#ContentWritingChat, creating content that builds community, creating content that generates leads, how to create content

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Create Content That Builds Community & Generates Leads with Kathleen Burns

Did you catch #ContentWritingChat this week? If not, there’s no need to worry! We have a recap of our latest chat and it’s filled with amazing tips to help you take your content to the next level. If you’re ready to learn how to create content that builds community and generates leads, keep reading!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Create Content That Builds Community & Generates Leads with Kathleen Burns

For this week’s chat, we were joined by Kathleen Burns. Kathleen is the Community Manager the United States Blog Editor for our friends over at SEMrush. She joined us to share her tips on creating content that not only builds community for your brand, but also helps you generate leads.

Q1: How can you create content that appeals to your audience? What steps do you need to take?

One key element in creating successful content for your brand is appealing directly to the people you’re trying to reach. Without creating the content that speaks directly to them, you’re going to wind up attracting all the wrong people or worse… No one at all! Here’s what you need to know about creating content your audience will love:

As Kathleen said, the first step in creating content that appeals to your audience is talking to them and listening to what they have to say. You can learn so much about the questions they have and the issues they’re facing by just asking them. Reviews, posts on online forums, and comments on your blog are also great sources of feedback from your audience. She recommends creating a reader persona so you know exactly who you’re writing for.

It always helps to address your audience’s key pain points. Not only will they appreciate it, but it’s the best way to provide tremendous value to them. They’ll want to keep coming back for more and more after that.

Julia agrees! Listening is key to getting to know your audience and understanding their needs. Treat it like a real life relationship and start making those connections through conversations and listening to what others have to say.

James said step one is always to know your audience. Without truly knowing who you’re trying to reach with your content, you aren’t able to create the content that will speak to them. Get to know and understand your audience before you move forward with creating blog posts and social media content.

Kristi agrees that knowing your audience is the first step to content creation. She suggests determining what they’re talking about, but also what they have liked of your content so far. For example, see what your most popular blog posts are because it’s likely a good indicator that your audience would love to see more content that’s similar.

Bill’s advice is to learn the preferences of your audience as well as their pain points. When you know they’re preferences, you can determine what content formats they like the most and which topics are their favorites. Understanding their pain points gives you the opportunity to solve their biggest struggles.

Cassandra’s advice is spot on. If you want to get to know your audience, it helps to get out and actually talk to them. Strike up a conversation in your blog’s comments, on social media, or within your email newsletter. The options are endless. Figure out what they need and what they’re struggling with and then deliver exactly what they need.

As Jacob said, you want to understand the problems, desires, and wants of your audience. Once you have that figured out, you can create the content they need the most.

Q2: Why is it important to set goals for your content? Discuss goals to set for community building and lead generation.

The content you create should always serve a purpose, whether it’s a blog post, a video, a podcast, or something else. In order to determine if you achieved what you set out to do, you need to set goals that you can actually measure and track. Here’s what some of the participants in Tuesday’s chat said about setting content goals:

Kathleen said content goals provide direction and depth for content development. Here advice is to make your goals something measurable and define what a successful piece of content means for you. That could be different for everyone and could vary depending on the content. One blog most might be designed to drive email sign-ups, while another could be promoting a product or building brand awareness. It all depends what you’re trying to achieve.

Right on! If you don’t set goals, you have no way to measure your success. If you can’t measure your success, you won’t have any idea how to make improvements the next time around. And the reality is, no matter how great we think we are, there’s always room for improvement. You just need to know what to improve upon and you can only do that by measuring your previous results.

As Zala said, you don’t want to just push content out. Your content needs to serve a purpose so you should always have a measurable call to action (CTA).

As Sarah said, if you aren’t getting results then it’s just a waste of time and money. You want to make sure you’re achieving what you set out to do after putting so much time and effort into creating your content. Setting goals and measuring the results is what will help make this all worthwhile.

She also mentioned that some great goals for community building include engagement factors. Is your audience liking and sharing your content? Are they leaving comments? Is your community growing? These are all great things to track.

Q3: What kind of content helps to build an engaged community around your brand?

Building a community is something pretty much every brand is after these days. You want to have a loyal audience who likes your content and trusts you. You want your audience to take that next step and engage with you. These tips will help you create that for your own brand:

Kathleen recommends addressing the needs of your audience with the content you create. You can share tips that will help them in some way, which they’ll find beneficial.

Jason said to post content that is relatable and shareable. Pictures and quotes are always a great way to go. When you share content that inspires them, they’re going to be more inclined to share it with their audience.

