7 Tips on Writing Compelling Thought Leadership Articles

Thought leadership articles provide a tried-and-true method for establishing your credibility, raising awareness of your brand, and positioning yourself as a trusted figure within your field.

But what makes for a persuasive thought leadership article? Expertise is certainly part of it; to be seen as a thought leader, you really do have to know what you’re talking about. That’s just one part of the equation. Clarity of communication is also key. And there’s no substitute for point of view. To be seen as a thought leader, you’ll need to bring a perspective that’s appreciably different from the industry consensus.

As you prepare to write a thought leadership article, here are a few steps to make it as compelling as can be.

How to Write Effective Thought Leadership Articles

1) Know your field.

First and foremost, recognize that you’re not an expert in everything, but you probably are an expert in something. Think through your core business value proposition, and about the ways you make life better for your customer and clients. Also think through your distinctives: What separates you from others in your field? A careful self-assessment should reveal some insights regarding your true expertise.

2) Research your industry.

One way to hone your point of view is to get a better sense of what others are saying. Research leading publications within your field. See what people are talking about on social media. Interview some of the people you identify as thought leaders. Get to know the lay of the land, so that when you articulate your unique point of view, it will be more than just a rootless opinion.

3) Provide a clear thesis.

A good thought leadership article takes a stand. For example, say you’re writing an article about the use of PPC ads in small business marketing campaigns. Your article should state, relatively early on, whether you think PPC ads are a wise investment or an unwise investment for your target audience. In short: Pick a side! Let your audience know that you stand for something.

4) Articulate benefits.

What will readers gain from your article? What kinds of actionable insights will you provide? Good thought leadership articles are clear in expressing value. This may mean breaking down a complex idea into easy-to-understand terms. It may mean listing specific recommendations for your readers to follow. Or it may mean enriching your reader’s perspective by offering a unique or contrarian point of view on a familiar topic.

5) Share anecdotes and experience.

To establish yourself as a credible thought leader, you need to offer plenty of evidence that you’ve wrestled with the issues you’re writing about, not just theoretically but in the real business world. Make sure you weave in plenty of specific stories and examples from your personal or professional life.

6) Include data points.

Anecdotes are invaluable, but when possible, it’s also wise to include actual numbers. Again, the goal is to show that your thought leadership isn’t just baseless opinion. Cite trustworthy publications or your own in-house findings.

7) Attach a bio.

Finally, good thought leadership articles can be bolstered by a brief yet impactful professional bio, simply reiterating your credentials. If nothing else, a link to your website or LinkedIn profile can go a long way.

Questions About Writing Thought Leadership Articles?

Writing persuasive thought leadership articles can have a major impact on your reputation and statute… but it’s not necessarily an easy thing to do. Take the stress out of this process and partner with a professional ghostwriter who will consult with you to create compelling thought leadership. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. at www.grammarchic.net, or by calling 803-831-7444.

Leave a comment

Filed under Blog Writing, Content Writing, Writing

Tips for Writing Instagram Captions That Increase Engagement

Instagram has simply become too big and too popular to ignore. Perennially ranked as one of the fastest-growing social platforms, Instagram currently boasts well over a billion global users. And with the incorporation of social commerce functions, it’s more relevant than ever before to the interests of small business owners.

When leveraged effectively, Instagram can help you increase website traffic, boost brand awareness, even generate sales. To accomplish these goals, you certainly need high-quality images and videos. But you’ll also need something more than that: Strong captions that engage the user and encourage likes, shares, and other actions.

How to Write Effective Instagram Captions

So, what makes for effective copywriting on this image-driven social platform? There are a few considerations.

1) Front-load your sentences.

When your posts show up in a user’s newsfeed, Instagram will shorten your captions to about three lines. The user may click to expand the caption in order to read the full thing, but not everyone will take the time, especially if those first few lines don’t grab them. All that to say, front-load your captions with interest and with value. Ask a question or make an attention-grabbing statement. Make sure you pack plenty of good stuff into your opening sentence.

2) Encourage action.

