As an entrepreneur, business, or creative, we know that content writing is not only competitive, but time consuming.
We all have a message. We all have a story to tell. But what makes it powerful, is how we convey that digital storytelling to our audience, and the mark we leave behind.
I have multiple brands and sites, and the messages are very different from one another. At this time, i’m the only content writer.
I take pride in creating my own content as the change maker, conscious designer, and creative leading my visual storytelling.
I want consistency in my creative writing, branding and word.
That is my choice, and something I look forward to, however, I also highly suggest hiring amazing copywriters, and creative writers for content creation too, don’t get me wrong, I know the pressures behind developing content that converts, and depending on where you fall within your business or role will define where you are in the path of delivery.
If you are the creator, or project manager, there are steps to take to make sure your blog is optimized to deliver your message in a visually compelling and powerful way.
Of course we want conversion, sales and reach, but more so, for me, it’s about being a resource my community can rely on in the industry of digital storytelling and education.
So with that said, here are the latest blog hacks for 2018 on how to optimize your blog, message and digital storytelling!
For an example, let’s say i’m about to create an article focused around the benefits of game based learning for children with special needs. I know that this topic is highly focused around my niche’ and market. Especially for my educational app company. Which leads me to Step #1.
Of course this may seem like a no-brainer.
Often times we aren’t as intimate with our niche as we think we are. In my opinion, knowing your community is a bit deeper than the demographics.
Although demographics are important, I feel as a cause related marketer, that knowing the emotional and psychological integrity of my community is key.
As well as building that relationship, and being transparent in my message, and my online voice.
Your online community will be your brand ambassadors, your support system and an extension of your wisdom, talents or offerings. So for that reason alone, knowing who your market truly is will benefit your writing and reach.
When you build trust. You give yourself a platform to really ask what your community wants, then you can truly deliver.
These individuals will be your blog marketing community. Your subscribers, your followers, your raging fans (if that’s important to you).
Get intimate! Who is your marketing community? their age, their interests, who they follow, their industry, what their sweet spot is, and document it!
Create a spreadsheet in google spreadsheets, excel or whatever program you are currently using. And document your community demographics. Get detailed.
*Think about your offerings. Have a soul to soul with yourself and your intentions. And with that conversation, visualize how you would communicate your offering, think of the individuals you would convey this to, be transparent in the message, your avatar. Remember, your audience should be truly defined before you start writing, and selling your message to the world.
With these details, and knowing your community, you will be able to create content just for them. You will be able to tailor your offerings, and support their needs in a mindful way. You will also have developed a community in which you can ask questions, give support, and have a test market for your new products, services and more. No more flying blind. Always write for your community. Then you will become a leader within your industry.
Ah yes, at first this felt icky to me. But then I thought more deeply, it resonated.
I am not competitive by nature, so that word turns me off, however, I am interested in knowing my industry leaders, as well as growing with them!
My industry is education technology. It’s a large niche’! I become even more focused by specializing in gamification in education and mobile learning.
In the good ole days, before digital networking, we all rubbed shoulders and smoozed at conferences, and lectures. And yes, we still do, but nowadays it’s more so online.
Knowing your industry leaders, and competition is vital to your online and physical growth. By identifying these individuals, we can learn what content they are sharing, producing, as well as their ranking and key words. This is research, not a moment to steal, or clone others content.
This is a way to see what your community wants, and delivers.
By knowing these details, we can become even more defined in our content creation and delivery. And develop a content strategy that packs a punch. And that is what we want right? By researching your competition, you can also define what makes your offerings special or stand out, so you can get real nichey. (The more specific and detailed the better)
Steps to Know Thy Digital Neighbor: Document your results!
Visit Your Competitors Website
- View their products, offerings and articles
- Observe their branding, calls to action, triggers for engagement
- Observe their content strategy and message
- Their outreach and community
- Their newsletters and freebies
- Who is sharing and what?
What is their ranking and domain authority?
- 100 is high. Check where they rank by page and site, and work on your own domain authority and ranking. Don’t worry if yours is low. The point is to build and optimize right! So now you have a goal. Rise up!
- Guest post on high authority sites, and link back to your primary site. Have an industry leader with high authority write for you as well. Build relationships.
