The 7 Do Not's of SEO in 2019 and Beyond (Search Engine Journal Webinar Recap)

The 7 Do Not’s of SEO in 2019 and Beyond (Search Engine Journal Webinar Recap)

SEO to content is like paleo chocolate frosting to a paleo chocolate cake.
(Ever had one of those? They’re decadent, AND good for you. 🤤)
It seriously is that important–and impactful–in content marketing.
SEO-focused content marketing has powered our own organic marketing at Express Writers for years.
Without good SEO practices, your content will miss out on the possibilities of earning traffic and leads through organic user searches.
The opposite, bad SEO, will make readers and Google look a little like Steve Carrell in this scene in the 2014 movie, Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day:

Not good.
That’s why, this April, I presented a webinar for Search Engine Journal on the top seven bad SEO tactics to abandon forever – ones that are dragging down your search rankings, confusing users (see above photo), and leaving your content in the dust.
We had an amazing turnout for this webinar. Over 300 people tuned in live!
Here are the slides from my webinar, and here’s the YouTube replay.
For those who missed it, or those who want the highlights, keep reading – I’m recapping the major points, here, too. ✔
Before we get into the bad SEO tactics and practices people are still using, we need to answer one question…
Get your own content marketing all geared up for the ROI you've been waiting for with the help of good SEO. Watch @JuliaEMcCoy's @sejournal webinar about the 7 Do Not's of #SEO in 2019 Click To Tweet
sej webinar recap julia mccoy

Why Does SEO and Google Matter?

Two reasons:

1. Most Internet Users Rely on Google

About half of the world’s population uses the internet. That’s no joke. Of those internet-users, about 60% begin their browsing with a Google search.
Over 3.5 billion Google searches happen in a day. Plus, Google dominates the market. Almost 60% of all web traffic begins with a Google search, according to the data from SparkToro and Jumpshot.
do not's of seo: forgetting Google

Image: Backlinko

2. Google is All About the User

Most web traffic comes from Google, and Google is all about that end-user. From their Search Engine Evaluator Guidelines to their Webmaster Central Blog, the user experience takes center stage. When your SEO and website experience tick off human users, you tick off Google, simultaneously.
Therefore, good SEO practices are all about keeping users and Google happy. The better you do, the more highly you will be ranked in search (and loved by users!).
With that out of the way, let’s get into the bad SEO tactics that will make your two most important audience members (humans and Google) confused, annoyed, and fed-up.
SEO-focused content marketing has powered our own organic marketing at Express Writers for years. Know why SEO matters with @JuliaEMcCoy's @sejournal webinar about the 7 Do Not's of #SEO in 2019 Click To Tweet

7 Just-Plain-BAD SEO Tactics You Shouldn’t Be Using Anymore

1. Using Your Target Keyword the Wrong Way

An outdated SEO practice we need to do away with is targeting one keyword per page – especially similar or semantically related keywords.
Instead, it’s better to target both focus keywords and secondary, related keywords in the same piece of content. This will align your SEO strategy with modern semantic search, which is what Google is focusing on moving into the future.
Semantic search looks at a page’s overarching topic vs. individual keywords to determine whether it’s relevant to a user’s search query.
do not's of seo: bad keyword usage
On the right side of this diagram, each keyword is targeted individually. A better SEO practice is to target related terms like these within the same piece (left).
Using a focus keyword + variations, related terms, and synonyms all within the same high-quality content piece signals to Google AND users that the page is topically relevant to the search query.

2. Developing Thin Content That Doesn’t Go the Distance

Short, thin content pieces are not SEO-worthy. If you want a page to rank, you need longer, in-depth content.
How do we know? Look at the data: From BuzzSumo’s analysis of over 100 million articles, long-form content (over 3,000 words) was most-shared. A Backlinko study came to the same conclusion – long-form content = higher search rankings.
To write longer content, focus on answering the user’s question(s) thoroughly and deep-dive into your topic.

