested in. It keeps them engaged and keeps the information fresh for search engines.
Q2: How can bloggers get started with putting together a content marketing strategy?
Now that you know just how integral blogging is to your content marketing plan, it’s time to create a strategy. How do you do it, you ask? Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Lilach believes there are five important aspects to remember here. She knows how great short-form content can be for your blog, however we also know long-form content is great as well. It’s important to experiment and see what your audience enjoys the most.
She also recommends creating premium content for your subscribers. Next, she mentions SEO, designing visual content, and creating audio content.
As Sarah said, you need to know your audience. That’s where it all starts. You cannot expect to create content without first knowing who your audience is. Then, figure out the goals you want to achieve and start planning to make them a reality.
Tim feels the same way! He knows it’s important to understand your audience, define your objectives, and then plan from there.
Olivia also knows the importance of setting objectives. Once you have them in mind, you can determine the strategies that will help you get your desired results.
We can’t stress this point enough: get to know your audience. Speak their language so you appeal to them. And don’t forget to make an editorial calendar. When you plan in advance, content creation is much less stressful.
Bill recommends beginning with the end in mind. What actions do you want your audience to take? It’s important to remember this when creating content for your blog.
Stephanie knows that you need to think beyond your blog, too. You should create a content marketing plan for all of the platforms you use and make sure they work together to support each other.
Important things to keep in mind: who you’ll reach, how often you’ll write content, and which topics you’ll cover.
Q3: What tools can help you be successful when it comes to content marketing?
There are plenty of great tools available that can help you with your content marketing strategy. If you want to check some out, take a look at these suggestions:
Lilach uses CoSchedule to plan out her editorial calendar. It certainly comes in handy to have everything planned in advance! She also uses BuzzSumo to find out what types of content works within her niche.
Matt is also a fan of BuzzSumo!
Lex relies on the Yoast plugin to help with SEO. She also uses Trello to stay organized and Canva for creating amazing graphics.
Olivia shared a great list of tools that are all worth checking out!
Bill relies on Hootsuite for scheduling social media posts. He also uses Canva to create graphics, which we use as well.
Alternatively, Buffer is another great tool for scheduling social media content. We love it here at Express Writers!
Much like so many of our other participants, Brittany also likes Yoast, Canva, and BuzzSumo. It’s no wonder so many people like them because they’re all amazing tools.
BuzzSumo, Buffer, Google Analytics, and Canva are all must haves!
One thing you can’t forget is an email service provider! You need a way to capture the email addresses of visitors to your website so you can reach them after they’ve left.
Q4: How do you integrate content marketing with other marketing strategies?
It’s important that your content marketing strategies work hand-in-hand with other marketing strategies you implement. Here’s how to do that:
As Lilach said, it’s important your content stays true to your values and your tone. Everything you create should be representative of you and your brand.
Debi knows consistency is key!
As Sarah said, it’s all working together toward your goals.
As Julia said, content marketing is very powerful for us here at Express Writers.
Q5: What makes a great content marketing campaign?
So, what exactly makes a great content marketing campaign? These are the tips you need to know if you want your content to be a success:
Lilach knows it’s important to provide valuable content consistently. She also said never to forget what your brand is all about. It’s important to stay true to your vision.
Make sure you also set goals for your campaign so you know what you hope to achieve and can measure your results.
Provide value to your audience as a way to inspire them to take action.
It’s important that your campaign leads people to the end destination. What do you want people to do? Your campaign needs to move them in that direction.
Q6: What is the biggest misconception about content marketing?
There are quite a few misconceptions about content marketing that people still believe. Check these out:
As Lilach said, some believe all you have to do is create great content and it’ll do all the work for you. This simply isn’t true! It takes a lot more than just content creation.
Olivia knows the importance of quality over quantity. You need to focus on creating better content for your audience.
Creating a lot of content won’t guarantee leads, ROI, and exposure will start coming your way. It takes time to get results. You have to consistently create and promote your content to spread the word.
Remember that your content needs to actually provide value to your audience. Get to know them and deliver the content they want to see.
Q7: What are some of your top tips for bloggers?
If you’re looking for some great tips for blogging, this is what you need to know:
Create an editorial calendar to plan your content. When everything is planned in advance, content creation is less stressful. There’s no more scrambling to come up with content at the last minute.
Don’t post on your blog just for the sake of posting. The content you publish needs to provide value to your audience and should always be high quality.
Great advice from Olivia: find your niche and be authentic. And remember that success doesn’t happen overnight!
We couldn’t agree more with Brittany’s advice to be real. Your audience can detect when you aren’t being true to yourself.
You should always cater your content to your audience. Sarah also knows that creating evergreen content is a great idea because it’s always fresh. Writing in a conversational tone also helps people connect with you.
Create a plan first! You should have an editorial calendar, know your target market, come up with some great ideas, and then set goals.
Julia knows planning is essential! She recommends planning your best keywords and topics.
Q8: Which brands consistently do an amazing job with their content marketing campaigns?
There are so many brands who do an amazing job with their content marketing campaigns. It’s a great place to look for inspiration! Check out these brands who are creating fantastic content:
Lilach is a fan of Get Response. She said their infographics, white papers, case studies, and webinars all provide tremendous value.
Natalia likes reading The Muse and Buffer.
This is a great list from Julia! They’re all worth checking out.
You’re making us blush! Thanks for the compliment, Tim!
We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time for great chats centered around content writing and marketing. Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on our new topics and guests!
Are you ready to catch up on this week’s #ContentWritingChat? We’ve prepared an awesome recap with some of the tweets from Tuesday’s chat, so get ready to dive in!
#ContentWritingChat Recap: Practical SEO Advice for the Online Creator with Caleb McElveen
Our guest host this week was Caleb McElveen. Caleb is and SEO and content marketing specialist. He’s also a co-host on the digital marketing podcast, Search Talk Live.
Q1: What are the basics of SEO every content creator should know?
SEO doesn’t have to be hard to figure out! In fact, if you’re just getting started with optimizing your content, these basic tips are great to know:
Caleb said it’s important to know how to correctly optimize title tags, meta descriptions, headers, and more. All of these things impact the performance of your content, so it’s helpful to know the best ways to optimize them in order to maximize your results.
He also recommends understanding user intent when creating content because it can also impact your SEO strategy.
Sarah knows keywords are essential to SEO! She recommends figuring out how your audience is using and searching for keywords, which will help you choose the right ones for your content. You’ll also want to sprinkle those keywords throughout your content in heading tags, meta description, and more.
Jason also agrees understanding keywords is very important! He recommends finding the popular and relevant keywords that will help your audience find your content.
Kristen is right on with her answer! She said that SEO and readability should work together. You should never sacrifice readability for the sake of trying to rank higher. Providing great content for your audience should always be priority number one.
One big SEO don’t? Keyword stuffing! It’s not cool to overdo it on the keywords because Google doesn’t like it and neither do your readers. We’ll have some more SEO mistakes coming up in the next question!
Q2: What are the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to SEO?
There are some common SEO mistakes people make when creating their online content. It’s important to know what they are so you can avoid them! Here are a few mistakes you don’t want to make:
Caleb knows many people make mistakes when it comes to keywords. In some cases, people fail to use the keyword correctly or don’t even have one. Make sure you’re using your focus keyword in titles and throughout your content without going overboard. Keyword stuffing is a big no-no!
He also said not to forget about optimizing the images you share. They’re searchable as well and you want to make sure you take that extra step to optimize them.
As Jason said, using keywords that aren’t used as often won’t help you see results. You need to do your research to find the right keywords for your content.
