How to Be Human in Your Content Marketing

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Here’s one of the most significant tenets of content marketing: People like to do business with other people. They don’t like to do business with faceless, anonymous, inhuman brands or big corporations.

Here’s what this means for your small business: You should be doing content marketing to engage and to inform, yes—but also to humanize your brand. To give it some character. To put a face to it, and to make it relatable.

You never know: Being relatable could be just the thing that causes a consumer to pick your friendly, inviting company over the more blasé company down the road. If nothing else, a personable social media presence will go a long way toward making your company memorable.

The question is, how can you make your business come across as more human through your content marketing? Try these five simple tips:

  1. Go behind the scenes. Snap a few photos of your team in action—whether at the office or out, at a holiday party or company social event. Get some candid shots of your team members doing what they do. Try to capture an image of what your office is really like. Go behind the scenes, taking pictures in parts of your office that most customers never see. Share some of these photos on social media—not a barrage of them, but maybe one a week or so, just to put faces with names and showcase that yes, your company is made up of flesh-and-blood humans, not robots!
  2. Do some team blogging. Do you have multiple team members who are skilled at writing? Then enlist them all to help you blog! Allow each team member to bring his or her unique voice to your company blog.
  3. Be funny. We don’t actually recommend turning your Twitter feed into a joke machine, or your Facebook page into a constant meme generator. Your main focus should be delivering value to your customers. However, a little humor from time to time never hurt anyone, especially not if you can somehow relate it to your vertical.
  4. Highlight your philanthropy. Has your company participated in a charity walk, helped build a house, sponsored a fundraiser, or otherwise raised money or awareness for a worthy cause? Mention it online. You don’t have to brag; just note that it’s a cause you believe in, and include a link to somewhere people can get more information or make donations of their own.
  5. Ask questions. If all else fails, just try to strike up a conversation. Take to social media and start picking some brains—asking what your social media followers might like you to blog about, inquiring what they like best about your products, or whatever else comes to mind.

To learn more about making your company relatable through social media, you can always contact the Grammar Chic team. (We’re very friendly, we promise!) Call 803-831-7444, or visit http://www.grammarchic.net today.

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The 90-Minute Plan to Revitalize Your Content Marketing

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Tell us if this is the boat you’re in: You’re a small business owner, and you’re totally on board with content marketing—at least in theory. You’ve launched social platforms and a company blog, and you even update them from time to time. However, you’re just not seeing the results you’d hoped for. You know that you need to breathe some new life into your content marketing, but who has the time for it?

We feel you. Content marketing is what we do here at Grammar Chic, all day every day, so we know as well as anyone that it takes time to get it right. When you’re a small business owner, with about a thousand other items on your to-do list, devoting time to content marketing just isn’t viable some days.

But here’s some good news: If you’re looking to revitalize your content marketing, to kick it into high gear and give everything a nice polish, you can. In fact, there is much that you can accomplish in just 90 minutes.

Don’t believe us? Try this: Next time you have a spare hour and a half on your schedule, pause to do the following tasks, and see if it doesn’t reignite your fire for content marketing.

Rewrite your social media bios (25 minutes). You may have perfectly good bios on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, or whatever social networks you happen to use. Scrap ‘em anyway. Pull up a blank page and rewrite them. Focus on your company’s values—what’s really important to you? What sets you apart from the competition? Why should a customer pick your company over the others in your field? And what is your specific value proposition—that is, how do customers stand to benefit from choosing you? Let those questions motivate you as you write some new bio copy, if only to freshen things up and see to it that your social media pages are well-maintained.

Schedule your next five blog topics (25 minutes). No, you can’t actually write five new blogs in less than half an hour—and frankly you shouldn’t try! What you can do is think of your next five topics. Think through some common questions you get from customers. Take a look at industry trends, even at other industry blogs. Think of five topics you believe will educate, inform, and entice your potential customers. Find five days on your calendar when you might have a spare hour for blogging, and pencil in those topics!

Brainstorm a promotion (10 minutes). With the holiday season approaching, there’s no time like now to think up a contest or promotion. What’s something you can give away, and what’s a good way to do it? Do you want to simply offer 10 percent off coupons in your e-mail newsletter? Do you want to hold some sort of social media contest? Just take a few minutes to think up an idea, and then spend a day or two mulling it over before you launch it.

