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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!

MOBILEGEDDON-Google

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.

over 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?

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

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?

 

content-roundup

The Great Content Roundup: Week 6, Why Today Is the Best Content Era

Howdy, folks! This week, I wanted to talk about something I’ve seen everywhere online recently, either in tangible topics or in a thought behind the topic.

It’s the fact that “NOW is the best time to jump on the bandwagon of content.” And I don’t really like to call it a bandwagon. It’s more like a strong, sure era than just a passing thing. Make that word “era” decade, or century. Literally—content isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.

Why Today is The Best Content Era (No Excuses For You To NOT Create!)

Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute recently talked on this very topic: This Week in Content Marketing: Why the New Golden Age of Marketing Is Now, read full blog on CMI. Besides the host (Robert Rose) being quite hilarious (including discussing “inner goddess”, the “Christian Grey of marketing” and more), this is an overall great listen.

Agency Says Content Is Their Biggest Opportunity: In the CMI blog was also a mention to another great resource, an AdAge post: Emphasis on Content Marketing Revives Agency SEO Efforts and Revenues. The agency showcased, Profero, said that “content is the biggest opportunity for us.”

How Agencies Can Survive in a Content-Driven World by Joe Lazauskas on Contently. This is an interview blog with Steve Rubel with a lot of good insights on how content marketing is at the top of the curve today, and how to do content if you’re in a tight niche, where it’s hard to think of unique things. Finance and technology are mentioned as intriguing industries where it’s easy to spark interest.

How To Dominate Content Marketing in 2015 by Neil Patel via Forbes: his #1 first tip is guest blogging. And we absolutely agree. Then, it’s all about user centric content, instead of focusing on SEO; and more good tips follow. A must read.

And, to make sure your content is the best as you take on this era of content, take a look at this great post:

How to Do a Content Audit (& Why It’s Worth It) by Heather Lloyd-Martin. If you’re not sure about a content audit, what it is or how and why to do it, you need to read this post. It’s a great, clearly written piece about the necessity of content auditing.

 

viral content

The Great Content Roundup: Week 5, Topic Making Your Content Viral

Viral content. It turns heads. It stops us in our tracks. We HAVE to look. We have to read (at least a little of it).

What makes content viral, and how do you get a piece of the game so you can experience the results of heavily trafficked, popular content? I have some awesome resources for you this week. Let’s take a look!

Viral Content: Resources From The Great Content Roundup!

10 Quick Tips for Going Viral from Problogger. Useful piece. “You can’t go viral if you say the same as everything else.” Getting your basics right, being a trend setter and leader, writing list style posts, and using emoticons and being long are all features of viral content, as written here.

The Secret to Creating Viral Content (Get Contagious) on Social Triggers. Did you know positive oriented content is more of a candidate to go viral than negative voice content? Or, practical and useful content is almost always a viral candidate winner? This piece gives some very useful tips that will help you cover all your basics when creating content to go viral. Plus, there are 7 emotions listed that can make your content contagious to include in your content creation. (I have this list in my editorial calendar already.)

5 Secrets for Creating Contagious Content for Social Media & Web Content by yours truly. I explore contagious content and how to craft such content. Usefulness is key; emotions will succeed; storytelling and knowledge are keys.

Backlinko Blog- A “Viral Content” Case Study – “How To Generate 36,282 Readers — and 1,000 Email Subscribers — From Your Next Blog Post (Case Study)”. Now you might think this is some crazy automated product for sale by the title, if you’re anything like me, but don’t worry—it isn’t. It’s one of the best pieces of content on how to share and create viral content that I’ve read. Basically, this guy says that if you 1) find awesome content that is getting a ton of popularity and 2) make some awesome improvements to that content (write your own and make it better) 3) lastly, promote via email—well, you’ve got a winner. I’d go as far as to call it viral content creation. And he’s got a whole impressive case study showing proof of this suggestion. I can validate this entire strategy because you’re basically creating terrific quality content here by identifying what’s popular in your industry and how you can add your own voice and improve directly upon it. Rock on, Ben! View their other viral case study on a blog generating 17k plus viewers in a day.

