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guest blogging

#HowToWrite Guest Blogging Content: 10 Keys

Here’s the scoop on guest blogging: Google doesn’t appreciate paid links or content published just so you can “win” a link. However, if your guest post is informative, genuine, and helpful, including a relevant link back to your website is a great way to improve your exposure and relevance.

Is guest blogging a worthy investment?

It no longer results in the skyrocketing SEO as it did before Google started evaluating placed links more thoroughly.

However, guest blogging still affords some pretty sweet rewards:

  • Exposure to the blog and brand’s audience (hopefully including promotion on their social media and email list).
  • Increased authority and reputation.
  • Opportunity to expand or blog just outside your niche.
  • Possibility of capturing secondary or tertiary audiences where they live.

guest-blogging-tips

10 Keys to Writing Great Guest Blogs

If you’ve determined the blog presents a good opportunity for you, it’s time to create your guest blog. Let’s cover the basics of how to get it done.

Guest Blog Writing Key #1: Read the Guidelines

Quite simply, your guest post has the best chance of being accepted if it conforms to all the guidelines set forth by the editor(s). Ideally, you should read the guidelines before you even pitch. Guidelines usually include rules about:

  • Images (including acceptable sources).
  • Author biography and headshot.
  • How many links you are permitted to include in the post.
  • Word count.
  • Tone, style, and level of formality.

The editor should also be able to provide you with stellar examples of content published on the blog.

Surprisingly, guidelines are often vague – even when editors are picky. In this case, don’t hesitate to ask questions.

Guest Blog Writing Key #2: Let Your Expertise Shine

Expertise isn’t just about what you know – it’s about what you do with it. Through successes (and failures) in webinar presentations, I’ve learned that audiences respond most sincerely to application and innovation. Anyone can look up how to do something, but knowing how to apply it to a particular problem is especially important. The best content connects the dots and enlightens processes for readers.

You don’t have to give away every detail behind your process or way of thinking, but provide a window into your world.

I speak often about merging the personal and professional brand – something you can do carefully and successfully if you decide it’s the right fit for your business and your life. When I decided to merge my personal and professional Twitter accounts in a “Twitter wedding,” I documented the process and received positive feedback about the transparency of the post.

Depending on your audience, you’ll need to display expertise through a combination of:

  • Story (how you did it).
  • Data (proof that you did it).
  • Example (the final product).

Each guest posting opportunity presents a challenge to find the right balance of story, data, and example, so make sure to communicate with your editor or point of contact to ensure clear expectations.

Guest Blog Writing Key #3: Let It Flow

When it comes to keeping the reader engaged, flow is what makes your post stick. Your entire post should read as though it was written by one person in one sitting (even if took you days to put it together). Each tip or idea should connect to the next, and if it’s a how-to post (like this one), the order of steps should make sense.

Learn the 10 key steps to writing an awesome guest blog post over on @ExpWriters!Click To Tweet

Guest Blog Writing Key #4: Apply Search Engine Friendly Structure

Google prefers a certain structure for blog posts. Best practices are as follows:

  • Do not use H1 header tags except for the post title – use H2, H3s, and so on to neatly organize your post.
  • Use short, clear paragraphs.
  • Bullet point for clarity when applicable.
  • Number your how-to instructions or recipe steps when appropriate.

This also saves your editor time. If they can copy and paste your formatting, it makes their job much easier.

Guest Blog Writing Key #5: Focus!

While many copywriters are accustomed to writing for “keyword density,” you’ll find a more natural inclusion of a desired keyword occurs if you strive to use a focus keyword. Use your focus keyword in your:

  • Post title.
  • First paragraph.
  • Body copy (a couple of times).
  • Meta description. (Note: As a guest blogger, you may not be required to submit a meta description, but it’s a kind gesture and only takes a few minutes.)

If you’re writing for a general keyword, consider using a more specific long-tail keyword as well. For example, this post focuses on “guest blogging” (a very general, high-competition keyword) and “how to write a guest blog” (a specific question or search phrase).

Guest Blog Writing Key #6: Add Appropriate Backlinks

While you want to put a link back to your own site in the piece, don’t forget to link to other authoritative sites, especially those with a high domain authority or Alexa ranking. Chances are you know some reliable resources on your choice topic, and including credited statistics and other citations with links back to those sites will help.

It’s also best practice (and kind) to include an internal link – that is, a link to another blog post or page on the website for which you’re creating the post.

Guest Blog Writing Key #7: Include Images

Editors are used to receiving walls of text. Even properly formatted copy can start to blur together when it’s the tenth piece an editor has seen in a day. When guest bloggers provide visuals, however, it helps their copy stand out and shows they put some extra time into the presentation.

Furthermore, it creates less work for the editor (as long as the images work in their approved format or layout, and come with all necessary permissions).

Ideally, you should have some sort of visual break every 300 words or less. That can mean a custom image, a stock photo, a click-to-tweet, or an embedded audio or video.

Check out these examples from Express Writers CEO Julia McCoy’s piece on creating an unforgettable presence.

formatting example

Julia employs clear headers, short paragraphs, and a bulleted list to clearly explain her point.

She also breaks up the text by placing facts in a storytelling image and including a “click to tweet,” which also encourages readers to share her advice.

content presence quote 1

Remember to only include images you have permission to use. Provide a permissions line, credit, and a link to the source if requested or required.

Guest Blog Writing Key #8: Proofread Your Work

Editors will look over your copy before it goes live, but you can prevent embarrassing mistakes and increase your chances of acceptance by proofreading your work or asking someone else to do it for you before you submit. Aside from checking for spelling and grammar, a good edit analyzes flow and also checks all the links.

If you’ve relied on other sources to create your piece, make sure you run it through Copyscape to ensure uniqueness. You don’t want to get rejected for plagiarism because you didn’t reword your cited sources enough.

Guest Blog Writing Key #9: Write with Authority

You are guest blogging on a topic because you’re the resident expert! Avoid phrases like “I think,” or anything that will make the reader doubt your expertise on a given topic. Note how I say in this piece what editors will and will not do – not what they may think about doing. Having been a website editor for so long, I have the authority to offer these tips in a decisive way.

Guest Blog Writing Key #10: Include a Call to Action (CTA)

At the end of your post, tell your reader what they should do. Are there more on-site resources for them? A place where they can learn more about your services?

Your CTA will largely depend upon the tone of the piece and the editorial guidelines. It’s always safe to ask your readers to comment with their thoughts (if the blog has a comment section), as that will drive engagement and please the editor. If you do this, make sure to follow up and respond to the comments on the blog.

What’s Your Niche? It’s Time to Own It

If you need help writing authoritative pieces or if you would like the expert opinion of our practiced editorial team before you submit that guest blog post, get in touch.

At Express Writers, we’re here to help you say it with authority.

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how to create blog images

The Ultimate Guide to Creating Your Best Blog Images: Sizes, Optimization & More

We’ve all heard the saying: a picture is worth a thousand words.

But how does this impact blogging?

Today, it’s virtually impossible to create a great blog without also creating strong visual content. In other words, your words matter less when they stand on their own. Modern readers want to be engaged on all fronts, and they look to visual materials to facilitate this.

It’s proven: blogs with high-quality, original images rank better, get more attention, and earn more shares than those without. And with 2 million blogs going out daily, you can’t afford not to stand out!

Here’s a crazy eye-tracking statistic by Springer International Publishing about the importance of good visuals in online content: people following a set of directions (which is common to long-form blogs) do 323% better with illustrations included along the way!

This leaves one big question, though…

How, exactly, do you go about creating “high-quality, original images?”

What does that even mean?

Here’s your complete guide.

guide on how to create blog images

The Ultimate Guide on How to Create Your Best Blog Images Ever: First, The Importance of Visuals in Your Blogs

Today, a massive 37% of marketers report that visual marketing is the single most important form of content for their business, second only to blogging.

With this in mind, consider what happens when you combine the two!

While the combination of visuals and blogs has gained steam in recent years, it’s not a new thing. In fact, visuals have always been a critical form of marketing. In addition to the fact that people are more likely to remember what they see than they are what they read or hear, content with images has a long history of performing better in search results, social media platforms, and private channels than its image-less counterparts.

In fact, BuzzSumo once reported that blog posts with images every 75-100 words earned twice as many shares on social media as posts with few or no images!

With all of this in mind, it’s clear that adding images to your blogs is more important today than ever before.

Be aware, though, that it’s not enough to simply slap a stock photo into your WordPress post. Instead, you’ve got to go the extra mile and create high-quality, custom images that provide relevance for your users, and context for your content. That’s what we’re here to talk about.

How to Create Your Best Blog Images (7 Keys)

Like learning to blog or use Twitter effectively, learning how to create blog images that are highly effective is a process. Luckily, these simple tips will help you get off to a great start:

1. Don’t Shy Away From Themed Images

Here at Express Writers, we believe deeply in creating themed images. We create custom themed images in our posts on The Write Blog and have seen great examples of themed images on sites like twelveskip.com.

Check out some of our examples from the blog roll:

blog roll

 

While most people imagine some hokey holiday thing when they think of “themed images,” the reality is much different.

Themed images are actually a series of images that fall into a specific design structure. Of course, this design structure varies from company to company, but it’s always predictable, reliable, and recognizable.

This serves a critical purpose. By making your blog content more recognizable to your consumers, themed images help promote brand recognition and develop a consistent branding presence.

If you’re going to create themed images, keep things like your company’s color scheme, typeface, and voice in mind as you work through the process.

2. Hire a Designer

While platforms like Canva have made it easy to create your own graphic content, it remains a difficult and time-consuming task for people who don’t do it frequently. If you, like so many marketers, have your hands full with other responsibilities, consider hiring a professional designer to create your images for you.

Not only will you get a large batch of high-quality images all at once, but you’ll save the time you would have otherwise spent struggling to create them. This time can then be applied to more productive business pursuits that help grow your company and your social presence.

Not sure where to find a designer? You can go through a content agency (Express Writers offers custom image design for social media and blogs!) or work on finding a freelancer on your own.

3. Develop a Format

Regardless of whether you choose to design the images on your own or hire a professional to do it for you, one big time-saving tip is to create a standard image format that you can work off of and customize down the road. Our agency calls this an “image set.” Put simply, it’s your best featured image size with minimal text, then a formula for an inset image that can be shared on Instagram or other social platforms like Pinterest.

While each of the images you create should be unique, saving these presets in your system will streamline the creation process and ensure you wind up with high-quality images every time. To give you a head start, here’s the best image sizes for all major social platforms, according to Louisem.com:

  • Instagram: Instagram posts look best when they’re 1080PX x 1080PX.
  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn images should be 1200 x 628PX.
  • Facebook: The ideal image size for Facebook is 170PX x 170PX, although experts recommend uploading images of at least twice that size to ensure quality.
  • Pinterest: Pinterest Pins should be about 736PX x 1104PX, while board covers are 736PX x 736PX.
Want to create blog images that stand out? @ExpWriters is sharing how to size and optimize every online image!Click To Tweet

4. Pay Attention to Alt Text

While frequently overlooked, alt text on featured images matters hugely to SEO. Alt text is the string of text input “behind” an image, which makes it readable for search engines and people with visual disabilities.

According to Yoast, they look like this:

< img src=“image.jpg” alt=“image description” title=“image tooltip”>

But, you probably won’t have to deal with the “code” if you’re in WordPress.

Here’s what alt text looks like on the featured image upload section in your WordPress (arrow on the right):

featured image alt text in wordpress

If you have a target keyword for the blog post you’re writing, it should always be in your alt text.

This helps search engines make sense of your image and rank your content accordingly.

Unlike meta descriptions or tags, alt text doesn’t have a hard-and-fast maximum length. The better rule to consider is to always include your focus keyword here. It is important, however, that you add alt text to every image in your blog (especially the featured image) and that you’re including relevant information, like full product names and product IDs, as well as head or long-tail keywords.

So…

To end tip #4:

  • ALWAYS include your keyword in your ALT text on images uploaded to your blog.
  • This is extremely important to focus on in the Featured Image section, where Google usually indexes key images from to show with your blog in knowledge graph search results.

5. Upload the Right File Format

While most people don’t realize it, the type of files you upload for your images has an impact on their quality! While many people upload JPEGs to the web, there may be another option. First, here’s a quick breakdown of the three main file types for visual content, and their strong suits:

  • JPEG. JPEG files are common in photographs and images where places, things, and people are featured.
  • PNG. PNG files are the best for logos, text-heavy designs, and graphics. They’re also ideal for screenshots and images that have a transparent background, such as a logo designed for website use.
  • GIFs. GIFs are animated files and typically feature in memes.

When it comes to creating visuals for your blogs, you basically have to remember two rules: JPEGs for standard photos, and PNGs for any custom graphics you create.

In addition to the file format you choose, you’ll want to pay attention to your image dimensions, as well. Huge files take forever to download, and can affect the final quality of your image.

While many web publishing platforms (like WordPress) have functionalities built-in that automatically re-size images, it’s still wise to use an editor like Lightroom or Photoshop to resize your images (according to the above guidelines) before you upload them to the web.

