The Great Content Roundup, Week 11: How To Create Engaging Blogs

The Great Content Roundup, Week 11: How To Create Engaging Blogs

So I was visiting a toy library with my little daughter (11 months old) last week and the owner was a really neat lady who had a fantastic business model. She had started and now owned and managed this toy library herself (Toybrary, Austin). You pay a monthly fee and check out any toy you want, three at a time. Great idea!
She and I eventually got on the topic of blogging, and it was interesting. She already held the prize many bloggers seek—high website Google rankings, exactly where she wanted to be.

So, what were the other reasons to blog, if she already had that? She asked. My immediate answer? Engagement.

After talking to her and writing a follow-up email, this inspired me to delve into this topic a little more while working this week. How does one create engaging blogs, if that is their goal? And that thought led to…shouldn’t that be the #1 goal of bloggers? Ranking, last? Sure. We blog to rank—no, I mean I really do with our own blog—but how do rankings really bring us actual income? If people convert. And isn’t income and the ROI our goal? So, to get them to that point of conversion, you want them to engage with your content. Therefore, engaging content really should be the #1 goal of blogging, regardless of a ranking goal. (I feel like Sherlock Holmes right now. Elementary, my dear Watson?)

Week 11: Creating Blogs That Will Be Read, Loved & Shared

Now creating engaging content can be simple, or difficult—depending on your process. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be dependent on your knowledge level! All you have to do is find a writing solution. I think this is a must. Why? Writing your own blogs will KILL your time. Literally. You need to build your business. Not write the blog. So, hire Express Writers. ‘Nuff said.
Besides that shameless plug (not really, we prize quality, so you’re actually getting top notch bloggers here)—here are some top-notch resources you can read to get familiar with the whole concept of creating fantastic, awesome blogs. Read and enjoy!

  • ProBlogger’s resource center on blogging: from how to actually craft the post to length, effective titles, schedule suggestions, guest blogging, and more, this is the master resource for those delving into what the meat of actual blogging is all about. I might add the RSS guide is good – always want to have that going for your readers.
  • Hubspot’s A Simple Formula For Writing Kick-A$$ Blog Titles: Excuse the sailor’s mouth, but, this piece is gold on the foundational point of engaging blogging—the title you use for the post. The author outlines exactly how I like to do it: a) actually write your topic (even if it’s bland): get one going b) be accurate c) become sexy d) SEO it e) Shorten f) get another brain involved.
  • Inc’s 74 Blog Titles That Actually Work: This is killer – an infographic, or visual, with 74 working hot title templates. All you have to do is plug in your nouns or subjects into most of these and they will instantly work for you.
  • Wordstream’s How To Write An Awesome Blog Post In Five Steps: Basic, but basically awesome. How do you write awesome blogs? Plan, stay relevant to what interests you (and therefore your readers), research research, fact check, then the headlines & writing, imagery, editing, and there’s more good tips here.
  • 4 Ways to Create an Engaging Blog Experience by Rachel Sprung, on Social Media Examiner: This is definitely for the serious blogger, someone who’s ready to get their web developer involved in making even the whole layout perfect. Interesting how she begins talking about the visual blog layout and responsive design you show people. On our very own blog home page, my designer has worked quite a bit on the unique, responsive design you see. Matching people to their interests is definitely a plus, this will require some building as well on your developer’s part; lastly, she talks about being interactive throughout with yet more visuals (GIFs, etc.). Good tips here, again for the serious blogger.

There’s much more out there if you spend a little time on Google, but these were some of my faves on this topic.
What are your resources for creating awesome blogs? Please do share in the comments!

The Great Content Roundup, Week 10: The Google Mobilegeddon Aftermath

The Great Content Roundup, Week 10: The Google Mobilegeddon Aftermath

4/21, yesterday, Mobilegeddon hit.
It’s set to affect the web on a larger scale than most of the other updates Google has made. And we’re already 24 hours into the Mobilegeddon. (At least the aftermath isn’t leaving the web broken and smoking.)
A year ago, Marketing Land reported that 60% of Internet users were on mobile. Today, this is even more true—and Google is finally forcing all website owners to clue in on the fact that they need to market to this audience on smaller screens. It’s actually for the benefit of all website owners. But those who don’t comply will get a penalty.

The Great Content Roundup, Week 10: What’s Happening Post Google’s Mobilegeddon?