3. Posting Content Whenever You Feel Like It

You can’t post content erratically if you want to rank higher in search. Many studies have shown that consistently publishing high-quality content leads to more ranking opportunities.
For one example, a HubSpot benchmark study found that companies that posted over 16x/month earned the most traffic and leads.
do not's of seo: posting inconsistently
That doesn’t mean you need to start blogging like a madman (or madperson), though. If you push out tons of posts but your quality sucks, you still won’t get anywhere. That leads us to bad SEO tactic #4…

4. Focusing on Quantity Vs. Quality

Pushing out blog posts just to get them on the web is never a good idea for SEO. Quality matters more than quantity for rankings and readership.
If you can’t feasibly publish fantastic blog posts on a consistent basis (say, 2-3x/week), cut back. One amazing post per week or month is better than 3 mediocre or crappy ones.
Tip: Check out the top 5 search results for your focus keyword in Google. Try to create a post that’s better than anything in that top 5.

5. Publishing Duplicate Content

According to SEMrush, a study of over 100,000 articles showed the most common SEO error is something we can all easily avoid: duplicate content. Nearly 66% of the articles in the study suffered from this problem.
It happens when multiple pages appear very similar or match 100%. Usually, this is unintentional, but some people do plagiarize content. Either way, you will be penalized.
Luckily, this mistake is easy to avoid. Do it by running all of your content through Copyscape before publishing. Rewrite any pages that have a percentage match.

6. Using Shady Tactics like Link Buying

If you really want to get on the wrong side of Google, link schemes and link buying are the way to do it.
Google specifically states in their quality guidelines that “Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.”
do not's of seo: link buying
If you violate those guidelines, bet on getting de-ranked faster than you can say “blackhat SEO”.
Instead of trying to sneak your way onto the SERPs, make every piece of content you publish link-worthy. Then, amplify that content using every resource in your power (social media, email marketing, networking, and connections).
Make every piece of content you publish link-worthy. @JuliaEMcCoy #SEO Click To Tweet

7. Not Paying Attention to Customer Reviews (or Posting Fake Reviews)

70% of online consumers read reviews of a product or company before buying. If you’re forgetting or ignoring the customer review portion of SEO – why?!
Some marketers go in the opposite direction and resort to posting fake reviews to boost their reputation. (Did you know The Washington Post discovered 61% of electronics reviews on Amazon are fake? Yikes.) It’s not like this works, though. Review platforms are becoming more advanced at sniffing out and deleting fake reviews.
Fake reviews aren’t necessary if you know how to earn glowing ones from customers. A few tips:

  • Ask happy customers to review you on the platform that contributes most to building your reputation (social media, Google review, Yelp review, etc.).
  • Seek customer reviews when they’re super happy with your business. Say you exceeded their expectations or delivered a quality product early – those are prime moments to ask.
  • Offer free samples to influencers and ask them for an honest review in return. This works especially well if you have a feature-worthy product.

Online reviews are a big part of building your reputation and authority. Seek them out from happy customers instead of resorting to fakery.

Turn to the Light: Good SEO Practices Are Worth It

Outdated, blackhat, or downright lazy SEO practices will make human users and Google shun your site like it has the plague.

GIF: Tenor

What you really want is a site and content that shine like a beacon, beckoning and welcoming users with the warm glow of usefulness, quality, depth, and insight.
Look at what we’ve achieved at Express Writers, for example. 99% of our leads and revenue have come to us through our SEO content.
That’s what good SEO helps you achieve. Avoid the bad stuff and focus on the good for best results. Come back into the light!
express writers cta

I Gave a 4-Hour Workshop on Content Writing to A Healthcare Firm. Here Are My 3 Takeaways

I Gave a 4-Hour Workshop on Content Writing to A Healthcare Firm. Here Are My 3 Takeaways