6. Be Cautious With Stock Photos

While stock photos can be a valuable tool in blog image creation, they’re best used carefully. Too many stock photos in your visual strategy will make your blog look, well, boring. While it’s best to use original photos whenever possible (take a look at how LMS platform Wisetail does this on their site), this isn’t an option for companies that don’t have the photography power or the personnel to do it.

In these cases, using stock photos is fine. If you’re going to use stock photos, just be sure to follow these tips:

  • Look For High-Quality Options. Stock photos come from professional platforms, yes, but that doesn’t always mean they’re nicely done. As you search for images to use in your visual strategy, look for ones that are clear, crisp, and on-brand. Make sure the people in the photo (if there are any) reflect your target audience and that the topic of the photo is relevant to your post.
  • Focus on White Space. For a stock photo to perform well in your visual strategy, it needs to have enough white or empty space to take to text. While you can enhance the visibility of text overlay with filters, layers, and font colors and sizes, it’s always difficult to get text to show up well on top of a complex and colorful stock image.
  • Understand Attribution. Most stock photos don’t require any attribution when you use them. The operative word there, though, is most. By understanding the topics of attribution and copyright, you can avoid legal issues arising from your stock photo use, and keep your blog images thoroughly between the lines.

7. Focus on 10x Content

While they’re intensely important, most people regard blog images as an afterthought in the larger scheme of their blogging strategy. Unfortunately, this is exactly the wrong approach. Instead, you need to apply the principals of 10x content to your blog images. Coined by Rand Fishkin at Moz, “10x content” refers to content that breaks the mold and does something truly astounding.

It’s essential for good blogs and social media posts, and no less important for blog images.

Instead of just scraping by with your blog images, you’ll want to invest the time and energy required to grow a true visual strategy, and to ensure that every image you publish is the best one yet. While it’s true that this takes extra effort, it’s well worth it.

Think of it this way: your blog image features right next to your headline when you post new content.

While the headline has long been considered one of the most essential pieces of any blog, it’s arguable now that the featured image is up there, too.

When your featured image is high-quality, unique, attractive, and interesting, it draws people in. When paired with a great headline and a strong hook and body content, it makes for irresistible written material that is far too powerful to underestimate.

With this in mind, never stop striving for better blog images. When your visuals move up the content quality scale, the rest of your material will, as well. For more research on this, learn about the Skyscraper Technique and figure out unique ways to apply it to your blog strategy.

For example, can you evaluate your old blog images and come up with ways to make them better? Maybe you can partner with other companies or professionals to create images that the web has never seen before!

How about a hand-drawn image to accompany a fun blog post? We did this for a typically “boring” SEO blog post on a numbered list of SEO tips, by adding “to rule your content castle” at the end of the topic, then giving the title to our creative designer! Here’s the result:

seo dragon castle

The possibilities are endless, and it’s up to you to get creative.

Learn How to Create Blog Images that Win & Become a Better Visual Blogger

Today, there’s no room on the web for low-quality content – not even in your visuals. Of all the digital resources your company has, your blog is one of the most essential.

After all, 70% of customers prefer to get to know a company through content rather than ads, and 61% of consumers make purchases based on information from blogs!

With this in mind, it’s clear that you can’t afford to overlook your blog, or the images that accompany your text.

By getting proactive about your image creation strategy and actively looking for ways to improve your visual content, it’s easy to develop a high-quality approach to images that will benefit your blog for years to come.

 

Don’t waste any more time on sub-par blog images. Check out our custom image design services today!

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blog topics

What Blog Topics Get the Most Shares & Reads? A Data Driven Answer

You’ve listened to the data.

You’re consistently writing great long-form content that’s supposed to be generating plenty of shares and traffic for your blog.

But, for some reason, it’s not working.

Over and over again, you’re finding that a large majority of your content generates minimal levels of social engagement.

You’re not alone.

After taking a look at over 1 million blog posts, the team at OkDork found that 89% of posts have less than 100 social shares.

ok dork chart

Yikes. (Remember the post I wrote a while back: social shares are not your best ROI tracker?)

But why is this? And what can you do to make sure that more than 1 out of 10 of your posts generate 100+ social shares?

It all starts with choosing the right blog topics.

Marketing expert Brandon Gaille created a useful infographic that outlines the hottest blog topics by popularity and revenue.

According to his research, the top 10 blog topics include:

Top Blog Topics

As we move through this article, we’re going to use data and examples to show you which of the above topics can help you get the most shares and reads.

We’ll also take a look at some other topics that are proven to perform well.

Let’s get started.

blog topics

The Hottest Blog Topics Today: 5 Topics That Attract Readers & Shares

1. Saving Time

People love to read and hear about what they can do to save time.

In fact, they love to hear about it so much that they’re willing to spend a whole lot of their time reading and sharing content on the topic.

Take a look at BuzzSumo statistics for these two productivity based posts:

Saving Time Screenshot

While both articles are fairly basic, the headline promises to readers that they’ll be able to save “tons” or “loads” of time.

And, since they’re able to deliver on that promise, they both generated over 450k social shares.

Writer and speaker Laura Vanderkam leveraged the power of talking about time management in her TED talk, How to Gain Control of Your Free Time.

Ted Talk on Time

The talk has generated almost 4 million views to date and has proved vital in helping Vanderkam grow her personal brand.

People naturally want to be better at time management. If you’re able to find ways to help your audience become more productive, they’ll reward you with shares and reads.

2. Health & Fitness

Just like time management, health and fitness shines in topic popularity because it’s something that everyone wants to be better at.

When BuzzSumo created a list of the most viral content of 2016, three of the top 10 articles were in the health and fitness niche.

This article, about healthy and portable high-protein snacks, generated over 2 million social shares.

healthy-snacks

And this article, about the top 10 ab exercises, generated almost 2 million as well.

ab-exercises

Now, depending on your audience, talking about health may seem like an odd thing to do.

For example, if you’re a financial consultant, writing about ab exercises isn’t going to yield the results that it will for a blog that already writes in that niche.

What you can do, however, is generate health topics that are relevant to your target audience and the unique situations that they face in their daily life.

In the financial consultant example, you could write an article for business owners about how consistent exercise contributes to increased productivity (which, in turn, contributes to wealth).

And, if you can pull it off, there is clear evidence that people will share and read your content.

3. Money

More time, better health, and more money. Hopefully you’re catching on to the trend.

The blog topics that perform best are the things that people want most in life.

The Penny Hoarder has generated tons of loyal fans by providing readers with advice on how to make and save money.

Here’s an example of one of their most successful money based articles:

Money Article

The article isn’t overly in-depth, but it does provide brief information for readers on how to earn extra money.

And that’s not the only article they’ve written on the topic that has yielded great results. Over the last 12 months, three of the top four articles around the term ‘making money’ were created by their writers.

Making Money Buzzsumo

With social shares above 173k for each article, it’s safe to say that they have a pretty firm handle on what their readers want to hear about.

It’s also safe to say that writing about money, and how to save and/or make it, is a great way to generate the type of interest that produces social shares and visitors.

4. Happiness and Getting What You Want Out of Life

Want to be happy? Of course you do. And so does everyone else.

That’s why content related to happiness, and achieving it, gets shared so much.

Take a look at these six pieces of happiness-related content that have all been shared over 95,000 times to date.

happiness

As we look at these BuzzSumo results, it’s also important to note the platforms where the content is being shared.

The written articles about happiness were most likely to receive a majority of their shares on Facebook.

The content that features quotes, however, received over 95k shares on Pinterest but only 88 on Facebook.

As we move along in this article, we’ll dive deeper into the importance of considering the platform when deciding on a blog topic.

5. Travel

Travel content doesn’t have the share power that the above topics do, but it can certainly produce solid numbers when the topic is implemented into your content strategy correctly.

Not everyone is an adventurer. But as science tells us, there are quite a few people who are born to travel.

And there are a lot of content creators generating massive shares from taking advantage of this.

Take these articles for example:

travel

As you can see, Facebook is where the majority of shares are being seen for this topic.

Pinterest is another platform where travel content works well, especially when it’s posted alongside an appealing visual.

Try to work relevant travel based articles into your blog. Doing so is a great way to break free of the monotony of utilizing the same topics while satisfying the interests of your readers along the way.

Are you writing about today's hottest topics on your blog? Find out via @ExpWriters!Click To Tweet

Tying These Blog Topics in With Your Target Audience

As you browse through the above blog topics, you might be thinking, “Well, that’s great that these topics perform well, but my niche has nothing to do with these things.”

With a little creativity, however, you can find ways to work all of these blog topics into the content that you write.

Take Evernote for example. Their app is designed for note taking, organizing, and archiving. So you’d think they’d stick to articles about productivity and saving time.

But they don’t. Instead, they diversify their blog by writing travel articles that give users a better sense of how they can use Evernote to travel better with their app.

They also feature articles about minimalism and happiness, both of which are topics that are trending in recent years.

minimalism

This article generated over 500 social shares. And while that’s nothing to gloat about, it’s certainly a worthwhile number for a brand whose main focus lies in productivity.

Choosing Topics Based on Social Media Platforms

When you’re choosing a blog topic that you want to be read and shared, you absolutely need to consider where it will be posted.

Social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk frequently talks about the necessity of respecting the platform that your content will be featured on.

Vaynerchuk is relentless about this as he feels that you absolutely must, “Respect the psychology of what people are doing when they’re on a platform.”

Someone’s mindset is much different on Facebook than it is on Pinterest. And that mindset varies even more when they’re on LinkedIn.

Vaynerchuk could not be more on point here. Kissmetrics put a post together, titled The Science Behind What People Love to Share on Social Media, that echoes his sentiment.

On Facebook, the most shared articles are those with a word count between 2,000-2,500 words. Articles between 3,000-4,000 words received the least amount of shares.

2-facebook-share-by-article-word-count

On LinkedIn, the opposite is true. Professionals there are looking for in-depth content, and are therefore more likely to share content between 3,500-4,000 words.

4-linkedin-shares-by-article-word-count

As far as blog topics go, LinkedIn users tend to read and share more content related to self-improvement than any other topic.

The keywords that were most often found in frequently shared content there included:

LinkedIn

But writing about these topics and keywords on Pinterest would be an awful idea.

Their users love food, DIY, and wedding related content.

Focus on the Platform and Your Audience

As you continue to work towards creating amazing content that gets shares, be sure that you’re respecting the platform and the mental state that the audience there is in.

By doing so, you’ll put yourself in a much better position to earn the highest possible number of visitors and shares.

If you’d like some help coming up with blog topics, our team of experts would be more than happy to provide assistance. Talk to us today!

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how to work with blog writers

The Business Owner’s Guide: How to Work With Blog Writers to Create & Publish High-ROI Brand Content

You’ve seen the data.

You know that content marketing adopters have conversion rates that are nearly 6x higher than non-adopters.

You’re finally ready to take the plunge and focus on content marketing as a key strategy in your lead generation arsenal.

But then it hits you.

How are you going to produce all this content?

HubSpot is telling you that, in order to optimize your efforts, you need to publish 16+ blog posts per month.

hubspot blog_monthly_traffic

“16 per month?!? My team and I can’t produce that many high quality blogs per month!”

Fortunately, you don’t have to go at it alone.

The proven effectiveness of content marketing has helped to create tens of thousands of capable blog writers that you can handle much of the work for you.

You just need to know how to efficiently find and work with them.

And, through this post, we’re going to teach you how to do it. Let’s get started.

business guide on how to work with blog writers

The Business Owner’s Guide: How to Work With Blog Writers to Create & Publish High-ROI Content

Let’s start at the fundamentals: outlining your writing standards.

1. Creating Writing Standards to Communicate to Writers

If you have a blog, then you probably already have some type of vague writing standards in place.

And while your current standards can be used, they will almost certainly need to be expanded upon now that you’ve decided to outsource your writing.

Your standards set the stage for how you will communicate, hire, and work with your blog writers.

Establishing the Goal of Your Blog

The first thing you’ll need to do is to clearly establish the goal of your blog so it can be communicated to the writers you work with.

HuffPost contributor Danny Wong provides a few options. Some of them include:

  • Tell your brand’s story
  • Express your brand’s identity
  • Build an email list
  • Attract top industry talent
  • Build credibility
  • Become an authority figure in your industry
  • Connect personally with customers and fans
  • Capture media attention
  • Facilitate word-of-mouth
  • Create a competitive advantage

After browsing this list, you’re probably wondering why you can’t just focus on all of these goals.

The simple answer is…because having too many goals and priorities doesn’t work.

As Harvard Business Review contributors Paul Leinwand and Cesare Mainardi have said, your business needs to stop chasing too many priorities.

According to a survey they conducted, having fewer strategic priorities can actually lead to higher revenue growth for your business.

brand growth goals

If you’re determined to chase multiple goals, make sure they work together.

For instance, your goal can be that you want to build your email list while connecting with fans and facilitating word-of-mouth marketing.

Or, it can be to build credibility and become an authority figure in your industry in order to create a competitive advantage.

Each example has three goals that work together.

Hone your focus and create goals that you can clearly communicate to your writers. It will make working with blog writers a much smoother process.

Helping Writers Create Amazing Content

You know that creating amazing content is essential to high ROI content marketing. You may even know how to do it.

Don’t assume, however, that the writers you’re working with automatically follow the same rules of creating great content that you do.

