A native to the Golden State, Chelsea Hawkins is a 23-year-old journalist whose work has been published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, KoreAm Journal, and Policy Mic where she contributes a column on culture, media and gender issues. Her writing has also been featured on Salon. She is currently working to receive her MA in Broadcast Journalism.

7 Great Reasons to Hire Professional Content Writers

Maintaining a blog or other business content seems simple enough: You write a few informal yet educational paragraphs, include a photo or a video and then upload. But as anyone who has run a professional blog or website will tell you, there’s a great deal more to it. If you want to get a lot of traffic to your site, you’ll need to know how to make your page a top search hit. If you want to engage readers, you’ll have to know what makes an article interesting and not just informative.

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Monday Must-Reads – 3.11.13

Spring is almost here – a fact you are no doubt aware of as you groggily make your way through today, deprived of a precious hour of sleep thanks to the arrival of Daylight Savings Time.

Unless, of course, you’re from a non-observant state, such as those laid-back Hawaiians or cantankerous Arizonans, who, as we all know, don’t really care what the other 49 states think of them.

But shake off the cobwebs, because here are this week’s must-reads.

  1. Scientific American gets to the bottom of the Daylight Savings shenanigans. Cows give less milk, workplace accidents go up and all kinds of other observable grumpiness ensues, all because we set our clocks forward.
  2. ClickZ blog names Taco Bell the champion of social buzz this week with its new Cool Ranch Taco. But really, did you expect anything less?
  3. I just spent a slushy weekend in Boston posting dozens of pictures of buildings and food to Instagram, but Entrepreneur has some more lucrative uses for the photo-sharing app. Check out their marketer’s guide to Instagram.
  4. Speaking of the social Web, odds are, if you’re a social media marketer, you’re using it to keep your finger on the chatter surrounding your business. But your social spying has not gone unnoticed. eMarketer reports that new research shows that users are aware that businesses are monitoring their online conversations.
  5. On the more traditional, inbound side of things, Duct Tape Marketing blog gives some good pointers for how to increase sales leads through your website.

 

Monday Must-Reads

Happy Presidents’ Day, iCopyInsiders.

I guess the foremost question on my mind is what Sasha and Malia Obama got their dad for his special day. In this case, a quick Web search wasn’t much help in digging up a good answer. Let me know if you find anything; I feel like somebody at least got him a tie.

However, I did find this interesting slideshow of Presidential gifts by The New Yorker.

The second thing on my mind this very Presidential Monday is the importance of social media and search rankings, which is how we’re starting off this week’s edition of Monday Must-Reads.

  1. AdAge charts how Facebook Graph Search will make it easier to measure ROI on social media, with some tips for optimization. No cheats here. As the Web gets smarter, every search engine will attempt to measure and reward genuine engagement with business-created content.
  2. VentureBeat breaks down ComScore’s Digital Future report. Among the key takeaways: Google still dominates search, but Bing is making slow but sure progress. LinkedIn and Twitter are neck and neck for unique visitors.
  3. TechCrunch picks this up from the ComScore report: 3 in 10 paid advertisements are never seen by customers. Considering that 5.3 trillion ads were shown in 2012, that’s a lot of ads that never saw the whites of a customer’s eyes. Don’t neglect your organic search marketing, folks! Connect with the people who are actually trying to find you.
  4. I have a few blogs I try to keep regularly updated – not to mention my workload as a freelancer – so trust me, I get that keeping content updated is a daily struggle. MarketingProfs has some helpful tips on how to build content marketing into a business routine. Routine, I would say, is the keyword.
  5. Also on the content side, Reputation Capital presents an interesting roundup of startup founders talking about the value of blogging. They ask a good question: Is it right for every business.
  6. Props to CNET for finding this: Harlem Shake Roulette. You’re welcome.

 

Boost Your SEO IQ This Month

January is almost over, iCopyInsiders. How are those New Year’s resolutions going?

Of course, here at the blog, we don’t believe that it needs to be Dec. 31 to commit to self-improvement. So, we’d like to humbly propose a New Month’s resolution:

Learn something new about SEO and/or the Web in February.

Even if your company outsources its search engine marketing – and most do – it’s well worth it for any business owner or manager to pick up some of the basic SEO terminology and skills [check out iCopy's latest Pinterest boards: "For Our Clients: Interesting SEO Copywriting Info & SEO News]. It will make you a savvier customer when it comes to shopping for vendors, and it will make strategizing with them more effective, as well.

Knowledge is power, as the cliché goes. It also leads to Web hits. Here are some of our favorite resources for learning the art and science behind the clicks.inflatable jumpers buy

Online Courses

For a comprehensive dive into SEO, there are a number of excellent online courses.

HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing University offers more than a dozen online videos taught by some of the leading lights in search, tech and marketing. They’re a little less than an hour each, but well worth a chunk of your evening or whatever spare time you can find. They’re also free to watch online.

In terms of paid options, DistilledU offers access to its SEO classes for $40 per month, although you can test out the service with a free demo. Point Blank SEO also offers a course for $67 on the all-important subject of link building.

Subject Guides and Blogs

For digital bookworms, the gold standard on the Web is the Beginner’s Guide to SEO, a free ebook produced by software company and online search community SEOmoz. It’s short enough to read in one dedicated sitting, but covers all the biggies, including the basics of how search engines work, how to use analytics and SEO-friendly Web design.

No surprise here, but Google also offers several useful resources. The company offers its own Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide. To stay on top of the company’s latest announcements, be sure to bookmark its Inside Search blog. Google Analytics IQ is another great resource for figuring out how to decipher the vast amounts of visitor data that websites produce.

Web Development

For those who are truly ambitious – but technical newbies – consider dabbling in programming. Getting under the Web’s hood is the fastest way to understand how it works. Luckily, thanks to massive online open courses, top-flight tech classes are right at your fingertips. Udacity’s beginning computer science course actually runs users through how to build a bare-bones search engine. Codecademy is also a fun way to learn the basics of programming and development.