Write to Connect: Ashley Grant from RSS & GoDaddy on Engaging Audiences with Content

how to write great content that improves your bottom line and how to best use AI to tell your story

About the Episode

Ashley Grant shares her journey from accidentally adopting the nickname "famous Ashley Grant" to becoming a successful freelance writer. With experience dating back to 2007, she narrates the evolution of her career, from writing for newspapers to crafting online content for businesses.

Ashley discusses why it's essential to prioritize readers when creating content and offers insights on balancing user value with SEO. As AI continues to shape the digital content landscape, Ashley advises writers to focus on authenticity, relatability, and addressing user needs.

Today, we'll cover:
- The power of storytelling in personal branding
- Key tips for creating engaging and valuable written content
- Strategies for balancing SEO and reader value
- The evolving blogosphere and the impact of AI on content creation
- Leveraging AI to repurpose authentic content


Idea #1: The best writing speaks to its audience

When you’re making content, like blog or newspaper articles, it’s easy to lose focus and make it about you instead of the audience. This is especially true when talking about a service or product your business provides.

Your message should go before anything else. Even when you’re working with SEO, and you need to add a certain level of fluff to make it to the first SERP.

To make content that affects your bottom line, you need to write valuable content first, and then you work on adding the SEO information and requirements to make the first page.

On top of that, consider making a TL;DR summary at the top of your posts. When people are googling a question, they’re likely to simply look at the snippet answer. And having these summaries makes it likelier your post will make it to that Snippet.

Play Segment (05:36 - 09:12)

Idea #2: How to write great business content

What does “great content” actually mean? In the simplest terms, it’s content that affects your bottom line and generates sales or builds brand trust.

The first step is to make content that doesn’t push a sale. It might sound counterintuitive, but the truth is that if you care more about the sale than the person who's buying, you’ve already lost them.

This shouldn’t be a surprise since it’s an extension of the first idea, where the content needs to be about them, not you.

Another important mindset shift to make is that organic content isn’t meant to sell your product, it’s meant to sell your brand.

Why does it matter?
Why does it exist?
And why would you be the solution to fix my pain points when there are so many other companies doing the same thing?

Play Segment (17:04 - 18:18)

1 Key Learning: Use AI to create content effectively

An important point that could be ignored, is the fact that when you’re selling any brand, an AI can do a great job helping you save time, money, and helping you get started.

When you’re telling a real story about you, your brand, your business, or anything else, AI can’t take you all the way.

But what you can do is use AI to spark the questions you might need to answer to tell a great story. From there take those answers and use tools to create a good first draft and work from there.

On the other hand, although some people might try very hard to steal other people's stories, nobody can tell yours like you can.

So when you’re branding yourself, tell the story of how you ended up where you did, and why. Ideally, help other people on the same journey as you were and make people care.

Your posts will make it make sense for the reader to want to learn more about your process. So give them the behind the scenes, your process, successes, and even failures.

Play Segment (13:20 - 14:14)

Episode Timestamps

02:34 Becoming a full-time freelance writer
05:36 Characteristics of great content
07:40 Balancing SEO and value in content writing
10:22 How to drive reader engagement through storytelling
13:20 The role of storytelling in building a personal brand
17:04 The importance of prioritizing customer needs
19:16 Leveraging AI tools for repurposing content
23:45 Authentic, relatable content and why they matter

Content Writing Philosophy: "Unless it's your story that you're writing about, you cannot make it about you. You have to speak to your audience. Because if you're talking about, oh, I, me, that's all about me, every single time you're writing a piece of content, you need to be thinking, what is in it for them? What is in it for your reader? Because if you're writing about yourself, then it's very clear that you don't care about what they want." — Ashley Grant [00:05:40 → 00:06:04]

The Future of Content Creation: "I think that what we're going to see a lot more is people trying to connect more with their audiences. They're not going to write these generic pieces that just answer the question. They want more than that. Though they do want the question answered." — Ashley Grant [00:10:28 → 00:10:41]

The Power of Personal Story in Branding: "I think that with personal branding, it needs to be, again, not just about you, but also your story, because that's one thing that nobody can replicate. Not any AI, not any person." — Ashley Grant [00:13:20 → 00:13:32]

Content Marketing Insights: "Of the clients I work with, the ones that are doing the best and hitting it out of the park with their content are the ones that aren't trying to make the sale. And I know that sounds counterintuitive because most of the time. All you're thinking about in business is, well, how do I move the needle? How do I make more money? But if you're caring more about the transaction than the person who's buying it, you've already lost them." — Ashley Grant [00:17:08 → 00:17:29]

Efficient Content Creation: "Take the amazing piece of long-form content you created, whether it be a YouTube video or a Facebook live, or heck, even a meeting you had internally with your own people, put it into a program, and then spit out some awesome content that you can then turn into other pieces of digestible content." — Ashley Grant [00:20:52 → 00:21:08]

Using AI to Produce Authentic Content: "Absolutely. The biggest reason is it's your content, it's your words, it's your voice. And so if you go to a ChatGPT or a Claude or a WordHero or whatever your favorite AI tool is, if you're just asking it to spit out something random, it's going to spit out something generic." — Ashley Grant [00:21:31 → 00:21:49]

Episode Transcript & Castmagic Chat

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