If you’re looking for a checklist to provide to your writers, KissMetrics Director of Marketing Sean Marks created a great one. It includes nine ingredients. They are:

  1. Make sure the content is original
  2. Focus on creating a strong headline
  3. Make the content actionable
  4. Provide answers to reader’s questions
  5. Include accurate reporting and sourcing of information
  6. Make the content engaging
  7. Communicate through visuals
  8. Eliminate fluff and get to the point
  9. Update the blog regularly

Your outsourced writers will be responsible for producing content that includes the top eight ingredients.

You and your team will be responsible for the last one.

Determining Content Length for Writers

While it will obviously be much easier to get to 16 blog posts per month if they’re of the 400-500 word variety, the argument for long-form content is too convincing to ignore.

If you want to achieve your blog goals, ranking for targeted keywords on search engines is the ticket to getting there.

And if you want your content to rank on search engines, long form content is the way to go. Just take a look at this illustration produced by SerpIQ:

content length serp iq

Sure, it’s going to be more expensive to outsource long form content than it is to do the same for 500-word articles.

As you can see, however, the ROI of long form content is significantly higher.

And isn’t the point of marketing to achieve the highest ROI possible?

Breaking it Down

At this point, you should have a solid understanding of what you want your writing standards to look like.

Now you just need to communicate them to your writers. Here’s a quick example of what you can tell them:

  1. Focus on the goal of our blog
  2. Utilize the ingredients of creating amazing content
  3. Make sure the post is long form (1,500-3,000 words)

2. How to Hire the Perfect Writers for Your Blog

Your writing standards help create an overview of the type of writers that you want and need for your blog.

Your job now is to seek out writers that have already proven capable of following the standards that you have established.

This can, for the most part, be done in one of two ways; hire a freelancer or work with a writing agency.

Freelancers vs. Writing Agencies

Ahh, the great debate. Should you hire freelancers or go with a writing agency?

And while there are many advantages and disadvantages to both choices, your decision should always come down to the value provided.

Let’s break down the process of working with each so you can make the best possible decision for your business.

Working With a Freelancer

The typical process for hiring a freelancer involves a few steps. They include:

  1. Find a freelance job posting site. Upwork, Freelancer.com, Textbroker, and even Craigslist are generally considered the most popular options.
  2. Post your project. Outline what the job entails and what skills are needed to complete it.
  3. Choose the best freelancer for the job. This can be based on their past work, their reputation, or after their completion of a test project.
  4. Freelancer is offered project and completes work. Details of project are provided and freelancer successfully completes it.
  5. You receive work and pay freelancer. Work is delivered on time and freelancer is paid.

Easy, right? Yeah, but if you’ve ever worked with freelancers, you’re probably laughing at this.

The thing is, steps 3-5 almost never go according to plan.

If you work with freelancers long enough, you’ll find that misleading portfolios, missed deadlines, and subpar content are more the norm than the exception.

That creates a whole lot of time and energy wasted.

Working With Writing Agencies

Working with writing agencies is a whole different story.

Interestingly enough, a lot of writing agencies are created by successful freelancers that couldn’t handle all of the work that was coming their way.

That’s exactly how Express Writers got its start.

You’ll also find that most successful agencies have a simple yet effective process for working with clients.

At EW, our process looks like this:

Process at express writers

As far as the actual content, it involves six stages.

They include:

  1. Your Input. Your project starts when you send us your relevant project details.
  2. Assigning. Our Content Manager assigns your project to the writer that best fits your topic, industry, and content type.
  3. Creating. Our writer, along with the Content Manager, editorial team, and designer, completes the project.
  4. Editing. Our editorial staff reviews the content using a 5-point quality process that we developed in-house.
  5. Additional Creation. This step varies depending on what type of content you’ve purchased.
  6. Your Review. Content is uploaded for your review and you’re granted up to two free revisions within 20 days of receiving the content.

While this is how we work, it’s fairly common for most agencies to follow a similar process.

The Advantages of Working With a Writing Agency

At the end of the day, the major advantage to working with a writing agency is that we eliminate your risk.

We take care of the hiring process and make sure that the writers handling your project are qualified to deliver the best possible work.

We make sure that you don’t have to worry about missed deadlines or poor quality content and have provisions in place to protect you if this does happen.

Best of all, we make sure that you receive great content that will deliver ROI for your business.

While I’m not saying that you can’t find a freelancer that can do the same, I am saying that it will take a lot more time and energy to do so.

With the time saved and ROI produced, it’s hard to argue against the value that agencies provide when compared to freelancers.

3. Using Your Content Calendar to Guide Your Hiring Process

Hopefully you’ve already gone through the process of creating a content calendar that outlines what type of content you need to produce and when it will be published.

If you haven’t, you’ll want to get on that as soon as possible.

Your content calendar, also known as an editorial calendar, doesn’t have to be too complex. Here’s an example of a simple one created through Excel:

content calendar

If you’re looking for something more in-depth, there are plenty of tools out there that can help you put together a solid content calendar in just a few minutes.

Regardless of the method you choose, the important thing is that you use it to plan your content ahead of time so you know when you’ll need to outsource the writing.

How Far Ahead Should You Plan Your Content?

This is where things get tricky. It’s almost impossible to identify a timeline that works for every business.

A lot of larger blogs prefer to plan their content at least six months into the future. Others tend to go with a monthly calendar that they add onto weekly.

As much as I hate to say this, it’s impossible to provide a one-size-fits-all answer here.

If you’re unsure of where to even begin, I would suggest starting by outlining your content for the next month. Then, every week, pick a day to plan out another week of content.

So long as you’re able to consistently carve out a day every week for future plans, this process should work just fine.

Identifying Who Will Write Your Content

So you’ve got your content topics and publishing dates lined up.

Now it’s time to plan out who will actually complete the writing.

This is a fairly simple process.

Here is an example of how the team at Shape and Sound does it in their content calendar:

Content calendar with authors

As you can see, they create three pieces of content for each topic. Each type of content has an author listed.

By doing this, they know exactly who is accountable for each piece of content.

Since you need to outsource some or all of your writing, you would simply plug in the freelancer or writing agency responsible for the work.

Like I said, simple stuff.

By having your content calendar, and the author section, filled out at least a month in advance, working with writers will be a much smoother process.

Creating and Handling Deadlines

When creating your deadlines for the freelancers and agencies that you work with, it’s always a good idea to set a deadline that is at least a week in advance of when it will be published.

This helps you avoid many of the issues caused by missed deadlines. It also helps ensure you have time to revise poor quality work or, if needed, hire another writer to rewrite the content entirely.

In addition to protecting yourself by setting your deadline a week ahead, you’ll also want to set a policy for what happens when work is delivered late.

Most professional freelancers and agencies will offer a discount when this happens (20-50% is common).

In order to protect their reputation, some will even complete the project for free.

There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong way to handle deadlines. The important thing is that there is a clear policy established between both you and the writer before work begins.

4. How Much Should You Pay Writers?

This is easily one of the biggest questions in the content marketing world. If you’re like most businesses, you have absolutely no idea how much to pay your outsourced writers.

To identify how much you’ll have to budget, there are a few basic factors that you’ll need to consider. They include:

  • Length of content. We’ve already identified that long-form content produces optimal ROI.
  • Depth of content. Are you looking for a beginner, intermediate, pro, or expert writer?
  • Visuals or no visuals. Content with visuals is optimal, but it will come at a higher price.
  • How quickly the content needs to be delivered. Rushed content will come at a premium.

While there are many other factors, most freelancers and agencies create their prices after considering these four things.

For a general list of the prices you can expect to pay, take a look at this infographic:

Writing prices

On the expert level for this chart, you’re looking at $400+ per email.

Now you’re probably looking at this and saying, “I can’t afford those rates!”

And fortunately, you don’t have to. You can still get amazing content delivered by professionals at rates significantly lower than $.15-.50 per word.

You just have to know where to look.

Our writing levels include expert and authority, and we’re reasonably priced! Check out our pricing page here.

A Word of Caution

Before we start diving further into what you should expect to pay writers, it should be noted that the old saying, “you get what you pay for,” is as true in writing as it is everywhere else.

If you make your way over to a freelance platform like UpWork, you’ll quickly find that there are many job postings that look like this:

Upwork

Yes, you can find freelancers that will write your content for $.01/word.

99 times out of 100, however, the content they deliver will be low quality content that’s littered with grammar mistakes.

You don’t want that for your brand.

How Much Do We Charge?

At Express Writers, we’ve created a Content Shop detailing how much every piece of content that we produce costs.

To ensure we offer options that fit the needs of our clients, we offer two options; general copywriting and expert copywriting.

For a long-form article (1,500-2,000 words) by a general copywriter, you’re looking at a price tag of $140.

For that same article by an industry expert, you’ll be paying $300.

So, for high quality content that delivers optimal ROI, you’ll be paying $.10-.20 per word.

The General Consensus

In the end, if you want to maximize the ROI of your content marketing efforts, you should expect to budget at least $.10/word.

While you can find freelancers that will produce content at a much lower rate, be aware of the risk involved when compared to the detailed processes and deadline provisions provided by a writing agency.

5. Maintaining Communication Throughout the Process

Whenever you’re outsourcing content, communication is absolutely vital to the success of the project.

This is true whether you decide to work with a freelancer or writing agency.

As Tamila McDonald, our Client Engagement Specialist, says:

tamila quote outsourcing your writing

Successful communication starts with providing clear instructions to your writer about exactly what you want your content to accomplish.

You won’t find too many writers that complain about detailed instructions.

You will, however, find plenty that become frustrated when instructions are too brief or general.

On the writer side, be wary of writers that don’t respond to update requests or questions within 24 hours. This is especially common when dealing with writers on freelancer platforms.

If the communication isn’t there, it may be time to move on.

6. Focusing on the Long Term

You’re hopefully already aware that success in content marketing doesn’t happen overnight.

It takes week after week of consistently producing high quality content.

But when can you expect your content marketing efforts to finally bear fruit?

Well, as Neil Patel tells us, “At the beginning, you’ll grow slowly and will need to add value drops to your content creation pot. Once your pot is filled considerably, you’ll start seeing the enormous benefits of content marketing.”

This visual by HubSpot shows us that, for most companies, inbound traffic grows fairly slow in the beginning:

hubspot blog_monthly_traffic

Once these businesses hit the 300 blog post mark, however, their traffic begins to take off.

While it’s unlikely that your blog will follow this exact pattern, it illustrates the fact that it’s important to focus on the long term.

Proof that Your Long Term Commitment Will Pay Off

Business owners like Neil Patel have used content marketing to become authorities in their industry and build multi-million dollar businesses from scratch.

At Express Writers, we’ve built a million dollar agency by using content as our only marketing strategy.

Both of us have used outsourced writers to help us get to where we are today. And you can do the exact same thing with your business.

Building Long-Term Relationships With Writers

As you begin outsourcing your content, you’ll find that there are some writers that just get it.

They’re consistently on point with following your instructions and never fail to produce engaging content.

When you find these writers, do everything you can to keep them on board.

Work to develop long term relationships with writers that consistently prove themselves to you. You’ll be saving yourself a whole lot of time and stress in the process.

Outsource Your Writing and Take Your Content Marketing to the Next Level

You now have everything you need to move forward and use outsourced writers to help you dominate your content marketing efforts.

If you’d like some help along the way, feel free to contact us to hear more about what we can do for you!

express writers

copywriting how to get started

5 Questions Everyone Asks Before Jumping into Copywriting: How to Get Started (A Real-Life Guide)

A few months ago, I was asked by Express Writers to write about my own journey as a creative copywriter.

It was thrilling. I strive to be honest with others, so I have to say that after a regular schedule of writing content for clients who take my words and use it for their needs, it was exciting to have something with my name on it.

I shared it on Facebook without reserve. My husband shared it with the comment “my wife wrote this.” People liked it, and I was in writer’s heaven.

It’s what I’ve always wanted to do. As a kid, I kept journals and I received high grades on writing assignments. For the last several years, while working with a nonprofit, raising three kids, and going back to school, writing has been at the back of my mind.

I’ve always known I am a writer.

I just need to write. (Jeff Goins)

copywriting

Searching for Answers (On Google, Of Course)

If you type “how to get started in copywriting” into a Google search, you will see that there are almost 700,000 search results.

There is a lot of different advice out there, including tips like:

  • “You can become a well-paid freelance copywriter with NO experience!”
  • “Get a job in sales to help you prepare.”
  • “Become a freelance copywriter and earn a 6-figure income working from home.”

While I respect the journeys that others have taken in their writing and the advice they can share, not all of these statements have been true in my own experience with copywriting.

I never had a job in sales. I definitely don’t make a 6-figure income.

And while it is true that you can work your way up to “well paid,” it doesn’t come without at least some experience (and a full pot of coffee, but maybe that’s just me).

Every person who wants to get started in copywriting will be at a different place in life, have a different income requirement, and bring their own skills and experience to the industry.

I would not want anyone to fall for a scheme or believe that this job requires little work for big bucks.

Copywriting is not a get-rich-quick gig.

