Blogging Blunders: Don’t Regress in 2016!

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We’re now more than a month into a new calendar year—and a new chance for your company to excel in its blogging endeavors.

Don’t blow it.

Business blogging can be an invaluable way to build credibility and trust; to cultivate authority and thought leadership; to engage readers and to drive traffic to your website. But that’s all assuming you’re blogging well. That’s all assuming you aren’t falling prey to classic blogging blunders, or regressing in your business blogging practices.

We’ll show you what we mean: A few blogging faux pas that are easy enough to make, but potentially lethal to your overall marketing goals.

Writing Posts, but Not Augmenting Them

A good blog post isn’t just about the words on the page—though obviously, those are important! It’s really about the overall presentation. And if you don’t have compelling images, infographics, embedded videos, and/or social sharing buttons, your presentation leaves something to be desired.

Writing to Nobody in Particular

Quick: Who’s your audience? What are the demographics? What are the values and pain points? It’s critical to keep these things in mind as you blog. You can write the best blog post in the world, but if you’re writing to the wrong crowd, it won’t make any impact on your readers.

Writing, but Not Sharing

A great blog post means absolutely nothing if it never gets seen—if it never gets read. That’s where social media comes into play. The minute you publish a new post, your next step should be spreading the post on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest—you name it. Don’t let your content just sit there. Pass it around.

Writing About Stale Topics

Don’t beat a dead horse. If you’ve written about a topic in the past and it hasn’t gotten you any results, there’s no point in resurrecting it. Move on to something your readers actually care about.

Writing Without Linking

A good blog post is like an information hub: Not only does it provide insight of its own, but it points readers toward some related resources and avenues for further learning. Internal and external links can really add depth and context to a solid blog post.

One way to take your blogging to the next level this year: Hire a ghostblogger. Contact Grammar Chic to start the conversation: 803-831-744, or www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Blog Writing, Social Media, Writing

5 Hallmarks of Great Evergreen Content

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A great content strategy hinges on regular content updates—fresh new videos, blog posts, and social media entries that engage users while capitalizing on current trends. But if that’s all you’ve got fuelling your content strategy, you’re missing out on one of the key components of any digital marketing strategy—and that’s evergreen content.

We’ve written about the need for evergreen content before. Basically, this refers to the written, value-adding content that never goes out of style—timeless posts that can bolster your content strategy by offering endless revisitability. We’re talking about the in-depth tutorials, FAQs, and essays that you can refer your clients and readers to time and time again.

What Makes Evergreen Content Great

But how can you tell if you’ve got an instance of really great evergreen content on your hands? What does great evergreen content really look like?

Well, not all content is created equal, of course, but some of the essential traits of great evergreen content include:

Great evergreen content is timeless. This is really the defining trait of evergreen content, right? You can write it today and know that all of it will still more or less hold true in a year’s time; that even five years down the road you can direct readers to this resource and know that it will all hold up.

Great evergreen content adds value. The ultimate point of evergreen content is that you can use it to draw traffic and educate consumers for a long time to come. So, it needs to be interesting. It needs to add value. It needs to inform. It needs to provide a direct benefit to the people who read it. This is why so much of the best evergreen content comes in the form of how-tos, tutorials, and FAQ pages.

Great evergreen content is well-formatted. Again, what you’re going for is utility. You want your content to be useful to readers, which means structuring it in a way that’s easy to read, skim, and consult. Lists and step-by-step guides work well, as does long-form content that’s well-organized with subheadings and section titles.

Great evergreen content is usually long. Remember, you’re aiming for something resembling a treasure trove of information—and chances are, that’s going to be lengthier, not shorter.

Great evergreen content is understandable. If your content is full of technical terms and jargon, it’s probably not going to appeal to a broad reader base—and with evergreen content, breadth is usually key.

Evergreen content is critical for any content strategy—so how are your evergreen posts coming along? For help writing timeless and value-adding content, contact Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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This is How to Write a Compelling Email Subject Line—and Boost Your Open Rates

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Report after report and study after study suggests that email is the most effective digital marketing tool.

So if you’re not seeing much of a benefit from your email marketing program, you’ve gotta wonder why.

Maybe the reason people aren’t responding to your emails is because they aren’t even opening them in the first place. Obviously, that’s a problem. A low open rate means your email marketing strategy is dead in the water.

Your open rate is even more significant than your total subscriber number. Think about it this way: Having 1,000 subscribers who all open your emails means much more exposure for your brand than having 6,000 subscribers but only a 2 percent open rate.

No question: You’ve got to get your emails opened. And the best way to do that is to tweak your subject lines—but how?

Tip #1: Make your subject lines longer.