Check Popular Links/Backlinks
- You want to see what is trending in your niche’, by checking links you can see what is trending currently, the keywords, and more.
- For Instance, if you are writing a blog post on the top 10 tools for Instagram marketing, and want to research what has been written thus far, then research! By checking popular posts, you can learn what’s trending, what’s being said, who wrote it, and write a stronger and more compelling article. This is an opportunity for you to see what your audience wants, and give them content in multiple ways. Create the blog then pair it with an infographic. Serve the senses, and maximize your reach!
Check Out How They Score!
- With QuickSprout you can check the traffic score, seo score, bill score, social network score of your competitors. (CLICK HERE)
Get Social. Follow their social media profiles and document their social media marketing. See what works, what doesn’t.
Set Google Alerts!
- Monitor the web and your competitors by using keywords
- Set Google Alerts for your industry, get the deets daily
Here are some tools and sites to help you get to know thy digital neighbor.
Google Alerts: LEARN MORE
Google Trends: LEARN MORE
Moz: LEARN MORE (Domain Authority Lookup/SEO Tool)
Open Site Explorer LEARN MORE
Quick Sprout LEARN MORE (Social Media Tools/Tutorials)
Spyfu: LEARN MORE
Tying in with #2 is important. When you do your research, and get to know your competition, this opens up and opportunity to reach out. Not to be a digital troll and hover, and drool over their success, and creations, but to actually form a relationship. We should be happy for others success, as well as our own. Don’t be intimidated, just be real.
I know this can be terrifying. Especially for us introverts. One of my favorite quotes is:
Do something you fear every day
We wouldn’t rise, if we only completed tasks we were comfortable with right? So please, get a bit uncomfortable, it’s worth it!
As I mentioned above, I stated the benefits of researching links. When you find out who is trending in your niche, the author or brand, you have created an opportunity to connect.
This is a moment where you can build meaningful relationships by sharing their content, and making contact through email, or social media. I find that social media is more effective than email, but that’s just from my own experience!
Offer to write for them, or ask for them to write for you. (Guest posting)
Give for the sake of giving. And they will give back.
I have been very successful in reaching out via Instagram. And have met amazing people through this simple transparency. I’ve built my brand awareness around developing meaningful relationships with my industry.
With my educational app Scrub Ninjas. I reached out to doctors and med students via Instagram, and asked for them to review my game. In return they shared my apps, and testimonials on their own platforms which helped my message to my community of med students. I was easy, and scary. But I did it. This gave me more confidence to do it more frequently, and now is a constant.
Your influencers will share your content if they see value. So make it worth your time as well as theirs. This is a powerful marketing tool.
Here are a few ways to reach industry leaders and change makers:
- Interview: Ask to do an interview, this is a win/win, you are supporting the influencer as well as your own brand. You are also supporting your community by working with a fellow industry leader who shares the same interests as you. A great beginning to a meaningful relationship.
- Create an personalized article featuring an industry leader/influencer
- Create a topic trending with influencer
- Discuss the influencer in detail, link to profiles
- Contact influencer and send article, ask for comment or for them to share.
- Send a personal email, direct message or social comment
- Be authentic, don’t be pushy or weird, just be cool.
- Offer to create a slideshow, or digital piece from one of their top trending articles, giving them full credit. Ask if they can link back to you.
- This is an offering, a gift. And a huge return.
- If you have a product. Gift it to an industry leader for testimonial, or support.
- Gift physical products or services, and ask for them to share on their social media platforms and to their community.
- Share their content. Like their content, and comment frequently.
- Make a true connection. And don’t feel defeated. If you are trying to connect personally with Marie Forleo, it could be difficult, but not impossible. Nothing is impossible, so good luck!
You want to stand out amongst the crowd. And you want traffic right?
So try to visualize your headline being the door to your storefront, or a path to the treasure.
When you create compelling and engaging headlines for your blogs, not only are they enticing, they lead to the viewer wanting more. This is your opening.
So when crafting your headlines, think again of your audience, and how you serve them. How do you hook them? And keep them coming back for more? You do so with these steps:
Keyword rich headlines, make it searchable and easy to find!