Ignoring SEO is a huge mistake! If you want your content to be seen, you need to learn about the best SEO practices and start putting them to use with your own online content.
Remember that SEO is important, but there’s so much more to you content than just the optimization process. You have to start with a piece of quality content that shows personality and tells a story in order to really attract people.
Never stop learning. SEO changes and it’s important to stay updated on all the latest information. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you know everything about SEO. Make sure you’re actively learning about the best practices and implementing them.
Q3: What steps can you take to get your content on the first page of search results?
As an online content creator, one of your dreams is probably to rank on the first page of Google’s search results. It sounds like a dream, right? The good news is, it’s totally possible to make this happen! Here’s what you need to know:
Caleb’s advice is to research what’s already ranking on the first page. Study what they did right and what they did wrong so you can create your own plan to do it better. There’s nothing wrong with getting a little inspiration from your competitors!
He then suggests creating content that provides value to your audience. Answer their questions and provide them with the amazing content they’re looking for. It’s a sure-fire way to keep them coming back for more, too.
Kristi knows everything needs to work together if you want to see major results. She said to make sure relevant keywords are included in your content, tags, headlines, and images.
Research the best keywords. Optimize the body of your content. Get valuable links. All three of these tips will help you rank higher in search results.
Don’t forget to provide a great experience overall for the visitors to your website. It should be user-friendly and you need to make sure you’re writing good content.
Our CEO, Julia, recommends optimizing your website for speed, user experience, and Google. The next step is to add relevant, long-form content that’s useful to your audience. Utilize long-tail keywords in your content to increase discoverability!
Q4: How does social media factor into SEO?
Social media certainly plays a role in SEO. If you’re wondering how, here’s what some of the participants in Tuesday’s chat had to say:
Caleb said social media amplifies your content and increases your opportunity to earn links, which is great for SEO.
Kristen said social media extends the life and discoverability of your content.
Lex knows social media is great for pushing out content to get more visitors to your site. It’s also helpful for learning what your audience needs from you. Take the time to listen to them and create more of what they want.
Leah said social media adds the element of hashtag SEO. Hashtags are great for helping people find your content.
Q5: Share some of your best SEO practices.
What are the best SEO practices you should implement in your online content? Here’s the scoop:
Caleb recommends researching your competition. He tries to determine why their content performs well and how he can create content that outperforms it. Caleb also knows it’s important to understand user intent. You want to know how they’re searching because that impacts your content.
Get the whole team involved with SEO! Keep everyone informed on what you’re working on and allow them to voice their thoughts and opinions. Working together as a team will yield the best results.
Brandie suggests conducting research and talking to people. She also said it’s important to set up Google Analytics and regularly check to see which keywords are working and which ones aren’t.
A regular review of SEO, your strategy, and the goals of your clients is a must!
Do your research and think like a reader! Get into the mind of your reader to figure out what they’re searching, which keywords they’re using, and more. This will help you reach them.
Liliana said to set clear content goals, optimize your content, and make sure you keep everything fresh and relevant.
Q6: What would you say to someone who argues SEO isn’t important? How would you convince them otherwise?
Believe it or not, there are still plenty of naysayers out there when it comes to SEO. Many content creators still don’t understand the value it can provide and therefore don’t take it seriously. If someone says SEO isn’t important, remember this:
Caleb said SEO communicates to search engines and users what your page, business, or content is all about. Taking the time to optimize your posts will help search engines recognize you in their results.
You do want people to see your content, right? If so, you need to optimize your content to rank higher in search engine results.
Content is king. Distribution is queen. SEO is the lasting legacy. Great way to put it, Liliana!
If you want to prove the value of SEO to someone who doesn’t understand, come prepared with facts! Brandie recommends backing up your argument with facts and data that prove SEO is a must.
It’s all about those numbers! Stats will provide good, solid proof that SEO works.
Alberto suggests showing some reports that include traffic, conversion rate, and more.
Leah’s advice is to use an A/B split test to show the results.
That’s a lot of searches! You don’t want to miss out on that action, do you?
It’s safe to say that without SEO, it’s hard to put yourself on the digital map. Zala knows getting your content to rank is a must.
Q7: What tools do you use to help with SEO?
There are a ton of great tools out there that can help you become an SEO master. If you’re looking for some new ones to test out, check out these suggestions:
Caleb has three go-to tools he uses for optimizing content. Have you tried any of them?
He also said it’s important to familiarize yourself with Google Analytics and Search Console. It’s important to be able to interpret the data these give you.
Matt relies on Screaming Frog, Google Analytics, Moz, and BuzzSumo.
The Yoast plugin is definitely a must for anyone on WordPress. Getting that green light on a blog post is just so satisfying, isn’t it?
Great list, Sarah! These are essential.
Debi’s list of tool recommendations is pretty impressive! There are a lot to try out here if you haven’t already.
Zachary uses Google Trends to see which keywords are trending at any given moment. He’s also a fan of the Yoast plugin.
Debbie often turns to her network to learn more about SEO. Seeking advice from your peers is a great way to get SEO help. Which brings us to our final question…
Q8: Which influencers do you turn to for the latest in SEO news?
There are plenty of influencers who share great content regarding the latest in SEO. Check out these sources for the best information:
This is certainly an awesome line-up from Caleb! He also shared a great tip about reading something on SEO every day. It’s important to stay updated on the latest news. You can never been too educated on a topic.
These are all great sources!
Great round-up from Sabjan!
We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time for great chats centered around content writing and marketing. Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on our new topics and guests!
Are you ready to catch up on this week’s #ContentWritingChat? We’ve prepared an awesome recap with some of the tweets from Tuesday’s chat, so get ready to dive in!
#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Grow Online & in Business by Improving Your Mindset with Michele Walsh
Our guest host this week was Michele Walsh. Michele is a business confidence coach and the author of The Big Shift. She joined us to talk all about the importance of mindset within your business. It’s a different topic for us, but she provided a lot of helpful advice you can implement in your own business.
Q1: What role does mindset play within your business?
We kicked off the chat by asking our Twitter friends what role they felt mindset played within their businesses. We received some great answers in return! Check it out:
Michele shared a pretty important statistic with us. She said that our mindset is responsible for more than 80% of the results we achieve. So, it only makes sense that if we want to achieve big things in our lives, we need to be in the right frame of mind to make that happen. You need the right mindset in order to see major, consistent results.
To put it simply, a positive attitude will yield more positive results within your business. How can you expect to see positive results if you’re thinking negatively?
Amanda is right on with her answer. Positivity, determination, and focus are all key aspects of your mindset and important to achieving success in business.
Your attitude is imprinted in every piece of work you do. That’s pretty crazy to think about, right? When you have a positive mindset and you’re passionate about your work, people will take notice.
For our CEO, Julia, she knows that having the right mindset can impact her life on a daily basis. She chooses to have a mindset that empowers her to work hard every day, which is exactly how she’s built Express Writers.
Remember that having a positive mindset doesn’t just impact your business. It impacts you and your life in general.
Q2: How can your mindset impact your content marketing efforts?
Now that we know how important the right mindset is for business growth and success, let’s talk about content marketing. How could mindset possible impact our content? Here’s what some participants in Tuesday’s chat had to say:
Michele said it’s important to align your mindset with your intentions. You need to have trust and believe in order to see your desired results manifest into your life.
Kristen noted that your mindset, and especially how you handle the challenges you face, can determine whether you succeed or fail. Great answer!
As Julia said, it’s important to set goals and have a firm mindset that will help you meet them. That really is the secret to making things happen!