Both the conventional wisdom and the natural instinct is to make your subject lines short and snappy. We’ve offered that very advice in the past. But one new study suggests that maybe longer—like, 60-70 characters, if not more—is the way to go.

Perhaps the rationale is simply this: When you’re working with just a couple of words, it’s hard to offer more than salesy platitudes and generalities. But if you give yourself more space, you can actually convey value and specificity to your readers.

So maybe it’s worth trying long subject lines for a while, just to see how they work.

Tip #2: Write in all lower case letters.

All caps screams of desperation, and can be pretty annoying. Mixing upper and lower case—you know, like you would in normal, everyday writing—is fine. But consider: a lot of the emails you get from your friends and family members probably come with all lower case subject lines.

Writing an all lower case subject line can convey intimacy and familiarity, then—and that’s not such a bad thing for your brand!

Tip #3: Provide value—but don’t give everything away.

As for the actual content of your subject lines, something we recommend is focusing on the value you offer—the benefits your email will provide—without getting into the specifics.

Show your readers what’s in it for them to open your email, but not necessarily how they’ll get it.

Example: Try a subject line that promises something like this: “Drive traffic to your website… and turn it into paying customers!”

You’re showing your readers exactly what they stand to gain from reading the email—but to learn how they’re going to gain it… through SEO, email marketing, or whatever else… they’ve got to open the email and read it.

Try some of these tips in your own email marketing—and see how your open rates improve. Talk with us about it by calling 803-831-7444, or visiting www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Email Writing, Writing

4 Things That Will Guarantee your Emails Don’t Get Opened

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Email marketing can pay off big time—but only if you do it right. And obviously, if you’re spending a lot of money on emails but not getting any of them opened by your target audience—if those emails go directly from inboxes to trashcans, contents unseen—then you’re doing little more than wasting money.

So what can you do to ensure that those emails get read? We’ve shared some email marketing best practices before. Today, what we’ll offer is a set of don’ts—some common email marketing elements that are sure to get your messages promptly deleted.

In other words, these are rookie errors—boneheaded mistakes—that will basically squander whatever effort you put into your email marketing campaign. Naturally, we recommend avoiding them at all costs!

Email Elements it Pays to Avoid

  1. Spelling and grammar errors. Yes, it sounds like common sense—but you’d be amazed at the number of business owners who take time to proof their messages but not their subject lines. If somebody receives an email from you and it’s got a glaring error in its subject heading, that immediately undercuts your authority—and all but guarantees your email gets rejected.
  2. Impersonal greetings. Here’s something else that can wreck your subject line—and thus, your entire email: A greeting that’s obviously impersonal and unspecific. Any message that comes with a title like Dear Sir or Madam will look like spam, and likely be treated as such.
  3. Spammy words. Along the same lines, spammy buzzwords located in your subject line will get your emails buried and your servers blacklisted. Avoid saying click here, % off, order now, sale ends at midnight—anything that clearly marks your marketing email as cheap or salesy.
  4. Bombast. Finally: Remember that a subject line is meant to be short and snappy. If your subject line lacks brevity, it may turn off busy readers who’d rather you get straight to the point.

There is plenty you can do to make email marketing a more effective tool for your business—but also plenty you shouldn’t do. Keep these tips in mind as you strive to achieve email marketing success.

For help crafting an effective email marketing campaign, contact the Grammar Chic team at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Email Writing, Writing

Why the Holidays are Ideal for Launching a Job Search

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It’s a question our resume division receives every year around this time: Is the holiday season really a good time to launch a job search?

And our answer is always the same thing: An overwhelming, resounding yes.

And we’ll tell you why.

‘Tis the Season… for a New Career

  1. A lot of jobseekers actually delay or suspend their search over the holidays. The conventional wisdom is that the holiday season is a poor time to look for employment—many jobseekers are so overwhelmed with other holiday responsibilities that they simply take themselves off the market between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day.

That’s good news for you. Less competition means more opportunities for you to shine—so while other jobseekers sit things out, you should put yourself in the game.

  1. Many companies go through a lot of turnover during the holidays. This is one of the prime times of year for established employees to start itching for a change—putting in their notice and heading off for greener pastures.

So if you think a lot of companies don’t hire over the holidays, think again: There are a lot of opportunities, and a lot of openings you could fill.

  1. The holiday season makes networking easier. There’s an old saying that, in jobseeking, it’s not what you know but who you know.

Well, you’ll have plenty of ways to reconnect with the people you know during the holidays—sending Christmas cards and LinkedIn greetings, or bumping into people at holiday parties. These are all great opportunities to build your network and let people know you’re looking.