- Use Moz, Keyword Planner or Longtail Pro. to find keywords
Easy to read headlines: Simple language with a punch
Start with a Call To Action: “Try these high yield tips….” engage your readers
Use ‘Numbers’ and ‘How To’, Ex: 7 Ways To Increase Traffic to Your Blog
Start with a question. “Does the term SEO terrify you?”
FOMO: The fear of missing out. Create a sense of urgency in your headline. Ex: “Bloggers are you ready to become an industry leader?”
Write a List Post: People love lists. Ex: Top 20 Digital Tools for 2018
So those are a few ideas to keep you busy. Write out a few different headlines with subheadings, and make your mark. You want to be clear in your messaging. Stand out!
I’ve mentioned time and time again that we are visual creatures. I walk the path of a visual artist and storyteller because I consume life through my eyes.
I teach and work using visual aids, and I believe in the power of persuasive imagery. As well as the understanding of color psychology and how it relates to your branding and visual message.
When producing your articles, use images to tell your story.
It’s important to reach your audience and nurture all of the adult learning styles.
That is why I create content that is visually stimulating, paired with an audio and video version to support my community.
We all learn and retain differently. Some may enjoy a podcast or audio book, where others prefer video or slideshows. I do my best to serve all of the learning styles to make sure my message is seen, heard and felt by my market.
What are the adult learning styles?
- Auditory learning is a learning style in which a person learns through listening. An auditory learner depends on hearing and speaking as a main way of learning. Auditory learners must be able to hear what is being said in order to understand and may have difficulty with instructions that are drawn but if the writing is in a logical order it can be easier to understand . They also use their listening and repeating skills to sort through the information that is sent to them.
- Kinaesthetic learning, or tactile learning is a learning style in which learning takes place by the students carrying out physical activities, rather than listening to a lecture or watching demonstrations.
- Visual learning is a style in which a learner utilizes graphs, charts, maps and diagrams. It is one of the three basic types of learning styles in the Fleming VAK/VARK model that also includes kinesthetic learning and auditory learning.
By knowing the adult learning styles, you can address your community and market in totality. Just writing an article isn’t enough. This goes back to my emphasis on repurposing your content.
Since this is a piece about enhancing visuals, here are a few steps on how to do so:
- Use royalty free stock images or your own. Don’t use Google Images! You can be fined up to 10k USD. Use free stock image sites or subscription sites like Adobe Stock.
- Use bold images to break up the text. No one likes heavy text when reading, especially on mobile devices.
- Use images that relate to the blog and story.
- Use images with text for quotes or highlights from your blog, you can repurpose these images on your social media and link back to your blog article.
- Use energetic images for your ‘feature’ blog image. This will be the first image seen by your viewers and the one that gets shared to social platforms. I feel is the most important image that frames the mood of your content.
A little note: Use alt tags on all of your images. Beef up your SEO by making each image keyword rich. Alt tags and title tags strengthen the message towards search engine spiders and improve the accessibility of your website. Learn more here: CLICK HERE
Resources for Royalty Free Stock Images
Royalty Free Stock Images
Adobe Stock CLICK HERE
Creative Market CLICK HERE
Envato Elements CLICK HERE
PhotoDune CLICK HERE
(FREE) Royalty Free Image Sites
Free Pix CLICK HERE
Pixabay CLICK HERE
Upsplash CLICK HERE
When writing your blog article. Keep it clean like a zen garden.
Break up your text with images, with personalized and inspirational quotes, and calls to action.
Your blog is a storefront, whether you are a construction company, or premed student. Your blog is your platform for selling your message, voice, or offering.
If you are an affiliate marketer, or want to promote your products, add your banners, and advertisements accordingly.
Get technical, without being a techie!
Use your H1, H2, and H3 formating. Make sure to use your keyword phrases throughout your article and headings, Alt tags, and tag titles, for optimization.
Be cautious of your paragraph styling. I’m a ‘justified text’ person, because I like the uniform look. Keep it clean, and appealing visually.
Use color. Remember to use your branding palette on your blog for brand consistency.
Use attractive typography. Fonts that make an impact, yet responsive and available on all mobile devices. Make it fun, but legible. I’m a font snob, so use the fonts that align with your branding, keep it consistent.