A good mindset breeds creativity and allows you to think outside the box.
The way you feel can easily show through in your content. It’s important to stay focused and positive!
Bill said that if your mindset is focused on serving your audience, you’ll be able to do just that. Providing great content helps, too!
Zala recommends keeping an open mind. This will allow you to be more welcoming of new ideas. It’s also important to understand the needs of your audience.
Brittany knows that the wrong mindset often means her content will suffer. If she’s thinking negatively or feeling uninspired, content isn’t likely to be its best.
Sherri also finds it difficult when she isn’t in the right frame of mind. She says it becomes difficult to think creatively and is hard to be optimistic or helpful.
Kristi’s advice is to take a break or focus on another project if you find your head and heart just aren’t in it.
As Leah said, if you don’t have a winning mindset, it’ll show in your marketing efforts.
So, before you start creating, make sure you’re prepared mentally!
Q3: What are your key tips for keeping the content ideas flowing within your business?
Sometimes it can be hard to keep the ideas flowing! How can you make sure you’re amazing at coming up with great ideas each and every time? Keep these tips in mind:
Michele’s advice is to set aside time and space to switch everything off and allow for content creation. You can’t always wait for inspiration to strike. Sometimes you have to sit down and seek those ideas. Close your inbox. Silence your phone. Log off social media. Let the brainstorming begin!
It always helps to analyze what resonates with your audience the most. After all, you’re creating for them and it’s important to give them what they want.
Jason also agrees that it’s important to look at feedback from your audience.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You should get involved and listen to what your audience is talking about. That’s the perfect way to figure out what your audience wants and needs.
Sarah is all about getting others involved in the content creation process. If you have a team working alongside you, don’t be afraid to ask them for ideas. Schedule team meetings or calls specifically for brainstorming.
Two heads are better than one, right?
Debi recommends using Twitter chats as a way to learn and engage with your audience.
If you have an idea, but it isn’t the right time for you to develop it, jot it down to come back to later.
Q4: What do you need to know in order to create great content for your audience?
If you want to consistently produce great content, there are a few things you should know. Here’s what they are:
It all starts with your audience. In order to create content they’ll love, you need to get to know them. Figure out who they are, what they are interested in, and what their pain points are. Create content accordingly.
Get to know your audience inside out FIRST.
Did we mention that you need to know your audience first? Seriously, it’s that important!
Kristen said you need to know what makes your audience tick, what their challenges are, and what their aspirations are. This will help you create the content that resonates with them.
You also need to know what will make your audience convert. If you aren’t sure, you can always test to find out. Try different things to see what your audience responds to and what they don’t.
Jason said to understand what your audience connects with emotionally. Your content should touch them. That’s the best way to make those aforementioned conversions happen!
Q5: How can you incorporate your team in the content creation process?
Getting your team involved is a great way to get fresh ideas flowing and to produce some amazing content. Here are some tips on how to incorporate them into the process:
As Julia said, Communication is key. Don’t exclude anyone from your team because you never know who will have the next great idea.
Make sure you’re asking your team for their ideas and feedback. Find out what questions are being asked and what they’d like to see.
When you have an office environment that welcomes teamwork and collaboration, you’ll see great results.
It’s helpful if you can set aside time to brainstorm with your team. Schedule a meeting and work together to come up with amazing content.
Your team will feel valuable when you give them the opportunity to contribute and also bring their ideas to life.
As Josh said, it’s important to also know the strengths of your team. If something isn’t your strength, ask a team member or consider hiring an expert for help.
Q6: How can having the wrong mindset hold you back in your business?
You already know having a positive mindset can encourage growth in your business, but do you know just how troubling the wrong mindset can be? Here’s what some participant’s in Tuesday’s chat had to say about having the wrong mindset in business:
Michele said that as your mind grows, the results in your business will grow as well.
If you have a negative mindset, it can also impact your team members. You don’t want them thinking negatively, do you?
A negative attitude just isn’t going to get you the positive results you want.
Gayane said you should be flexible and willing to try new things if you want to see results in your business.
A mindset where you’re so focused on perfection can be harmful as well. Things will never be perfect, friends! It’s more important to focus on doing your best.
Q7: How can you use your mindset to impact and maintain your business growth?
Here’s what you need to know straight from this week’s chat:
Michele reminds us that you get more of what you focus on. So, it’s important to only focus on the things you want. If you focus on what you don’t want, that’s exactly what you’ll see manifest into your life. It’s all about the Law of Attraction!
As Sarah said, a well-informed mind is a mind that is ready to succeed. Success is where preparedness and opportunity meet. Remember that!
Leah said you should always challenge yourself and try things that scare you.
Debi feels that if you do what you love, your work will be inspired and in spirit. Your audience is sure to pick up on that.
Ken’s advice is to make your content the opening line in a conversation. You want content that will add value to your audience and get them to take the next step with you.
Q8: What inspirational public figures in business rock at mindset and business?
Check out these awesome people for some major mindset and business inspiration:
Michele thinks Oprah, Richard Branson, and Bob Proctor are amazing at what they do.
Sue is a fan of Sheryl Sandberg.
Tony Robbins is definitely a great example!
Lori said Brene Brown is great at helping others become comfortable in their own skin.
Because Danielle LaPorte focuses on helping you figure out how you want to feel in your daily life, she does a great job at combining mindset and business.
Julia is a fan of Gary Vaynerchuk, Tony Robbins, and Marcus Lemons.
We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time for great chats centered around content writing and marketing. Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on our new topics and guests!
Let’s face it.
Getting traffic, maintaining traffic, and creating content they come back for—and keeping that cycle thriving for years—is hard work.
Yet this is something we’ve been able to achieve successfully, day in and day out, at Express Writers.
We’re a content writing agency that does what we do best for ourselves, before we sell it to others—creating winning online content that brings revenue, markets a business, and informs and helps an audience.
Since I launched my website with a $75 investment in May 2011, Express Writers has relied on creating content for ourselves and publishing it online, organically, as the #1 source of all our leads, marketing, and revenue. We’ve focused on creating content without a thought to a sales funnel: and we’ve never paid a penny to advertise our services on Google. (You heard that right. We’ve never, once, invested in PPC. And the publications I write content for, guest blogs, don’t pay me a direct paycheck.)
Instead, we’ve just focused on writing and publishing useful, outstanding content, on our site, consistently. Consistent guest blogging. Creating a Twitter presence that rocks out organically.
Call me crazy, untypical, you-name-it… but it’s worked for us—extraordinarily well.
I’m about to reveal it all to you, in a case study I sat down to create across a five-week span.
We Are Our Own Success Story: How We at Express Writers Dominate Online & Outrank Competition Through Our Content
Our major form of marketing is the actual service we sell: well-written, engaging, optimized online content.
And for the first time, I’m pulling back the curtain in a major case study where we’ll reveal exactly where we stand with content, how we fare against our biggest competitors, and much more. (I’m using a pro account at SEMrush to pull every analytic.)
Here’s a quick table of contents, so you know what’s coming:
Ready for this? Sit back—you’re in for a ride!
What does our organic online presence look like vs. competition?
A five-year-old company (launched May 2011), we outrank our major competitors on average by 5% on Google. Check out this graph:
We’ve climbed to over 4,100 total keyword rankings in Google. Our estimated worth of traffic and rankings is at $13,200 (what we’ve have to spend to achieve these rankings through sponsored ads).
(Don’t worry about that dip in traffic. I have an upcoming post, How I Lost 30% of My Organic Rankings & Traffic (On Purpose) & Added 25% Additional Monthly Revenue By Going After the Traffic I Wanted, coming out soon to explain.)