Jenn suggests sharing things like user-generated content, infographics, videos, and interviews. Content that is going to encourage a conversation between you and your audience is key here. You can always experiment to see what works best for your brand because it’s going to be different for everyone.

Lex also agrees that user-generated content is powerful. Encourage your audience to actually be a part of your community by inviting them to post content that is relevant to your brand. One of the best ways to do this is through a branded hashtag on Instagram.

If you want to build an engaged community, you need to provide value through the content you create. Debi’s advice is to create content that helps your audience by answering their questions. Everything you share should be relevant to grab their attention.

Make sure you give them a reason to interact with you. As Kristi said, you can create a poll or ask questions to get feedback and to get a conversation flowing. It really is that simple! You just have to be willing to take that step to encourage engagement.

As Julia mentioned, live conversation is perfect for this. You can do that through your very own Twitter chat, live video, and more.

Q4: How will you know if your content has been well-received by your audience? What metrics are important to track?

When you’re creating content, one thing that’s important is making sure your audience actually liked it. But how can you tell if they enjoyed your content and received value from it? These tips will help you determine the success of your content, plus you’ll know exactly which metrics to track:

Kathleen said to ask yourself which metrics apply to your overall goals. Depending on your goals, you may want to track mentions, replies, social media shares, and downloads.

As Liliana said, it’s clear that your content was well-received when your audience takes some sort of action. Click-throughs, comments, and downloads are all metrics that are worth tracking.

Brandie pointed out that some common metrics include clicks, shares, and sales. It’s also worthwhile to monitor what your audience is saying. Are they talking about your content and if so, what are they saying about it? If your content got them talking in a good way, then that’s always a positive sign.

Keep in mind that everyone has different goals for their content and sometimes your goal can vary depending on the piece of content. Some common metrics are shares, conversions, and sales. When you see people converting on your content or making a purchase, that’s always a great sign that they received some amount of value. There’s nothing better than when your audience takes that next step with your brand.

Q5: What are key steps to take in order to generate leads from blog posts and social media?

One of the top goals people set for their content is lead generation, however many people just don’t know how to make it happen. So, here’s what you need to know to see results:

Don’t forget that call to action! If you want your audience to take that next step, you have to be clear about what that next step is. Hold their hand and lead them exactly where you want them to go. Don’t count on them to figure it out on their own.

Jason also knows the importance of an effective CTA. Make it clear what you want your audience to do next so they aren’t left wondering. You have to capture their attention before they click off your page for good.

Developing a connection with your audience is key in establishing trust. The reality is, people aren’t likely to buy your product or service after discovering you for the first time. You have to work to build a relationship with them and build trust before you can expect to generate leads consistently.

Engaging with your audience is a key part of generating leads. People are going to be more inclined to purchase from a brand that they have engaged and connected with. Chat with your audience and start building that KLT (Know, Like, Trust) Factor with them and you’re sure to see results.

Jeremy also agrees that engagement is important when it comes to generating leads. Make sure you’re having conversations with your audience, listening to what they have to say, and genuinely showing that you care about them and their needs. If they don’t take action right away, you can always follow up with them.

These are all essential steps that Lex suggested. She recommends listening to your audience and helping them in any way that you can, which then builds trust. You should also create CTAs and set goals for your content.

Q6: How does brand storytelling play a factor in community building and lead generation?

You likely hear people talking about the importance of “brand storytelling” all the time these days. You may even be wondering how it impacts community building and lead generation and how you can use your brand’s story to your advantage. Here’s what you need to know:

As Kathleen said, storytelling can bring a community together. That’s pretty powerful for anyone who is trying to grow their brand and develop trust with their audience.

Overall, storytelling makes your brand feel more human. It gives your brand personality, a meaning, and passion. Your brand’s story is ultimately what will draw people in and what will help them connect with you.

As Brittany said, humans connect through stories and people buy from other people. A potential customer is going to be more likely to purchase from you when they feel connected in some way and when they’ve started trusting you.

Your story adds personal flair and character to your brand, which is what your audience will find relatable. It’s what will draw them in and make them love what you’re creating.

When your story resonates with your target audience (and it should), it helps you to develop a deeper connection with them. That’s only the beginning of the customer journey.

If your brand’s story isn’t worth following, why would anyone want to stick around? Your brand story needs to be compelling and should appeal to your target audience.

Q7: Which tools do you rely on to help you create amazing content?

While you’re totally fine to just rely on pen and paper, we have a plethora of amazing tools at our fingertips today. These are tools that help make the content creation process even easier, which is always a plus. Check out these tools for yourself:

This is a great list of tools from Kathleen. Have you tried any of them? If not, you definitely should!

