The Editorial Calendar: What It Is and Why You Need One

This blog post was written and published by our Summer 2017 Intern, Mallory Corbin.

If you’re a procrastinator like I am, you know it can be very easy to get sidetracked when you’re trying to get things done. For me this is especially the case when it comes to writing. Whether it be for your blog, your book, or even your grocery list, sometimes you have to really force yourself to sit down and get things done. If you are responsible for creating content for your job, this discipline can be extremely important. But sometimes, pure willpower isn’t enough.

An editorial calendar can be the key to success when you catch the procrastination bug. Like a cup of hot tea to a sore throat, your editorial calendar will soothe all of your worries. Your calendar will help you lay out exactly what you need to get done, and for when, for some months in advance. It can layout each step you have to take to complete a task. This can all start with brainstorming on Monday, to outlining on Tuesday, to writing on Wednesday, editing on Thursday, and finally publishing on Friday. An editorial calendar creates a kind of accountability for you, and possibly your team, that will work to keep you on schedule and committed to all of your due dates.

Choosing your system. Here at Writing It Right For You, we use an app called BrightPod to keep ourselves organized and on track. BrightPod makes it possible to create multiple editorial calendars for every project we may be working on at any given time. From there we are able to set due dates and publishing dates for things like blog posts and articles. Be sure to check out our recent post “Apps I Use: BrightPod” for more information on the app.

BrightPod is just one of hundreds of apps and softwares that can be used to create editorial calendars. Programs like Microsoft Excel or Google Spreadsheets are very simple and easy to use options. There are some options which cost a pretty penny, while others are totally free for anyone to use.

Don’t think that you have to use a digitized system, however. If you prefer a physical calendar over an online option, go for it! It’s all about choosing a system that works for you. That means, it can be as fancy as using an expensive software, or as simple as color coding and sticky notes on paper.

Why you should be using one. If you haven’t yet jumped up and started organizing your editorial calendar upon reading this post, here are a few other reasons that may get you onto the task:

• Minimal stress. You will have everything you need to do laid out for you, so you will never have to stress that you are forgetting something. Additionally, if you are running something such as a blog, you will have your topics ready. That means you won’t have to stress about brainstorming new ideas on the spot.

• A road map to keep you organized. By laying out everything ahead of time, you will be able to stay organized and make time for new projects and your everyday life. Your editorial calendar will be your roadmap that will lead you through your day-to-day life.

• Notifications keep you on schedule. Most all editorial calendar apps will be sure to remind you in advance when you have things due. If you go the app route, each morning you can be reminded of what it is exactly you need to get done that day.

An editorial calendar is exactly what you need to keep you afloat when you are feeling like you may drown in due dates. There’s no need to overcomplicate your life, once you find an editorial calendar system that works for you, stick to it, and you surely won’t regret it.

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5 Most Important Web Pages for Your Business Website

When it comes to starting your own website, there is a lot to consider. So much so, that it can be a little overwhelming. Many of our clients are looking for assistance in building their own websites, and depending on what kind of website they are looking to create, there are many pages that may be expected by their audience. While there are some hundreds of different pages that you could incorporate into your site, there are five web pages that I believe are of utmost importance when designing a business website.

  1. The Homebase. This one should be a bit of a no brainer. A static home page is the most basic form of web page. Usually, when you are using any kind of website building platform it is required that you have a home page, at the bare minimum. This page is the first thing your audience sees when their browser first loads your website. It will very generally introduce your audience to you and your business without getting into too much detail. Our home page, for example, demonstrates each of the services that we offer accompanied by images that help the eye navigate the page. Your Home Page really should feel like a “home” for your visitors, comfortable and easy to navigate.
  2. About You and Your Brand. Who are you? What do you do? In the vast world of the interwebs, it is easy to forget that there is a person behind that website that you are clicking through. An About Us tab can remind your visitors that you are there, and that you care about their presence. This is especially important for businesses, as a personal bond can be what makes or breaks a consumer/producer relationship. Your About Us page can be as personal or as professional as you would like it, it is all about demonstrating your brand as true to you as possible.
  3. How Can Your Audience Reach You? Contact information is imperative for a successful business website. It is extremely important that your audience be able to contact you. A Contact Us page can be as simple as providing an email or phone number, and as complex as providing a contact form or chat option. If your business exists offline, you will want to include your location, with an address and possibly a map. Regardless of the information you choose to supply on this page, it is the absolute best way to connect with your audience.
  4. Keep Your Audience Updated. Writing a blog is a great way for you to keep your website active and your audience up-to-date with you and your business. These posts can also be shared on your social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and work to further promote your business. By posting frequently to your Blog page, you will be demonstrating to your prospective and current clients that you are active and enthusiastic about your business. This page, in addition to your About Us page, will further connect you to your audience and help you develop your brand.
  5. What Do Your Clients Have To Say About You? Having a page of Testimonials readily available to your clients exhibits that you are confident in your business and that you have the satisfied customers, both current and former, to show it. Prospective clients will be more likely to trust you and your business if they can see that real people, especially people they may know, endorse and support you. A Testimonials page will boost your business credibility and supply your customers with a baseline of what to expect from you and your business.

