Content Writing Tips: For Quality Content That Gets the Job Done

If you’re using content to market your business, content serves a number of purposes. You want to inform and satisfy your readers, but you also want content to produce RESULTS for your business. That means increasing your traffic, building your mailing list and ultimately, increasing your sales.

We’ve got a great resource full of content writing tips to make things simple so keep reading for more content writing tips…

Swipe File: Content Marketing Results

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Free Swipe FileIt’s one thing to publish content and hope for something to stick, but it’s entirely another to create content that is designed for boosted conversions.

I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer to do the latter. :-)

To help you, we’ve released a Content Marketing Swipe file that will help you with your…

  • Headlines
  • Power Words & Phrases
  • Transitions
  • Calls-to-Action
  • Closings
  • Post Scripts (P.S.’s)

Download it and keep it handy EVERY TIME you write a blog post, an email, a report…basically, whenever you’re writing ANYTHING.  I hope you’ll find it helpful.

Download Link:

Click here to download your swipe file

Feel free to share it with your ghostwriter, copywriter or anyone who writes for you as well.

Free Outsourcing Content Guide

Thinking of hiring a ghostwriter, but have concerns? Download your free 21-page step-by-step guide that shows you how to save time and maximize your profits through content creation. There’s no charge, just a quick opt-in required and you can unsubscribe any time. It's a real eye-opener and completely simplifies the content creation process for any online business owner.

Click here to get yours.

The Many Benefits of Consistent Content Creation

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Consistent Content Creation Grows Business

If there’s one thing that can be said about business growth, it often comes back to consistency. Doing things that grow your business and doing them consistently (and of course, improving your methods as you go) is always a good thing. Let’s look at this in the context of content marketing and see how publishing content regularly can help you grow.

Here are 5 real ways regular content creation grows your business…

1. You’ll Provide A Better Visitor Experience

In general, humans like to know what to expect. If a blogger says they post every day and a day is skipped, some readers will feel let down. Now this doesn’t mean you have to blog every day. There’s a difference between consistency and frequency, and benefits of each. Decide when you’re going to publish content and stick to that schedule. Give your audience what you promised and they’ll learn to not only trust you, they’ll also return to your blog or website on a regular basis to consume your wonderful content.

2. You’ll Gain Repeat Traffic

Visitors that have been to your site and enjoyed what they saw are more likely to return. They also are more inclined to subscribe to your blog or email list. Small businesses that blog get 55% more website visitors than those that do not blog (Source).

3. More Qualified Leads

Consistent content leads to more subscribers and better lead capture results. Once you have an email address, you can then begin to nurture that potential customer with consistent content via your email newsletter. Frequency plays a role in lead capture as well. According to Impact Branding & Design, companies that blog more than 51 times per month, average 77% more leads than those that blog 24-50 times per month (Source).

4. Better Search Engine Results

Search engines like Google pay more attention to websites that consistently publish relevant content. Your site will be indexed more frequently if you’re publishing content on a regular basis. This, of course, leads to more organic traffic.

5. Consistent Content Builds Relationships and Strengthens Your Brand

Think of a piece of content as a conversation. It’s difficult to build a relationship with a single conversation. Relationships are built over time and so is your brand. It takes time for prospects to get to know who you are and what your business is about. Consistent content and a consistent message spread across a few well-chosen marketing channels can help you forge customer relationships and strengthen your brand.

Of course, creating content regularly and getting it out there consistently isn’t always easy. When you have so much on your plate, it often gets left by the wayside. As you know, we’re here to help you. And remember, if you choose one of our monthly ghostwriting savings programs here – we’ll take care of planning the topics, researching, writing, proofreading and more.

Whether you do your own content creation or get some help, regular content creation is what will keep you in the mind of your readers, grow your traffic and strengthen your brand.

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Choosing the Right Fonts and Colors for Your Infographic

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Let’s finish this up on a bit more technical note because this is something you’ll need to know if you’re going to design your own infographics. If you don’t want to deal with all this stuff, we’d love to help you.

But now let’s get to the subject at hand…

Choosing Your Fonts

Font SquirrelThe design elements in an infographic can be difficult to balance, and choosing your font is an often overlooked component of your overall design. With thousands of fonts to choose from, it can be a little overwhelming. Here are a few rules of thumb to consider:

* Limit your choice to two font types;
* Pay attention to readability;
* Have large sub-headlines;
* Make sure that the font size for your text is big enough; and
* Choose readable, generally sans serif, fonts.