A keyboard and a brain full of ideas is a great place to start when it comes to content creation. Plus, it never hurts to have a furry friend to bounce ideas off of.

Brittany always keeps a notebook or her phone on hand to jot down ideas as she gets them. It’s so important to have a place to store those ideas that pop up when you least expect it.

This is how we keep Express Writers functioning!

Cassandra relies on BuzzSumo, Moz, Rival IQ, and industry communities to aid in her content creation.

Ray’s go-to tools include Google Drive, Google Docs, and Evernote. He also uses WordPress and Hootsuite.

If you need help with keyword research or content ideas, these three tools should definitely be in your arsenal.

Sabjan turns to BuzzSumo, Neil Patel, and our own Julia McCoy when he needs help with content creation.

Q8: What brands have built an incredible community?

And finally, we wrapped up the chat by asking everyone to tag a brand they felt has built an incredible community through their content. Here’s what some of them had to say:

We’re big fans of Buffer here at Express Writers!

Lexie is making us blush with her answer. Thanks so much! Besides our team, she also recommends Procter & Gamble and Jimmy Johns.

Lori is a fan of our friend, Sue B. Zimmerman!

The Tentacle team thinks Taco Bell has done a great job at building a strong community.

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!

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#ContentWritingChat Recap: The Value of High-Quality Content for Today’s Brand Audiences with SPROUT Content

Did you miss #ContentWritingChat this week? There’s no need to worry! We’ve put together a recap of this Tuesday’s chat so you wouldn’t miss a thing.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: The Value of High-Quality Content for Today’s Brand Audiences with SPROUT Content

Our guest host this week was Debbie Williams. Debbie is the Co-Founder and Chief Content Officer at SPROUT Content.

Q1: Why is it important to create the highest quality content for your audience?

You hear people say all the time that you need to create high-quality content for your audience. Why is it so important? Here’s what some of the participants in Tuesday’s chat had to say:

Debbie said your content can act as a 24/7 sales team. It helps you to directly connect with and provide value to your audience.

High-quality content helps to establish you as an authority figure in your field and can also build trust.

If you provide quality content for your audience, they’re going to keep coming back to you for more.

Alesia said you should aim to educate and excite your audience with your content. How can you provide value to them?

Great answer from Jenn! She said time is our most valuable resource and we shouldn’t waste the time of our readers by sharing irrelevant content.

High-quality content can help build the credibility of you and your brand.

Our CEO, Julia, knows the content you publish is a representation of your brand. Make sure you’re putting your best foot forward by sharing only the best with your audience.

As Atulmaharaj said, he feels his audience deserves the best. Your audience does too! Make sure you provide top-notch content every single time you publish.

Why wouldn’t you want to provide the highest quality content? Zachary said you should strive to be the best.

Q2: How can your content position you as an authority in your field?

As you build your brand, you’re likely seeking to become an authority in your field. How can your content help you do that? Let’s find out:

Debbie said you should create a content strategy so you can plan and optimize the content you’re sharing online.

Sarah’s advice is to become a resource for your audience. Be helpful and credible.

Aim to answer the questions your audience is asking or solve the problems they’re facing. This will help you become an authority in your field.

Kristen feels great content is filled with actionable tips, detailed examples, and explanations. When you go that extra mile, it really helps to build your authority.

Consider sharing case studies with your audience. Not only does it show off your expertise, but it helps establish you as a reputable source.

Q3: How can you figure out what kind of content your audience is looking for?

Now that you know why it’s important to create high-quality content, how can you figure out what you should create? Here are a few tips to find out what your audience is looking for:

Great advice from Debbie! She suggests reaching out to the sales team for your brand to find out what prospects are asking. Create content that addresses those concerns. If you don’t have a sales team, you can still tune into your audience by checking responses you receive on email or social media.

Sarah knows that it can take a little trial and error to figure out what your audience is truly interested in. Make sure you’re keeping an eye on your analytics to see what people are engaging with and where they’re converting.

Quite a few of you had the same answer for this question. Ask them! Don’t be afraid to reach out to your audience and ask what they’d like to see. Ask what they’re struggling with and what they’re interested in. There’s no guessing involved here. They’ll tell you what they want.

Determine the pain points of your audience and provide content that helps resolve them.

You can use your social media analytics to see which posts get the most engagement. That’s a clue to what your audience enjoys.

Q4: Discuss features that make up a high-quality, readable online content piece.

So, what makes a great piece of online content? Here’s what some people said in Tuesday’s chat:

Debbie recommends writing a great introduction to your content. You want to hook them in the beginning to keep them reading. She also said to focus on quality over quantity. Don’t add more words to make your piece longer. It’s just fluff.