And, The Viral Content Problem (Many People Don’t Care Whether It’s True) on Gigaom. A most objective, interesting and truthful piece. This really hits the nail on the head about blogger sites like Upworthy, Huffington Post, etc. A woman with three breasts made for a viral but untrue topic – just one of the points made. Fake news got distributed, driving millions to a website. It’s called a fleeting instance of joy in this piece. And there are “viral content warehouses” like Buzz Feed.

Like this post? Tell me what you’d like to see in the next Roundup! Email Julia.

 

content and seo

The Great Content Roundup: Week 3, Topic Content and SEO

 

Greetings, folks!

 

On week three of the great content roundup, I wanted to specifically pull out links that talk about content and SEO in 2015. I’ve been seeing some great stuff on the Internet circulating around this hot topic and wanted to share my favorites from this week.

 

As you know from my past posts, I strongly believe that content IS SEO. Therefore, this will revolve around content marketing and everything SEO related. There are some great articles here, so enjoy, and feel free to share or leave a comment!

 

 

To end the discussion, here’s a great infographic from WebProfits on content strategy:
Web Profits Content Strategy

 

 

 

curation tools

The Great Content Roundup: Week 2 – Topic Content Curation Tools

 

Hi everyone!

Today, I’m choosing to talk all about great content curation tools. I think there are awesome ways you can find and curate great content for your business, website, blog, and readers. Tools make life so much easier—right?

Lets Curate It

#1. Scoop.It. If you’re not on this awesome platform already, you should be. To start curating, just sign up, create your topic of interest, and scoop to your topic from what’s already out there on Scoop.it or what you’ve created yourself. Check out the FAQ for some initial guidance.

#2. Quora. Your questions, from your audience, are waiting for you to discover on this awesome platform. I look up copywriting, and I see people asking for the top resources on copywriting, or a specific way of how to write headlines. So I go create blogs that answer their questions, using my expertise.

 

More:

 

And, to step beyond and to talk a little about creating awesome content.

 

Creating Great Headlines: 2 Awesome Resources

With some of our content orders, many times our writers will create the blog / article piece and the headline. Some clients will provide their own, but most of the time, we create an original headline.

 

For inspiration, we utilize two awesome tools out there that are great for helping writers come up with headlines that stand out, using all the right adjectives, grabbing your attention, etc.:

 

 

Basically, if you plugin a keyword or a couple words, the generators give you full topic ideas. (Disclaimer: Remember, they’re machines not humans. So, a couple times their results may be way off. Use with judgment!)

 

Lastly, if you haven’t seen our Content Strategy services (that include content curation), it’s time to look into them!

content curation

The Great Content Roundup: Week 1, Topic Content Curation

We’re starting a series of curated posts, called The Great Content Roundup.

 

Welcome to Week 1! 

What to Expect?

In these “roundup” posts, we will summarize and link to anywhere from 5-15 posts in one blog post. These articles and pieces we link to will be the ones that we found held value and use for direct businesses in the areas of content marketing, SEO, and social media. These are posts you won’t want to miss!

 

For Week 1, I want to share some awesome resources with you on curation, since that’s exactly what we’re starting to do with this first post.

Welcome to Week 1 of the Great Content Roundup!

Our Topic: Content Curation

Content curation is becoming more and more a big topic online. As you may or may not know, we launched full content strategy services that include content curation in late 2014. Here are a few great guides that explain content curation in general, and a few more specific posts that offer intelligent insight, including a few of our own guest blogs.

 

 

And, a bonus link…

 

BONUS:

Five Social Media Predictions for 2015 via HuffingtonPost, authored by Tania Yuki. In this brief but thorough piece, Tania explores how social media will change in 2015, including a focus on more personalization and building real relationships. People won’t be in “static buckets” anymore. Since content is all about real people, we totally agree with Tania! She also predicts that Snapchat will become more popular than ever.