Ultimately, you want your Instagram captions to spark some further action. The best way to make that happen is to ask for it, whether by posing a direct question to the user or by providing a clear call to action. Some specific things you can ask Instagram followers to do include:

  • Visit a particular link in your bio.
  • Leave a comment (usually to answer a specific question posed in the caption).
  • Tag a friend (this can help you expand your reach).
  • Share their own photo using a specific, branded hashtag.

3) Share insight.

An Instagram caption is not a blog post, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it as a way to share actionable advice, tips, or insights that are relevant to your field. Indeed, a post that shares real value is much more likely to be bookmarked or shared.

Side note: One of the best ways to generate insights for your Instagram captions is to actually use your blog posts. Read back through some recent posts for any bullet points that you could adapt to Instagram. Scuttling your blog for spare parts is an easy way to recycle content.

4) Be personable.

Generally speaking, the most effective Instagram captions are the ones that come across as human, not robotic. So, make sure you have a brand voice that can be casual, funny, and relatable. There’s no need to be as formal as you would be in, say, a press release. To that end, don’t be afraid to use emoji to animate your captions and inject some extra humor or emotion.

5) Use hashtags.

Hashtags are crucial for making your posts discoverable in the Instagram search algorithms, which can be key to broadening your reach. As you consider the right Instagram hashtags, we’d recommend a combination of branded hashtags (specific to your brand), community hashtags (widely used within your industry or field), and the occasional trending hashtag (but only when genuinely relevant).

Get Help with Marketing Copy

There’s a real art to effective social media copywriting… and if you need a little help mastering that art, we’re here for you. Set up a consultation call with Grammar Chic, Inc. by visiting www.grammarchic.net or by calling 804-831-7444.

Leave a comment

Filed under Content Writing, Social Media

Email Inbox Overloaded: How to Apologize for a Delayed Response

Most of us know what it’s like to experience email overload. As your inbox becomes more and more crowded, and your life more and more stressful, it’s all too easy to delay your email responses. You may find yourself putting off that much-needed reply email for a couple of days, a couple of weeks… perhaps even upwards of a month.

When you finally do get around to writing that response, it’s normal to feel a little guilt over the delay. And whether it’s a professional correspondence or something more personal, it’s probably not the worst idea to acknowledge your faux pas with a word of apology.

But is simply saying “I’m sorry this took so long” sufficient? Depending on how important the subject matter, and how long the delay, you may feel compelled to go a bit further. We’ve got you covered. Here are a few tips on writing an effective apology for a delayed email response.

You Don’t Always Have to Apologize

First, we’d recommend pausing to consider whether an apology is really needed at all.

We’re all busy, and if it takes you a couple of days to respond to something that is clearly non-urgent, you can probably just assume that the person you’re emailing with gets it and doesn’t begrudge you the slight lag time. In these situations, there’s really no need to make things awkward, or to make your response more cumbersome, with a token apology. Just get straight to the substance of your email.

Try to Be Helpful

What if somebody asks you for something specific, and it takes you a little bit too long to acknowledge their request? In these situations, we would typically recommend owning up to the delay and also doubling up on your efforts to be helpful.

For example, let’s say someone asks you for a specific report, and it takes a little time to get back to them. You might try a response like this:

I’m sorry for the delayed response. It took me some time to find the report, and I wanted to also offer some supplemental information that you might find to be useful. The documents are all attached here.

If you’d like to schedule a few minutes to discuss this information together, I’d love to help however I can. Please just let me know if we can schedule a phone call, or if I can assist in some other way.

What we love about a response like this is that it owns up to the delay, but also makes it clear that you are not trying to be indifferent or unhelpful; if anything, the opposite is true.

Don’t Procrastinate on Delivering Bad News

Sometimes, you may find yourself in the tough position of telling someone that they didn’t get a job, or that you’re not moving forward with their proposed project. It’s always good to send these unhappy tidings sooner rather than later… but if you do wind up with a delay, try a response like this:

I’m sorry for the slow response. I had hoped to get back to you much sooner. We really enjoyed discussing your proposal with you, and felt like you brought a lot of great ideas to the table. Unfortunately, at this time, we have decided not to move ahead with the project.