Julia said you should create the most in-depth piece of the topic. Do your research and write the best piece you possibly can.

Don’t forget formatting when writing your articles. Kristen suggests using headings to break-up text and bullet points for detailed lists and ideas.

You should also write in a way that’s understandable and relatable for your audience. Always keep them in mind whenever you’re creating content. Don’t forget to use proper grammar!

Including images, videos, and examples that are relevant to your content are also helpful for your audience.

Make your content easy to share as well. You can choose specific quotes and add a social sharing link to make it easy for readers.

Edanry knows the power of long-form content. Try creating longer blogs for your brand and see how your audience responds.

Q5: What tools help you create top-quality content for your audience?

Luckily, there are some tools that make content creation a little easier. Here are some of the ones our chat participants like:

Debbie said that SPROUT Content relies on HubSpot for publishing, monitoring, and metrics.

Julia shared a few tools we rely on here at Express Writers. They’re definitely worth checking out!

When it launched, Copyfind is sure to be a must-have tool for all content creators!

News aggregates, IFTTT, Google Alerts, and publications specific to your industry can all be helpful.

Yoast is a simple, but effective, tool that will help you optimize your content for search engines.

As Kelly said, Pinterest can also be a great tool to find out what your audience is looking for.

If you need help with creating graphics, Jim is a fan of Canva. We are too!

Q6: What are some things to avoid when creating content online?

When you create content online, make sure you avoid these things:

Debbie’s advice is to provide your own insights. Don’t just copy what has already been said many times before. Be unique. Make sure you also take the time to optimize your content for search engines. Debbie also said you shouldn’t leave your reader hanging. Tell them what to do next by providing a call to action (CTA).

Don’t be a copycat! This is one piece of advice we can all agree on. Never plagiarize someone else’s work.

Halle said you should never post just for the sake of positing. Make sure you focus on providing quality content over a quantity of content.

Keyword stuffing is another big no-no!

If you’re quoting someone or citing someone else’s idea, make sure you give credit.

David’s advice is to ask yourself if your content will make people think, feel, or act. If not, you have to change something.

Q7: How can you ensure your brand is consistently publishing great content online?

Check out these tips from Tuesday’s chat:

Debbie knows how important it is to have a content strategy. Develop one for your brand so you can stay on track and produce the best.

Jenn suggests asking yourself these questions to ensure you’re publishing great content.

Know your audience. What kind of content resonates with them the most? That’s what you should create more of.

Get your team together to brainstorm ideas. Two heads are better than one after all!

Varun said to make sure you check your analytics and feedback you receive from your audience. What are they enjoying?

Our Content Manager, Katria, knows having a reliable and passionate team behind your brand makes a huge difference. They can help you create amazing content your audience will love.

As Kristen said, you should never sacrifice quality for quantity.

Q8: Which brands do a great job at sharing amazing content?

If you’re looking for brands that share amazing content online, check these out:

Mashable is definitely a great example!

Who doesn’t love Buffer? They share amazing blog posts!

We’re big fans of Moz as well!

These are all great brands that are worth checking out!

Jenn knows that it’s not just the content powerhouses that make a difference. The ones who see things differently and provide their unique views really stand out.

Here at Express Writers, we’re focused on having more team members contribute to our blog. It’s a great way for you to see who is behind the brand. Make sure you keep an eye on our blog for more!

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 May 3 2016 Recap: How to Create & Promote Shareworthy Content

If you missed this week’s #ContentWritingChat, no need to worry! We’ve rounded up some of the tweets from this week’s chat so you can get caught up. Check it out and learn all about creating and promoting shareworthy content!

There were so many great tips shared: you’ll want to start implementing them today to grow your online presence.

ContentWritingChat May 3 2016 Recap: How to Create & Promote Shareworthy Content

For this week’s chat, Grant Simmons joined as our guest host. Grant is the VP of Search Marketing at, a speaker, author, and a frequent Twitter chatter and social media expert. He shared his insights with us on creating and promoting content that will get shared across the web.

Q1: What are the key features of a shareworthy piece of content?

What makes content shareworthy? How do you create something that you know your audience will love and share online? Check out these tips from the chat:

Grant kicked things off by sharing what “worthy” means. It’s important to ask yourself if your content entertains, educates, informs, enlightens, or inspires. These are great characteristics of a shareworthy piece of content!

Sarah from ThinkSEM knows the importance of considering your audience. Before you start creating content, always ask yourself if what you’re writing will resonate with them.

Don’t ramble on in your blog posts! Tara says your content should get to the point quickly. Remember to make sure it’s scannable, which ensures it’s easy for your readers to digest. Visuals are a must, too!