At the same time, previous experience and/or an education could push you to the higher end of the pay scale in a faster amount of time. Low-end freelance writers can make anywhere from $3,000 to $15,000 per year, while those who are more high-end can eventually earn 6 figures.

Moving from Writing Wannabe to Creative Copywriting: How to Get Started

When you are thinking about moving from a writing wannabe to a creative copywriter, you will no doubt have some questions. Whether you are a recent graduate looking to break into the industry, a stay-at-home parent who needs extra income, or you just love writing, there are legitimate opportunities that can work with your schedule and abilities.

Here are some common questions you might have:

1. Is online copywriting the same as general writing?

Copywriting and general writing are two very different types of content. As Search Engine Journal reminds us, the distinction lies in the purpose behind the writing. Copywriting is used for promotion and in marketing, to entertain and draw the audience in so they engage with the company or brand.

Content marketing is backed by an objective, a goal, that is supported by authoritative research in an effort to connect with the readers and sell the idea. It is professional yet warm, engaging yet relevant, and seeks to build trust while also maintaining a conversational tone.

Copywriting can be sarcastic, funny, creative, or focused. It’s used by big and small companies, entrepreneurs, medical professionals, business-to-business (B2B) markets, and just about anyone who needs to promote a brand or message.

2. Do I need to be a fantastic writer to get started in freelance copywriting?

First, writing needs to be, at the very least, something you enjoy. If content writing is something you are seeking out just to have some extra pocket cash, that’s okay, but there needs to be some passion behind it.

Your level of writing experience could be minimal, especially if you are working with a company like Express Writers. When I first signed on, I had written previously on a casual basis, but not as a job. Thankfully, our team of editors has been patient and willing to guide me in the right direction as far as meeting the clients’ needs, etc.

Over time, I have grown to really enjoy long-form blog writing (like this piece) and for those tasks I don’t like so much, I fake it. I research the particular industry and try to put myself in the place of a customer for that particular company. What would he or she be looking for?

This is true for blogs, web page content, and social media posts.

A copywriter will work to create high-quality content or improve the existing content to fit a specific need. So, you do need a basic understanding of proper grammar, proofreading, and sentence structure.

At the end of the day, clients are counting on you to deliver to them a product that they can use. And you will find that the longer you continue to write, the more you will grow and continue to improve.

3. What types of writing should I be familiar with? (Source – by our CEO, Julia McCoy!)

Depending on the position, a copywriter can receive a number of requests from clients with very different objectives.

For example, a startup that is looking to jumpstart their business with powerful social media posts may request your copywriting services at the same time as a restaurant professional wants a website makeover.

  • Web Content: This textual or visual content appears on websites of all varieties and may include images, video, and page descriptions. Web content should be original, useful, and relevant to the industry for which you are writing.

Here are some content writing examples and tools to reference.

  • Blogging: This type of writing is best done in long-form, beginning with a powerful introduction and including engaging sub-headers throughout. This is where research becomes important, as well as eye-catching visuals and relevant screenshots.

If you’ve never written blog posts before, take a look at this article.

  • Social Media: A basic knowledge of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest is a good place to start. Take some time to research what works and what is not as effective. Learn about the best times and days to post. It’s okay in this type of content to have teasers that will entice the reader to click through to the post.

Check out how to craft social media posts in no time flat.

  • Advertising/Sales Copy: Ad copy can take the form of a clickable advertisement that grabs the reader’s attention and leads them to a specific link. Ad and sales copy is a combination of search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing tactics for a variety of industries.

This article explains a bit more about how to write effective ad copy.

  • Industry Writing: When you write for a specific industry, there is often a bit of research that needs to be done first; this is especially true if you are not familiar with the topic. Industry writing is tailored for various businesses to share about a brand.

Here is a good post on how to write content for an industry you know nothing about.

  • Journalism: This type of copywriting involves gathering information, assessing sources, putting together the content, and presenting all of it in a written format. Journalism is a unique type of content creation, especially as our world has moved to delivering more news online.

Here are some journalism examples from a few years back.

  • Creative Writing: Creative writing can take many forms, including poetry, personal essays, speeches, fictions, and plays. This type of content varies but can be a fun and unique medium for expression in a specific niche.

Check out these examples of creative copywriting.

4. How is online writing formatted?

While every client has different requirements, there are some general guidelines to keep in mind when writing online content.

Titles and headlines need to be strong, and breaking up content with sub-headers helps to separate information so that it’s easy to skim. You can see from the graphic below that readers tend to prefer headlines with numbers and that are addressed to the audience.

headline chart

Graphic from Content Marketing Institute

The beginning of the content can be formed using the inverted pyramid approach, which presents the most important information first followed by secondary details. This encourages your audience to stick with you until the end.

Practice consistency in each section of content. Vary sentence style, including length and structure, and find a rhythm that fits your voice. This may take some practice, but with time you’ll find your style.

Relevant quotes and statistics have the potential to add authority and fresh voices to your written work, as long as they are used effectively and at the best time.

Sentences should be short, adding clarity to the content. Too wordy, and you’ll lose your audience. Graphs and screenshots can contribute greatly to audience engagement and interest if they are relevant and trustworthy.

5. Can I take inspiration from other online writers?

Absolutely! There are so many expert writers who consistently deliver quality content that is relevant and timely. Check out Neil Patel, Jeff Goins, and Seth Godin, just to name a few.

There will always be those who have gone before us who know more, who have more experience in copywriting, and who will offer us the best tools with which to work.

Follow these experts, read their content, and pay attention to the advice they give. They know what they’re talking about!

Here are some good blogs to follow, even though the writers may vary:

Also, check out this post on the best books to help you learn copywriting.

Connecting with a Content Writing Service

One important factor involved in the process of becoming a copywriter is choosing a company to work with that hires individuals for copywriting. How to get started?

A simple web search will result in many companies who hire copywriters, but you don’t know the people behind the screen. Do they pay fair? Are they realistic with deadlines, expectations, and treatment of their writing team?

When I started with Express Writers back in 2014, it was through a blog writer who had put together her own recommendations for work-from-home solutions. I read through reviews of the company and thought a lot about the decision before applying, and I am very fortunate to be working with this team.

Here are a few places to start when you want to find out more about companies that hire individuals for copywriting:

  • BloggerLocal has a list of top 10 blog writing services and article content writing services. The site provides valuable information about local businesses and helps to connect people with their local area.
  • Jeff Bullas put together sites that will pay for content pieces. His experience as a blogger and author has landed him featured pieces in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, and with Forbes.
  • B2C’s list of content writing services includes companies that aspiring writers can contact to see about hiring them. Business 2 Community features thought leadership, articles, and real-life experiences from thousands of contributors who know what they’re talking about.

Would I Be a Good Freelance Writer?

Freelance writing is a bit different. If this is the route you want to take, you will have more freedom to set your own schedule. While the flexibility may be convenient, it also means you won’t get paid for the days or weeks you choose to not work.

If you plan to go into freelance writing with zero experience and you aren’t well-known in the industry, this path may choose to be more challenging. However, if you have built up an audience and you have gained respect, the possibilities here can be endless.

Advice from a Fellow Freelance Writer

When it comes to breaking into the freelance industry, the rapid-fire market research approach may be the best one for you.

Just like you wouldn’t create a restaurant menu and then ask customers what they like eating, it might not make much sense to write a bunch of content that isn’t tailored to a prospective client.

When Danny over at Freelance to Win was looking to get into copywriting, he did research first and found out what paying clients were looking for, then tailored his writing samples around those particular needs.

He reminds us to not dive into a writing job that requires special knowledge about subjects we aren’t familiar with. It may be wiser to start slow so that you don’t get in over your head with work you aren’t able to complete.

By looking at the description of writing jobs first, you can get a picture of what the client needs and then move onto creating a portfolio.

Remember that his opinion is just one of the many you will hear in your journey.

Creating a Minimum Viable Portfolio

No one wants to put sweat into creating a portfolio that doesn’t mean anything, so instead, Danny the freelancer also suggests creating a simpler set of content samples for a client to have.

  1. The writing sample should be simple but not exactly what the client needs.
  2. The writing sample should be short and provide the client with a glimpse of your abilities.
  3. The writing sample should be completed in about a half hours’ time.

Other experts suggest keeping a portfolio of your best copywriting content, always adding to it and adapting as you gain more experience. This, too, can be tailored to the type of job you will want to pursue in the future.

Whether or not you choose to keep a portfolio of your work is a personal preference. Keeping a collection of your best work as you go along could end up being a valuable resource.

Never be afraid to be proud of what you’ve done. While your content may need to go through a refining fire (thank you, editors), it is your work and your efforts are something to be proud of.

To Hone Your Writing Skills, Remember: Practice, Practice, Practice

Experts will tell us that in order to be good at something, we have to practice.

Remember learning to ride a bike? Ever play an instrument? Memorize a long passage or give a speech from memory?

All of those skills take practice, and writing is no different.

It may not be that you keep a journal or blog on a regular basis, although these may help you. At the same time, when writing becomes a daily habit, you will find that you grow in your creativity, your ability to craft high-quality content, and the types of writing you are able to produce.

What Are You Waiting For?

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to copywriting. How you will get started depends on where you are in life during this season, your writing background and skills, and whether or not writing will be your primary income.

The most important step you can take is to just go for it. Use the tools I’ve given you today, read the writings of content experts, and begin to familiarize yourself with the basics of content writing.

Subscribe to our The Write Blog and be inspired by our team of writers; we come from all different backgrounds and levels of experience. And just like you, we were all once asking the same questions you are.

Everyone starts somewhere.

So – what are you waiting for?

You are a writer; you just need to write.

cta

how to blog for a photography business

How to Blog for a Photography Business: An Essential Guide

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

But that doesn’t mean that photography businesses get off the hook when it comes to content marketing. 😉

Today, everyone that has a business presence needs to blog.

Blogging is essential in the current digital landscape, and photographers have a unique opportunity to harness the power of blogging for their benefit and online reach will fall behind.

Fortunately, you can take proactive steps to learn how to blog for a photography business successfully and enjoy a more lucrative business, as a result. Here’s how.

how to blog for a photographer

How to Blog for a Photography Business: Why Should I Blog?

If you’re thinking, “Come on. I run a photography business! Why does blogging matter to me?” you’re not alone.

Today, lots of companies are confused about how and why blogging has become so critical to a good online presence.

The answer, however, is simple: blogging is the most efficient way to communicate with customers online, right now. What’s more, it’s seriously lucrative. Here are a few quick stats about how blogging impacts your ROI and bottom line, from Impact Branding and Design:

  • Websites that blog have an average of 434% more indexed pages than websites that don’t blog.
  • 47% of customers view 3-5 pieces of content before ever talking to a salesperson.
  • Companies that prioritize blogging are 13x as likely as their competitors to enjoy a positive ROI.
  • Compared to outbound leads, which have a close rate of 1.7%, inbound and blogging-focused leads have a close rate of 14.6%.
  • Businesses that blog earn 97% more inbound links to their site.
  • As many as 80% of customers ignore the paid ads at the top of Google’s results (this is a BIG deal for photo businesses!) and only focus on organic results.
  • Blogs are currently the web’s 5th most trusted source of online information.

We ourselves at Express Writers rely on consistent content creation to generate our inbound leads. (Here’s a case study on that.)

As you can see, effective blogging has a massive impact not only on your company’s visibility on the web but also on the way people perceive your brand.

If you’re bypassing blogging for paid advertising or (worse) no digital strategy at all, you’re missing out!

How to Blog for a Photography Business: An Example of Success

Jasmine Star is a great example of a Google success as a photography blogger.

She writes a lot of posts and even offers tips that appeal to a typical photography buyer, but aren’t necessarily photography related. Her target clientele is marketers and those who need beautiful professional photography, and she blogs in a wide sphere of topics that will get the attention of her target clientele. How to Get Your Social Media Posts Seen By More People is one of her blog topics, for example.

how to be a photographer blogger

Are you sitting down for this?

Her blog ranks in the top 3-4 organic results of Google for the highly competitive keyword photography blog.

photography blog

Jasmine’s consistent, awesome blogging has won her a top spot in Google’s organic results. And for a HUGE keyword.

To find out just how huge, I took that keyword to my favorite SEO tool, KWFinder, and found that this keyword brings in 22,200 monthly visitors. 

Jasmine’s blog gets an estimated large chunk of that volume.

photographer blogger

Keep in mind this is traffic fueled by Jasmine’s blog, fully organic, without a paid advertisement.

She gained this incredible keyword spot solely through her blogging chops!

Take inspiration: your one time investment per blog, as long as it’s quality and matches what your readers would expect to read (and will love and share), can last for years!

5 Reasons Blogging Matters for Photographers, Specifically

There are more reasons than the tremendous value in SEO traffic, although that’s pretty huge alone.

While it’s true that blogging is critical for all brands, everywhere, it has some unique benefits for photographers. Let’s break it down:

1. Blogging Lets You Show Your Customers Who You Are

For people outside the photography business, it might seem like all photographers are the same.  Of course, you know this isn’t true! While all photographers take pictures, each has their own individual style, focus, and strengths.

Luckily, blogging helps you showcase these.

By using a blog, you can show your customers what’s important to you and what you value as a professional. This, in turn, helps you connect with the most valuable, relevant clients and build a sense of recognition on the web.

