An Inside Look at Our Blog Editing Process

We think this is a great hairstyle for an editor.

Each month, our in-house team of writers and editors creates thousands of  business blogs for  SMBs nationwide. In addition to business blogs, we also create guest posts, website copy, interactive social media content, and custom projects.

While our production volume is very high and our turnaround times fast, our clients tell us that our work is better researched, of a higher quality, and more grammatically sound than the work of other freelance writers and services they have contracted with in the past.

So how do we consistently generate the kind of high-quality content that SEO and internet marketing firms are looking for? Aside from sentence-level changes, grammar, and spelling, the experienced editors at Student Experts look for the following when editing blog content:

1. Readability

When reviewing a business blog, our editors might ask, “Is it clear, cohesive, and fun to read?” Successful blogs will start off with an engaging statistic, or a journalistic lede that hooks readers right away. Here’s a quick comparison of a boring and a fun introduction for an optician’s blog about eye diseases:

    • Boring: “Many people are nearsighted and need to wear glasses.”
    • Engaging: “According to the American Optometric Association, more than a quarter of the United States population suffers from myopia, or nearsightedness.”

Not only is the second example more interesting, but it adds the clout of a respected industry organization and an authoritative outbound link to the blog. From the introduction, editors will ensure that the blog flows into a well-organized body, broken up into logical bullets, lists, or subheadings for easy consumption. As an example, you’ll notice that this blog offers a very readable layout. It starts with a direct introduction, then is followed by a numbered list of parallel points and a brief conclusion.

2. Links and Anchor Text

Building up SEO authority by linking out from your blog posts to authoritative third-party sites is one of the main benefits of business blogging. That’s why our editors check outbound blog links for domain authority, quality, and relevance. Ultimately, we strive to link to content that is appropriate to the client and that readers will find useful. Editors also pay special attention to the link anchor text used throughout blog posts. We vary anchor text between posts, using business- and location-based keywords whenever possible. For example, in a blog post for an HVAC company about repairing home heating systems in time for winter, we would use anchor text such as “Fall heating tune-up” or “heating system maintenance.” The HVAC business may also focus on keywords for its air conditioning and duct cleaning services, but since those services are not relevant to this particular blog post, we would not use those phrases in the link anchor text.

3. Client Parameters

We use a streamlined content management system to keep client’s keyword strategies and special requests up-to-date and organized.  An editor will check all blog content against a client’s parameters to be sure the writing is furthering that client’s marketing goals.  Maybe a business always wants to use a trackable toll-free number in the call-to-action? Or, perhaps a client has discontinued a product and no longer wants to mention it in their content. Our CMS, combined with our editorial quality assurance, keeps clients happy and greatly reduces the need for revisions.

This is just a quick snap-shot of our writing and editing process.  Get in touch with us today to learn more about how Student Experts delivers high-quality, white-labeled content to internet marketing and SEO firms.

 

Photo credit: Evil Erin

5 Blogging Tips Straight From The Student Experts’ Style Guide

blog writing tipsWhen new writers and editors begin work at Student Experts, reading and absorbing the Style Guide is the first item on their training agenda. This 56 page document is an evolving tome that covers every step of our writing and editing process.

The Style Guide includes resources on SEO, linking to authoritative sources, conducting online research, and editing for grammar and syntax.

If you’re looking for a few blogging best practices, then review five of our Style Guide writing tips below:

1. Craft A Snappy Intro
Like a good lede in a news story, open each blog with a clear and informative introduction. Other than the blog headline, the first two sentences are your best chance to grab the reader’s attention and keep them hooked. Instead of starting a dental blog with “Many people have gum disease,” incorporate a statistic for a more active and engaging first sentence, such as, “More than 80 percent of American adults have a form of gum disease.”

2. Make It Scannable
When searching for information online, most people have a limited attention span. Use lists, bullet points, sub-headlines, and short paragraphs to make your blog scannable and reader-friendly. A series of brief, topical paragraphs or bullet points is more inviting to a reader than a block of uninterrupted text.

3. Create A Clear Structure
To maintain a coherent structure after the blog introduction, tell readers precisely what you’re about to tell them. For example, “Below we’ll review the main benefits of air duct cleaning.” Include an introductory sentence before lists or bullet points, describing the list and why it’s important to readers. Throughout list headings or subheadings, use parallel verb tenses and similar parts of speech. The numbered list in this blog post is an example of parallel construction.

4.  Use Active, Positive Language
Front-load your sentences and stick with active (not passive) constructions. Put the most important information at the beginning of a sentence so that even scanning readers will see and absorb the main points. Keep your subjects and verbs close together and stick with basic verb forms such as infinitives, imperatives, the simple present, simple past, and future tense.  Maintain a positive tone by avoiding words such as don’t, can’t, shouldn’t and not.

5. Form Simple Sentences and Paragraphs
Think Ernest Hemingway and not Marcel Proust. Keep sentences short and focused on one idea. Each new paragraph should focus on a single topic, with the most important point mentioned early in the first sentence of the paragraph. If a reader scans the blog introduction, first sentence of each paragraph, and your conclusion, they should get the point.