Over 300 keywords are indexed in the top 10 of Google (example in point, this is from the bottom of page 3, 100 results per page, in SEMrush):
Back to our competitors. Here’s what a real-life look at our keywords vs. theirs look like—on Google, two out of four of our competitors don’t even have a presence for the keywords we rank #1 for:
Overall, at first glance it looks like there is an extremely oversaturated market if you Google “writing agencies,” but only a few are worth really comparing ourselves to.
Their funding: One of our two major competitors gained $700,000 and another $4.5 million for funding since launching in 2011; and the second competitor has been around for over 16 years, raising a private amount of seed funding in 2011.
Our funding: We have zero investors. We don’t have a penny in outside funding. Yet we’re doing big things. I started Express Writers in May 2011 with a pocket investment of $75. It was a five-minute business idea born from a huge load of personal freelance writing I didn’t want to turn away. I learned how to code my first website; today, Josh McCoy leads our branding, building, and all our new upcoming development has been personally funded by ourselves. And without any outside funding, we’re launching a custom-built, 200% more efficient Content Shop that we’ve developed from scratch—coming out end of 2016/early 2017. Hand-in-hand with this will be the launch of custom writer team room systems we’ve built as well. (Get on the notification list for the upcoming launch!) And Josh is knee-deep in launching a boon to all content creators, Copyfind, which will offer the deepest content checking search for originality that’s on the web. (Get on that notification list here!) Yes, we have a lot about to launch. 😛
Today, we serve more than 1,000 clients worldwide, and we easily handle 300 pages in a given week. And we outshine most of our competitors’ quality because of a very personal, one-on-one mentoring environment we’ve given our writers—and because of incredibly dedicated, uniquely qualified experts I’ve been able to hire for our management staff.
I won’t lie: to stay personally funded, I’ve put in many an 80-hour work week on my part, and invested 65% to 100% sometimes of our net profits from the company back in. It’s been hard to find good people, but thankfully, today I have just those people. It’s all been worth the intensive hard work to see growth happen this way. Organically, from hard work, without a huge million-dollar bank account solely responsible for and behind the growth—as is the reality with many, many other VC companies.
How does our content perform?
We have over 785 published blogs on our site, with the first one published live on our WordPress site in September 2012. The average word count of each is 1,500 (with the highest blogs at 3,700 words, and the lowest around 500—we’ve actually been working on adding more content to the shorter ones now). Our two most-shared posts are a blog published in December 2015, on how to do a website audit—coming in at 1k shares. An episode on my podcast with Sujan Patel, published in March 2016, coming in at 800+ shares. (But I don’t think shares mean everything! Here’s why.)
The traffic, lead, and conversions that subsequently happen from our organic rankings bring in 90% of our company revenue. That’s right. That’s a six-figure gross yearly amount. The other revenue is brought in through cold lead outreach, a unique strategy I’ll be unveiling soon in another guest blog. We’ve seen five-figure clients (including big brands) walk in through our door of organic rankings in Google; we’ve created client relationships through organic connections on social media, and have seen four-figure client conversions come in without sales pressure from those that have read my guest blog content.
We’ve never bought a single PPC ad, we’ve never relied on sponsored content, and I’ve never created a single sales funnel—instead, our organic content presence brings in thousands of clients to Express Writers every year.
You might call me crazy for not making sure a sales funnel exists, but here’s the thing: I’m so busy creating relationships and the content that is behind those relationships, that I don’t have time or even need to worry about making sure a marketing or sales funnel process is there. My blog CTAs are as simple as a unique, well-written text link back to our Content Shop on the end of a blog post.
Curious as to how we do it?
Here’s the organic content marketing process I’ve followed, fully unveiled for the first time!
Our #1 Source of Marketing & Traffic Is In Consistently Creating a Ton of In-Depth, Long Form Content
Full disclosure here. We create a lot of content to win in content marketing. The majority is on our site, but our publishing schedule includes guest platforms that I blog on, too. Let’s look at how and where we’re publishing content, and where it’s gotten us.
A Split-Focus and Total of 32 Long-Form Pieces/Month Across the Web: A Huge, Consistent Amount of Quality Content (Quality over Quantity)
For the creation part, I write over 30 blogs monthly (average of each post is 2,000 words) with the help of some of my best team members, who guest author on our site. Primarily, 20 of these blogs go to our site. (You want your best content to be on your own real estate!) The other 10-12 get spread across various high-quality, large audience guest blog networks.
In-depth, specific research is key to a great topic and a great piece, and the actual writing requires time and team effort.
For the research part, I’m always on BuzzSumo, and looking up keywords in SEMrush and KWFinder to see what’s being talked about and asked the most (questions on Quora) in our industry, consistently. I’m also in Twitter chats to see what people talk about and ask each other questions on. I use all this community/research activity to find the best questions, create blog topics and then focus on highly in-depth blogs that fully answer the question in the topic.
Here’s what our EXACT content amounts and publishing times look like:
1. 20 Blogs/Month: How We Publish Content on Our Own Site (A Blog A Day, Except for Weekends)
We publish a content piece every day on our site except for weekends (5 blogs/week). Every post goes live at midnight (00:00 on WordPress scheduling) the day of. Here’s the kinds of content that involves:
- I post 2-3 times a week on our own blog, with posts that range from 1,500 words minimum to 4,000 (with custom created visuals, screenshots, and even GIFs included in each). Each post I write takes about a week. I backdate my content and stay a week ahead by devoting one full day just to writing, planning, and creating content. I start a whole line of new posts instead of just writing one, and flip back between documents to pen down a flow of ideas that should go in various channels. I type fast, so I can finish up to five half pieces in a day, then wrap them all up the next full day of content creation. (Sound scary? This is a unique process that I’ve found that works for me—after five years of blogging every week. My typing speed is 150 wpm.)
- We just opened our blog to internal team member guest authors only (no outside bloggers). We feature 1-2 intensive guest blogs weekly from our full-time copywriters, social media managers, and strategists.
- Once/week, Rachel creates and posts our Twitter chat recap. It’s always near 1,000 words. Keep in mind it’s full of tweets, which are already indexed in Twitter.
- You’re already heard about our organic presence with our site, but here’s a recap: we’re at 2,600+ organic visitors monthly from 4,100 keywords, more than 300 of which are in the top 10 of Google.
- I audit and review our content in the rankings weekly. Once a week, I pop in to SEMrush and check out what ranks, for what keyword. If the content is at all crappy, it gets an update! (Case study coming out soon on how I’ve been successful at auditing old posts.)
2. 12 Content Pieces/Month: How We Rock Out Guest Blogging (The ROI Is Greater Than A Paycheck)
If you would have told me “blogging for free” was worth a TON of money, in the beginning I would have laughed at you. Because I needed the paycheck then, not the exposure.
But today, the exposure is worth far more than a paycheck.
And that’s why I guest blog for free. A lot.
Personally, I limit myself to about 12-13 pieces per month. I may take on one or two more channels next year, but not many more. I’ve learned that a guest blog on an amazing platform like Search Engine Journal (with nearly a million high-value, relevant readers) is worth more in potential leads that will buy our services, than if I dilute and post five blogs that week among other channels like Social Media Today, Business 2 Community, etc. And if I tackle more, I easily get overwhelmed and lose sight of devoting quality on each one.
Here’s where I currently guest blog—I recently got accepted to the HuffingtonPost, and go live on Copyhackers in October!