Ask a question (10 minutes). Sign into your company Facebook account and simply ask a question. Pick your readers’ brains. Ask them what their favorite thing about your company is; ask what topic they’d like to read more about; ask them to share something from their own experience with our brand. Maybe nothing will come of this, but it only takes a few minutes to try to strike up a conversation. This will keep users engaged, and may even generate some new ideas for your next round of blog topics.

Read some blogs (25 minutes). Devote the rest of your time to reading a few blogs—just for inspiration and your own betterment. Read some blogs related to your industry, or else check out some leading content marketing blogs—like, say, the Grammar Chic one! Get some fresh perspectives and see if they don’t motivate you to keep hammering away at the content marketing.

Does that all sound fairly doable? We hope so. Should you need any assistance, or have any questions about taking things a step further, you can always call Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444, or visit us online at http://www.grammarchic.net.

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Are You Using LinkedIn Marketing for All Its Worth?

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Somewhat shockingly, LinkedIn now has a membership base that encompasses roughly one-third of all professional people in the world. Given that incredible reach, it’s no great surprise that LinkedIn has become a go-to marketing tool. In fact, the powers that be at LinkedIn have been pouring more and more effort into making LinkedIn Marketing a significant presence in the content marketing world.

Hopefully, we don’t need to tell you that LinkedIn matters for small business owners. Hopefully, you already have a fully optimized company page, and you post some compelling status updates on a regular basis. Hopefully, you understand that LinkedIn is a key component in content marketing.

But of course, there is always room for improvement, and always room to take your LinkedIn marketing efforts to the next level. To make sure you’re getting the most out of this important tool, consider the following pointers.

LinkedIn Allows for Precise Targeting

When it comes to actually targeting the users who see your paid posts, LinkedIn is simply the best, most effective social platform there is. It gives you all kinds of options, allowing you to determine where your ads are seen but also by what kinds of companies; you can even specify businesses in a certain industry, all under 100 people, or professionals in a particular city and a particular line of work. If you’re running promotions on LinkedIn, make sure you’re taking the time to fine-tune your targeting.

LinkedIn Offers an Amazing Platform for Blogging

LinkedIn now has its own blogging platform, which can be a great way to share some company updates and simply to ensure that your name is still out there in user newsfeeds. You may not actually need to use the LinkedIn blogging platform—hopefully you have your own company blog, housed on your website—but you can always share blogs and other informative articles, and in fact we recommend that you do this daily. There’s just no better way to position your company where users will see it, day after day.

LinkedIn Helps You Build Your E-mail Marketing List

LinkedIn will allow you to send a message to up to 50 users at a time. Here’s how to use that feature: Write a quick thank-you to the folks who have followed you, and invite them to join your e-mail list to receive more regular updates. Offer a link for signup, and then send. Not everyone will join your e-mail list, of course, but some will—and over time, this can be an invaluable way to expand the reach of your e-mail marketing.

LinkedIn Helps You Put a Face to Your Brand

A final suggestion: Encourage all your employees to join LinkedIn, to completely fill out their profiles, to select professional headshots, and to note your company as their Employer. This will link all of their pages to your main brand page, and provide a neat way to humanize your company—to put some faces to it and make it seem a bit more relatable.

More than anything else, we’d encourage just spending some time exploring LinkedIn and figuring out all that it can do—and if you need any guidance, the Grammar Chic, Inc. team is here to help. Contact us at 803-831-7444, or http://www.grammarchic.net.

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5 Job Interview Myths That Can Throw You for a Loop

job-interview

Ideal scenario: You arrive at a job interview feeling totally confident. You’re prepared for every question you’re asked, and can provide excellent, thoughtful answers. The interviewer seems excited and impressed. You believe that you and the interviewer have a good, warm rapport. You leave the interview feeling pretty great: You stand a fine chance of getting the job, and if you don’t, well, at least you gave it your all.

Less than ideal scenario: You arrive at a job interview feeling pretty good about yourself, but are caught off guard by the strange, unexpected, or open-ended questions. The interviewer doesn’t seem engaged in your conversation. You quickly lose your confidence, stumble through your answers, and leave feeling defeated and depressed.

What’s the factor that decides which of these two scenarios you end up with? To a large extent, it all comes down to expectations. If you arrive expecting all the wrong things, and aren’t prepared for other contingencies, then you can be thrown off your rhythm and off your A-game.

If, however, you arrive expecting the right things—or better still, you arrive with no particular expectations whatsoever—then you’ll stand a better chance of approaching the situation calmly, coolly, and confidently.