Make it appealing, and distract in a positive way, by bringing them into your storytelling vs. repelling them through heavy wording and text. Many people exhaust easily, and have a short attention span, so make sure to grab their attention through clean layouts and visuals.
Remember to link up! Use your affiliate links when appropriate, as well as links to influencers, or external high ranking sites. Google loves when we link up, and out!
Make it memorable: Create long and compelling content, at least 1,000 words. Google like it, as well as your readers. When I write, I pack it full of information to give my community. Linked with freebies and tutorials. When you share your wisdom, you will inspire others to do the same. So make it worth it for you as the content creator, and for the reader.
Affiliate marketing, partnerships and storefronts.
Many of us start out as affiliate bloggers. We have an idea, we have a mission, yet need a way to make sense of it all.
Perhaps you are a mother with a successful weight loss story using the keto diet, or an accountant with pointers to share.
Whatever the reason, we want a return.
Just writing for the art of writing is beautiful, but making money off your creative writing, and storytelling is prime. This is done so through our personal marketing efforts, affiliate marketing, and partnerships.
For affiliate marketing, I tend to write blogs and tutorials highlighting my partners. For example, Adobe. I’m an Adobe partner and designer, so for me, this is a win. I create instructional tutorials for my community, as well as products for others.
My relationship with Adobe started several years ago and have been my most profitable, not just in the financial sense, but in the relationship itself.
Since I use Adobe Creative Suite daily. It only made sense.
I suggest that you highlight and support your affiliates through empowering blog tutorials, or video. It supports your partners, as well as yourself for commission.
If you don’t have partnerships or affiliates, and have personal products, then do the same! Write continuously about the benefits of your offerings or services, testimonials, and case studies.
Build social proof through your writing. Convince others through transparency why your product or offering would benefit them. Be clear in your message, and mindful marketing strategies. Just be you.
Blog it and profit. Pack your articles with prime content, freebies and access to influencers.
As an educator and designer, I want my articles to matter. Not just a fluff piece to fill my registry, I want pieces that have a return for the reader.
Make it engaging, but make it worth everyone’s time. Through conscious social selling, and partnerships your passive income stream will grow.
Learn more from Smart Passive Income with Pat Flynn CLICK HERE
Okay, ready set go!
Your article is prime, it’s filled with powerful imagery, charged up links, and keyrich content.
You hopefully have reached out, or are about to reach out to the influencers. You have done your research and have published your article.
It’s time to get social!
You have spent time producing the content for this blog article. You are proud of it. Now you want others to be inspired by these words of wisdom.
You need to get it in front of your audience.
You do this by following these steps:
- Use your social sharing plugin/tool from your site, ex: sumome plugin
- Share directly from your blog to social sites, email and more
- Or post link directly to social platforms
- Create post images for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and add your url linking it back to your blog.
- Send your latest blog to your email list!
- Encourage your readers to engage and leave comments, as well as how to reach you via social media handles, ex: @travenmeyers
- Ask influencers, your community and loved ones to share your content
Phew,.. This was a lengthy article, but hopefully useful. Blog writing is an art in itself, and I have mentored with several influencers to master my craft, which is a craft always transforming with technology.
The bottom line is that blogging is a powerful medium.
But like all things, with practice comes mastery.
So work on your content, be mindful of how your carry yourself and your message, be transparent in your digital storytelling, and produce articles that make a difference within the life of another.
Otherwise what is the point?
It takes time and dedication to write high yield articles.
To be honest, I learned how to develop compelling and informative blogs, as well as how to present my content in a powerful way, from Neil Patel of Quick Sprout. To me, he is the SEO and Content guru. And continues to educate the world through his blog, university and resources.
Learn More About Neil CLICK HERE
So don’t fret!
You’ve got this, or are getting this! And I wish you the best of luck.
Be relaxed, and have fun with it!, hopefully you will build a strong marketing community that will help you rise and thrive in your industry or niche.
With that said, you can connect with me via my site or Instagram at @travenmeyers. Give me feedback or suggestions for articles or tutorials!
Want more? Sign up for my courses and programs with the Art of Digital Design School.
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