The Life Cycle of One Impactful Piece of Content
To emphasize just how impactful online content really can be, I’d like to walk you through a real lifecycle of one organic piece of guest blog content I published. This piece of content returned 100x on the content investment.
Before I show you this, keep in mind one thing: my guest blogging isn’t just a one-time post, but most of the time, it’s an ongoing column. That’s preferential for me, because of the opportunity an ongoing presence affords: a much more sustainable, long-term way to build reputation, traffic, and leads, as you’ll see from this very example.
Let’s take a look at a $5,000 sale that happened five days after someone read my column at SiteProNews.
January 1, 2015: my article How to Create Shareable, Likeable and Organic Content goes live on SiteProNews.
2:25 PM: We received this contact form. (Names blurred out. We’ll call our lead Dave.)
By January 26, after several email conversations and custom project bids from our staff, Dave purchased expert copy, our content planning, and enough content for several sites at a worth of $5,000!
A Success Story or Two: How We Implement Our Own Success Strategies for Our Clients’ Content
The content success strategy I use for our own content marketing is something I take to the bank, teach my writers, and implement for use in writing our own clients’ content.
We write everything, from bulk SEO content for agencies to resell to their clientele, to expert copy for niche firms. And in every piece we create, we implement these strategies: I teach every single writer in my team with internal, exclusive guides at Express Writers built by my staff and I the essence of great online content. From writing a meta description that reads as well as an online ad (because hey—it’s the organic PPC of Google!), to writing a blog that is oriented to the audience and uses the keywords naturally. We don’t fail: we have a 99% success rate because of the exclusive, personally mentored quality of our writers and their content. I can bet you anything that no other agency treats their writer base like we do ours.
And it’s not just a nice theory. We hear time and time again from our own clients that the content we write for them returns on investment.
Here’s a success story from one of our clients, Tom Dean, IT at www.andersonhemmat.com. For this Colorado based attorney website, we wrote brand new site pages to refresh their site; blogs; and press releases. Their results after we rewrote their content? They went up ten pages in the SERPs! With the blog posts we wrote, they also saw steady and increasing rankings in the SERPs. Our content made a tremendous difference!
“We’ve seen a huge jump in web traffic because of the great content you’ve done for us. We’ve gone from page 12 organic to page 2 organic since the site update. The main reason I find the content a successful investment is ROI. It costs very little to have you guys write something but in the long run if it’s on the web and written with SEO in mind it will help our rankings and possibly go viral.”
SnapInspect was another client of ours. By starting their brand new blog out with a consistency of two blogs per week minimum across six months, we were able to help them grow from a zero presence on Google to a subscriber list, active readers, social media followers, and a presence in the top five pages of Google.
There you have it! Our own clients are succeeding online with the content we write that is specifically targeted to perform well. Not just in the SERPs, but with readers.
Now, how have we been able to be successful with our content? I’m going to delve into a few strategies before revealing the last part of how we dominate online—on social media, specifically Twitter.
How to Be Consistent with Great Content
I’ve heard an echoing statement among bloggers that consistency is hard.
But the key in all of this is staying fresh, being relatable to the audience in your industry, and being consistent.
Never publish rushed, but publish as much as you can while staying within quality.
Time is what you need. If you don’t have time, a resource you can trust.
Spend the extra day to proofread, if it’s late at night and you just aren’t proofing it as thoroughly as you’d like. I’d describe my consistency of publishing as a careful balance between two constant thoughts:
- The Thursday I don’t publish content is a missed content opportunity. (Thursday is one of our best posting days: early in the morning, a lot of people seem to be reading blogs.)
- The Thursday I publish rushed, non-proofread content, is the Thursday I should not have published content.
What has significantly helped me in creating amazing content is to set aside one day called my “content” day. Seriously. If you are a blogger or online content marketer, you need to do that. There’s no other way.
Till the day you can hand the process off to a trusted resource, you need to allot one day to content creation. Plan your topics then. Finalize drafts. Create new drafts. Never create and publish one piece in one day. You can take breaks and create new pieces of content to break it up, but never, ever write and publish one whole piece in one single day. I never knew how much a fresh eye really mattered till I spent four weeks on one piece of content! (This piece you’re reading—six weeks. Probably my longest to-date.)
How Do We Successfully Guest Blog? 4 Simple Strategies
How do I pitch to the right platforms, and perfect the right customized content for each one?
My “secrets” to guest blogging are fairly simple. It’s a novel in and of itself, but to sum up, top strategies:
1. Less is more: I’ve noticed that if I focus on less channels, I can present better quality on each. Plus, a few top channels are worth their weight in gold, and sometimes that’s all you need to bring in serious ROI from the blogging you do.
2. Find platforms that align with who your ideal online customer is: It’s all about the right platforms—find ones with a huge audience, and readers that align with your ideal lead demographic.
3. Make a relationship with the right person: This is key in actually getting through and being published on your ideal guest blog. Think of the blog as a person you need to connect with, not an entity. This is how I made all of my guest blog spots happen (all!), from my CTO Josh personally finding Kelsey Jones, myself being invited on the #MarketingNerds podcast, and getting invited to write for Search Engine Journal, to connecting with Joanna Wiebe by offering her a podcast spot, and then getting a “yes” on the guest blog draft I sent her.
Never put time and effort in a contact forms—always find a person to contact! Sometimes starting the relationship can be as simple as finding the right “managing blog editor” to contact, following them on Twitter, and tweeting or DM’ing.
4. Always give your best, most in-depth, most useful content, oriented to the guest blog audience: If you’re writing for Business Insider, for example, you don’t want to be as conversational and story-like as if you were pitching to the Huffington Post. A technical voice might do better there. Find the guidelines for each platform, and follow them to a T. Go beyond by using the right tone that fits their audience! When making points, use screenshots. Don’t short any point you make. Be as in-depth as you can!
#2 Major Way We’ve Built Up Our Online Reputation: Domination on Twitter With #ContentWritingChat, Joining Other Chats, & My Best-Selling Book
Besides content creation, which is truly our fundamental source of valuable rankings and organic traffic, we maintain a strong presence on social media, specifically on one of my favorite social platforms of all time—Twitter.
Back in January this year, on the very first Tuesday in January, I made a resolution to launch a Twitter chat. I researched a hashtag for my chat, settled on #ContentWritingChat, and registered the hashtag to @ExpWriters Twitter handle on Twubs. I created a Twitter chat account specifically for the chat, @writingchat, as well, and started following everyone I knew, as well as major influencers, from that account. My key strategy was to a) hire help! I have had a social media manager run the chat since I started it, from @ExpWriters account. Our current one is Rachel. She’s been with me since the first month of the chat! b) remind everyone who is interested, via Twitter. Rachel takes care of that as well. Reminders are a huge way to get people to hop in your chat!
The serious evolution of our graphics, which you might notice—check out the first chat graphic, and then our last one in October with Joe Pulizzi—is because I was doing them in Canva at the beginning. Now, we have an amazing in-house graphic designer who creates our weekly featured Twitter chat graphics and the blog recap graphics. Our Social Media Specialist, Rachel, creates the Tuesday questions (eight total) on writing-related imagery backgrounds in Canva.
Our last Twitter chat was with Joe Pulizzi himself!
Here’s a short timeline of the fast-track success we’ve seen happen from it:
- #ContentWritingChat day 1, month 1: we climbed to #42 trending on Twitter!
- Month 6: we were trending at #9 and #11!
- Month 7: we were #4 on Twitter! Major influencer Brian Fanzo said yes to guest hosting one session this month.
- Month 9: Major influencer Joe Pulizzi from Content Marketing Institute joined our chat to guest host!