With that said, I really appreciate your time, and think you have a lot of value to offer. I would be happy to keep you in mind for future projects, and to refer you to other contacts whenever possible.

Again, there’s no point in drawing out your apology or offering a pile-up of excuses. Just fess up, then get to the heart of the matter.

Get Help with Business Writing

These are just a couple of examples of how you can address delayed email responses… but if you’d like to drill down deeper into this subject matter, we’re happy to chat. Contact Grammar Chic for help with business communications or editing: Visit www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444.

Leave a comment

Filed under Business Writing

6 Reasons to Invest in Professional Content Creation

Most business owners don’t need to be convinced of the value of online content. By now, the bottom-line benefits of content marketing are well-documented. The right content can lead to greater Google visibility, it can attract qualified leads, it can establish trust and rapport, and it can even ensure that customers are well-educated about your product and service offerings before they get in touch with your sales team.

No, the problem isn’t a perceived lack of value. The problem, in our experience, is a simple lack of time. Small business owners constantly have full plates, and as they get more and more swamped, blog-writing and content refreshes are usually the first items erased from the to-do list.

The solution? Hire a team of pros. Indeed, there are a number of benefits you can anticipate from investing in professional content creation.

Why Invest in Professional Content Creation?

  1. You lack a consistent online presence. Do you ever feel like your business is lost in a sea of competitors? One way to stand out, and to attract more attention from potential clients and customers, is to invest in blog posts, which in turn fuel your social media efforts. Regularly generating content allows you to cultivate a real presence on the Internet, potentially drawing in people who want to benefit from your thought leadership.
  2. You’re not feeding the beast. By the beast, of course, we mean Google’s algorithms, which constantly crave fresh, original content. If you’re not feeding the beast on a regular basis, sooner or later it will cause your SEO rankings to tumble.
  3. You’re creating content without an overarching strategy. Creating content just for content’s sake is a rookie mistake. A better approach is to build out a full strategy, including carefully defined goals and laser-focused buyer personas, then to create content that is tailored to move your bottom line. A professional content creator can help you with that.
  4. You’re not a great writer. Hey, there’s no shame in admitting that writing isn’t your strong suit. Whether you lack experience or simply aren’t able to write quickly, the last thing you want is for your brand to be tarnished with suboptimal content. Hire a team of pros to ensure the right level of polish and professionalism.
  5. Your content exists in a silo. Content isn’t supposed to live in a vacuum. Ideally, your content is developed to fuel your social media activity, to provide fodder for an email newsletter, and perhaps even to lay the groundwork for some compelling videos. A good content developer can help you bring all the pieces together into something coherent and strategic.
  6. You just don’t have time. We’ll say it again: Small business owners have a lot on their plate. We get it. And that’s why we love providing small companies with our content writing services, allowing their busy leaders to focus more time and attention on growing their business and developing their employees.

Questions About Professional Content Creation? Contact Grammar Chic, Inc

We’d love to tell you more about the advantages of choosing Grammar Chic, Inc. as your content creation partner. Reach out and schedule a consultation with us: Call 803-831-7444 or visit www.grammarchic.net.

Leave a comment

Filed under Content Writing

Don’t Let Writer’s Block Derail Your Content Strategy

Writer’s block can strike the best of us; just ask James Caan’s character in Misery. And while it can certainly be a lethal affliction for fiction writers, it’s just as unsettling for content marketers. If you’ve ever found yourself on a tight deadline for a company blog post, press release, or email newsletter, you know just how little wiggle-room there is. The last thing you need is to waste precious time waiting for inspiration to strike.

There’s no magic formula for banishing writer’s block, but there are a few simple remedies that can help get your creative juices flowing. Here are a few tricks and tips from Grammar Chic’s writers.