If you’re looking for fonts to use, Font Squirrel has an impressive collection of fonts for commercial use.

Choosing Your Colors

Color Scheme DesignerIt’s easy to get carried away with the colors and images in your design. It’s important to make sure that your images, colors, and graphs all match the overall tone of your infographic.

* Choose colors that represent your brand and image. Different colors evoke different emotions. For example, red often represents passion, and green can represent health or nature.

* Limit your color palette to colors that work well together. There are a few tools that designers use to help simplify the process. Color Scheme Designer is one option. Colour Lovers is another tool to consider.

We’d love to see any infographics you’re creating, so let us know what you’re up to.

Stock Photos – Do’s and Don’ts

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Using Your Stock Photos

There’s no doubt that stock photo sites are a great time saver for online business. You can get high quality images to use in your content without having to set up photo shoots or take the time to get your camera out…the images are ready to go for you. I shared some of my favorite image sources here and ideas for using image here, but let’s get a bit more specific about using stock images.

Here are a few Do’s and Don’ts we came up with for our customers at All Private Label Content - I’ve added a few more thoughts for you as well.

The Do’s…

Try Before You Buy

As you search stock photography sites, you will see watermarked versions of the images. Test those images to make sure they are the right fit for your content before you purchase.

At iStockPhoto, just click, “Download a Comp” and you can use that image to test it out.

Download a Comp

Use Narrow Search Terms

Using terms like “wedding” or “social media” will bring up vast amounts of images. If you narrow your search terms to “wedding rings” or “Facebook,” you will spend less time searching and find a more targeted image.

Go Beyond the First Few Pages

Typically the first few pages of your search will bring up the most popular images – those that have been used a large amount of times. If you continue to look beyond the first few pages, you can find some real gems.

Modify The Images

Assuming the license allows it and you have the skills to do so, use the stock image as an inspiration but modify it slightly so it is custom to you. Add a few words, a background or border that matches your website or combine it with another image to create a complete thought or idea. You can also put a few images together to create something new.

Use Metaphors and Similes

Choose an image that illustrates a thought or idea. A metaphor example might be “My kid’s room is a disaster area.” – Instead of using an image of a messy bedroom, use a warning sign. A simile example “Success is like a pie, there are different layers” – use an image of a slice of layered pie.

Use High Quality Images

Purchase and download the highest quality image you can afford, especially if you plan to use it in a print piece. You can always make a high resolution photo smaller but a low resolution image will never look good when enlarged or in print. Not all stock photo sites are created equal and sometimes its better to shell out a bit more cash to get a better image.

Save Your Photos

I keep track of all the stock photos I’ve purchased and save them on my computer. I name them descriptively and note where I got the photo from (so I can be certain about my license). That way, I can easily search for what I need and ensure I’m using the images appropriately.

Saving stock photos

Read The Terms and Conditions

Never assume you know your rights when it comes to how you use the images. Always read EVERY site’s terms and conditions carefully.

Capture Real World Situations

When possible, use real people in real settings. Look for people who are taking action and where diversity is represented (age, gender, race, etc). Choose images where there is good color contrast.

Check Your Competition

Check your competitors and take note of the images they are using. Make sure you aren’t using the same images and try to find a different way to represent a similar product or service in a fairly unique way.

The Don’ts…

Avoid Using Stock Photos with Testimonials

While having a picture of a person by the testimonial makes it seem more real, using a portrait of a stock model will diminish your credibility. Simply ask those who offer testimonials for an image that you can use. If they prefer not to have their picture displayed, ask if you can include their business logo, if they have one. If there is no image to use, publish the testimonial without an image.

Avoid Portraits of Popular Stock Models

When you have to use a portrait of a stock model, consider choosing one that isn’t on the first few pages of your search (as they are the most popular/used). Search for something else that is still high quality & relevant but isn’t currently showing up all around the net. Many stock photo sites will tell you how many times an image has been downloaded as well.

Don’t Try to Fake It

If you are not skilled at editing images, don’t try to fake it. The imperfections will show up and may reduce the value of your product or message. It’s better to use stock photos “as is” if you don’t have the skills necessary to make the adjustments. You can try using Social Graphics Pro to get nice professional results without being a professional.