- Month 9: We pulled in a sponsor! I traded a live sponsored spot during our Twitter chat for extensive discounts on tickets to a Search Engine Journal event.
We’re at 1,000+ tweets from people around the globe during our live hour now! Want to learn more about my Twitter chat strategy? Listen in to the podcast I recorded about it with our Social Media Specialist, Rachel.
A Presence in Other High-Ranking Twitter Chats Brings in the Leads
Another way we’ve significantly grown our presence is through joining other Twitter chats. Check out the guide from Rachel with 8 chats that we love. One chat that has a huge presence is Madalyn Sklar’s #TwitterSmarter. We’ve received offline chat messages from interested people clicking through to our site, like this one, from our participation in her chat:
Get in Twitter chats, if you’re a marketer! Or pay your social media person to join for that live hour. You might just find a potential client relationship. It’ll be worth your time.
How Do We Fare on the Other Platforms?
I won’t lie. Our Facebook is a bit dead: I’ve often considered following in Copyblogger’s steps of killing their Facebook page. I still might do it unless we can hand it over to someone who revives our Facebook. We occasionally get the interested writer and client who messages here, so I don’t want to entirely kill it yet. However, I do have a Facebook group, Learn Online Writing, which I’ve grown to just under 140 members. It’s a tight-knit community that mostly comes from my book readers, staff and writers.
Our Instagram, @expwriters, has grown significantly since I created it in August of 2015. We have over 1,800 followers, and we get about 50 likes and 3-5 comments per post. A lot of the traffic on Instagram comes from our Twitter chat followers! Rachel does a great job at summarizing our blogs with unique <100 word summaries and posting that in a new Instagram post, with a themed blog visual specifically made for Instagram, created by our lead designer.
How Publishing My Book Brought Us Organic Leads
I spent literally a year of my life (all of 2015) writing a book that’s out on Amazon, So You Think You Can Write? A Definitive Guide to Successful Online Writing. It’s maintained #3 bestseller in it’s category since it launched mid-April, 2016—a feat because I haven’t been able to advertise it outside of emailing my list, sponsoring one tweet, and telling my social platforms about it!
Here’s what I’ve seen come through the forms… “I want Julia to write my content. Can I get her? She wrote her book really well and that’s why I’m here at Express Writers. I want her to write my book.” After a good chuckle, I told the lead he was in the best hands possibly with our mentored, trained writing staff! He was very pleased with the content results. We’ve had other leads that turned into clients because they read my book and were impressed, as well as writers come in to apply after reading and learning from my book. I’ve also used it as education among our own team writers.
I also have a podcast out, but it’s been hard to quantify results. I’ve had 4,000 downloads since launching it as well in April. I’ve had several appearance and interview opportunities occur because of it, and have gotten on the radar of some of my favorite influencers (an episode with Mark Traphagen will go live this October, and I’ve had the chance to interview Joanna Wiebe, Sujan Patel, and Steve Rayson)! If anything, podcasting has been a major tool in connecting with influencers for me.
Have We Spent a Penny on PPC Ads?
Not one. Ever.
We just started delving into Facebook and Twitter ads for the first time ever and have barely spent $75. (We’ll spend more when I launch our first-ever webinar, coming up soon.)
I belly laugh every time I think of the $75 we just started spending on ads, versus the huge organic results we’ve had so far.
Here’s what I’m going to tell you that’s solid advice to achieve a solid, strong customer base out of your online presence: it really isn’t about advertising anymore. It isn’t about creating a funnel and a sales process on rinse and repeat.
It’s about relationships. Creating meaningful content. Building a community, over time. Answering questions. Helping people.
And that’s what we’ve managed to focus on, and grown to be successful in, here at Express Writers.
Time, effort, and people (amazingly creative people) to help you out—these are the major tools you’ll need to replicate my process.
Want to get started in creating and distributing great content? Let us help you today.
Hey! Thanks for stopping by to listen to my now twelfth episode on The Write Podcast. (Psst: I have a new intro! I’d love if you let me know in the comments if you like it better than the other one!) Need the iTunes link? Here it is.
Have you ever wondered about how to create or launch your very own Twitter chat?
Now is the time to do it, if you’re considering–they’re hot stuff. There are even chat hosts that are getting sponsors for their chats. (Businesses pay the chat owners to mention them.) Full disclosure: that hasn’t happened for us yet, simply because I haven’t had the time to set it up.
#ContentWritingChat is a chat I started back in January of 2016. It was part of a New Year’s resolution.
And in 6 months, it made the trending sidebar of Twitter!
What’s even more amazing is the community that literally sprouted from a mere grassroots beginning through #ContentWritingChat. We schedule guest hosts every single week, experts in all areas of content marketing, and what we hear from participants is truly glorious: many people leave learning something new. I’ve seen both solid regulars and brand new people come in every week, making for a variety of people and a super fun, energetic environment.
Rachel, our social media manager at Express Writers, runs the Twitter chat as smooth as butter every single week, creating all our imagery and content ahead of time and scheduling out in Buffer. She joined us when I’d just created the chat, about three weeks out from its inception. And her consistent, smooth management means it runs without a hitch every single week. She’s a marvel!
In today’s episode, she joins me to discuss all about how she runs and manages the chat; what tools she uses, the basics of what she does to interact during the live hour, schedule guests, and even create the chat recap we post every Friday. You won’t want to miss this one.
In Episode 12 of The Write Podcast, I talk about #ContentWritingChat with our Social Media Manager Rachel Moffett
- The backstory of how I created #ContentWritingChat from scratch
- A rundown of how Rachel manages our Twitter chat every week
- How we find and Rachel sets up great guest hosts & the importance of a guest host
- The tools we use to manage and create content for our Twitter chat
- How Rachel creates a recap of the chat every Friday, like this one (hint: it’s not an automated tweet stream)
- Why and how you DON’T need 5,000 followers to start a great Twitter chat
- ….& more!
If you like what you hear, please leave me an honest rating and review on iTunes here. It will help the show and it’s ranking in iTunes immensely. I appreciate it! Enjoy the show!
Transcript: Episode 12, How We Created a Twitter Chat from Scratch & Grew it To #11 in Trending on Twitter In 6 Months
Julia: Hello and welcome to episode 12 in The Write Podcast! This is your host Julia McCoy, and for this episode, our social media specialist at Express Writers, Rachel, is joining us today. She and I will be discussing how we created a Twitter chat from scratch and how Rachel continues to manage it for us every week.
I launched the chat in January this year and in just six months we’ve seen it hit number 11 in the trending sidebar of Twitter. Better yet, we’ve seen a community sprout up out of nowhere around this chat that is just wonderful, friendly, helpful and we see a lot of people leaving saying they’ve learned something new every week.
Rachel, welcome to the show, I’m really excited to have you on with me today.
Rachel: Thanks for having me, I’m excited to be here.
Julia: Yes we finally get to show a voice to your name. I know you’ve been with us for a while. [LAUGH]
Rachel: Yeah I know. [LAUGH]
Julia: So to begin I will just go into how I started the Twitter chat itself.
So our Twitter chat is around the hashtag #ContentWritingChat. I started it this January, it was actually the first week of January in 2016, and the backstory is pretty simple. I was in Twitter chats myself for about a whole year, my company and I (the company is @ExpWriters on Twitter it’s just @ExpWriters). And what I was doing was I was bringing in my company Twitter handle and myself, and I was alternating and then joining Twitter chats just getting familiar with them, getting to meet a bunch of new people.