Andrew says shareworthy content should stir up some emotion within your audience.

Ryan’s advice: add value for your reader. How can you solve their pain points or help them with an issue?

Our CEO, Julia, knows storytelling elements make for shareworthy content. Get creative!

To put it simply, shareworthy content is relevant, informative, and helpful for your audience. A little humor can be great too if it suits your brand and readers! Spot on, Varun!

Content that is timely, informative, and entertaining is sure to shareworthy. Great answer, Jim!

As Grant said, we all have different ideas of what constitutes shareworthy content. One thing that always remains the same is value. You should always add value for your audience. Aim to solve their problems and provide them with the information they want and need.

Q2: Discuss strategies to discover and tune into your matching audience.

How can you figure out who your audience is and how do you reach them with your content? Here are some great answers:

Grant’s answers were spot on for Q2. His first piece of advice: LISTEN! If you want to get to know your audience, you need to listen to them. Find them on social media and see what they’re talking about.

Also, you want to be tuned in to what’s resonating with your audience. Which pieces of content are they clicking on? What are they sharing and engaging with? When you understand what your audience enjoys, you can provide more of the same.

Tara recommends being part of your audience’s community. This allows you to get to know them by listening and engaging in conversation.

Varun knows the importance of social listening! Tune into your audience via social media to see what they’re talking about and what they’re sharing. You can perform A/B testing to see what they respond to. If you’re still struggling, just ask them!

Make sure you’re taking the time to just talk to your audience. It’s the best way to get to know them.

Sarah said to figure out where your audience spends their time online. You want to invest your time in those platforms! Read articles, check hashtags, etc. to find your people.

Odds are, your company receives questions from your audience on a regular basis. Use these questions as a way to understand their needs!

Brittany likes to use Twitter Analytics and Google Analytics to get to know her audience. Both tools will help you see which pieces of content they’re reading.

Jeff also suggested digging around in your analytics. Your analytics can show you which posts are the most popular, which is very beneficial. Colleen knows it might not be the most fun task, but it’s a must!

Andrew and Amel recommend doing a little competitor research to discover new audiences. Figure out what your competitors are doing and how their audience is responding. Use this as an opportunity to do better!

Kelly recommends checking out the influencers in your field. See what your audience is checking out.

As Kristen said, don’t be afraid to just ask your audience what they want! They’re the best ones to tell you.

What’s a simple, yet great, way to get to know your audience? Create a survey and ask them to complete it!

Badal suggests reviewing comments, queries, etc. that your brand receives. It’s a helpful way to see what your audience is talking about.

Here at Express Writers, we love to use BuzzSumo to find the posts people are sharing and talking about. It’s so helpful!

Q3: What are important things to know before you create content?

Before you start creating content, here’s what you need to know:

Before you create any kind of content, ask yourself if it’s bringing value to your audience. Grant says you also need to know the who, what, where, and why of your content.

Before you can create anything, you need to understand your audience. What do they want to see from you?

Who is going to care about it? Will your audience care? How will you promote it to spread the word?

As Kyle said, ask yourself if what you’re creating is something people are actually looking for.

Great advice from Kevin: figure out what their problems and questions are. Use your content to provide your audience with exactly what they’re looking for.

Sarah said to figure out what your audience wants to read. How will your content benefit them, but you as well?

Anya said to ask yourself what your audience wants and how you can add to it.

As Michael said, answer the questions your audience is asking and the ones they SHOULD be asking.

Both Kristen and Dagmar agree: have a goal for your content. What action do you want people to take after? What do you want them to feel? Having a goal allows you to create content that gets a specific result.

Pratik reminds us that you always need to consider the platform you’re sharing to, user intent, and the goal when creating.

Content is consumed differently on each platform, so consider where you will be posting something. You need to adapt your content to the platform and your audience there.

A reminder from Jamie: grammar counts! You should always double-check for spelling and grammar errors.

It helps to have knowledge on the topic you’re writing about. Let your expertise shine through!

Tara said to make sure you’re considering the guidelines if you’re creating content for another publication. You want to make sure you have tailored your content to their website.

Never create for the sake of creating content. Your content should always serve a purpose. Fantastic answer, Zala!

Great tweets from Jamie and Devin!

Q4: How can you encourage your audience to share your new posts?

So, you’ve created the content… Now what? You need to get your audience to help share and spread the word!

Great tips from Grant! First, make sure your content is easy to share. If it’s a hassle to share your content to social media, your audience won’t be bothered. But most importantly, make it worthy of being shared.

