Author archives: Jenna Kefauver

Bragging Without the Arrogance: How to Sell Yourself on Your Website

How much should you talk about yourself on your website? Should you “brag” about your accomplishments? How self-promotional should you be in your copy? And how do you avoid sounding arrogant or conceited? The answers to these questions depend on context and reader expectations. Sure, readers will expect your bio page to share your accomplishments and qualifications (in fact, they want to know that information if they’re visiting your bio page), but pages about topics meant to be educational should be light on (or free of) self-promotion. Here are a few tips to help: Focus your accomplishments on your readers Sprinkle your accomplishments throughout your site Refer to your company or your firm, not to yourself Use testimonials Focus Your Accomplishments on Your Readers When you write about your accomplishments on your bio or about page, keep the focus on you. After all, that’s the purpose of those pages. But on pages other than bio or about pages, write about your accomplishments in a way that puts the focus on what you can do for your clients or customers. If you’re a lawyer, you might tell a story of a difficult case you resolved successfully for your client, demonstrating to Read more…

5 Tips for Creating a Relationship with Your Readers

Establishing a relationship with readers is imperative to gaining lifelong customers. Create content that is broad enough to reach the entirety of your target audience while making each reader feel like you’re talking only to them. Below, we dive into a few tips to help: Know your audience’s expectations Help them accomplish their goal Speak directly to readers Make it personal Write well Tip 1: Know your audience’s expectations. You don’t want a relationship with a person who isn’t in-tune with your needs; why would your readers? Create a lasting relationship with your readers by focusing on their needs. Ask the following questions: What are they looking for? What information do they need? What do they find interesting? What will keep them on the page? Do keyword research. SEMrush and StoryBase are two great tools we love to use. Keywords can tell you what questions your audience is asking so you can tailor your content appropriately. Also think about who your audience is. Be sure to write to their reading level. Don’t use jargon or words they aren’t familiar with, as doing so might tell them your content is intended for another audience. For example, if you are a doctor Read more…

4 Tips for Breaking the College Essay Writing Mindset

Essay writing in college is usually long-form, formal, and highly technical. That writing style clashes with the relaxed, conversational style that reaches broad online audiences. But if that is the writing style you’re used to, it can be hard to break the mold. Check out these four tips to make your writing more accessible and enjoyable to readers. Tip #1: Avoid complex jargon. Remember that you aren’t writing a term paper for your professor. Consider your audience. The average American adult has an 8th to 9th grade reading level, reports Harvard University. Your content’s reading level should land in that range. You can’t do that if you’re using complicated jargon. Use the less complicated term if there is one. For example, most people know a myocardial infarction as a heart attack. Most people won’t know what respondeat superior or vicarious liability mean, but might understand company liability for employee behavior. In some cases, there is no way around complicated jargon. If that is the case, always explain complex terms in more accessible language. Pro Tip: Use the Fog Index and other tools to calculate reading level. The Fog Index will tell you the required reading level for your content, while Read more…

6 Common “Time Saving” Editing Mistakes

Editing takes time. Unless you write or edit for a living, you might not have time to give your content the full edit it deserves. However, proofreading your content is so, so important. And while there are ways to edit your content quicker, people often make mistakes when attempting to edit quickly. Avoid these six mistakes to produce better content: 1) Relying on Apps to Do Your Editing for You Yes, these tools are helpful; I use them myself. However, apps and tools are far from perfect. Use editing apps to identify opportunities to improve your content, but don’t accept their recommendations as gospel or assume they catch everything. You could run your piece through an editing app to get started, review its recommendations, go back to your content and make any changes, and then run it through the editing app once more to see what you might have missed. Here are some of my favorite editing apps: Grammarly: Identifies passive voice, repetitive or excess words, incorrect words, missing punctuation, etc. Hemingway App: Identifies passive voice, complex phrases, adverbs, hard-to-read sentences, etc. It also tells you the reading level required to read your content. Copyscape: Not technically an editing app, Read more…

Are you giving away too much information?

We were recently listening to Newfangled’s Agency Marketing Matters podcast on not giving it all away and it got us thinking: how much information is too much? Are you demonstrating your expertise or are you giving your readers enough information to confidently handle their problem without your help? Here’s our take on how to give away the information your readers need (but ensure they still need you afterwards): Explain the Concept Exhaustively Show your readers you’re an expert. If a concept is difficult, explain it at length. For example, if you help clients with Social Security disability claims, write a post about how the SSA calculates their monthly benefit. In your post, explain the calculation. Dive deep into primary insurance amounts and average indexed monthly earnings. Be detailed but clear. And give examples. In addition to showing what a complicated concept it is, it also shows your mastery of it. Note: Remember that if you use jargon, always define it in layman’s terms. You want to demonstrate your proficiency; you don’t want to confuse readers into leaving your page. How does this convert readers into customers? There’s the old cliché that says no one will buy the cow if you Read more…