This March, I had the honor of teaching my first paid content writing workshop.
(I’m stepping out of my comfort zone by taking my first in-person speaking engagements this year. Till now, I’ve done webinars, podcasts, and lots of video. This January, I gave my first 20-minute live talk to a mastermind here in Austin, and it went well!)
The March workshop was in Irvine, California, for a healthcare company called NextGen Healthcare. Sarah, Manager of the Marketing Content Strategy, asked me to come and teach a full half-day class on one of my favorite topics — strategic content writing techniques for web, blog, email, social media and downloadables (whitepapers, content upgrades, etc.) for a B2B audience.
nextgen workshop
The workshop was on March 26, and it went very well!
For several reasons.
First, the team of people that were there! (*cue Hallelujah chorus*) Teaching is easy when you have such a great crew as students. These people were simply amazing. Smarties, each and every one!
Secondly, it was great to have a live audience while teaching content — tunnel vision, farewell! I was able to see, hear and discover what people that work in a leading industry firm actually find difficult in content marketing, what they struggle with, and on the flip side, what they actually enjoy doing and are good at.
I think I walked out with as much new inspiration and knowledge as I (hopefully) left my attendees with. Here’s a recap of my workshop experience. First, what went into the workshop; and secondly, some key takeaways from the conversations I listened in to.
Content marketing expert @JuliaEMcCoy gave a live content writing workshop to a healthcare firm in California. Read her top takeaways from the experience 🔥#strategy Click To Tweet
nextgen

What Went Into My 4-Hour Content Writing Workshop

It was fantastic to work with Sarah Andrade, who is the Manager of Marketing Content Strategy (that’s a mouthful) at NextGen Healthcare. She found me through our site at Express Writers, and sent me a warm, friendly email requesting my presence teaching the workshop and offering full payment.
Content creation is my jam, so when Sarah at NextGen Healthcare found me, despite a short timeline (in two weeks!), I said yes to taking on content creation for the half-day workshop.
It was an amazing experience. I can’t say enough good things about the content team themselves. Brilliant people, all of them! Sarah (the marketing manager who found and recruited me), Allison, Carrie, Michael, Holly, Eleen, Jaime, Cathryn, Michelle…and everyone else whose names my post-speaking mushy brain sadly didn’t hit save on. Seriously, it was a rockstar team.
They checked all the boxes:

  • Engaged, interested, and passionate about their jobs (the whole room was engaged and came alive when we paused for Q&A)
  • Already knowledgeable in a variety of areas (from SEO all the way to how to post content on Instagram with the paragraph breaks — Allison and Jaime had a finger on SEO, social and content trends)
  • Great at content (Michael, Carrie – rockstar content writers, serious OGs, I’d hire them — and I hire 1-2% of the writers I meet!)

Here’s what the final outline of my workshop looked like:

NextGen® Healthcare Content Creation Workshop Sessions & Outline

Sarah gave me full liberty to construct the whole half-day workshop. So, with Sarah’s help, I came up with 20-25 minute speaking sessions, broken up by Q&A content creation workshops. Here’s the final outline of workshop I constructed and gave. I was able to get through all the sessions between a time span of noon to 5 p.m. We ended up spending a great deal of time in Q&A, which I loved.

  • Session 1: Introduction to Modern Content Writing & Content Types
    • — Learn It! Q&A and Homework Share
  • Session 2: How to Craft Engaging, Optimized Blogs
    • — Learn It! Q&A and Blog Content Creation Workshop
  • Session 3: How to Write Engaging Web Content
    • — Learn It! Q&A and Web Content Creation Workshop
  • Session 4: How to Write Emails
    • — Learn It! Q&A and Email Writing Workshop

I spent a few back-to-back 10-hour days working on the content to get it all done, right after Sarah found me. In less than 10 days, I’d created 200+ slides, four PowerPoint presentations, four cheat-sheet PDF takeaways for each attendee, and two recorded videos for the class demo-ing how to use BuzzSumo for content analysis, and SEMrush for keyword research. If I had more time, I would have made the content even more tailored to their audience and conducted more research on their high-level audience – but, I was able to customize it fairly well.
My designer did an amazing job on the presentation design (psst… this is something we offer in the Content Shop!):

Here are a few of my favorite slides from the session (and I think everyone’s favorite, from the joyful and positive feedback that erupted after I presented the ‘icky face’). I took an overly stuffy home page tagline from the website for NextGen Healthcare, and rewrote it for the class:
nextgen healthcare julia mccoy