Kevin agrees! It all starts with content that is worth sharing. After you’ve created that blog post, ask yourself if it’s something YOU would share. If the answer is yes, you’re good to go!

Eliza recommends including an eye-catching image with your content to encourage shares. Giveaway are great, too!

Kyle and Andrew agree it helps to get your audience involved in your content. Kyle suggested asking your audience for the opinion and allowing them the opportunity to share their voice. Andrew said quoting your audience members within your content is a good way to increase shares.

Make it easy for your audience to share by including social sharing buttons and Click to Tweets within your content.

Tara and Amel know it never hurts to just ask someone to share your work.

Julia agrees! Start by providing high-quality content and ask people to share.

It’s so simple, but if you want to encourage shares, don’t forget to share it yourself! You need to promote your own content to spread the word.

Dagmar is spot on with her answer! Make sure you’re connecting with your audience on a regular basis. When you form a relationship with them, they’ll want to support you and they’ll be happy to share your work.

Remember: sharing all starts with great content. If you want someone to share your posts, make sure they’re great to begin with.

As Kevin said, make sure you’re sharing the work of others in your field. If you’re sharing their work, they’ll be more likely to share yours! Do YOU retweet?

Q5: What are some creative ways to promote your content on social media?

If you want your content to stand out on social media, you need to get creative! Here are some awesome tips for promoting your work:

Grant recommends finding and engaging with influencers. Building trust with them and your audience is key!

Tara said to evoke emotion with your social media posts. That’s a sure-fire way to grab the attention of your audience.

Kelly knows the power of a good visual! It’s so simple, but using an eye-catching image is a good way to help your posts stand out in a busy timeline.

Julia said to make sure you’re matching your content to the platform. Each social media platform is different and you want to make sure you’re sharing the right type of content for each one.

It seems video is a popular answer to this question! Not everyone is utilizing video to its fullest potential. Create an awesome video to promote your content and it’s sure to help you get noticed.

Brittany suggested running an Instagram contest. This is a fantastic way to increase brand awareness.

Erika recommended creating quote cards that feature key ideas, stats, to share snippets of your content.

A very important reminder from Jim: say thanks. If someone shares your work, send them a simple thank you to show your appreciation.

Q6: How does storytelling play a role in shareworthy content?

How can you incorporate storytelling into your content and does it encourage shares?

Grant knows the power of storytelling. One image alone can help you tell a story and connect with your audience.

Brittany said storytelling shares your journey and invites your audience along with you. Get them involved with your story and build that connection with them.

Storytelling can help build anticipation and keep the attention of your audience.

Awesome answer! Storytelling helps your audience feel all the feels! That’s how you grab their attention and draw them in.

To put it simply, stories are memorable! If you want people to remember you and your brand, tell a story that resonates with your audience.

A fantastic answer from Julia!

Great storytelling engages your imagination! Nice answer, Tim!

Sarah said you should tell the story of how your customers are better with your product. How can you incorporate your customer and the benefits of your product/service into your story?

Ema, Kristen, and Michael agree that your story needs to have a human element. That’s what will make it relatable and genuine.

Well said, Varun!

Q7: How can we create great visuals that are truly shareworthy?

When it comes to creating content, you can’t forget about the visuals that go along with your written posts. They’re just as important. Here are some tips for designing shareworthy visuals:

The three R’s for shareworthy visuals from Grant: relevant, relatable, and remarkable.

Scott said to make sure your visuals are emotionally appealing to your audience. This is a key way to grab their attention.

Sarah and Andrew are spot on with their answers! Even when creating visuals, you need to know what resonates with your audience.

Good visuals should complement your written content.

Anya said to skip the stock images. They aren’t unique!

When designing visuals to share, always make sure you remain true to your brand. Your visuals can say a lot about your brand as a whole.

As Shannon said, give your audience what they want through your visuals.

A great tool to help you create amazing visuals: Canva! We’re also huge fans here at Express Writers.

Q8: Name a brand that produces content you love reading and sharing.

Take a look at some of these brands people in Tuesday’s chat love:

Who hasn’t shared something from BuzzFeed?

We agree, Andrew! Buffer is incredible!

In case you needed a reminder, we love Canva here!

Alberto was kind enough to include Express Writers in his answer. Thanks, Alberto!

Tim enjoys Moz and their Whiteboard Friday.

Even more amazing brands from Jim and Julia. If you haven’t check them out, you definitely should!

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.

Successful Content Marketing

25 Tips To Get You Started In Successful Content Marketing

Are you a business marketer new to content marketing?

If so, you probably already know that your best audience is found online, and now you’re trying to find out the best ways to attract them.