Sadly, many jobseekers show up for an interview and have all the wrong expectations. They’ve believed some of the common job search myths that are out there—and when those myths are revealed to be just that, these jobseekers are left feeling unprepared and panicky.

A good way to prepare for your next job interview, then, is to go over some common interview myths—and to remind yourself that they are, well, exactly that.

Myth #1: You’ll have a good, well-prepared interviewer.

Maybe you will, but then again, maybe you won’t. Your interviewer is surely a busy person, and you can’t rule out the fact that he or she will arrive for the interview harried and unprepared, having not even had time to look over your resume very closely. Be prepared to refresh him or her on key points, and to roll with the interviewer’s potential lack of preparedness.

Also note that not all interviewers ask particularly good questions; you might get something like “so tell me about yourself,” and it’s imperative that you have a good narrative ready.

Myth #2: There’s always a right answer.

Sometimes an interviewer will be more interested in how you handle a high-pressure question than in what your answer is; don’t allow your desperate search for the “right” response to break your composure or to send you into a tailspin of “ums.”

Myth #3: Your answers always need to be short.

The more valuable information you can give the interviewer, the better. If you provide one-sentence answers to everything, it will leave the interviewer to think up still more questions—and they don’t necessarily want to do that.

Myth #4: Your qualifications are what ultimately matter.

Think the most qualified applicant always gets the job? Think again. What interviewers are looking for is someone who will fit into their company culture and prove easy to work with in the long run. Flexibility, friendliness, and enthusiasm can often be just as important as your qualifications, perhaps even more so.

Myth #5: The interviewer wants you to be ambitious.

When you’re asked where you see yourself in five years, the right answer isn’t necessarily that you hope to be climbing the corporate ladder. Interviewers often want to know that you’re looking for a job you can be content with for a long time to come, not merely a stepping stone to something better.

Prepare for your next interview by dispelling these myths from your mind—and be training yourself to expect the unexpected. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Grammar Chic, Inc. team via http://www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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Is Content Marketing Here to Stay?

Social media marketing in tag cloud

What will content marketing look like in five years’ time—or for that matter, one year’s time? Will content marketing still exist as we know it, or will changes to the digital marketing world render it unrecognizable or obsolete?

Questions like these are common in online marketing circles, and it’s not hard to understand why. Google’s algorithms change, on average, close to three times per day; the world of social media is in a constant state of flux. This entire enterprise is characterized by how fast it moves, how quickly it changes. It is little wonder that there are so many who are unsure of what its future holds.

These questions are only fair. Here at Grammar Chic, we always tell our content marketing clients that this business is a long-term commitment; not something that offers results overnight, but something that yields its fruit via the steady development of consumer trust and brand authority. If we’re telling people that content marketing is a long-term commitment, it’s only natural for folks to wonder: Will content marketing actually still be here in the long term?

Everything Changes

There has been much ink spilled on the topic of content marketing and its longevity; you can find plenty of articles confirming its long-term viability, and just as many that express skepticism. As for the Grammar Chic take, we’ll offer the caveat that we can’t see the future and don’t have a crystal ball handy. With that said, we have invested heavily in content marketing as an on-going concern, and obviously feel strongly that it’s going to stick around in a recognizable form.

That’s not to say that content marketing won’t change. It’s already changed plenty just in the past couple of years—as it should. Content marketing adapts and evolves, right on pace with changing technologies and shifting consumer trends. In five years, content marketing may be more about video than ever before; there may be entirely new social networks that have sprung up to dominate the field; SEO may make a roaring comeback; Google+ may fall completely out of fashion, or it could just as easily assert its relevance in a big way.

The Resilience of Content Marketing

Whatever content marketing looks like in five years’ time, or in ten, we believe it will still be around—and even if some of the incidentals change, the basic premise of content marketing will be the same.

Why do we believe this? Because the very nature of content marketing goes hand in hand with consumer behavior, and plays right into the fundamentals of business. Content marketing may be ever-changing, and it may be linked to such ephemera as social media trends and search engine algorithms, but it’s built on something really solid: Content marketing is fundamentally about offering customer service. It’s about educating, informing, and offering value. It’s about showing that you’re trustworthy, and giving your clients a reason to be loyal to your brand.

None of that is ever going to go out of style. None of that is in question. Businesses have always needed to provide a meaningful, value-adding service to customers; all that’s changed is that we now have the tools of content marketing, to do it better than ever before.

Betting on content marketing is not, basically, betting on the latest social trends. It’s betting on your company’s need to meet customers where they are and to extend to them something of value—period.