The ‘homework’ everyone was asked to do prior was a suggestion of Sarah, and I thought it was a great idea. We came up with three items (1. Bring your questions, 2. Bring a piece of content from NextGen to reform, 3. Bring a piece of content that makes you feel something – curious, inspired, joyful, etc.), and everyone that attended the workshop was all about it! Pretty much all of them had done their homework prior (again, so impressed with this team).
In the homework Q&A time, lead writer Michael shared how much he took inspiration from Andrew & Pete, two content marketers that recently made a Top 100 Marketer list. I love Andrew & Pete myself. They’re outside-the-box thinkers who boldly and creatively go where few marketers go.
Overall, it was an amazing group, and the experience of teaching a workshop was wonderful.
nextgen content writing workshop collage

3 Takeaways & Inspirations Gained from Teaching My Workshop

I was inspired by the live conversations I listened to, during and after my live workshop. It was quite an experience to teach a group of (incredibly smart and talented!) people live, vs. teaching one of my courses online.
I was so inspired that when I visited the California beach the next day, I filmed this YouTube video: Is the Playbook to “Good Content” Dead? The Reality of Content Marketing Today (Video) I’d planned on filming my next bi-weekly scheduled video while in California, but had no script, talking points or outline prior to recording. I was thoroughly, 100% inspired.


It’s time to stop doing same old, same old — and that’s one of the biggest points of my video and my takeaway from teaching the workshop.
My three takeaways would be these:

1. THEM vs. US.

It’s time to stop making our marketing about us, and make it about our consumers, our people.
As I drove back to the L.A. airport from Irvine, I noticed and read billboard after billboard. 60% were worded with ‘OUR’ and ‘US,’ and only 40% were worded with ‘YOU,’ ‘YOURS’. And the ones with pro-consumer copy were so much more inviting and intriguing. A Porsche billboard, for example, offered an experience that was “your ticket to adventure.” You only knew it was Porsche from the logo. I wanted to be a part of that adventure! A bank offered “our talented solutions” for your needs, and their egotistical message overshadowed the ‘you’ part.
Authentic, audience-focused copy on our website, ads, etc. makes a huge difference in telling our audience that we truly care about them.
It's time to stop making our marketing about us, and make it about our consumers, our people. @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

2. Level 10 is Now Level 1

What used to be Level 10 (content strategy knowledge) just a few years ago is now Level 1.
Seriously! I believe that level 10 has become our new Level 1. It is now the Basics.
So, this means we have no excuse to not know our content basics. Get strategic, and never guess when creating content – ever! Use data-backed insights on REAL searches they’re doing in Google and find the questions they’re already asking online, using tools like BuzzSumo (content discovery) and SEMrush (SEO analysis).

Need help? I teach all the answers to ‘what is content marketing’ step-by-step in the Content Strategy & Marketing Course.

Our new level 10? Well, that’s my next point.
What used to be Level 10 (content strategy knowledge) just a few years ago is now Level 1. This means we have no excuse to not know our content basics. @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

3. Allow Room for Innovation

Once you have the basics down, and you know content strategy:
Throw out best practices and your content playbook.
I mean it.
This is your new level.
Innovation.
After you equip your people (agency staff) with the right skills, it’s critical to allow room for innovation. Take your marketing people on a trip outside the office to spark brand new thoughts and inspired action.
This is how we’re going to win today.
Not just by covering the basics, and ‘knowing’ the what.
After we know our basics (the WHAT and HOW of content), we need space to create content people desire. This comes when we leave room for inspiration and innovation. This only comes when we leave room for inspiration and innovation. And this is how to hit a true, tangible and real next-level, in a world full of mountains and mountains of content.
Once you have the basics down, and you know content strategy: Throw out best practices and your content playbook. Your new next-level is innovation. @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

Conclusion

Teaching a training workshop is no joke. I was dead tired after my four-hour workshop!
However, it was rewarding to be a part of an amazing content team (even if just for half a day). I thoroughly enjoyed helping them navigate the waters of creating great content! And, I feel like I walked away with just as much fresh, renewed inspiration as my students. 🔥
Want to request Julia to be a part of your event? Send us a message!