2. Blogging Allows You To Showcase Your Work

Today, it can be tough for working photographers to find a way to display their recent photographs. After all, few photographers have physical galleries, and, even the ones who do don’t get tons of foot traffic to them.

Fortunately, blogging solves this problem by giving you a centralized location to display your newest work and update your customers. This helps you keep your portfolio fresh and ensures that your clients always see your latest and best images.

3. Blogging Boosts Your SEO in a Way Portfolio Sites Never Could

Some photographers address the issue listed in the point above by creating an online portfolio.

And while this is a smart idea, it’s not a super effective approach when it comes to SEO. The reason being that portfolio sites don’t do much in the way of including keywords, offering indexable pages, or providing valuable, customer-focused content.

They just exist.

They seldom get lots of traffic, and they certainly don’t do much to appear in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Blogs, on the other hand, are much more symbiotic – as we saw in Jasmine’s example.

Designed to allow you to communicate directly with customers, blogs make it easy to target relevant keywords, keep your content fresh, and answer the biggest questions your customers have about your services, different photographic methods, and the industry as a whole.

4. Blogging Makes Your Content Shareable

Imagine this: you shoot a wedding or maternity shoot. You post the photos on your blog and share them on social media (with your customers’ permission, of course). The customer sees them, loves them, and shares the link to the blog gallery on their social media pages. Friends and family of that client, many of whom have been looking for reputable photography services, see the link and contact you to shoot their events. That’s the best-case scenario, right? When you run a reputable blog and update it frequently, it’s also a very likely one. Blogging makes your content shareable, which is critical for a salient photo business.

 5. Blogging Helps You Establish Your Personal Brand

Differentiating yourself from the competition is essential for photographers, and blogging makes it easy. Everything from the layout to the color scheme of the blog can be customized to suit your brand image, not to mention that you have complete control over the voice you use to interact with customers.

How to Blog for a Photography Business: 10 Actionable Tips for Your Photography Blog

If you’re reading this, you’re likely considering blogging for your photography business for the first time. While it can seem intimidating to start your first business blog, it’s not nearly as difficult as it might seem. Just follow these guidelines.

1. Understand Your “Why”

The key to a successful blog is having a reason for doing it. While it’s true that blogging is an essential part of running a modern photography business, it’s also not enough to just have a blog you update only occasionally.

Instead, you need to make a conscious decision about why you’re operating your blog and what you hope to achieve. For example, is your blog going to act as a strategy for recognition, helping your customers recognize your work and your brand where it appears?

Or is your blog a movable portfolio that you’ll update regularly? If you’re like most photographers, the answer will be several things at once.

No matter why you’re operating your blog, though, you need to understand the motivation behind it and what you’re hoping to gain from the blog. This will help direct everything else.

2. Pinpoint Your Audience

Today, there are 3,583,926,400 people using the internet.

Can you imagine trying to speak to all of them?

Of course not! For one, not all these people are interested in hiring you, and even the fraction of them who need a photographer won’t hire you for various reasons, ranging from geographical issues to a different preferred style.

One of the biggest mistakes new bloggers make in their photography blogs is trying to talk to everyone. In addition to being impossible, it’s tiring to be everything to everyone.

As such, you’ve got to pinpoint your audience.

Who are the model customers who hire you? And how can you speak to them more effectively?

Answering these questions by constructing a target persona is an essential method for starting your blog off strong and stable.

persona

Read our guide for more on how to develop a target persona.

3. Offer Relevance

The best photography blogs out there succeed because they’re relevant. For example, a great wedding photographer might blog about how many hours of wedding coverage customers should consider purchasing (most people assume they need less than they do, and a relevant blog about how long everything takes would be helpful).

Photographers that specialize in alternative processes might talk about why cyanotypes are so unique, or how large format cameras play into modern-day photography. Photographers who specialize in newborn and maternity portraits might offer helpful tips for getting your baby to pose on picture day or how to help other siblings join the photos in a constructive and equal way.

The more relevant you can be with your blog post topics, the better. In addition to helping your customers connect with your content, it will also make them want to come back for more.

4. Make Converting Simple

When you start blogging as a new photographer, you want to make it as easy as possible for your blog to draw new customers. Initially, this means making it simple for your customers to convert. For best results, ensure that the blog posts you write have all the information your customers need to feel comfortable and trusting in your brand.

This goes for your website, as well, which should feature everything from your location and contact information to your pricing and testimonials. You’ll also want to find creative ways to incorporate calls-to-action (such as “book your session now” or “Get a quote”) throughout your page. The easier your blog makes it for readers to convert, the better off you’ll be.

5. Be Consistent in Your Blogging

You know what’s worse than no blog at all? A stagnant blog that never gets updated. Not only does this show customers that you don’t care about your content, but it also sends the message that you’re not very good at following through. Instead of falling victim to this dreaded fate, ensure that once you start a blog, you can update it regularly.

While the frequency will depend on you and your goals, it’s wise to update your blog at least once a week, if not more often. Once you’ve found a blogging schedule that works for you, stick with it. This is the only way to earn readers and grow your audience, after all.

6. Integrate With Social

If you’re not integrating your blog with your social media accounts, you’re missing out on a large piece of the puzzle. Today, blogs and social media go together like peanut butter and jelly. Without one, the other can’t reach its full potential.

Every time you write a new blog, share it on your social profiles, as well. Most blogging platforms, like WordPress, for example, offer built-in functionalities that make it easy to share the blog post automatically. As you gain likes and shares on your social profile, you’ll also gain readers on your blog.

7. Save Your Best For The Blog

Thanks to the immediacy of blogs, people often assume they’re a place for half-baked thoughts and hastily rattled off ideas. Not so. In fact, your blog should be the home of your best and brightest content.

With this in mind, ensure that everything you publish on your blog has been vetted thoroughly by your quality-control methods. You want to proofread everything adequately, showcase only your best photos and ensure that the formatting of the blog is perfect before you fire it off.

Don’t ever write and publish anything in one day, if you can avoid it. Instead, start drafts and then hone them until they’re perfect. While it’s true that this takes more time, it’s also true that it will deliver better results in the end. When it comes to blogging for your photography business, it’s always quality over quantity.

8. Keep It Professional

Photography is a very personal profession, and that’s bound to come out on your blog. For best results, though, you want to keep it personal but still professional.

This means always getting permission from your clients to share their photos, using discretion when sharing intimate or private photos, and being careful to protect the identities of the people you mention. Over-sharing isn’t cute in any aspect of business, especially photography. When in doubt, don’t share it.

9. Learn Some SEO

SEO, or search engine optimization, is a critical part of blogging, and learning the fundamentals of it can take your blog from good to great. Ideally, you’ll want to learn how to include target keywords, how to format headlines, meta descriptions and titles, and body content, and how to optimize the images in your post so Google can discover them.

While these sound like complicated steps, they’re not!

Here are a few tips to follow:

Keep Your Paragraphs Short

Paragraphs should be between 2-4 sentences.

Include Keywords Naturally

If you’re targeting “portrait photographer in Boston,” you’ll want to include it in your headline, a sub header or two, and throughout your body copy a few times. Don’t overstuff your content with it, though, or you’ll come off as spammy and cheap.

Optimize Images With Alt Text

When you plug an image into a blog, it’s important to use alt text to help search engines “Read it.” Right now, Google can’t interpret images without alt text, so this is a critical SEO component of ranking well. Here’s an example of what good alt text looks like, from Yoast.

image-alt-title-wordpress

Write like you speak. While you always want to be professional in your blogs, it’s also essential to be natural. The more natural you can be in your writing, the more attractive and approachable you’ll be to readers.

10. Keep your topics fresh

It’s easy to get stale as you blog for your photography business. Fortunately, you can keep your topics fresh by writing about things like your recent work, adventures you or your clients have taken, your personal experiences, and general photography tips, tricks, and questions.

Be sure to keep an ear to your readers to ensure you’re writing about topics they find interesting, and covering the areas they want to read about. For example, topics like “10 Tips to Prepare for Your Engagement Shoot” or “What’s the Right Age for Newborn Pictures?” are both great topics.

Remember Jasmine Star’s example of unique photography topics that appeal to her specific audience.

Your topics should be narrow enough to match your niche. For example, if you’re a portrait photographer, you might not want to write about which lenses to use for landscape photography.

The more you can narrow your topics and your niche, the more successful your blog will be.

How to Blog for a Photography Business, Made Simple

While blogging for your photography business may seem like a new idea, it’s one of the smartest ways to make your company stand out from the crowd.

Learning how to blog for a photography business is crucial. In addition to labeling you as an authority, boosting your SEO, and making it easier for would-be customers to find you, blogging also helps you hone your skills and expand your offering to clients.

This, in turn, can boost your entire business and help you grow your bottom line in a big way.

For more information about blogging for your photography business, or to find a team of writers who can help you create content you’re proud of, contact Express Writers today! We have photography writers ready to create your blogs, and blogging packages that are completely hands-off.

new site content

10 Critical Content Types To Invest In When Launching a New Site

When you launch a new website, investing in the right content is critical.

In addition to “beautifying” your site with great copy that supports your company’s goals and talks to your audience, good content helps you gain online exposure in the SERP results, rankings, leads, traffic – and boosts your chances of converting new clients.

But which types of content should you invest in, if you’re just starting out?

It can be tough, with questions like do I start a blog, do I create 11 or 50 pages of web copy, launch social media content (and if so, how?), just to name a few. We’re here to help with a guide on ten critical content types for every new site. Keep reading!

content types for a new site

Content By The Numbers: 5 Reasons to Invest in Content

First, let’s explore why you should be considering a long-term investment in content marketing if you’re just launching a site.

Consider a few content marketing statistics:

new site

1. More Than 200 Million People Are Currently Using Ad Blockers. 

While this might not seem like it matters much for your site, it means that great content is one of the only ways to access the inboxes and computers of the customers you want to reach.

2. Content Helps To Produce Brand Recall.

In 2015, IBM did a Digital Experience Survey that proved that 56% of content marketers believed that personalized content helped promote a higher engagement rate with customers. The easier your brand is for customers to remember, the easier it will be for you to drive engagement through content.

3. People Spend An Average Of 37 Seconds On Content.

If you want people to spend more time on your website, one of the best ways to do it is to invest in content that makes them feel something. According to Content Marketing Institute, high-quality, relevant content encourages readers to stay on your website longer.

4. Content Marketing Is 62% Less Expensive Than Outbound. 

Although many people assume that content is expensive, it’s quite a bit cheaper than traditional advertising and outbound methods. What’s more, it’s also three times as effective.

5. Content Drives Higher Conversion Rates.

When people adopt content for their marketing strategies, they enjoy conversion rates roughly six times as high as those of their competitors.

With these numbers in mind, it’s clear that not only can you not afford to invest in content for your website, but that deciding which content works best with your brand is crucial to overhauling your online marketing strategy.

10 Content Types Every Website Needs

If you’re building a new site, don’t launch it without first ensuring that you have each of these ten types of content:

1. Web Pages

What would a website be without web pages? While many of today’s websites are long-page, one-page sites, it’s still crucial you have some pages for your site. For most companies, an “About Us,” “Contact,” and “Services” page will do, although you may choose to add or subtract pages as you see fit.

Remember that the length of your web pages is an important consideration.

Too long and you risk losing your reader’s attention, especially if you don’t format your pages correctly. Too short, and you risk not providing enough information or detail to be helpful for your readers.

As a general rule, web pages should have at least 300 words of copy on them. While this will be too short to cover most topics, it’s a good benchmark to keep in mind as you start creating the web pages for your new site.

2. Ongoing Blogging

Listen carefully: you need a blog.

Without a blog, your website will not only not perform as well as you’d like it to, but you’ll miss a valuable opportunity to provide your readers with relevance – one of the most coveted and important factors in online marketing.

Although many companies underestimate the importance of a blog, Impact Branding And Design reports that:

  • Websites with blogs tend to have 434% more indexed pages than their competitors.
  • What’s more, 47% of customers interact with 3 – 5 pieces of content before they ever talk to a sales rep.

And my favorite blogging stat (Hubspot):

  • Businesses that publish over 16 blogs/month (4+/weekly) get 3.5x MORE traffic than businesses that publish 0-4 posts. 

Wow!

3.5x more traffic than your competitors, just from consistent, volume blogging.

So why are you not already?

Having a library of quality, relevant content can make all the difference between converting a customer and losing them to the sea of other companies vying for their attention. If that weren’t enough to change your mind, B2B marketers that blog regularly earn an average of 67% more leads than marketers who don’t.

Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to integrate a blog with your website. Today, content platforms like WordPress offer built-in blog functionalities that are easy to manage and use, even for beginners. To manage your blog effectively, use its scheduling feature to post consistently and give your readers something to look forward to regularly.

One of our favorite content services is ongoing, consistent blogging maintenance. We write, schedule, create imagery, and publish in our blogging packages.

3. Meta Content

Meta content is an often-overlooked form of online content.

While it doesn’t get as much attention as sexier forms of content like blogs or social media, it serves a crucial role in the online world.