Skip the Exaggerated Images…Unless That’s What You’re Going for

Images of people who look hyper excited, extremely sad or who have other unnatural expressions should generally be avoided. If it feels staged, stiff, or awkward, choose a different photo. Of course, if you’re trying to use some humor or have a little fun with your images, these might work well.

Here’s a sample from our sales page. We used this image for some fun and certainly didn’t add it to portray any serious message. In short, always use the right image for the job.

Stock Photo Example

Don’t Be Random

Random images may be easier to find and possibly less expensive, but they will not carry your brand message as strongly as images that matches what you’re trying to accomplish. Always choose images that not only relate to your content or product, but also follow the overall image (meaning…your reputation) you wish to express to your audience.

Avoid Stock Photos When You Can Easily Use a Custom Image 

With a little talent and a decent camera (and seriously, my iPhone 5 takes fantastic photos when the lighting is good), you may be able to create custom images almost as quickly as you can find stock images. Plan your content and products in advance and then take a day or a weekend to create images that go with your upcoming needs. Take your camera with you everywhere so you can take real world images at no cost.

But above all, do what works for you. Experiment, have fun and discover what visual content appeals to your readers most.

Free Outsourcing Content Guide

Thinking of hiring a ghostwriter, but have concerns? Download your free 21-page step-by-step guide that shows you how to save time and maximize your profits through content creation. There’s no charge, just a quick opt-in required and you can unsubscribe any time. It's a real eye-opener and completely simplifies the content creation process for any online business owner.

Click here to get yours.

Creating Social Media Graphics: No Special Skills Required

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Social Graphics Pro

Social Graphics Pro is a web-based software, offered by Nicole Dean and Melissa Ingold, that makes it easy for just about anyone to create a wide variety of promotional graphics for their business.

Even people like me who have absolutely no graphics training and have muddled through trial and error, copying and pasting along the way.  The software allows you to create profile graphics, cover photos, timeline coupons, milestone photos, banners and just about anything you can think of.

A cool plus is that you can save your projects as .xml files that you can open an edit at a later time.

Here is a tutorial that runs you through the basic features of making an image using the software. To start with log into your Social Graphics Pro account (set it up by registering here) and select your graphic type:

Select Your Graphic Type

We’re going to choose an image suitable for posting to a Facebook Timeline, so we’re going to create a “Custom Size” graphic of 403 x 403 pixels.

Choose Your Graphic Size

Now, there a wide variety of things you can do here and we’ll quickly walk through each of those. You can insert an image that you upload from your computer.

Upload an Image

Or you can choose one of the many backgrounds provided in the software.

Choose BackgroundMore Backgrounds to Choose From

You can choose some graphics that are included with the software.

Graphics Included with the SoftwareMore Graphics Included

There are also a variety of shapes you can use too.

Shapes You Can Add

There are even premade templates you can load for the different types of graphics you can create.

Templates are Also Included

We’re going to keep it simple and upload an image to use as a background for our graphic. I uploaded a 403 x 403 image, so here is what our image looks like so far.

Image Uploaded

Now we can add text to the graphic.

Add Text

The text will now appear on your image. You’ll  see “YOUR TEXT” and you can edit this, move this, resize it and change the font.

Adding Text

To move the text, just click on it and then drag and drop it to where you want it.

Move Text
Now, choose your font.

Change Font

Font Display

You can also resize the font, as needed.

Resize Your Font

If your font is hard to read at the top, you can use the “Drop Shadow” feature to add a shadow to your text.

Drop Shadow

Drop Shadow Results

You can finish your graphic with a border, if you so wish.

Choose a Border

Bordered Added

Now it’s Time to Save Your Project

As I mentioned, you can save the project as an .xml file, so you can edit it later. You can also download it as a .png that you can use for promotional purposes.

To make the xml file, choose “Save” and create a file name. Then save it to your hard drive.

Save the xml File to Your Hard Drive

If you want to download the .png graphic file, select “Download” and then you can save it to your hard drive as well.

Download the Image File

That’s all there is to it. There are so many things you can do with this software, it might just allow you to fire your graphic designer. I still need mine because I simply don’t have time to do all my graphics, but when I need to whip something up quickly, I can do it in a snap.

You can learn more about the software here.

You can also see some quick examples of stuff I’ve thrown together for our customers below.

Graphics Sample

Graphics Sample

Graphics Sample

 

 

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