  • BusinessInsider says the update is going to impact content marketing in general. “Google is always about content is king (content relevancy). But now, they are also telling us that user experience is just as crucial. What if people come to your site and can’t read it, on their mobile device?” –to paraphrase the CEO of Duda. Actually, that’s good thinking there, Google.
  • SEMRush took a very insightful look this week at Why Google’s Mobile-Friendly Update Isn’t The End of the World. This piece explores the top sites on the web and how mobile-friendly they are for users, as well as an insider’s chart into the top 100 websites with highest traffic and how they’re currently faring in terms of being mobile friendly. Also, they give you 10 tools to check mobile friendliness.
  • On 4/21, CNN posted 5 Fast Facts About Google’s Mobilegeddon. This recaps exactly what is going on with the mobile update in a simple list. Good to know if you didn’t already.
  • My guest blog on SearchEngineJournal, How To Write For Google’s Mobile Algorithm Update, recaps how you can create content that is easy for your visitors to read and, later, convert from. I take a look at creating shorter main page paragraphs, cutting down headline length, and content in general paired with mobile viewers. This is an easy takeaway list as we live on into the era of the Mobilegeddon.
  • USAToday published an attention-grabbing piece on why Mobilegeddon could be bad news for 40% of the web. I was shocked. There are so many sites out there that are not yet mobile, this included major restaurant chains, fashion exclusive Versace…and other big names. They will probably get with it very soon. Also: TechCrunch found that 44% of the Fortune 500 companies failed the mobile friendly test. Wow!

Are You Mobile?

Finally, want to see if you pass the test? Google’s simple Mobile-Friendly test allows you to instantly see if your site passes their rules.

The Great Content Roundup: Week 9, How Much Is Too Much Promotion?

The Great Content Roundup: Week 9, How Much Is Too Much Promotion?

Welcome to my Great Content Roundup, folks! Today, I’m looking at a big question that applies to businesses of all sizes.

When do you start promoting yourself (your content, your business) too much?

The only exception I could think of is local ice-cream shops – I probably wouldn’t ever get tired of seeing their posts, but maybe that’s just me.
Recently, I’ve encountered some businesses that over-promoted the “heck outta themselves,” excuse the grammar. I’m talking every HOUR on Twitter they were tweeting about their app. Every other day the rep was messaging me, either on LinkedIn or on my personal email.
Granted, the company had a nice Twitter community going and what looked like some actual real interested followers who were devoted fans—but as a prospective client of theirs, I was turned completely off and decided to tell them to “stop spamming me” a few days ago.
Now this experience was so fresh and real in my mind, as I read content this week I couldn’t help but place it next to what I was reading about. So, let’s delve into:

The Great Content Roundup, Week 9: How Much Is Too Much Promotion?

Social Triggers has a great rule on how to build a blog audience: the 80/20 rule. Spend 80% of your time promoting OTHERS’ content; and 20% of the time promoting your own. This is exactly what we do at Express Writers (view our Twitter as proof); and we connect with new followers and great industry friends all the time. 
80/20, folks. Those that flip this for 80% self-promotion will soon be labeled a spammer.
Neil Patel mentions somewhere in his very useful post How To Inspire Your First Time Blog Visitors To Trust You that you absolutely have the right to share your own content on your profiles. I agree. Um, hello: you own the profile—and you should use it for your advantage!
But, he also says this: Blogging is not a one-way street. It’s an exchange between you and your readers. I think this applies to all content you publish. He says you should listen more, and answer questions. (Brian Dean at Backlinko is a very successful example. He emails his new signups with this question: “Reply to this email and tell me one thing you’re struggling with. Even if it’s teeny tiny.”) Patel’s post here is golden.
Buffer’s Guide on Content Promotion: How Content Promotion Works for Blogs Big and Small: Our 11 Favorite Content Distribution Strategies. This is an amazing piece, I highly recommend reading it through. The part where the author follows up and emails the person he mentions in his blog for a kudos, thank-you, and new loyal fan—GENIUS! Might I say. And I’m always saying you should mention your influencers. Also, #6 – the top content community is Inbound – I’m on Inbound and can attest to it as a wonderful community gaining us new fans, followers, and engagement overall. The only downside to all this is time. It’s going to take a LOT of time for one person or one marketer to follow all the steps. I recommend involving a team in this process.

The Great Content Roundup: Week 8, Ready For Google’s Updates?