When you Google something, meta content is the snippet of material that appears on the search engine results page or SERPs. Here’s what it looks like:

meta content example

 

Meta content works to give you an idea of what information an article contains, and helps you understand what you will learn from a given piece of content.

As such, it’s crucial to get it right. If you don’t know how to write meta content on your own, it’s smart to hire someone who does. When done correctly, meta content will boost your SEO and help improve your click-through rate, both of which can have dramatic and long-lasting impact on the salience on your website

4. Product Descriptions

If you have an e-commerce site where you sell things online, great product descriptions are critical.

Think about it: if a person can’t pick up and touch your product, a product description is the only thing to help them understand the item’s specifications and its value.

To help your product descriptions perform as well as possible, keep them succinct, exciting, detailed, and tailored to your target audience. And to help them rank, use key terms in your product descriptions that are SEO worthy.

Check out this amazing product description from Dollar Shave Club:

dollar shave club product description

Read more about creating great product descriptions.

5. “Contact Us” Content

When it comes to the “contact us” page, lots of marketers get stuck. Although virtually everybody knows to include a contact form or your contact information here, it can be tough to figure out if you need to add any content, and if so, what type.

Contact pages are no different than any other page on your website, though, and they deserve content crafted with love.

With this in mind, consider hiring a writer to help you craft great “contact us” copy. Think of this page as the ultimate call to action: the more compelling your contact us page is, the more likely people will be to reach out.

6. “About Us” Content

One of the most clicked pages of any website is the “about us” page.

When people navigate to your site, they’re naturally curious about who your brand is, and what you do, and they head to your “about us” page to find out.

It’s essential to make this section of your site as informative and authentic as possible. Stop for just a minute, though; you don’t want to make this sound like every other “about us” page out there. While website content serves the purpose of giving your site some structure, it also helps you brand your company.

As such, it’s important to find ways to imbue your personality into this key page, and ensure that you speak to your reader (and potential client) about your priorities, goals, and objectives as a company. This is a great spot to include some information about your founders, partners, staff, and how you got started as a company.

Take a look at how we do this on our “Who Are We?” page at Express Writers:

our values

We recently did a case study on how much our site conversions improved after we changed our site copy around and included a Values page! Check it out here.

7. Social Media Profiles

Think social media profiles don’t have anything to do with your website? Think again.

When people come to your site, they want to find other ways to interact with you. One of the best ways to learn more about your company is through your social media profiles. This means that when you launch a website, you should have clickable links to your various social profiles in a place where would-be customers can see them.

Before you launch your website, take the time to set up at least a Facebook and Instagram page. Most marketers use more than two social platforms, but the ones you choose to pursue will depend on your brand and personal goals. Keep in mind that you don’t want to over-commit to social media, so you should only establish the profiles that you can maintain. A stagnant profile is much more damaging than a non-existent profile. Once you’ve created your profiles, link them to your blog, so that your followers can get instant updates about all your new posts.

We’ve had new clients find us from our Twitter feed, @ExpWriters, which is managed by a dedicated social media manager. Because of the high quality that she dedicates to writing and sharing content there, the referring traffic have included high-level inbound leads that went straight to purchasing after talking to one of our team members.

Here’s a look at our Twitter feed. You can see that we even join in quite a few Twitter chats, besides maintaining our own:

twitter expwriters

8. Service Descriptions

No matter what you do, you want to include some information about the services your company offers on your website. Make sure each service description is comprehensive and detailed. Bonus points if you can provide an example of services you’ve provided or jobs you’ve completed in the past.

Although there is some debate about whether you should publish your prices, many experts advocate doing so. This is because publishing your prices makes it easier for customers to get all the information they need the first time they visit your site, which helps make your site more valuable to them.

Besides being upfront with pricing on everything in the Content Shop, we have an overview pricing page. In an industry where very few competitors are transparent, we get consistently good feedback from new leads that can find our rates in a few minutes after landing on our site for the first time.

9. Home Page Content

If you’ve ever sold a house, you know that one of the first things every realtor will advise you to do is improve your home’s curb appeal. The curb appeal is the way that the house looks from the curb, and it’s one of the most important things in the world of real estate.

Think about the homepage copy of your website like the curb appeal of your house: it’s the first thing people see when they pull up. As such, optimizing your home page content is essential. This isn’t a place to skimp.

For an example of excellent homepage content, check out KISSmetrics:

kissmetrics home

This copy is informative, attractive, easy to read quickly, and it features social proof.

When you write your home page content, strive to strike a balance between being approachable and professional. The text should give readers an immediate idea of who you and your company are, and what they can expect from the rest of your online material.

10. Good Data

One of the most powerful things you can use to convince people about something is data. With this in mind, you might consider including some data about why your service or product is valuable on your website.

For example, if you sell a back brace that helps people heal from back injuries, you might include some statistics about how common back pain is and how support is effective at treating it. These data points should feature prominently on the home page of your site, where they’ll be most visible to your customers

Your New Site Doesn’t Work Without Exceptional Content

Your focus shouldn’t be unequally divided on development. Don’t be that business owner that drops all focus on their copy because “we didn’t think it was necessary.” You can lose every quality lead that’s on your site, due to poor copy.

Think of launching a website is 50% tech (development), and 50% content.

It’s easy for new website owners to get so wrapped up in launching their site that they get sloppy with their copy, but this is a death sentence.

The more professional and cleaned up your site looks when it launches, the easier it will be to get off to the races with your new business or website.

While these forms of content will help make your site feel complete and unique, you’re not done here. Be sure you have an editor and a writer involved, so you’re not missing any critical typos that will make your brand look bad.

Is it time to invest in content for your new website? We’d love to help. Talk to us today!

how copywriting works

How Copywriting Works: A 101 to the Writing that Fuels the Web

Most copywriters know exactly what this conversation feels like:

“What do you do?”

“I’m an SEO copywriter!”

“Oh…great! So, what do you do?”

When you say you’re a writer, most people assume you’re an aspiring Hemingway, tapping away at your typewriter in pursuit of the next great American novel.

Unless someone has experience in the digital marketing, content marketing, or online world, few people know what a copywriter does. (Not a copyright-er. I have another post on that.)

That said, though, everyone is familiar with the work of copywriters, whether they know it or not. In a world as marketing-dense as ours, copywriters essentially make the digital web spin. They write the scripts for television commercials, radio ads, mail and email marketing materials, and articles that help people find answers to problems and learn new things.

In other words, copywriters are everywhere!

As such, it’s never been more critical than it is right now to understand how copywriting works, and what a massive role it plays in our modern world.

guide to copywriting

What Copywriters Are (and What We Aren’t)

First things first: not all copywriters are clones of Don Draper.

don draper

Although romantic to imagine, that was way back when. Today, it’s 2017. There’s much less drama, smoking, and drinking in the office in this industry than what you see in the Mad Men series. 😉

That said, however, copywriters today fulfill a vast selection of positions.

Here are just a few of the things that define what copywriters are:

1. Copywriters Write Copy for Various Industries and Specialties

Depending on a copywriter’s unique job description, he or she might create marketing copy for a website or work one-on-one with an SEO company to write their website or create their Facebook posts. In other cases, copywriters write physical text material, like books, pamphlets, and educational sheets. No matter what industry they work in, copywriters work with words daily.

2. Copywriters Work with Other Teams to Create Marketing Copy

In most cases, copywriters work with other specialists, like SEOs and sales teams, to create well-rounded marketing copy that fulfills a broad series of goals.

3. Copywriters Wear Many Hats

A great copywriter is also a part-time marketer, editor, and publisher. While copywriters typically work with teams of editors, these skills are indispensable, and the best copywriters must know how to evaluate their content for quality and figure out what will and will not work for a client.

What today’s copywriters are NOT:

1. Novelists. While copywriters do sometimes create text copy, they’re not developing books that sell as novels. Those are typically ghostwriters or other forms of writers. Instead, copywriters may create ebooks, articles, or white papers.

2. Machines. Good copywriters pay a lot of attention to each piece they create. They don’t just churn out work in a one-size-fits-all manner. Instead, they collaborate closely with teams and managers to build customized material for each client.

3. Outbound Marketers. The wheelhouse of copywriters is to create material that makes people want to connect with a company. They don’t typically push themselves or their content on other people. Instead, they work hard to create content that delights readers and makes them want to interact with a brand.

The following graphic applies very much. 😉

what copywriters are

What’s Under the Hood at a Copywriting Agency: What Express Writers Does

Here at Express Writers, we know a thing or two about copywriters. Not only do we hire them – we are them! Before I founded my company, I worked as a copywriter on various freelancing platforms. I landed hundreds of gigs and dozens of clients, and within three months of self-teaching as an online copywriter, I went on to start my agency. (Check out my full story here.)

Today, my agency has a full-service Content Shop with over 40 products:

content shop express writers

And our content agency staffs a team of more than 50 copywriters, strategists, and editors, handpicked by moi (more on our standards here), who specialize in writing, creating, and publishing the following types of content:

  • Blogs and blogging packages
  • Web pages, landing pages
  • Product descriptions
  • Infographics
  • Meta copy
  • Interviews (with our writers, strategists, project managers)
  • Research
  • In-line and developmental editing
  • Keyword strategy
  • Content planning/editorial calendars
  • Expert copywriting in all areas, including Financial, Technical, Creative, Legal, Medical, & more
  • Press Releases
  • Ebooks
  • Slides (PowerPoint or PDF)
  • Ad Copy
  • Slogans/Taglines
  • Scripts
  • Sales Pages
  • Whitepapers
  • Email content
  • Social media posts and custom imagery
  • Social media plans, profile creation

Here’s an example of what we create in a year, per our year-end report for 2016:

content creation report

ALL this content is created by our handpicked copywriters, strategists, and editors, who specialize in different industries, content types, and services.

This gives you a pretty good idea of exactly how diverse copy offerings can get!

What Qualifications do Good Copywriters Have?

The field of copywriters is a very diverse one. While some copywriters attended school for degrees in English or Journalism, others have spent their pre-copywriting lives working as attorneys, cooks, or dog mushers! Copywriters come in all shapes and sizes, and this unique assortment of backgrounds allows copywriters to bring their experiences into the field, creating more diverse and interesting copy.

As it stands today, there is no one-size-fits-all educational program for copywriters. Instead, a copywriter that’s going to succeed in the industry just needs to possess a few key traits. These are as follows:

1. Creativity

First off, copywriters need to be creative. While many people assume creativity is only necessary for people writing novels and short stories, and not people writing marketing copy, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Since copywriters write for such a diverse selection of clients, they need to be agile enough to think on their feet. Storytelling is central to great copywriting, and the best experts out there know how to access their creativity to weave compelling, unique copy that will engage an audience and help a brand meet its goals.

2. Strong Writing Skills

While copywriters don’t need a college degree to excel in the field, they do need strong writing skills. While it’s true that copywriters write about everything from firearm safety to SEO, the center of all that work is writing, and it’s essential that those skills are rock-solid. Copywriters need to be comfortable with the written word and know how to bend and command it to do what they want.

3. An Ability to Work with Others

While many copywriters work remotely, they are not lone wolves. Instead, copywriters work with teams of SEOs, advertisers, designers, and sales professionals. As such, the successful copywriter has strong teamwork skills and knows how to work collaboratively with other people to create a comprehensive product.

4. Strong Research Skills

One of the questions I frequently get as a copywriter is “what do you do if you don’t know the industry?”

Although some copywriters specialize in certain sectors, such as the financial or medical industry, many copywriters write on all topics for their clients. Because of this, it’s critical to have strong research skills. For example, if a customer asks you to write about choosing an engine lubricant for your sports car, and you’re not an expert on sports cars or their engines, you need to know how to use the web to find quality information that can help you write the article.

Here’s a post one of our full-time writers wrote on how to write for even the most boring-est of industries.

5. An Ability to Take Criticism

If you didn’t receive any formal training as a copywriter (and even if you did), criticism is a central part of the job. You can’t always “nail it,” and great copywriters expect to get the occasional negative feedback from editors and clients. In these cases, excellent copywriters take the feedback and learn from it, while people that won’t make it in the industry crumble beneath it.

6. A Hunger for Knowledge

Copywriting intersects with other industries, like SEO and digital marketing, and copywriters who will rise to the top of their industry are continually seeking to learn about these things. In addition to strengthening your writing, these simple tricks will also allow a copywriter to stay on the bleeding edge of his or her industry.

7. A Willingness to Learn

Copywriters who aren’t familiar with the industry before they start need only to want to learn it. Things like social media, proper blog formatting, and good SEO practices can all be learned, and dominating them is what sets one copywriter apart from the next.

Check out the book I wrote on how to create online copy, if you’re hungry for an educational read on copywriting!

How Much Do Copywriters Make?

The answer to this question varies depending on how much a copywriter works, who he or she works for, whether they’re employed by a company or by themselves, and where the copywriter is.

According to Glassdoor, the national average salary for copywriters is $55,000 annually.

That said, though, it’s not uncommon for copywriters to earn far more – as in five figures per project when they work for large corporations or run a successful self-employed business. Joanna Wiebe, famous conversion copywriter, doesn’t work for less than $60,000 per project.