The Write Podcast, E37: Building a Content Marketing Empire and the 10% vs 10x Framework with Garrett Moon of CoSchedule

The Write Podcast, E37: Building a Content Marketing Empire and the 10% vs 10x Framework with Garrett Moon of CoSchedule


Today on The Write Podcast, the CEO of CoSchedule, Garrett Moon, joins me to talk about how he’s grown a massive content marketing empire with CoSchedule, and a framework for prioritizing opportunities that equal major business growth: he calls this the 10% versus 10x framework.
I’ve long been an avid reader, listener, and subscriber to CoSchedule. Their brand is close to my own heart, and their incredible success proves that they know content marketing. Currently, CoSchedule is the fastest-growing startup in North Dakota and the #1 scheduling tool for marketers. This marketing calendar software also has an impressive 8,000 customers and 225,000 blog subscribers, and they even host their own Academy with training courses, as well as a podcast, the Actionable Marketing Podcast.

(I’ve been honored to have been a guest on their podcast, as well as on a recent live CoSchedule webinar.)
There are so many great insights shared during this episode.
Sit down and listen to our chat, and be prepared to learn!
(P.S. Quick sidenote. My apologies for the former inconveniences with the Spreaker audio stream above. We figured out how to turn off those annoying ads that played right away. Whew! So sorry again that was happening – I wasn’t aware till a few episodes ago.)
The Write Podcast, E37: Building a Content Marketing Empire and the 10% vs 10x Framework with Garrett Moon of CoSchedule

The Write Podcast, E37: Building a Content Marketing Empire with Garrett Moon of CoSchedule

  • 2:37 – The Story Behind CoSchedule. Garrett talks about how CoSchedule started. He and his co-founder were marketers who essentially “fell out of love” with the widespread tools they were using to plan and publish their content. There had to be a better way to pull all the various pieces together.
  • 5:38 – What Is the 10x vs. 10% Rule? (Hint: It’s A Major Growth Factor for CoSchedule). Garrett explains the framework they use at CoSchedule that helps them decide which content marketing projects are worth the time and effort.
  • 7:00 – Which Projects Fall into the 10% Category? Every action you take for your business can be categorized as either 10% or 10x. 10% projects increase your growth, but only incrementally. They’re good ideas, but take time to show results. There’s no huge impact once you implement them.
  • 7:48 – The 10x Category (The Big Guns). In contrast to 10% projects, 10x opportunities are ones that explode your growth. Garrett gives us an example: 10% opportunities may net you 100 clicks, while 10x opportunities will get 10x those results – 1,000 clicks.
  • 8:30 – Doing a Few Things with Great Results vs. Doing a Lot of Things with Lackluster Results. We discuss how having your hands in too many pots can add up to 10% results in everything. If you scale back, you will be able to put more time and effort into fewer things with BETTER results.
  • 10:07 – The 10x Marketing Formula. Garrett’s book dives into this topic in far more detail. Check out the “Links Mentioned” section to find where you can snag your copy (I highly recommend Garrett’s book).
  • 10:53 – How JOMO (“Joy of Missing Out”) Ties In. #JOMO strikes again! Trying to do “100 things 10% good” can hurt your business. FOMO (“Fear of Missing Out”) can fuel this. Instead, try the antithesis to FOMO and embrace JOMO, and only shoot for what will rocket you to 10x growth.
  • 11:42 – Sometimes, a 10x Opportunity for Others Is a 10% Idea for You. Garrett talks about why CoSchedule decided not to jump on the video bandwagon a few years ago – a 10x opportunity for plenty of others, but not for them as a company.
  • 13:47 – The Framework for “Competition-Free” Content: Look, Research, Strategize. The content you publish is competing with other content. The marketing sea is a crowded place. To stand out and produce content that stands alone, Garrett talks about the three things you need to do (look, research, and strategize) and how that framework worked for CoSchedule.
  • 23:10 – Two Content Traps (The Traffic Trap and Promotional Trap) and How to Avoid Them by Focusing on a Content Core. Garrett talks about two common content pitfalls: Getting traffic that engages but doesn’t convert, and focusing too much on self-promotion, plus how to avoid both.
  • 26:10 – The Traffic Trap: How Do You Fix Blogs That Bring in Traffic, but Not Sales? Often, rewriting old content that falls into the traffic trap is a good way to refocus the traffic you may be getting from SEO into your sales funnel.
  • 29:06 – How to Buy The 10x Marketing Formula. Garrett’s book is available on Amazon, and you can read the first chapter on the CoSchedule website. Check “Links Mentioned” to find all the resources to buy this essential marketing read.