With the help of these five pages, your audience will surely feel more comfortable engaging with you and your business.

 

We are happy to include these latest blog posts, which are written by our Summer 2017 Intern, Mallory Corbin of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

5 Quick Tips about SEO Content for 2017

For many people writing and publishing content to their blogs and other sites, focusing on SEO (search engine optimization) is an important goal. They want to be found on Google and other search engines and they want their content to be on Page One. Unfortunately, many of those same people go way overboard and feel that SEO and SEO only is the best way to move forward, and literally “pad” their copy with SEO elements they think will give them the edge needed to rank high on the SERPS—the search engine results pages. As you may know, Google is constantly changing its algorithms and it is really difficult for the average person to keep up. To help you achieve real SEO success this year, I’ve outlined the 5 top tips for including SEO in your content, even if you are not an SEO expert.

1. You have to work HARD to get “noticed.” Many people try to take the easy way out and constantly check what Google is looking for as it constantly indexes sites.

  • When is the first date that your domain or webpage was discovered by Google? The older the indexed age, the better. Yes, that means that if you are “new,” getting found will be harder, but that means you have to keep updating your site.
  • Does your site have a lot of diverse quality links coming back to it? Both the links and the original site that sent the link need to be of good quality, not junk.
  • Does your site have plenty of high-quality content? Do you publish new content regularly? Google will not highly rank content that is thin on information and lacking value for the reader, nor will it rank content that is too short, devoid of relevant keywords, or content that doesn’t engage the readers for a good amount of time.

2. Your content must favor quality over quantity. Even though it is highly recommended that you publish regularly, it is even more important that what you publish is high quality, not just any ol’ thing so that there is something on your site. Google does notice people who try to scam the system by using quick tactics such as article spinning, link-generating software, or content that is too heavy in irrelevant keywords or SEO elements. Just.Don’t.Do.It. Take the time to write and publish content that is valuable, engaging, original, and not filled with ads, affiliate links, or pressure to buy products.

3. Content, Content, Content The content you write must be compelling, add value to the reader, answer a question or solve an issue, be well-written, and your publishing schedule must be regular. You will not get good SERP rankings with sub-par content. The more valuable your content is to the reader, the more it is naturally shared by others, and a good amount of sharing certainly helps your rankings.

  • Written content is still the most published copy, but there are also opportunities to publish videos, infographics, and other forms of content besides just text. A diverse group of content keeps things interesting for your readers, keeps them coming back for more, and keeps your SERP ranking high.
  • Content marketing is also very important. “If you build it, they will come…” is not a good marketing strategy. Again, we’re talking about working hard here. Once you have published your content, you have to make sure people know it’s there and encourage them to read it, comment on it, share it, and link back to it. Whew!

4. Size Matters. Google is looking for content that adds value and is informative, and the best way to ensure that is to write copy that is between 1,000 and 2,000 words. Each blog post and article you write should be very valuable to your reader, and unless it is just a quick notice-type post, you really need at least 1,000 to have substantial and targeted information. Your content not only has to be long, but it also has to be of good quality. We cannot emphasize that enough. This is where keywords are important, they help you to stay focused on your chosen topic.

  • Being a great writer takes a lot of skill and practice. Being a great SEO writer takes even more skill, patience, and experience.
  • Most professional copywriters have studied and practiced their craft for many years. Being a skilled writer and SEO specialist takes more than someone who received “A’s” in English class in high school or college.
  • Writing 1,000 to 2,000+ word blog posts and articles takes time, research, skill, and experience. Could you become proficient at writing content that will rank your site high with Google. I’m sure you could. But it will take time.