As the world of digital marketing changes, copywriters who also learn relevant and in-demand skills, like video script copywriting and some graphic design, can supplement their offerings, provide more value for their clients, and make more money. Copywriters can also boost their worth by creating a longstanding history of quality content for a variety of customers. When companies see that a copywriter has successfully increased conversions, helped companies draw new customers, or overhauled a company’s online presence, that copywriter becomes more in-demand in the industry.

Public speaking (especially at TEDx stages) can also significantly boost a copywriter’s rep and net them far higher-earning projects and prospects.

How to Find Copywriting Jobs

If you’re a copywriter looking for work, your options are virtually limitless. You can work for almost any major company, on your own, or with a dedicated content creation agency, like Express Writers! Here are just a few places to start looking for work:

  • Express Writers. We’re almost always hiring! Send in a resume as a writer and an editor. You must have at least 2 years of writing or editing experience for either open position area.
  • The ProBlogger Job Board. The premier copywriting work resource, the ProBlogger Job Board features thousands of writing jobs refreshed daily. It’s a wonderful filter for high-quality writing jobs. This job board features many major, well-known accounts, such as Canva and Thrive Market. Targeted directly at copywriters. The brainchild of one of the best copywriters out there, Darren Rowse, this is a job board made by writers for writers.
  • Private Companies. Content marketing is growing at an astonishing rate and, as such, virtually everyone needs copywriters for their businesses. As such, you’ll find that many private companies need copywriters to help them develop their online material. If there’s a company you admire, look at their job board to see if they’re hiring copywriters. If they’re not, you can always reach out and pitch your services according to best pitch practices.
  • Local Companies. Local companies in your area may need copywriting services to grow their online presence. Keep your eyes peeled for companies in your area in need of copywriting services and offer your expertise when you find them!

How to Hire Copywriters

We put a guide together on how to work with your copywriter! Check it out here.

One of the tips our Content Development Specialist, Tara, had to share is a great key of working with writers.

tara quote outsourcing

Our content creation agency works hard to staff the very best copywriters on the web. What’s more, we offer some benefits that individual freelancers don’t, namely the ability to take on far more content and the assurance that your content will always get finished, even if a freelancer falls ill or has a family emergency. As if that weren’t enough, we also staff a selection of industry-specific copywriters so that you can find a professional financial, marketing, or medical copywriter for all your online needs.

5 Things That Make Online Copywriting Great

Now that you know a little bit about how copywriting works at the foundational level – who copywriters are, what they do, how to be one, and how to find one – let’s talk about what separates the wheat from the chaff regarding the actual writing that goes into copywriting.

If you’ve ever read a batch of college essays, you know that not all writing is created equal and that ten different people writing about the same topic can create a series of ten very different results. With this in mind, how do you tell what’s great copywriting and what falls short?

The answer is simple: great copywriting possesses the following things:

1. Detail

Copywriting is nothing without extensive detail. Today’s readers are more discerning than ever, and they’re not easily placated by fluffy, low-hanging content that doesn’t do much to appease their needs or help them find solutions to their problems. As such, great copywriting digs deep.

Here’s an example: if two copywriters had an assignment to write about coal mining in America, the sub-par copywriter would give a definition of coal mining, talk about where and how people do it, and then be done. A great copywriter, on the other hand, will do some research, provide in-depth statistics about how coal mining has grown and changed over the year, discuss the challenges facing modern coal miners, and provide a realistic outlook for the future of coal miners.

The more detailed online copy is, the more useful it is for your readers. This, in turn, helps you create material that ranks well and allows you to stand out as an authority in your industry.

2. Quality

No copy ever rose to the top of the web for being riddled with spelling and grammar mistakes. Today, quality is more essential than ever in online copywriting. In fact, Google itself even made this explicitly clear back in 2015, when they released their Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines.  Their “Characteristics of High-Quality Pages” section stated explicitly that pages that were to rank as high-quality must possess “a satisfying amount of high-quality main content.”

SQEV Screenshot

Today, it’s easy to create low-quality content that doesn’t take user experience, SEO, or flow into account, and writers who do that are a dime a dozen. To truly stand out, though, copywriting needs to be high-quality, free of spelling and grammar mistakes, and tailored specifically to a company’s unique audience. When all these things are in place, content can not only do its job of educating and entertaining audience, but it can also claim and maintain a prominent spot on the web.

3. A Focus on SEO

 Neil Patel has said that SEO and content go together like peanut butter and jelly, and he’s right! Without content, search engine optimization (or SEO) can’t function, and without SEO, content would just drift around the web, homeless and hungry for an audience and a place.

If you’re not familiar with search engine optimization, it’s the process of using a series of tools, tricks, and approaches (such as keyword researchmeta content optimization, and proper formatting for blog content) to optimize content so that search engines can “read,” categorize and deliver it.

To succeed in today’s digital world, online content needs to marry SEO best practices with quality writing. This means including relevant keyword phrases naturally throughout the material, utilizing strong internal and external links, keeping sentences short and the reading level low enough to appeal to various audiences, and using headers and subheaders to break up text and make it accessible for readers on all devices – from mobile phones to desktop computers.

If copywriting doesn’t focus on SEO, it’s simply not worth investing in!

4. The Right Voice

While a brand like Poo-Pourri can get away with writing in a lippy, off-the-cuff fashion, the ACLU can’t. The difference is the culture of these two organizations. While Poo-Pourri, a “spray before you go” toilet product, is sassy to its core, the ACLU is a serious legal organization where people expect to find professional, informative information. As such, the voice for these two platforms is very different, and great copywriting takes this into account.

Today, a large part of what makes copy successful is its voice. Even if content is well-written and compelling, it won’t perform well unless it’s speaking directly to a platform’s audience and readers. As such, great copywriters must know how to adapt and adjust their voices depending on publication and platform.

5. A Willingness to Play the Long Game

There’s a distinct difference between outbound marketing and inbound marketing. Outbound marketing goes out, from the organization it begins with, to capture and engage customers. Think purchased email lists, unsolicited phone calls, and door-to-door sales.

Inbound marketing, on the other hand, seeks to provide material that’s good enough to bring customers in. Think blogging, social media, and video marketing.

While copywriting can be used for outbound marketing (copywriters create most of the material you find in your mailbox), most copywriting jobs today are in the inbound marketing sphere. And this is for a good reason. Today, content is much more effective when it doesn’t shove readers. For evidence of this, all you need to do is look at the rise in ad-blocking software (which Seth Godin wrote about back in 2015) and the fact that the majority of direct mail is never opened.

Today, people want content that builds relationships, rather than trying to jump right into their pockets. As such, the most successful copywriting currently on the web is the stuff that builds trust, explains difficult concepts, offers solutions, and doesn’t try to sell anything at all. While it may be tough for companies to understand why they would invest in a copywriter who won’t try to sell things to their clients, the truth is that, in 2017, the best sales pitch is no sales pitch at all.

Great Digital Copywriting: The Stuff That Makes the Web Go Around!

Today, the web runs on great copywriting. It’s everywhere you look!

From the banner ads that pop up as you cruise a website to the social media posts that make you laugh and the blogs you turn to when you need to learn how to change a bike chain or navigate your newly updated Instagram feed, copywriting is what makes it all work.

To find out more about the ins and outs of online copywriting, check in with us at Express Writers and follow The Write Blog. As one of the premier copywriting agencies on the web, we know a thing or two about hiring writers, connecting writers with companies, and keeping you up to date on all the great news, happenings, and events in the world of online copy!

cta expert content

seo copywriting service

Separating the Wheat from the Chaff: 14 Traits to Look for In Your SEO Copywriting Service

Finding a good SEO copywriting service is no joke.

In addition to being professional, the service you hire must also be knowledgeable, experienced, and able to turn on a dime to accommodate your needs.

Sound like a tall order? It is! We hear new clients tell us all the time horror stories about their past experiences.

Writers that didn’t pan up to the promises, didn’t even have experience in the industry they swore up and down they did, and deadlines that were left in the dust.

My team, founded on high principles, has been around for six years now. We know a thing or two about values, and what it takes to create content that fulfills every need for clients. We’re here to share today the key elements to look for in an SEO copywriting service that will put the “wheat,” not the chaff, in black and white for you. Keep reading!

wheat vs. chaff in seo copywriting

Defining SEO Copywriting

SEO copywriting is the marriage of two essential skills: SEO, and copywriting.

While each of these things has existed separately for many years, the focus on bringing them both together has arisen in response to increasingly intelligent search engines and increasingly discerning consumers.

  • SEO used to be aimed at optimizing content so search engines could find it. This often entailed keyword stuffing, black-hat link building tactics, and spammy content pasted across every page of the site.
  • Copywriting, on the other hand, used to be aimed only at sales. The copywriters of old were the great salespersons of the web – pitching ideas, pushing products, and doing anything they could to get an early, interested, underwhelmed audience to bite (ah, for those low-volume internet days to return to us again!).

Today, though, both of those things have shifted.

Within the last several years, search engines have gotten smarter, and major names like Google have begun to penalize sites that use the SEO tactics of yesteryear. Today, spammy links, crappy content, and over-stuffed keywords simply don’t fly.

That’s not where it ends, though – Google has also begun to push for better-quality, more user-focused content, and customers have followed suit. Today, readers want quality, informative, relevant content that helps them solve their problems, and Google wants SEO that optimizes for readers just as much as it does for people.

Because of this, SEO copywriting has become an essential service for successful companies near and far. Today, SEO copywriting is critical for businesses that want to target their customers and help to solve problems and relieve pain points with the aid of unique, relevant, and high-quality online content.

Why Hire an SEO Copywriting Service?

Every business needs online content, and that online content needs to be optimized for reader experience and search engine visibility.

With few exceptions, most marketers don’t have the time, expertise, or resources in-house to create this type of content or to optimize the content they’ve already created. Without a centralized plan for improving SEO and crafting great content, things begin to go to pieces. Content comes out disorganized or irrelevant, and SEO falls by the wayside.

This is why it’s so critical for companies who are serious about their success to hire an SEO copywriting service. In addition to helping make SEO and content creation a more cohesive, cooperative process, a good online copywriting service has dozens of additional benefits, as well.

Some of the largest are as follows:

  • Increased traffic: Right now, 61% of internet users around the world search for products online. Unless you’ve crafted enough targeted, custom content to catch their attention, you’re going to miss out on significant amounts of attention for your site. A good SEO copywriting service can help you identify your customers, and then develop material that speaks directly to them, contributing to increase your site views and help your brand become a household name.
  • Boosted leads: According to HubSpot, companies with websites ranging between 401-1000 pages earn 6x as many leads as businesses that only have between 51-1000 pages. When you hire an SEO copywriting service, one of the top priorities will likely be to create blog and web page content. As you create blogs, for example, each new blog is an additional page for Google to index. This helps boost your site’s visibility and increases the number of leads your site will draw through organic traffic.
  • Increased relevance to customers: Today, customers use web content to answer questions and gain new information. When your company creates custom content meant to cater to these purposes, you become more relevant to your consumers, which is good for brand recognition and customer loyalty.
  • Decreased costs: While inbound marketing is drastically more efficient than traditional, outbound marketing, it’s also significantly less expensive. In fact, HubSpot reports that companies save an average of $20,000 each year by migrating to inbound marketing tactics.

14 Traits of a Worthwhile SEO Copywriting Service

1. Clearly defined boundaries

SEO copywriting services are not SEO-only services, and it’s important to understand that from the get-go.

While a good SEO copywriting service has an extensive understanding of everything that has to do with search algorithms, and likely conducts Google-specific duties like keyword research and on-page optimization, it’s unlikely that an SEO copywriting service will do anything like updating your link profile, for example.

With this in mind, an SEO copywriting service should neither define itself as an SEO company nor should it attempt to tackle the most convoluted aspects of technical algorithms. These jobs are best left for other, more technical firms.

When an SEO copywriting service clearly defines what it is and isn’t, you can bet that the content delivered will be high-quality and that the scope of focus will be narrow enough to provide you with targeted, quality service.

2. A willingness to work with your company’s brand

A professional SEO copywriting service will morph to adapt to your brand. Everything from the company’s voice to their approach should shift depending on your unique target audience and preferred tone.

While this may sound like a tall order, copywriters are chameleons by nature, and altering these things to provide you with a good experience should be natural for the firm you hire.

3. An insistence on perfection

SEO copywriting can be a huge boon for your company, so it’s essential that the SEO copywriting service you hire insists on quality, professionalism, and perfection in everything they do.

The company in question should have a good network of writers, editors, and reviewers in place and should run everything through plagiarism-checking software before submitting it to you. These systems help ensure quality work and will help your business gain online visibility, over time. Want to see what a few faces from a team of 60+ looks like? Check out our About page!

4. Demonstrable SEO copywriting experience

A good SEO copywriting service should be able to point to extensive examples of what it has done in the past. These examples should be high-quality and wide-ranging – running from blog content to white papers and beyond. (We have over 40 content services in our Content Shop!)

Demonstrable experience helps you ascertain the skills of the SEO copywriting service and get an idea for their style and methods before you commit.

5. A wide selection of expert-level knowledge

Expert content is critical for any company that wants to build a sustainable online presence, and a good SEO copywriting service should be able to cater to a variety of expertise and industries. Most professional firms have several professional writers on staff. These writers specialize in industries like marketing, law, and finance. By finding a business that offers writers who specialize in your unique industry, you can ensure expert content for your site and high-quality material for years to come.