I did that for about a solid year. And then after I was doing that for a good while, I realized there was no chat that really drew in a lot about what I do, what we do in our field as writers and in our company. And I realized that I had a good chance of creating one. So I came up with the hashtag #ContentWritingChat in about literally five minutes. [LAUGH]
It was a really simple idea and in January I just made it one of my New Year resolutions to get it started and it was that simple. I just announced to all of our followers on Twitter that it would be starting every Tuesday at 10 AM CST. And we launched it the first week of January, and it’s just taken off since.
So Rachel is actually the one who manages it for us every week. So Rachel, just walk us through a little bit about how you manage the chat.
Rachel: Yeah so prepping for the chat actually includes quite a few different stages. So first we always have a guest host very week, and one of the first things we have to do is to get the guest scheduled.
So the great thing about having a guest host is somebody can come on and share their expertise with our audience. And once we lock in a guest, we come up with a topic and the questions for the chat and topics are always chosen based on the guest areas of interest and what they might be considered an expert in.
And for the questions, I basically draft a bunch of questions, send them over to Julia, she gives me her final list back and then I send them over to the guest host to approve them in advance. We like to make sure that our guest host has the opportunity to look at the questions ahead of time and maybe prepare their answers or give their feedback.
And really once everything is ready to go, I create all the graphics in Canva for each of the chat questions and I schedule them out in Buffer prior to the chat which is all pretty simple. I just find it a lot easier to manage the chat when the questions are already scheduled, you can just focus on engaging with the chat participants, liking their tweets, retweeting things.
Because that’s really what’s key in interacting with your audience, so having all those questions scheduled ready to go so you don’t have to worry about it during the chat is a huge help.
Julia: And what you said about engaging with the audience, that’s really the biggest key of the chat.
For example whenever I started the chat, I had no idea about how many people we’d see. I just kind of launched it and we started out with the intention to interact with as many people as we can who join the chat. And since we are replying to people, Rachel’s actually doing that now from our Express Writers Twitter account, we reply to people, we retweet, we like, we keep the conversation going, and like you said that’s just a huge part of what makes the chat so successful.
Rachel: Right that’s how you build a community around the chat, and why people coming back every single week.
Julia: Exactly. And tying into that, the marketing for our chat, I’ve had some questions come my way about that. How do you actually market the chat? And Rachael and I have a pretty simple, I’d say fairly simple system.
Of course she does all the work. [LAUGH] So run us through how you do that. I know it entails reminding people on Twitter from our account.
Rachel: Right, it’s actually not that crazy, it’s not like we’re doing this whole marketing plan or anything.
Rachel: The simplest thing is really just sending out reminder tweets prior to the chat.
And I noticed there are a lot of other chats to do that as well, and there are some chats that don’t do that. And I just find that when we send out those reminder tweets, it’s just really helpful to make sure everybody knows hey it’s Tuesday, #ContentWritingChat’s today, and I think I send these out about five hours prior to the chat which saying that out loud now it actually seems like a lot.
But I send them out early in the morning and it gives people the opportunity to say, yes I want to join today’s chat and they can maybe block off time in their schedule or set a reminder on their phone or whatever, so they know to join. Right at the time the chat starts and I’ve also gotten to the habit of including our chat graphic with those tweets, because I tag people specifically.
People that we would love to see in the chat, people that are regulars, people that are maybe new and need a reminder, and by including the chat graphic that we have it shows our guest host and topic for that day. So then people can easily see what we’re gonna be talking about, who we’re talking to, and they can determine whether or not today’s chat is gonna be something that they’re interested in talking about.
It’s super simple, nothing really involved. It’ doesn’t take a whole lot of work. I’ve got a set list of people I tweet every week. We add to it, take people off the list if maybe they’re not responding. And that’s really been key just reminding people and having people show up every single week.
Julia: And with those reoccurring reminders, we see so many faces that return to the chat, and it seems like some of them are there five minutes ahead of time. They look [LAUGH] forward so much to the chat, they are there.
Rachel: Right, people join before the chat starts. There are still people tweeting after the chat ends.
Rachel: It’s kinda funny but it’s great because it shows you really have built an amazing community around this Twitter chat.
Julia: That’s awesome. The engagement part is so huge, and the fact that I did have a presence before I launched it. I didn’t just launch it cold turkey.
But one thing to throw in as well, I’ve seen a lot of experts say that you have to have something like 5,000 followers before you even start a Twitter chat.
And we actually only had 2,000 followers when I started the chat and we’ve doubled that. I know we have over 4,000 now. And we doubled that literally just from doing the chat.
Rachel: Right, I have to say, I don’t think anybody should follow that advice necessarily because like you said, you didn’t have 5,000 followers before you started the chat and it’s done well.
And I’ve actually managed two other Twitter chats for different brands in the past, neither of which had a huge following but the chats did really well. They consistently brought in people every week and it helps build their following. So for anybody who is listening and wants to start a Twitter chat of their own, don’t think you need to have a ton of followers, in order to do it.
I mean the amount of followers you have you can invite them, invite people on your email list or whatever and people just might show up. And once you continue to chat every week more people are gonna find out about it.
Julia: Exactly, we see so many new faces come in every week and I’ve seen people say I heard about it because my friend on Twitter told me.
And what you mentioned abut sending an email that’s a good point. We actually did that whenever I started the chat I sent an email campaign out, it was a week before the chat started, and then we sent another email campaign out a day before the chat started. And interestingly enough I noticed that the people that were reminded on Twitter actually joined, and then the people in my email list, it was probably like 1% or less actually joined the Twitter chat.
So I’ve quite email marketing at all about the chat, and we just rely on what you do with reminding people.
Rachel: Right, I guess with the email list it kinda depends.
Rachel: If your email subscribers would be interested in something like that if they’re really on Twitter then it does serve as a good reminder to them especially if you’ve a got a lot of subscribers if you could invite.
So it really depends but yeah, doing the reminders every week really does help.
Julia: Is their any other way we can market a Twitter chat besides the reminders? Is their anything we’re doing, like for example, are we following up after the chat? Just run us through anything you are doing there.
Rachel: Well the great thing is that after the chat’s over, I’m always participating in other chats which I do think helps other people to discover our chat if they go look at our profile. And the reality is some many people who are in our chat are actually in a lot of the other chats that I participate in.
So it’s really great because in it helps to build a connection with those people, even outside of our Twitter chat. And it’s really a reminder for them to come back to ours every week.
Julia: Exactly that’s how I began the awareness for the chat before I started, it was just through being in other chats.
And then I mentioned at the end of a couple chats I was in some of the biggest ones I just mentioned, oh hey I’m starting a chat next Tuesday if you’d like to join. And I think that’s how we got a lot of the reoccurring people at first.
Rachel: Because so many people who are in other Twitter chats are looking for other chats to join, so they are the perfect people to mention it to an to encourage them to join yours as well.
Julia: And since you are the one helping us pick guests now, run us through how you pick a guest and how do you approach them.
Rachel: Well picking a guest is something that when we started you kind of came to me with a list of people that I know you wanted to have and I reached out to them. And some people that I get in touch with are people who really stand out to me in other chats, because a great guest is someone who they have a level of expertise in a certain area.
And whether we’re seeing them sharing amazing content on their blog or on social media, or like I said I’ve seen them in other Twitter chats and they’re doing really amazing. And some of the people that we’ve been able to connect with through those chats are very knowledgeable and engaged with the other audiences.
So they’re great people to have and really I just reach out to them. If there’s somebody I think would be a great guest host I reach out to them either through Twitter or through email if I have their email address. And let them know about the chat, what kind of things we talked about, why I think it would be great to have them on.