Content marketing is where it’s at today. Gone are the days of traditional advertising and outbound marketing. Paying for click ads is no longer a good idea either, the market is too thin and lean in PPC nowadays: you’ll likely overpay for a click and drive a great deal of traffic that ultimately doesn’t matter for your site. So what’s the solution? The answer is simple: content marketing.

In order to stand out in the field of content marketing, however, it’s important to develop an “expert voice.”

What is an expert voice, you ask?

It’s the tone and style of writing that comes from having a deep knowledge of the field and being very aware of what’s going on in your niche. It means staying on top of niche-related current events, technological shifts and important trends in your market.

Because today’s content marketing environment is so filled with great writers, being an expert voice is the only way to stand out. Not to worry, though, it’s easier than you think.

Successful Content Marketing

Let’s Define Good Content Marketing

According to Joe Pulizzi at Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is the “strategic marketing approach of creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience.” Content marketing is called by many the “marketing tactic of the future” due to the fact that it’s significantly less obtrusive and more efficient than outbound marketing, which relies on tactics like cold calling, email blasting and traditional advertising to gain customers.

Content marketing, on the other hand, relies on creating useful, educational, helpful content that assists would-be customers in learning new things and solving problems. The theory behind content marketing is that customers appreciate great content and, if a company can establish itself as an authority in the field by creating helpful, useful, high-quality content, that company will be rewarded by more business and loyal customers.

What’s more, it seems to be working: 57% of businesses have acquired customers through their company blog and 42% have gained readers through Twitter. This just goes to show that, in addition to being a more evolved way to market, content marketing is also a very effective way to market.

What’s so Great About Content Marketing?

Traditional forms of marketing, like advertising and direct mail, are becoming less and less effective. It’s been obvious for a long time that people don’t like aggressive advertising and, when you take into account that 84% of 25-34 year olds have left a website because of an “irrelevant or intrusive ad”, it becomes clear just how ineffective outbound marketing is. The reason for that is simple: outbound marketing seeks to push things on customers while content marketing seeks only to provide value. That said, outbound marketing casts a broad net while content marketing simply means creating great content and attracting already-interested customers through web searches, search engine optimization (SEO) and word-of-mouth.

How Can I Start?

Although content marketing may seem involved and difficult, it’s relatively easy to break into the field and begin creating your own killer content. I’m saying this because I was able to get into it, leave a med school career, and teach myself content writing—then start a writing agency where 95% of our marketing is through content!

So, here are my top 25 tips to help you get started in content marketing:

1) Define Your Goals

If you’re new to content marketing, the first thing you need to do is clearly define your content marketing goals. Are you seeking to build brand awareness? Gain email subscribers? Increase conversions? Increase purchases across the board?

Regardless of what you’re setting out to do, you need to know where you’re going in order to ultimately get there. As you get started in content marketing, ask yourself if the content you’re creating will help support your defined goals. If it won’t, focus your energies on content that will.

2) Start a Blog—Now (And Stay On It)

If you’ve already got a website, link it to a blog that will feature a great deal of your company’s content. Blogs provide 126% more leads for small businesses than pages without one so it’s well worth your time.

3) Define Your Metrics

In content marketing, it’s important to be able to track the performance of your content. That said, you’ll need to establish some metrics to track things like the traffic your content garners, who is referring followers to your site, how long people are spending on your site and how many pages they’re visiting, what your bounce rate is and how many social shares your content is gaining. Implementing a set of metrics helps you better target your content and cater to customer wishes.

4) Calculate Resources

Resources, in this context, mean more than just money. Do you have several great writers in your company? Would it behoove you to hire a content marketing agency? Who will be responsible for each piece of the content marketing burden? Deciding these things now helps you have a clear plan going forward.

5) Write a Mission Statement

Every good company should have a mission statement. Like a road map, a mission statement defines where you are, where you’re going and why you’re going there. Each mission statement should answer one of these 4 questions:

  • What do you do?
  • How do you do it?
  • Who does it benefit?
  • Why is it valuable?

Although a mission statement may seem unrelated to content marketing, writing one can help you clarify your direction and become an expert voice on the web.

6) Develop a Target Persona

A target persona is incredibly important when it comes to knowing whom you’re marketing to. It’s tough to create great content without having a specific customer in mind and creating a target persona is a helpful way to understand exactly whom you’re talking to.

7) Develop a Content Marketing Strategy

Like a mission statement, a great content marketing strategy helps your company define what it cares about. For example, popular lifestyle clothing brand Anthropologie publishes regular, seasonal DIY cocktail recipes on the company’s blog. While it may seem at first like this is in no way related to clothing or home wares, these drink recipe mimic the feel of Anthropologie’s company as a whole: each drink is made with unique, high-class ingredients that appeal to Anthropologie’s customer base.