6. Outstanding research skills

A great SEO copywriting service will go above and beyond regarding research. Whether the firm is researching one of your products or searching for quality statistics to include in a blog post, excellent research skills are critical.

Look for a documented research method and standards for what separates a good source from a bad one before you hire an SEO copywriting service.

7. Ability to appeal to reader emotions

Great SEO copywriting services know how to use reader emotions to make your content convert.  Whether the copywriter is crafting a sense of urgency through limited time offers or inspiring customers to click by warning them about common pitfalls or easy-to-avoid mistakes, a professional SEO copywriting service should be able to use your readers’ emotions to make your content more compelling and actionable.

For best results, look for examples of how they’ve done this in the past. Previous marketing copy is a good source, as is on-page copy created for other companies.

8. An ongoing use of the positive voice

Most marketers don’t realize how much positive voice affects their customers’ mindsets. When a writer says “Don’t make this mistake…” it leaves the reader with a negative feeling. When the author says, “Avoid pitfalls by doing this instead,” the reader’s emotions shift to a positive outlook. Writing in the positive voice makes content more actionable.

Instead of giving the reader a list of what not to do, it provides solid action points that help the reader make positive change. This, in turn, creates more valuable content that can benefit your company. With this in mind, look for an SEO copywriting service that knows how to write in the positive voice.

9. A focus on simplicity in online writing

The best SEO copywriting services take complex concepts and make them easy for your readers to understand. In addition to making your content more accessible, this approach also ensures that you’re not alienating readers through jargon or overly-muddled online material.

Look for an SEO copywriting service that uses short sentences and simple words and pays attention to reading levels when crafting online content.

10. A dedication to specificity

Specificity transforms online content. Instead of saying, “Many customers use search engines,” a good SEO copywriting service will provide statistics that offer information on just how many readers. This, in turn, creates a better experience for the customer and makes content more valuable by making it more informative. Specificity is essential in online content, and it’s critical to find an SEO copywriting service that agrees.

11. A commitment to white-hat strategies

While black-hat SEO firms aren’t the law of the land anymore, they used to be. Today, it’s harder to get away with spammy, black-hat SEO copywriting, but some firms still do it. Unfortunately, this will harm your Google rankings and alienate your customers over time. For best results, find an SEO copywriting service that uses white-hat SEO techniques like guest blogging, consistent posting, keyword research, and quality link building to improve rankings and draw traffic. In addition to being more sustainable, these tactics are better for your site and your readers.

12. Willing, open communication with clients

SEO copywriting is a difficult task, and it’s essential for a good SEO copywriting service to maintain clear and open communication with its customers. If you want a change, an edit, or a different approach, the SEO copywriting service should be willing to oblige, and should help explain any aspects of the process you don’t understand. This builds a positive relationship between your brand and the copywriting service and contributes to high-quality, unique content that benefits both of you.

13. Ability to craft quality CTAs

A good call-to-action (CTA) is essential for actionable content, and a good SEO copywriting service will understand how to write CTAs that don’t alienate your customers. Look for brands that have increased the conversion rates of other companies in the past, and feel free to ask questions about what a good CTA entails. A good SEO copywriting service will have a profound understanding of the topic.

14. Current SEO knowledge

The best practices for SEO change often, and a good SEO copywriting service must have a good grasp on them. This means using the newest tools, understanding Google’s most recent algorithm updates, and being able to adjust their tactics according to new information. Without this knowledge, it’s impossible for an SEO copywriting service to provide to-the-minute offerings.

Finding a Good SEO Copywriting Service Made Simple

While finding a great SEO copywriting service may seem difficult, it’s well worth the time and effort to find a firm that you click with.

In addition to streamlining your content creation and ensuring high-quality material for your site, building a partnership with an SEO copywriting service is a wonderful way to help your brand become more visible online.

Need help developing high quality SEO copywriting?  Contact Express Writers today!

how to outsource your content writing

How to Outsource Your Content Writing (Successfully)

Imagine this: you’ve spent a long day running your business, and the day is wrapping up. You’ve been at your desk for nine hours and there’s still more to do. While all you want to do is go home, you’ve still got to create your blog and social media content for the week.

Does this describe you?

If you’re a business owner, chances are you don’t have to work too hard to imagine this.

And if that is the case, now is a very good time to consider how to outsource your content writing.

Whether you simply dislike writing (it’s ok–we can’t all be perfect!), or just don’t have the time, knowing how to outsource your content creation is an excellent way to make your business more successful and free up your time to grow your business.

I’ve compiled this guide for you with key advice from myself (as a writing agency owner, dealing with thousands of clients in the past five years), and from staff members in our team that talk to our clients on a day-to-day basis. Keep reading and learn how to effectively, and smoothly, load your writing needs over to an outsourced provider.

outsourcing your content

How to Outsource Your Content Writing Successfully: A Guide

For this guide on how to outsource your content creation, I teamed up with our amazing content staff – Katria, our Content Manager, Tamila, our Client Engagement Specialist, Tara, our Content Development Specialist, and Korilynn, one of our full-time writers. Their quotes are below!

First, let’s start with a few signs to help you know when it’s time to outsource your content.

3 Tell-Tale Signs it’s Time to Outsource Your Content

Just how do you tell that it’s time to outsource your content writing?

1. Your content is dropping off, you’re missing publishing times, and people have stopped engaging with your content

If you’ve noticed a significant drop in your engagement lately, it could be because the quality of your content is slipping off. This happens when business owners start getting so busy that they neglect the quality of their content creation, and it could be happening to you right now. Fortunately, there’s help to be had before you disappear into that wormhole of obscurity. Outsource your content for the love and attention your social channels and blogs need to thrive once more.

2. You’re just never able to find the time to write

Being a business owner or entrepreneur comes with the requirement of an insane schedule. If you’re one of those people who eats in the car, spends half the day on the phone, and has started keeping survival supplies in the bottom left drawer of your desk, it’s likely that content creation isn’t your main priority right now, and – hey, rightfully so. Even though you want your business to succeed, content creation is time-consuming, and it’s hard to balance that, which can seem a bit obscure, with all of the real, tangible, everyday demands of your physical business.

Some business owners who find themselves in this position just stop creating content altogether. Never do that. You could lose all your new inbound lead opportunities if you do. Remember: businesses that publish 16 or more blogs monthly get 3.5 times more traffic than businesses that publish 0-4 posts per month (Hubspot).

3. You simply dislike writing

Writing is not for everyone, and that’s okay. It’s one thing that can be tough to master – especially the skill of online writing. If you hate it, don’t stress yourself out over it. Instead, call in a trained team of writers who can take the icky task off your back while you focus on things you do like.

Express Writers’ Staff Shares 8 Tips on How to Successfully Outsource Your Content & Get Amazing Results

It’s not every day, unfortunately, that business owners outsource their content and get incredible results from it.

We’ve seen new client after new client come to us with this kind of story:

“I just hired a writer. It was a year-long contract for a blog per week. He claimed he knows the industry. Now not only is my client rewriting everything from scratch, it was so bad, he’s actually about to leave me because the writer stopped showing up and I have no content to give my client.”

Ouch.

Is this your story? It doesn’t have to be. Fortunately, there are content creators that really care about content creation.

As a content agency, we’ve created thousands of projects for hundreds of clients since 2011 (check out one of our creation reports), and we know how to do content right. Here are eight key tips from five of our leading staff members.

If you’re looking to outsource your content, follow these carefully to successfully manage both quality and expectations for yourself and your writer.

quote by julia mccoy outsource content

1. My key tip: Evaluate how you provide instructions.

Even the best writer is only as good as the instructions that he or she receives.

With this in mind, be sure you’re setting your would-be writers up for success by evaluating the way you provide instructions.

Here are two examples of instructions:

Poor: “Write 300-words of web copy for our ‘about us’ page.”

Helpful: “Write 300 words of web copy for our ‘about us’ page. The URL of our site is www.company.com. The key points we want to communicate are as follows: Company is a Texas-based provider of custom dog coats. All our coats are environmentally friendly and made from recycled pop cans. We never undertake animal testing, and we give 10% of our proceeds to grassroots non-profits. Our contact number is 867-5309, and we specialize in producing coats for small and medium breeds.”

Is the second example a little wacky? Sure. But is it specific, and useful tot he writer? Yes.

When it comes to giving your writer instructions, be as specific and granular as you can.

Provide examples of content you like, reference websites for research and statistics, very specific directions and outlines, etc. The more information your writer has to work with, the more efficient he or she will be with your content creation.

tamila quote outsourcing your writing

2. Tamila’s key tip: Communications is the key to a great outsourcing experience.

Tamila, our Client Engagement Specialist, knows what it takes to succeed. She says: all communication is a two-way street.

As the client, provide all information upfront. This includes word count, subject, outlines (if content needs to be really specific), keywords, audience, and tone of content. Also, be sure to provide your writer with your deadline upfront. If you need open communication (emails daily, Skype chats, etc) with the writer, let them know this as well.

Know writer red flags. a) If you reach out to the writer and they don’t respond within 24 hours, you should reconsider using them. b) If the first draft is poorly written, the chances that the writer will be able to provide a quality second draft is unlikely.
However, remember that communication is still key, so if the first draft is simply not what you had in mind, give constructive feedback. Simply saying “This is not what I asked for” will only frustrate the writer and won’t get you any closer to the desired end result.

tara quote outsourcing

3. Tara’s key tip: Know your expectations, based on the provider type: solo writer or agency.

Our Content Development Specialist, Tara, says that if you contract a solo writer, you need to understand that things happen – illnesses, holiday time, other jobs, etc. If you go with an agency, you should expect the agency to fill any gaps or absences seamlessly – and for a competitive price point. When you’re evaluating writers, you should look for industry experience, testimonials, a website, native-level language on all written materials, and sample content by request. One or more revisions should also be included in your cost.

At Express Writers, we provide two revisions with every piece of content and meet all the above criteria. Additionally, we have a team of seasoned editors reviewing every piece of content before it goes to our clients. We offer two levels of writing service: general and expert. I always explain it to clients using my own writing abilities as an example. I could write an expert-level piece on guest blogging or content marketing, but I wouldn’t be able to complete an expert piece of content on something like crochet, which I know nothing about. If you need impactful, industry-specific content, go with a writer in that niche as often as possible.

If you’re looking to make a real impact in 2017, make your mark with authority content. This type of work will set you far above your competition and the generic noise they make, and it’s not a level you’re going to find at most other agencies. Our goal is to showcase your expertise – we’re just putting a definitive shine on the knowledge you’ve already gathered.

katria outsource quote

4. Katria’s key tip: Share key details, your intentions with the content and the audience.

Our Content Manager, Katria, shares a simple but effective tip. We tend to nail content a lot more often when the writer has clear direction in what the content will be used for and what audience to write for.

Little details like word count and keywords are important, but overall, knowing the intent of the content (what it’s meant for, where it’s going) and the audience are critical for a writer to succeed.

When we have those two things, other details like tone and voice will fall into place.
korilynn quote

5. Korilynn’s key tip: Be specific, but not too constricting.

One of our full-time content writers, Korilynn, says that every freelance writer needs to know exactly what you are looking for in terms of tone, direction, keywords, and core message, but also you want to encourage the freedom to use their inner creativity. If the guidance is too constricting, then the copy tends to come off robotic even from the most talented writers, because they are pigeonholed into a very specific outline.

3 Additional Key Tips to Outsource Your Writing Successfully

6. Understand that editing is part of writing

If you’ve never worked with a writer before, you might not know just how integral the editing process is to content creation. When your writer submits a draft to you, consider it just that – a draft.

Not quitting on the first draft is essential. To forge a good relationship with your writer, you’ll need to work together to determine a process for content creation. Remember: no matter how good your writer is, it takes some time to “teach” him or her what you expect from your content.

What’s more, writers want to do a good job, and they can’t fix mistakes in formatting or voice unless you let them know they exist. That said, work through the editing process in close collaboration with your writer to create a more functional partnership.

7. Reward your writer for a job well done

For copywriters, it can often seem like assignments come and go and are never heard from again. This can be a discouraging way to work, and it’s something that bothers many writers. Instead of letting this happen in your newfound writing team, be sure to reward your writers – either financially or verbally – for a job well done.

Something as small as calling out what you liked about a certain piece or adding a bonus to a writer’s assignment every now and again can go a long way toward boosting the morale of your team. It also has the added benefit of helping your writers see your assignments as their top priority, and encouraging them to turn in quality work at all times.

8. Remember to hire based on skillsets, if you have an industry need

If you own a high level niche company, look for writers with niche experience in your industry. Writers with niche medical, financial, and technical skills are all over the web, and they can help enhance your content and create the high-level material you need to help your business thrive.

Know How to Outsource Your Content to Great Writers, & Your Business Will Grow

If you hate writing, aren’t any good at it, and can’t bear to do it one more day, it’s critical to know how to outsource your content to a team of skilled writers.

Finding a great group of copywriters is a rewarding process, and it can help your business grow now and in the future.

Looking for the right team to help you craft your content? Talk to us to learn more about our outstanding content services!