Favorite Quotes to Tweet

'The 10% vs. 10x framework is a way to look at what types of projects and ideas you should take action on, versus the projects and ideas you leave on the backburner.' @garrett_moon of @coschedule Click To Tweet
'In that start-up phase, if you're not producing results with the work you're doing, you're doing yourself a disservice. Your time is too limited and the risks are too high to be working on things that don't maximize your growth.'… Click To Tweet
'10x opportunities are the types that could potentially multiply your results by 10 times. For instance, 100 clicks become 1,000 clicks.' @garrett_moon of @coschedule Click To Tweet
'The challenge is to figure out how to de-prioritize those 10% items and put as much energy and effort as you can into those 10x opportunities.' @garrett_moon of @coschedule Click To Tweet

Links Mentioned

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The 6 Steps You Need to Build a Rock-Solid, Lucrative Online Content Strategy Framework

The 6 Steps You Need to Build a Rock-Solid, Lucrative Online Content Strategy Framework

Want to know the #1 way I grew Express Writers?
Two words, five syllables:
Content marketing.
Or, more specifically, consistent, strategic content marketing.
Online content strategy, a real, firm strategy, became my best friend to get to the “serious growth” phase.
The thing is, it took YEARS to figure out and perfect.
All the pieces had to come together, and I had to test, re-test, and test again to find out what worked (and, what didn’t).
When I figured it out, things snowballed.
Our income from Express Writers boomed to six-figures, and then to seven-figures ARR, inside just two years.
Here’s the story, and how I used my experience to get clear on EXACTLY what I needed to reach bigger, better, bolder success.
After that, I’m going to share the 6 steps I used to hone my online content strategy to a razor-sharp edge: the exact same system you can use to get crystal-clear on your own content and start seeing real results.
(What you’re about to read is a sneak peek into the six pillars of content success that I discuss and teach at length in my intensive content strategy & marketing book and course.)
online content strategy

Online Content Strategy Clarity Equals Success: From Near-Failure to Six-Figures after Getting Strategic

I started my business, Express Writers, from basically nothing – I was a college dropout with a dream and a mere $75 of pocket cash.
The beginning was hard. Here’s what that looked like, 2 years into the game:

By that time I had published 215 blogs, had 141 keywords ranking on Google, about 500 visitors/day to my site from organic traffic, and was earning around $29K/month.
I was creating content, but the results were lackluster.
I was doing a few things wrong:

  • My content quality wasn’t consistently high
  • I often published content just to “get it out there”
  • I was trying to push out TOO MUCH content (at least one blog post a day)
  • I was doing cold outreach to get more clients – and not earning any ROI for my time spent (read: the cold emails I sent out turned up nothing but crickets chirping)
  • I was trying to boost growth on every channel possible

In short, growth from content marketing was slow. I was hustling every day, snatching at leads wherever I could. And, the leads I did get from my content weren’t that good.
And, all of this was happening while I was a wife, a mom of a two-year-old, and had an understandably busy family life.
Bottom line: I was overworked and not seeing the results I dreamed of from my content.

The Turning Point: Enter Content Strategy

The turning point came in 2016. Our low-profit, high-expense months were not sustainable. We were making an average of $65K/month, but were lucky to take home 35% of that total.
Then, in May 2016, I discovered my two managers had been embezzling from the company for months.
I fired them. After that, some reassessing happened. I had to rebuild my business and my team.
It wasn’t until a few months later, while we were still slowly recovering, that I finally started implementing a content strategy.
With the combination of that strategy and better members on the EW team, we started seeing returns, slowly but surely.

We even started setting records for our monthly gross income.

  • Before using content strategy, I was publishing an average of 4 blogs/week. We had about 3,900 keywords indexed on Google, and we were making $65K/month, with some lower months after the embezzling fiasco.
  • One year later, and only a few months after implementing a content strategy, we hit our first $71K month in income. We also reached 6,000 keywords indexed on Google, which was nearly double the amount from the previous year.

And that momentum kept building as I refined my content strategy.

We continued having record months. Our Google presence kept building, and our online visibility skyrocketed. We started ranking #1 for hot keywords, and our traffic jumped to thousands of visitors per day.
Today, our content marketing continues to work and build on itself.