5. Get Mobile and Stay Mobile. Today more people access the Internet from their mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) than from their desktop or laptop computers, and now Google is more focused on mobile searches with its algorithms.

  • It is imperative that your site is mobile-first and mobile-friendly. You must ensure that you content loads quickly and navigates easily on all types of mobile devices.
  • It is very simple to test out your site yourself: just pull up your site on your mobile device and see what happens. Is your experience a good one? If not, you will have to make the necessary changes.
  • Google is so focused on mobile accessibility that it has launched the “Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project that additionally ranks content on its mobile-friendliness. The AMP project developers have a vision that helps publishers to create mobile-optimized content for their sites. There are specific published guidelines that must be met for your content to be awarded the “AMP” tag. You can find the guidelines here.

Are you having challenges or do you have concerns about making your content SEO relevant? Is there something more you need to learn to ensure you are high in the SERPS? Let us know in the comments.

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Offer a Solution with a Company White Paper

White papers. We’ve heard about them, but do we really know what they are and how they fit into your marketing mix?

A white paper is an in-depth authoritative and persuasive document that focuses on one topic and presents a problem and provides a solution. A white paper is not a direct pitch for your product or service; instead a white paper uses facts and evidence to show how your product or service offers a solution to a problem or challenge faced by your customers or clients. A white paper is positioned as a problem-solving guide and is usually made available via an email campaign, allowing your company to capture leads for future appointments or sales.

A white paper is different from a blog post or an eBook, each of which can be researched and written in a few hours to a few weeks, a well-written white paper is more like an academic paper that includes a solid body of research and fully documented references. A white paper shows expertise in the chosen topic, is written in a very serious tone, and are meant to help you and your company build credibility and trust with the readers, most of whom are further into the buying cycle.

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When you hire a professional copywriter to produce a white paper for you and your company, the copywriter should first consult with you to find out your goals for your white paper and the preliminary information that will be required to write the copy for your white paper. Your copywriter will also work with a professional graphic designer to ensure standardized components for your white paper such as page layout, images, fonts, and colors.

  • Your white paper will be a minimum of six pages in length, and usually between 20-30 pages long. Included in the page count will be the illustrations, charts, and references.
  • The final draft of your white paper will also include a table of contents, a short executive summary, an introduction, a chapter that outlines the problem faced by your customers or clients, a chapter that defines one or more relevant solutions, a chapter that highlights a company that used the recommended solution to get results, and a conclusion.
  • Your final white paper will be 8.5X11 in a portrait layout PDF that can easily be downloaded from an email or printed and mailed or presented in hardcopy.

You should expect the generation of a white paper to take at least a month from initial consultation to final draft. Your next step will then be to design an email and social media marketing campaign to give your white paper the greatest exposure.

A white paper is an important element of your overall marketing strategy. The professional team at Writing It Right For You looks forward to working with you to write a white paper for you and your company. Contact us here.

Drip Marketing Defined

As a business owner, you know how important it is to have a marketing strategy because marketing is the very important and comprehensive process used to create interest in your products and services. Marketing is the integrative sphere through which you can strengthen your customer or client relationships, create brand awareness for your business, and create value for through the overall customer experience.

There are so many types of marketing activities you can use, that it is difficult to decide which one to use at any particular time. A very useful marketing activity to add to your list is called “drip marketing.”

consultation-dripDrip Marketing is an automated system of contacting your contacts on a set schedule triggered by a specific activity. The name and concept of drip marketing come from irrigation, where watering a crop little by little instead of all at once is more effective. It is the same for drip marketing: you are giving your contacts information a little bit at a time. Drip marketing is usually used with email marketing campaigns because that is the easiest and most efficient. Setting up a drip email campaign takes planning and up-front preparation, but once everything is in place, automation takes over and you’re on your way to engaging and relating to your prospects, clients, and customers.

Drip marketing is a process to give people the right information at the right time, based on actions and triggers that you define. You can generate drip campaigns for different segments of your email list and for certain pages of your website. The entire point is to keep your users engaged with you and your products and services. With a well-designed drip marketing campaign, you can nurture leads, welcome new clients, request recommendations, teach courses, and query unsubscribes to your newsletter. Almost all of the email marketing applications can help you to set up a drip campaign with auto-responders, including using the contact’s name during the mail merge for every more personalization.

The set up of an effective drip email marketing campaign is one of the services offered by the professionals of Writing It Right For You. We would love to work with you—contact us!