The Great Content Roundup: Week 8, Ready For Google’s Updates?

Excuse the hiatus, folks – it’s been exactly 5 weeks since I wrote a Great Content Roundup!

What exactly was I doing that was more important than the Great Content Roundup?

Ha, you got me. Actually, I was moving from Corpus Christi, Texas to Austin, Texas—the land of beautiful parks, trails, lakes, creeks, and even more importantly, awesome eateries and downtown industry events.
ladybird-lake
Photo credit iStock (RoschetzkyIstockPhoto) 
Why did it take so long? Well, I do have a 9-month-old baby girl, and finding the right daycare was the biggest transition. Then, after that, I somehow caught the bug from the grave—a respiratory and stomach virus with a sinus congestion! Today, I can safely say things are finally going smoothly and my schedule is a bit back to normal, so it’s back to my curated Roundup pieces. I hope no one has missed me too badly. (All right, that was a joke.)
This week, I want to take a look at what Google’s planning to hit the web with coming up. There’s a big mobile change that’s been forecasted by all lately, and a few other updates, but what exactly is going on? I did some digging and research. Here’s a fact-based look.

Resources on Google’s New Upcoming Mobile Algorithm 

It’s a must-read: The official Google announcement that they will be finding more mobile-friendly search results came out late February 2015.
“Mobilegeddon” Is Coming on April 21 – Are You Ready?”SEW piece by Chuck Price, written March 9. One of the first pieces coining Google’s mobile algorithm update as the “Mobilegeddon.” The author reminds us of the issues of duplicacy if webmasters reflect mobile pages from desktop URLs, and gives us pros and cons of being mobile. Overall, mobile is a winner—from a ranking and user point of view.
SearchEngineLand has 3 Actions to Take To Get Ready for Google’s Mobile Search Update. These are excellent questions every webmaster should be asking themselves in preparation for the coming algorithm update.
Is your website ready for Google’s algorithm update? By Erica Tafavoti on Inman. Excellent piece with actionable steps you can take (today) on making sure you’re reading for the big Google changes.
Moz’s 9 Things You Need To Know About Google’s Mobile-Friendly Update by Cindy Krum. A very indepth piece about how exactly these mobile changes will happen and how big the change is: “bigger than the Panda and Penguin updates.”
And finally, here’s a piece we did: What Types Of Links Does Google Hate? A blog on how to stay safe with your linking strategies and to avoid the types of links Google hates nowadays.
Hope that helps! Leave a comment with any suggestions you’d like to see added to our list!

The Great Content Roundup: Week 7, Succeeding on Social Media

The Great Content Roundup: Week 7, Succeeding on Social Media

Thanks for joining me this week, everyone!
How’s your social media doing?
I know: it’s a loaded question. But it’s one that’s frequently in discussion. Should I keep or kill my Facebook page? (That’s a question I’ve asked myself, given that our Facebook page rarely to never blows up the way our Twitter does.) Should you use acronyms on social media, or not? I’ve listed some of my favorite reads lately on these very topics below. Enjoy, share the love, and feel free to leave your resources and thoughts in the comments!

The Great Content Roundup Week 7: Resources For Succeeding on Social Media

Neil Patel’s 11 Tactics to Get More Click-Throughs from Social Media is a great read. Use pictures on Twitter and you could see 108% more engagement, like Neil did. Interestingly, he also says that you shouldn’t post too often. For self-promotion, follow an 80/20 rule. 20% of your social content can and should be self-promotional—but only 20%, folks.
Search Engine Journal, author Martin Beck, Is a G+ Breakup Coming for Photos & Hangouts? Google + could be slimming down and focusing on Hangouts and a separate way to host photos. Interesting news about this ever-changing network.
Buffer’s extensive guide The Definitive List of Social Media Acronyms and Abbreviations, Defined –a must read for any serious social media marketer. There’s even a quiz to test your knowledge.
From All Acroynms, 669 Social networking acronyms and abbreviationsincase you didn’t already know what BFN, or F2F, or AFAIK means on social media.

BONUS
Grumpy-cat-meme
Photo Credit: Comedy Network
If your head’s not under a rock, you’ve heard about #TheDress this week. But you might already feel like Grumpy Cat, above.
I’ll end this with a post by Danny Sullivan about #TheDress: Best Brand Tweets On The Dress: White & Gold Or Blue & Black?