Clearly, this is a fine season to really bump your job search into high gear—assuming you’re willing to put in some hustle and approach your search strategically.

A good place to start is with a new resume—and our team is standing ready, even during this busy time of year, to give yours the polish it needs.

Get started on your holiday job search. Contact Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Job Search, Resume Writing, Resumes

4 Easy Ways to Get More Followers on Instagram

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If you still think Instagram is all about selfies, cat photos, and bad pictures of food, then it’s time to wake up. The picture-sharing mobile platform now has more than 400 million users, and is growing at a faster rate than any other social channel. In other words, it’s a channel far too significant for your brand to ignore it.

That’s not necessarily to say that Instagram is for everyone. Some companies are more photogenic than others, and it’s understandable that, say, an accounting firm might see less worth in Instagram than a florist, a baker, or a pet groomer.

Using Instagram for All It’s Worth

But if your branding has any visual component at all, you should at least think about using Instagram—and using it strategically. That means optimizing each pictorial post to not only get likes and comments, but ultimately grow your number of followers.

Some simple ways to do that include:

  1. Use popular hashtags. You don’t have to be an Instagram expert to know what hashtags are; they’re the cross-platform language of social media, and they provide a great way to connect your posts to broader conversations. And while there is merit in using custom hashtags, it’s at least as important to use Instagram’s Search icon to track down really hot hashtags and anchor your posts to them. (Just make sure to keep them relevant; don’t jump on an irrelevant hashtag just for the sake of being trendy.)
  1. Interact with other posts. Keep the social in social media. If your Instagram strategy is all about you, don’t be surprised when your follower list fails to grow. Rather than being insular and self-absorbed, take some time to find posts relevant to your niche—again, use search/hashtags—and like and comment.
  1. Always tag your posts with a location. Want people to come see you in your office? Make sure you let them know where it is—and also make it easier to connect with customers and clients who may also tag themselves at your location.
  1. Spread links to your Instagram. People like Instagram because they like looking at photos, so it doesn’t necessarily take much of a push for you to get people to look you up. Include links to your Instagram account on your blogs, your website, other social platforms—even your email signature.

Follow these tips to boost your Insta-following—and for help, don’t hesitate to contact Grammar Chic: 803-831-744 or www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Brand Management, Content Marketing, Social Media

5 Tips for Acing an E-Commerce CTA

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When you’re running an e-commerce brand, your website really has one central purpose: Yes, you want to bring new clients into your sales funnel and provide them with the education they need to make informed purchasing decisions, but at the end of the day your goal is to close the sale. You want people to click on a button in your online store and purchase one of the items you’re selling—period. You want your website to be an around-the-clock sales machine.

That’s what makes it so essential to have a good, strong call to action in place. All business websites need CTAs, which guide your leads through the sales funnel and increase the likelihood of them taking the desired action. For e-commerce sites, though, the CTA should be especially pointed and impactful: Click this button to buy our product NOW!

5 Tips for Killer CTAs

But of course, there are good CTAs and bad ones—and a feeble or unpersuasive CTA will hobble your sales and render your website impotent. So how do you ensure that your e-commerce site is working with high-impact CTAs? Consider these tips:

Make it stand out! The whole point of the call to action is to grab your reader’s attention and make it clear what step you want the reader to take next—so you can’t afford to have a CTA that blends in with the rest of the page, or that gets buried under the rest of your content. While it is possible to be too over-the-top, you do want to use larger fonts, bolds, italics, bright colors, compelling graphics, and/or attention-grabbing verbiage to draw the reader’s attention. The language of the CTA should spell out, in no uncertain terms, what you want the reader to do next.

Keep it short. Your readers want to see what you want them to do, and don’t necessarily want to wade through ten paragraphs of text to get to the point. Do you want them to click a button and buy your product? Tell them so—in a sentence or two at the very most.

Offer specifics and convey value. Just because you keep it short, that doesn’t mean you cannot offer some specifics. Adding specific offers and numbers is especially effective. Try something like: Save 30% by ordering NOW! Or, Claim your free gift card; buy today!

Place your CTAs strategically. You should have one on every page of the website—but beyond that, your placement may vary. Generally it is best to have a CTA visible on the page without the reader having to scroll—placing it either above the fold or in a sidebar can work well. Also, there’s no law against having multiple CTAs on one page, especially if the page is longer or more content-heavy.

Don’t forget to say thanks. The CTA/order page should ultimately take the reader to a Thank You page, which is an essential way for building brand loyalty. Never forget it!

For help crafting killer CTAs, of course, the Grammar Chic team is always on hand. Give us a call today at 803-831-7444, or visit http://www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Business Writing, Content Marketing, Content Writing, Web Content