Apps I Use: Brightpod

6b15836ccc1925b3492b5057c48f304e_400x400Brightpod is an online project management and time-tracking app specifically designed for digital marketing and creative teams. I have been a Brightpod user for about three years, starting just before the app came out of beta testing. For my freelance business, the marketing and creative team consists of just me and my full-time assistant, but Brightpod is an excellent app for marketing teams of all sizes. The interface is very visually pleasing and very easy to navigate. There are several project management apps on the market, and many of them are much more well-known than Brightpod. Over the years, I’ve tried most of the available apps, but here are the primary reasons why my assistant and I have stayed with Brightpod for our marketing projects:

  • The #1 reason I started using Brightpod was the editorial calendar. We have three blogs of our own for our three companies, we provide copywriting services for clients, and we also publish to other venues such as LinkedIn.  We can schedule articles and blog posts in Brightpod, color code them by client, invite others to collaborate with us at no extra charge, and drop and drag the scheduled posts elsewhere in the calendar as needed. We can also upload relevant files and images and all due dates for tasks and publishing are integrated into online calendars.
  • For individual projects, Brightpod uses the name “pod” instead, hence the name of the app. A “pod” is more akin to a depository for everything needed to work on each project, including all types of files, messages, timelines, workflows, and time-tracking (if desired). Task lists in the pods can be viewed as a list or as a Kanban-type board. Tasks can be one-time or recurring at your desired intervals.
  • Tasks can be set as high-priority, and Brightpod has two productivity features that are based on how your want and need your workday to proceed:
    • “Focus” shows you the few MIT (Most Important Tasks) that you need to concentrate on for the day. All tasks are drag and drop in case you want to make changes.
    • “Me” includes graphs and lists of your scheduled, overdue, and upcoming tasks, as well as those of your team. On this page, you can drag and drop tasks to update them as necessary.
  • Brightpod has a full range of reports that can be generated with real-time results in just a few minutes. You can also request a Daily Digest to arrive in your email every morning with a summary of what has been done and what is scheduled for the future.
  • Brightpod also has full email and cloud storage functionality, and the monthly subscription plans, ranging from free to full agency level, are quite affordable and based on the number of projects you select to have active in your account.
  • Lastly, the help sections and customer service for Brightpod are top-notch. They have several training videos and any support requests are answered quickly.

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The only thing I really miss in using Brightpod is some kind of integration with Evernote. I look forward to that feature one day soon.

If you are “test-driving” project management apps before making a decision for your business situation, I encourage you to look into Brightpod. The app has a 14-day free trial.

How to Write a Tagline


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“It Matters How You Say It!”

A tagline is a one sentence statement or slogan that describes what your business is about and especially the value your business brings to prospects and clients. The best taglines are short, simple, memorable, and most of all functional: capturing what makes your business different from your competitors.

When I started Writing It Right For You (“WIRFY”) in July of 2008, I thought about what this business would be about and who would be my target and ideal clients. As a former English teacher who also had a lot of corporate sales experience, I knew that English was not everyone’s best subject, and that many people knew what they wanted to say, but were unsure how to say it. I also envisioned my new company as one that would help people to communicate in all different ways and via different types of media. The problem for my clients was that they wanted to get their message across in the most effective manner. The solution was helping them with the various ways to get their message out. The idea was that getting their message out correctly, efficiently, and effectively was what mattered.

Voila’! “It Matters How You Say It!” Yes, what you say matters, but how you say it matters even more. Is your document grammatically correct with no spelling errors? Does your social media and web content convey what you want people to know about you and your company? Do you know how to emphasize benefits and not just features? Do you need white papers and case studies written and published? Those are some of the reasons why people and companies hire professional copywriters like those who work at Writing It Right For You.

What you say matters. How you say what you say matters even more. My tagline for WIRFY tells prospects and clients that and also tells them of the value they will receive when they work with us.
We work with individuals and businesses around the world who need copywriting, editing, social media marketing, and project management services. If you are in need of any of those services, we would be happy to work with you. Please contact us.

Apps I Use: MailChimp

One of the best and fastest way to grow your business is to grow your email list. While there are several very good email marketing applications, one of the most popular, and the one I use, is MailChimp. Whether you are in charge of email marketing campaigns yourself, or you have someone else (or even an entire department) in charge of this important activity, MailChimp offers several benefits and features that will enhance your email campaign efforts.