And fortunately everybody has pretty much said yes that we’ve reached out to which is awesome.
Julia: Yes that is awesome. And I’ve noticed there are some chats on Twitter that don’t have a guest host and as a rule we’ve seen much more engagement happen whenever we do bring in a guest host.
The first chat I started the first week of January, it was actually me just me as the guest host. And then it was me again the next three because we were still planning our people to come in as guest hosts. But we’ve seen especially certain guest hosts that had for example a bigger blog following, it seems like they’ve brought us a lot of traffic to our chat.
Rachel: And I think having guest hosts is really helpful. Obviously you don’t need to, but the great thing about having a guest is that you get exposure to a whole new audience. You get to be in front of their audience because they may promote the chat to their followers and when the chat takes place and they are tweeting and posting, their followers are gonna see that and they’re going to be more likely to join in.
So it’s really a great way to get new people to find out about the chat each week.
Julia: That’s true. So run us through some things you do during that hour. I know it’s really busy and it seems really hard to keep up so you have a lot on your plate during the hour. But what do you do to interact with people?
Rachel: Right, well like I said I schedule all the questions in advance so during that hour, I can just focus on interacting with people.
And I think kind of two of the key things that I feel are important to do is when people come into the chat, they introduce themselves, greet them, say hi to them, let them know that you see that they’re there, and make sure you thank everybody at the end as well. It’s simple but it makes people feel appreciated and throughout the chat, obviously it is impossible to respond to everybody.
The chat gets pretty busy. I swear if you look away from the chat screen for like five seconds, you will come back to like at least 10 new tweets, you can’t look away.
Rachel: I can’t respond to everybody but I definitely try to respond to people and let them know if they’ve shared a great answer or answer any questions they may have or get them to elaborate on something or like their tweets or retweet the really amazing tweets that people would love to see.
And I think that’s important because like I said you can’t respond to everybody, so you wanna do something to show that you are engaging with them, that you are seeing what they are posting.
Julia: Exactly, and as a rule of thumb, most chats do this and this seems like a good practice just liking everyone’s tweet who is using that hashtag.
Rachel: Right yeah, it’s a lot [LAUGH] especially when you have a lot of tweets coming in at that hour so.
Julia: It’s a lot.
Rachel: But I basically just, sit there and TweetDeck because TweetDeck is what I use to manage the chat. I’m just hitting like, like, like, like and trying to click everything and retweet the really good ones.
And it gets a little crazy but it’s not too tough to manage.
Julia: Do you have time to drink coffee? [LAUGH]
Rachel: I don’t often look away from TweetDeck during the chat. I’m pretty sure I stay laser-focused on my laptop screen and sometimes I feel like I may need a nap when it’s over just because staring at your laptop for so long, it actually does get a little tiring after a bit.
Julia: I join it every week but I don’t manage it now. You do, so it’s hard for me to keep up so I can only imagine whenever you like every tweet what that gets like.
Because our last Twitter chat on last Tuesday was actually the most popular one to date and it’s six months after we started it. And it was so cool, it hit number 11 and it made the trending sidebar of Twitter.
Rachel: Yeah that’s awesome. We had quite a few new people join and that’s how it’s been week after week. There’s always at least a couple of new faces which is amazing to see and especially all the regulars who come every week.
It’s so cool to see everybody coming back time after time.
Julia: Yes, it’s very neat to see the type of community not only the questions being asked and what’s being shared in the knowledge, but also I think our community is so warm, friendly and helpful. It’s not your typical marketing community. It’s very open, warm and friendly and I love that we’ve been able to build that.
Rachel: Right and I have to say two of the main things for me with a good Twitter chat is that one, you learn something from it and at the end of the chat you feel like you’re taking something away. And two, just having a really great community around it.
Social media is meant to be social and I think a lot of people forget that and may spend so much time scheduling all of these posts with links to their blog and their products and their services that they forget to take the time to just talk to people. And Twitter chats really are the simplest and best way to do that, because there are so many people that you can interact with within the span of an hour.
Julia: It’s really neat how Twitter has become a platform where that happens. And it’s so social, like you said. [LAUGH]
So one thing you do for us that is really great is creating a weekly recap of the Twitter chat which goes on our blog post. I proofread it but you put it all together.
So run us through how you do that.
Rachel: So basically the weekly recap is essentially just a bunch of tweets from the chat. I really just go through all of the tweets that people posted during that hour, and choose some of the top tweets and I try to really get a mix. I wanna make sure that I include everybody at least once just because I wanna make sure everybody gets included in there.
And then of course you wanna share some of the most valuable answers. Because I know a lot of people do chat recaps where they have this Storify stream of every single tweet.
Rachel: And that’s a lot to look at. So I really try to go through and curate some of the top tweets and the tweets that are gonna add value to people who are reading these recaps, and who missed the chat and want to still learn from the recap.
So I try to make sure I get a variety of tweets in there and a lot of some of the best posts. And then the great thing is that we can mention people on Twitter when we’ve quoted them in the recap, and it’s funny because I always love to see what people write back saying that they appreciate it that they were quoted in there.
And then they share it with their audience which sends traffic to the site but it also brings more awareness of the Twitter chat. And one of the other things with the recap is that it’s not just a stream of tweets, I try to add some commentary to each tweet which somebody, I can’t remember who it was, but somebody a while back said that he actually really appreciated that we added that commentary on there.
And that it wasn’t just a bunch of tweets embedded into a blog post.
Julia: I think it makes it so much more personal and it just has so much more than just that automated looking stream of tweets.
Julia: So you went through some of the tools you use and you mentioned TweetDeck and then Canva for the images.
Are those the two main tools that you use for the chat?
Rachel: Yeah those are the two main tools I use. TweetDeck is definitely my favorite for managing the chat, just because with TweetDeck you can create columns for specific things. So I have a column specifically for the hashtag which shows me all the tweets, for the hashtag during the chat.
And then I have columns for the mentions and the notifications that we get so I can keep track of everything. I seriously never miss anything with those columns set up. Because I mean Twitter chats get a little crazy and when you have a ton of people joining week after week, it’s not something you wanna try to manage on Twitter’s actual website, that’s gonna be stressful.
And as you mentioned, we use Canva for the question graphics and also for our chat graphic in general where we promote the topic and the guest host and really the only other tool that I use for the Twitter chat is Buffer, just because I use Buffer to schedule out all the questions in advance.
So whatever scheduling tool is your preference go for that but we use Buffer for all of our social media posts which makes it super easy.
Well I think that covers the essentials of how we run our Twitter chat. And just maintaining this every single week is probably the biggest key to seeing it become successful, because it’s taken six months for us to get in the sidebar of Twitter which is actually faster than I thought.
Rachel: Right let’s face it, that’s seems to me pretty quick.
Rachel: I was surprised when you shared that in the chat on Tuesday, I couldn’t believe it, but that’s amazing.
Julia: Yes that was like the ultimate reward of what we do. [LAUGH]
Julia: Well thank you so much for coming on and sharing what you do in our weekly Twitter chat and thank you for being so awesome at our social media, really appreciate it.
Rachel: Well thank you for having me it was a lot of fun. And hopefully people listening will now join the Twitter chat.
Julia: Yes which remind us when that happens and what day.
Rachel: So the Twitter chat is #ContentWritingChat. It takes place every Tuesday at 10 AM CST.
Join #ContentWritingChat to learn all things content marketing, writing, and creating! Follow @ExpWriters and the dedicated chat account, @writingchat on Twitter. We look forward to seeing you!