That said; a content marketing strategy doesn’t always follow a straight line. Rather, it’s the process of determining what your customers value and how you can provide parallel content that they will find valuable, interesting and unique and that is not a direct pitch for sales.

8) Define Your Niche

What makes your content special and how will it help people? Are you going to write how-to articles? Develop infographics? Record podcasts? There are many types of content in content marketing and it doesn’t matter which few you choose to focus on as long as you’re bringing a unique twist to your content.

9) Audit your Content

If you currently run a company, there’s a good chance you’ve already got some content on your site. Marketing materials, product descriptions, pre-existing blog posts all count. If you have content lying around, audit it to identify weak points and decide what, if anything, you can repurpose.

10) Start Social Media Accounts

Social media accounts are important in content marketing and, if nothing else, you’ll want to establish a presence on The Big 4: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

11) Compile a List of Ideas

Developing a list of content creation ideas based on knowledge, customer inquiry and market demands is a wise step that will keep you from scrambling for ideas down the road. Write about what your company is good at, for starters. An outdoor clothing company may write about the top 10 rock climbing adventures, for example. Write about what your customers are curious about based upon comments and inquiries on question sites like Quora and build upon old content. Consider starting a series or reviving old content for new use.

12) Start a Content Calendar

Developing a content calendar helps you stay onto of your content publishing activity and ensures that posts are published regularly and on-time. It also helps you keep track of what you’ve written and where there may be gaps in your topic coverage.

13) Make it Diverse

In terms of working with content, it’s important to mix your content up. Don’t rely entirely on blog posts or social media or podcasts. Instead, cultivate a mixture of everything. Your audiences will appreciate it and your content will be more interesting.

14) Decide on Distribution Channels

In order to decide how best to distribute your content, you need to determine where most of your audience comes from. Social media? Search engines? Create content for those sources first and foremost.

15) Determine Goals for Each Channel

If you’re distributing content on Facebook, for example, you might be seeking shares whereas if you distribute content on Twitter, you may be after favorites or re-tweets. Once you’ve decided how you’re going to distribute your content, it’s important to develop goals for each unique channel. This helps you gauge success and better cater to each channel’s unique distribution method.

16) Learn About SEO

This is an important step. SEO is huge in content marketing and, while you do want to create content for people, you also need to optimize your content so that search engines can find it. Optimize everything for SEO and you’ll be well on your way to drawing customers and creating more engagement.

17) Hire a Content Creation Manager

Content creation is a lot of work and, if you have the budget, it’s worth it to hire someone to oversee the process. A content manager can develop, prioritize and edit content as well as helping your company repurpose old content and schedule new pieces.

18) Do Keyword Research

Conducting keyword research is an important piece of creating great content. By knowing which keywords you’re targeting, you can create more specific content that better caters to your audience and is easier for search engines to discover and rank.

19) Create a Top 10 List of Your Own content

This can help readers discover even more of your content and is a great way to link back to old posts. Additionally, it increases reader understanding and makes your site more easily navigable.

20) Start Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is a great way to build authority and establish dominance in your niche. See this easy tutorial for more info on how to start guest blogging.

21) Build Your Community

Actions like commenting on other blogs, answering questions on Quora, guest blogging and sharing other guest posts are a great way to build a blogging community, which aids in your content marketing goals and helps you spread the word about your product, good or service via referral and mentions.

22) Listen to Your Audience

Once you’ve begun creating content, you’ll also begin to get audience feedback. This can help you determine what they like, what they don’t and what they want more of. By listening to everything your audience has to say, you can create content that they love and find valuable.

23) Produce Quality Work

Although this may seem excessively simple, it’s an important piece. When it comes to content marketing, it’s always quality over quantity. Never publish sloppy posts because you’re pressed for time. This will only diminish your authority and harm your reputation.

24) Consistently Assess Value

Remember that the #1 thing that sets content marketing apart from other types of marketing is that content marketing provides value to customers. While writing and distributing your content, ask yourself all the time if it provides value. If it doesn’t, go another way.

25) Incorporate Storytelling

By incorporating storytelling into your content marketing, you provide a better experience for readers and help draw people in to your content. The importance of storytelling is applicable to all forms of content – not just writing. Podcasts, infographics, video posts and visual content should all include great storytelling.

Conclusion: Welcome!

If you’re just getting started in content marketing, we want to welcome you. It’s an exciting world and my initial tips can help you get your feet wet and start your content marketing career on the right path.