Even with the explosive growth in social media networking and marketing, email marketing is still as relevant as ever.

If you or your business has an e-commerce store, MailChimp integrates with the most popular, such as Shopify and WooCommerce. Sending targeted and automated emails helps you to keep track of the purchases of your customers and send them relevant informational emails automatically.

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You don’t have to be a dedicated designer or even know much about coding or html to design your emails using the excellent templates available with your MailChimp account. “Drip marketing”, which means sending out short emails successively that lead to a desired outcome (like signing up for a webinar), is easy to set up and schedule.

If you share email marketing duties with others, MailChimp features several options for collaboration with others, such as comments within the editor.

Gadget geek that I am, I appreciate the mobile options that are available from MailChimp. including MailChimp Subscribe so that you can add people to your distribution lists on the go from your tablet, and MailChimp Snap that allows you to send photo-based emails to your lists or sub-lists.

To get the most mileage from your email marketing campaigns, you should be able to generate different types of analytics for every part of your email app. MailChimp includes simple and advanced reporting features that give your the ability to monitor your campaigns, your subscribers, your website activities, and reports via Google Analytics.

MailChimp has a sliding scale for pricing, starting at free, and increasing depending on your email volume and desired features. I have been a MailChimp customer for over five years, and I’ve tried other email marketing applications, but MailChimp is my favorite and the standard for my businesses.

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Why Case Studies Are Important Marketing Tools

better-case-studiesCase studies are the most important marketing copy for businesses of all sizes. A case study tells a powerful story of an actual customer’s experience with your company’s product or service. The majority of case studies are available in written form, but many case studies are also delivered in additional formats such as video and podcasts. It is important for you to consider and understand the target audience of your case study, which will help you to decide the other ways to distribute the final draft: in text form, with video and/audio versions, as a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation, and so on. After your case study is completed, you can also produce additional and complimentary marketing pieces related to the case study.

Case studies are written, not as a general report, but as a feature story starring your customer or client. The average length of a case study is about two to four pages or approximately 400 – 1600 words. No matter the final format, almost all case studies follow the same story format, starting with the text copy:

  • Your customer or client
  • The challenges faced by your customer or client
  • How your customer or client overcame the challenges with the solutions your product or service provided
  • Why your customer or client chose the specific solution or set of solutions
  • The outcome for your customer or client because of working with you and your company.

All types of businesses publish case studies, including technology companies, business services companies, consultancies, non-profits, and companies that sell particularly innovative or complex products. A case study is not an overt sales or marketing document, it is the story of how the client benefitted from your product or service.

When deciding to hire a copywriter for your company’s case study, look for experienced and successful writers who have specialized skills in interviewing and storytelling. 

Let the experts at the Writing It Right For You Companies help you manage your company more effectively and efficiently. Check out our services page and contact us here. We would love to discuss the possibilities with you.

Why You Need Calls-to-Action

If you are writing blog posts, emails, articles, direct mail pieces, or any other kind of lead generation document for your marketing efforts, you need to add a call-to-action to everything you publish.

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What is a call-to-action (CTA)? A CTA is used in marketing to instruct the audience to make an immediate response to an imperative statement. By inserting a clear and direct action message within and at the end of your copy, you will your reader a reason to click through to your landing page or website; as well as an action that can be measured. Depending on your goals for your marketing activities, here are four types of CTAs:

Download: for more information: to entice your readers to leave their name and email address, your CTA will encourage them to exchange their information for a valuable piece of knowledge such as a how-to guide, an infographic, features and benefits flier, etc. Your goal here is to collect the names and email addresses to build your distribution list for future marketing activities.

Subscribe: whether your blog is a part of your website or your blog *is* your website, you should have a “subscribe” button in several different places around your blog and your website. A subscribe now CTA usually has the working of a “FOMO” or “fear of missing out”. By encouraging people to subscribe to your blog, your readers won’t have to be afraid of missing a post.

Share Now: this CTA can be in the form of a button, a pop up, or just the words highlighted to request that your readers share your social media message, article, or blog post with their networks.

Learn More: you’ve given your readers some information that should lead them to want more, and your CTA should encourage them to get in touch with you via a contact page, email, phone call, etc.

You should write each CTA with a strong leading command verb that states exactly what you want to the reader to do: “download”, “subscribe”, “find out how”…and so on.

You will be able to measure the results of your CTAs based on the actual responses acted on by your readers for each type.

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