Without the strategy, though, none of it would be possible.
By now, you’re probably dying to know what that strategy looks like.
Listen up, because I’m sharing the 6 steps to my content strategy framework next. These steps build out the foundation of a rock-solid strategy.

6 Steps to Build an Unstoppable Content Strategy Framework

This is how you do content marketing that wins.

1. Understand the Basic Fundamentals of a Content Strategy

Content strategy defines as:
content strategy definition
If you don’t understand what a content strategy is, go back and get clear on this. It’s the only way you’ll also understand how content strategy fits into content marketing, and why the two cannot exist without each other.
Think of it this way: It’s impossible to succeed at any activity without a thorough base knowledge to guide you. Content strategy is no different.
You should also know what you’re talking about, and how to branch out into topics your audience wants to hear about. Finding your topic area is a fundamental first step in a content strategy.

Along with that, know your CDF – your Content Differentiation Factor. What makes you different than all the other content voices out there?
CDF content differentiation factor

2. Know Your Audience and How to Lead Them to a Sale (Bridge the Gap)

Knowing your audience is one thing, but knowing how to turn your audience into customers is another.
If you don’t understand how to bridge that gap, you’re missing out on one of the biggest first steps involved in putting your content strategy in place.
Of course, before you can connect the dots, you must know who your REAL audience is – not your imagined audience (only research and having actual conversations can tell you this!).
Once you know your persona, you can create content that matches the lifecycle stages of awareness, in the sales cycle. Example:
sales cycle content marketing

3. Use SEO (and Understand Its Importance)

Want to get found online? Including SEO in your content strategy is a foolproof way to do it organically, without paying a cent for ads.
Using SEO to get all its associated benefits means:

  • Knowing how to find keywords that will bring you profitable traffic (people with buying intent)
  • Knowing which tools to use to do keyword research
  • Understanding Google’s ranking factors and making sure your content hits them

You need to know the right tools and methodologies to use when you’re working on improving your search engine rankings. Keyword research plays a big part in this.

4. Build Your Gravitas Online (Be an Authority)

Building your authority online can have a few different meanings.
It can mean:

  • Building your brand as a trusted source of information
  • Building your brand as an authority website by Google’s standards

Both are valuable to your content strategy, and you should do things that help boost your gravitas in both scenarios.
Just one way to build your domain as an authority in Google’s eyes is to focus on publishing content on YOUR platform, i.e. a domain that YOU own – not proprietary ones like Facebook, Instagram, or HuffingtonPost (which sadly discontinued their guest blogging platform not too long ago–I, along with many others, lost my content profile and login).
Focus on your 'content house' to get better online results, says @JuliaEMcCoy. #ContentMarketing #SEOContent Click To Tweet
content house julia mccoy

5. Create Content Strategically

When the times comes to create content, guess what?
This is what your content strategy is FOR.
Every previous step should lead you in the right direction for creating the right kind of content for your audience and brand.
Of course, there are a few extra steps involved, like putting a workable process in place for content creation (research, writing, editing, publishing); understanding what kind of formatting, tone of voice, and topics lead to high-ROI; and placing quality above quantity.

6. Maintain + Build Your Content Momentum (Budget, Audit, and Promote)

To maintain your forward progress with content marketing and strategy, you must budget wisely, audit strategically, and promote faithfully.
These three activities will keep your content marketing going. Instead of drifting aimlessly in a boat with no paddles, you’ll be riding the next wave with a motor at your back.

  • Budgeting content is about planning your expenses wisely and knowing where your dollars are going. I.e., know how much outsourcing content costs, and budget for high-quality.
  • Google loves fresh content. Do content audits of old posts and update anything outdated or thin.
  • Content promotion gets more eyes on your content assets, which can result in more leads + sales. Promotion doesn’t have to cost much, either.

Remember, a content strategy needs constant work to keep moving. Update, budget, plan, and promote so your content marketing never goes stale.