Student Experts creates custom content that internet marketing and SEO firms can white-label and deliver to their SMB clients. Stay tuned to our blog for more writing, editing, and content marketing tips. Learn more about our services or set up a free content trial to get a taste of our truly high-quality content!

Photo credit: ItDan

What We Look For in Our Writers

content writingWe are always looking for new writers and editors to join our growing ranks. Working for Student Experts entails crafting blog content, guest posts, web copy, and PPC ad headlines for small and medium-sized business clients.

Here are three traits that we look for in potential content writers during the recruiting process:

1. A Writing Background

The best content writers tend to have backgrounds in English literature, creative writing, linguistics, journalism, philosophy, and other writing-intensive areas of study. When an applicant has excelled throughout years of reading difficult texts and writing grueling papers, he or she will likely be a good fit for a job that involves researching, writing, and thinking critically all day long. As much as we love English and journalism majors, we do hire outside of these areas of study—especially when we see a pre-law or pre-med candidate who has a real way with words.

2. A Marketing Mindset

A content writer’s main function is to create engaging copy that ultimately “sells” or “markets” a business’ products and services. Even though a blog or guest post is not overt advertising copy, it should leave the reader with a positive feeling about the company. When we read writers’ applications, we gravitate toward the candidates who do a wonderful job of marketing themselves. If you can’t convince us of why we should hire you, then how are you going to write blogs that convince customers to work with one of our small business clients?

3. A Confident Voice

A confident writer uses active sentences and incorporates facts and information with gusto! When reading an applicant’s writing sample, we look for red flags such as vague sentences, overuse of a particular structure (like the em dash), or redundancy. Overall, we’re looking for applicants who can write with the utmost clarity and efficiency.

If you think you might be a good fit for one of our open positions, then apply today. We’re always looking for talented wordsmiths to join the Student Experts team.

Photo credit: Photosteve101

Writing For Your Audience: A Simple Exercise

Your readership can flourish or flounder based on how well you “speak” to your audience with online content.  Here’s an exercise to discover how people write within your industry and learn what gets your target audience engaged.Writing For Your Audience

1) Visit three thought leaders’ websites in your niche.  The idea is to find out how thought-leaders in your industry are already connecting with the audience. Make sure the websites you check have consistent blog and social media content with signs of engagement, such as comments, retweets and shares.

2) Spend 10 minutes looking at each author. Review each author’s recent blog posts, tweets, and other social media posts.  Take note of their writing style. Is it informal and conversational or more formal and businesslike? How lengthy are their blog posts?  You should see a pattern developing about the kind of writing that works in your industry.

3) Evaluate your natural writing style. Everyone has a natural tone or voice when they write. Gauge whether your style is  similar to what you’re seeing online in your industry.  If not,  you may want to consider adapting to the tone and style of the conversation.

If you do try this exercise, please share what you learned in the comments section below.

Photo Credit: statelibraryofnsw

Why Engage In A Free Content Trial?

As Google continues to update its algorithms, “Quality Content” is becoming vital to SEO and internet marketing success. That’s why Student Experts offers a free content trial for firms looking to provide their clients with custom blogs and quality guest posts.

When creating a new business partnership, it’s important for both parties to be sure of the fit. If you’re an internet marketer or SEO sourcing content for your clients, there’s no better way to make a decision, then to engage in a free trial period. Below we’ll share the three reasons why we feel it’s important to offer a free content trial:

1. Get A Taste of the Content

Would you recommend a restaurant to a friend without eating there first?  Similarly, the content you provide to your clients is a representation of your firm and ultimately, a representation of your client’s brand. The best way to find out if a blogging service is going to meet yours (and your client’s) high expectations, is to get a taste for free. A free content trial can give you a sense of the turnaround time and quality level. With a free trial, you’ll know if the writing has that  je ne sais quoi you’ve been looking for.

2. Zero Risk and Zero Setup

SEOs and internet marketers are increasingly expected to do more with less resources. With a free content trial, you can get the client blogs or guest blogs that you need quickly, at no cost and with zero long-term commitment.  You’ll only need to invest a few short minutes to share the scope of your content needs with your free trial provider. Leading content providers will have streamlined processes in place for collecting information, writing, editing, and delivering your trial content within days. This makes the entire process quick and hassle-free.

3. Test out the Relationship

During a free content trial, both the SEO or internet marekting firm and the content provider should be looking for mutual benefits and longterm potential. This is often an overlooked courtesy. A free content trial is a great opportunity for SEOs to ask questions about how the content provider can grow with their business and remain flexible to meet their changing needs.  With no money exchanged nor time wasted, if the fit is not there for either party, then it’s easy to shake hands and walk away.

How does your company handle writing quality blog posts and guest blogs for clients? At Student Experts we specialize in producing white-label content for internet marketing and SEO firms. Get started with a free content trial today, and see if we’re the right fit for you!

Photo Credit:  Stefan Baudy

Save