Be a Better Writer, Remember Those 5th Grade Writing Basics

If you’re like me, chances are, you’ve said this more than once when you were in school: When am I ever going to need this stuff?! Well, the truth is, I now use those same things I once lamented. In fact, some of those things you learned as a 10-year-old student can help you write good content. Here are a few tips on using what you learned in grade school to create content your readers are looking for. Creating Outlines One of the first things you learn about writing is one of the most important: plan your writing with an outline. It was also likely the most lamented, at least by me. When I was in fifth grade, we had to write outlines for everything. And while I complained about those outlines more than once, they’ve helped me ever since. Some people prefer stream of consciousness writing to get their ideas down. Do what works for you, but if you’re like me and you struggle to organize your thoughts on the fly, try creating an outline. The Paragraph Hamburger This is one writing basic I will remember forever. The paragraph hamburger teaches students to organize and develop their thoughts. You Read more…

Are We Living in a Ctrl+F Culture?

“I use Ctrl+F all the time,” I said. “Yeah, we’re living in a Ctrl+F culture.” Our content manager, Danny, and I both laughed at his having coined a new phrase. It was a throw-away comment and he didn’t mean it to be a serious thought, but then we started talking about how it was kind of true — were we really living in a Ctrl+F culture? And if so, how does that affect the content we write? As the conversation continued, the term evolved. We ultimately decided the label “Ctrl+F culture” was too limiting. Yes, our attention spans are shorter. And yes, we expect answers faster than ever. But we decided a better term would “Ctrl+F Content.” What is Ctrl+F Content? Ctrl+F Content might suggest by its name that it refers to content stuffed with keywords so readers can run a quick Ctrl+F search to find what they’re looking for. But that’s not what we mean. Rather, Ctrl+F Content refers to content geared towards a web searcher looking for quick answers. That is, a web searcher needing a quick answer who grows frustrated with poorly formatted content that obstructs the answers they want. A web searcher who, rather than read Read more…

6 Tips for Content That Beats the Competition

There are likely thousands of pages of content out there on the subject you plan to write about. So how can you make your content different — and more importantly, better? I’ll share a few tips below. But first, let’s address why you should want to create better content. Google notices. If users land on your page and bounce off right away (probably because the content isn’t meeting their needs or expectations), it tells Google that your page isn’t satisfying users’ query. It will respond by dropping your page in the search results. It gets backlinks. Other websites are more likely to link to interesting or helpful content than they are thin, boring content. More importantly, authoritative websites don’t waste their time linking to bad content, and those quality links from authoritative websites are like gold. Backlinks send people directly to your content when they click on the link, but also send Google a signal that your content is trusted, helpful, and authoritative. Google responds by boosting your content in the search results. It encourages social shares. Want others to share your content on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites? Create good content! It impresses users. If a user Read more…

8 Steps to the Perfect Blog Post

Your website content like blogs is often your readers’ first impression of you. Your content allows you to show off your expertise and give your readers the information they’re looking for. You could be an expert in your field, but if your content is disorganized, unclear, or fails to address readers’ questions, your content may not effectively demonstrate your expertise and your readers might not contact you or buy your product. Don’t scare off readers with disorganized or thin blog posts. Use these eight steps to write the perfect blog post. Step 1: Determine Your Topic You can’t write a blog post without knowing what you want to write about. But don’t pick just any topic. Make sure it’s something your readers want or need to know. Consider the following as potential sources for topics: Questions you get about your product/service, e.g., how can a lawyer help me with my case? Frequent questions from your clients or customers. If your clients always ask how long they have to file an injury claim, post a blog about the statute of limitations. News stories related to your practice. Write about current events related to your business and anything that might affect your Read more…

6-Point Plan on Integrating Keywords into Your Content the Right Way

If you’re lucky, keywords will occur organically throughout your content, but when they don’t, you’re left with the burdensome task of making them sound natural, as though you would use each word in a conversation with a friend. This job can be a writer or editor’s worst nightmare. Still, using keywords in your web content is necessary. They have the ability to attract valuable readers to your website, but they also have the power to turn them off and kill your message if you ignore the following six-point plan. First – and Always – Consider the Searcher’s Intent Don’t overthink it. Why is the searcher looking for your content? And what do they expect when they land on your page? Let that guide your writing. Winning Point #1 – Remember and Embrace Semantic Search Before Google adopted semantic search, content writers felt hampered by trying to use keywords and key phrases exactly without variation. This led to some awkward and clunky writing. Now, Google considers the searcher’s intent rather than trying to match content to the user’s search phrase exactly. That is, your content does not have to explicitly include the phrase back pain car accident to rank for that Read more…