If that sounds like a bet you want to make, we believe you can do so quite safely; learn more by contacting the Grammar Chic, Inc. team today at http://www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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What is Cause Marketing?

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Newsflash: Content marketing isn’t just for for-profit companies. In fact, Grammar Chic has previously blogged about the different ways in which charities and philanthropic organizations can make use of social media, inbound, and content marketing techniques.

What you might not know is that there is actually an entirely separate—and increasingly prolific—arm of content marketing, dedicated solely to working for social and charitable causes. It’s called cause marketing, and while it has much in common with conventional content marketing, there are some key distinctions that are worth noting.

Defining the Term

To begin with, though, what’s the basic definition of cause marketing? It is not, actually, marketing that’s done without profit-making in mind; actually, cause marketing is designed to be a profit-making initiative done by a for-profit company. The difference is that cause marketing doesn’t just try to raise awareness for a product. It tries to raise awareness, money, or engagement for a specific cause—a social issue, an environmental issue, or whatever else.

To really understand cause marketing, consider this old expression: Doing well by doing good. What it means is that it is possible—even optimal—to do something socially or morally good while also generating money or emphasizing your business’ bottom line. This is sort of what cause marketing is all about. A moral or social issue and a consumer product or service are both marketed in tandem, in a way that generates profits for the company but also money and awareness for the cause—so in the end, everyone wins.

Usually, cause marketing works something like this: A company markets its product, but pledges to give part of the proceeds to a charity or non-profit, or perhaps simply to use the marketing campaign itself as a way to generate awareness.

Cause Marketing and Your Brand

Any company can launch a cause marketing initiative—and the benefits for doing so are several. You can shine the spotlight on a cause that you really care about, and make an honest difference on behalf of an important issue. In the process, you can also spotlight your company’s philanthropic side, which can significantly improve your reputation and boost customer loyalty.

Some tips for getting started with cause marketing:

  • Choose a cause that you and your team members truly believe in; your marketing initiative won’t get far if you lack earnest enthusiasm for what you’re doing.
  • Choose a worthy charitable organization related to your cause, and inquire how best you might work with them to raise money or awareness.
  • As you work to promote the cause—and your own products—don’t just make it about a financial commitment. Really work to build awareness, if only by including a link to the non-profit’s website, or to a donations page, on your own website.

From there, it’s really all about the basics of content marketing—of getting the word out about what you’re doing. That’s where Grammar Chic comes in. To learn more about cause marketing, and how we can help you run a powerful and effective campaign, contact us today at http://www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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Supporting Customers Through Your Business Website (It’s Easier Than You Think)

iStock_000017003347XSmallWouldn’t it be nice if you could have an automated customer service center on your website—a place where your customers could go to chat, in real time, with a technical support representative, a sales staff team member, or simply some caring employee able to guide them through use of your product? That’s clearly something that would go a long way toward enhancing the customer experience, but sadly, it’s also a significant investment, both in terms of the technology and the manpower needed to staff it. Amazon.com can do it, maybe, but your small business likely can’t.

What small business owners sometimes fail to remember, though, is that there are other ways to offer website-based customer service—even through some evergreen written content or video. A website that’s built not just to sell but to educate and inform will, in the process, provide support to the customers who may have questions or uncertainties about whatever it is you’re selling.

Education and Support

There are a number of ways in which you can offer customer support through informative Web pages, or even downloadable PDF files. You’ll want to select the specific type of content based on what kinds of products or services you’re offering, but some examples include:

  • An FAQ page, where you round up the most commonly asked questions about your products and provide some feedback.
  • How-tos, product guides, or video tutorials.
  • Blog entries that outline some different ways in which your product can be used.
  • Product maintenance, upkeep, and repair guides.

The Advantages of Support Content

What we’d recommend with regard to these different forms of support content is that you don’t have them just to have them; pause to reflect on the advantages they might offer. If you understand why you’re doing it, you’ll be better positioned to see some results.

Support content, like what we outlined above, can deliver:

  • Customers who come to you already knowing something about your products and services—thus, warmer leads.
  • Fewer questions and concerns to address among your customers and potential customers.
  • A higher level of trust from your customers, who will see that you care about helping and supporting them.

Ultimately, customer service is something that companies all seek to provide; including some support content on your website is an incredibly simple, fairly low-hassle way to up your brand’s customer service game.

To learn more, or to enlist our help in creating content like this, we invite you to contact Grammar Chic, Inc. today at http://www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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