This 6-Step Content Strategy Framework Is Just the Beginning (Join My In-Depth 60-Minute Class for More)

Once you have the 6 steps down for building a profitable content strategy framework, your content marketing can grow, and grow, and grow…
But only because you’ve taken the time to lay a rock-solid foundation to stand on.
If you rush these steps or skip one or two, you’ll find yourself back at square one. The whole thing will collapse.
Don’t let that happen.
Know the framework inside-out, build your strategy with steel instead of straw, and you’ll be far more likely to succeed.
In short, make sure you have this stuff down!
Get a deeper explanation of each step, plus tips and advice, when you join my 60-minute 6-Step Framework to a Profitable Content Strategy masterclass that covers this framework from front-to-back. This is a FREE, on-demand webinar that dives into each step to a profitable content strategy in one, information-packed hour. Choose a time that fits your busy schedule, and ask your burning questions live. Don’t miss it!
(And, grab a copy of my book on this topic (each chapter is an in-depth look at the six steps in this framework): Practical Content Strategy & Marketing.)
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The Write Podcast, E36: An Outsourcing Story Narrated by Julia & Josh McCoy

The Write Podcast, E36: An Outsourcing Story Narrated by Julia & Josh McCoy


Today, my husband joins me for the first time ever on the Write Podcast.
Today we’re covering a topic that’s huge in the content marketing industry: outsourcing your content!
In this episode, I’m talking to you, content creators and writers! Be inspired as I share why and how you should stick to your guns about the quality you provide and the rates you set as an expert.
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I’m also talking to you, agencies and marketers. Learn how to work with content writers for better success.
But first, we’re eavesdropping on a sales call with a marketer who is a bit clueless about both… and I was able to convince my husband to play the marketer’s role.
Josh McCoy joins in as Marketer “Cowboy Joe,” and I’m playing myself.
You’ve got to listen in on this one. ?
The Write Podcast, E36: An Outsourcing Story Narrated by Julia & Josh McCoy

The Write Podcast, E36: An Outsourcing Story Narrated by Julia & Josh McCoy Show Notes

  • 0:01 – An Outsourcing Story. Listen in to hear a sales call to Express Writers from Joe, a marketer who wants masses of SEO content at bargain bin rates.
  • 2:53 – Why the Outsourcing Story Is Nothing New. Even though content marketing and content creation have come a long, long way since Express Writers first launched, we STILL get clients who want cut-throat rates for their content – and then get burned when they settle for bargain quality.
  • 4:37 – Setting Rock-Bottom Rates Sets an Unsustainable Standard in the Content Creation Industry. Many of EW’s competitors set extremely low rates for content writing. But, to create truly great, quality content that gets results, you need to aim higher.
  • 5:23 – Content Writers: Never Compromise on Quality and Rates! To set better standards in the industry, ones we can all benefit from, we need to stop accepting low rates and compromising our content writing just to make a quick dime.
  • 6:21 – How We’ve Changed at Express Writers to Refocus on Quality. We used to give in and give discounts to clients just to get the sale. I explain why that’s not our policy anymore and how it ties into refusing to compromise. This includes not compromising on the time and creativity it takes to create high-quality, amazing content.
  • 9:10 – Clients: 3 Pitfalls to Avoid When Outsourcing Your Writing and Content Creation. There are three mistakes it’s really easy to make when you need to outsource your content writing. The first one: Going in without a strategy, i.e. not knowing what types of content you need, not defining your brand voice, and not knowing your audience.
  • 10:53 – Content Creation Is One of the Top Outsourced Activities in the Industry, According to CMI. The stigma around outsourcing your content writing is continually shrinking. I talk about why that’s happening and why it’s so great for content writers.

Quotes to Tweet

Because we have competitors that charge very low, this sets an expectation. Marketers see that price, and they think, 'oh, that's the going rate' when that reflects very low quality. @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet
The day we all as writers agree to never compromise, is the day this question will stop coming our way: 'Hey, can you go low for high-volume orders?' @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet
Whenever we turn a client away, it comes from a place of ‘This is our expertise, this is our knowledge, this is what we know, this is what we're good at.’ We stand there, and don't bat an eye. @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet
'If you have the skills and expertise... you can stand on your knowledge and not give in to that client. You won't feel like a salesperson who is just after their money, whenever you ask for that big number.' @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet
'In this industry of content creation, the best deal really doesn't mean the best content.' @JuliaEMccoy Click To Tweet

Links Mentioned

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