How to Deal with Writer’s Block

  • Walk away for a little while. You won’t accomplish much by banging your head against the desk, or by staring at a blank screen. So why not go for a walk? Get your blood pumping a little bit. Step outside to soak up some sun or make a quick phone call. Spend 15 minutes playing a mindless iPhone game and see if that helps you clear your head. You can’t put off your deadline forever, but you can take short breaks.
  • Always be looking for inspiration. You never know when a billboard or a line in your favorite TV show will inspire a company blog post. Be ready to jot down these inspiration points on your Notes app and consult it when you feel low on ideas.
  • Work when you know you’re at your most focused and creative. Some of us have our best ideas early in the morning. Others tend to perk up toward the end of the day. If you’re the kind of person who just always feels blank first thing in the AM, then choose a different time to get your writing done.
  • Ask for ideas. You know who probably has some great ideas for your next company blog post or newsletter? Your sales reps, who talk to customers day in and day out and know what some of the common questions and pain points are. Don’t hesitate to go to them for inspiration.
  • Just start writing. You may have no idea what your next piece of content is going to look like… but you can always write something: A list of keywords, questions, or even a simple outline. Even if you’re just regurgitating a precious blog post, the act of writing can often inspire fresh ideas.
  • Outsource your efforts. If your writer’s block becomes chronic, you may want to hire someone who can help you shape some new ideas. The Grammar Chic team would be happy to step in as needed.

Reach Out to Grammar Chic, Inc.

Do you feel inspired to learn more about our content writing services? If so, then let’s set up a time to chat. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. by visiting www.grammarchic.net, or by calling our office at 803-831-7444.

Leave a comment

Filed under Content Marketing, Content Writing

5 Ways to Repurpose Your Content

Your written assets are invaluable pieces of marketing collateral, often representing a significant investment of time and labor. And yet, all too often, we treat content as though it is disposable. A blog post that takes days of research, writing, and optimization may be heavily promoted for a month, but then it’s all but forgotten.

To ensure you’re getting the maximum benefit from each piece of content you develop, consider some methods of repurposing. Here are just a few tips to improve your content mileage.

Effective Ways to Repurpose Your Digital Content

1. Update your longform blog posts regularly. If you take the time to write 2,000 words about email marketing trends, then you should be prepared to update the post every six months or so, reflecting how those trends change. After all, long-form content can be invaluable, both in terms of SEO and brand authority, but you’ll squander all that value if you allow the content to become dated or obsolete.

2. Use video to tease your content. When you develop a new piece of content, consider making a short video to promote it. For example, you can make a YouTube video or even an Instagram clip to summarize some of the main points of your most recent blog post, and end by inviting your viewers to read the post (and then share it).

3. Summarize your blog posts in email newsletters. At Grammar Chic, our monthly newsletter includes a rundown of all our recent blog posts, along with some short summaries of each. You don’t need to rehash the entirety of each post, but you can definitely use your long-form content as fodder for future emails.

4. Turn bullet points into tweet storms. Sure: Tweets are by their nature fairly ephemeral. But if you have a blog post with plenty of stand-alone points, quotes, or observations, it’s pretty easy to convert them into short blasts to your social media followers, potentially shoring up your thought leadership credentials.

5. Combine shorter posts into an e-book or downloadable guide. One final option to consider: If you have a number of shorter posts on a related topic, work with an editor to combine them into a single document, which you can then promote as a downloadable resource.

Increase Your Content ROI

These are just a few ways to improve your content ROI, particularly for longer and more in-depth pieces. We’d love to talk to you further about how these repurposing methods can fit into your overall content strategy. To speak with one of our writer-editors, contact Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

Leave a comment

Filed under Content Marketing

7 Questions to Ask About Your Web Content

How effective is the written content on your website? Is your site composed to attract leads, educate potential customers, and ultimately facilitate conversions? Has it been carefully developed to emanate authority and to instill trust? Or are the words on your site simply placeholders, scaffolding for your fancy design or your multimedia content?

These are important questions to ask, whether you’re considering a website relaunch or simply taking stock of your online marketing assets. To help you assess the quality of your written Web content, here are a few self-inventory questions to ask.

Assessing Your Website Content

  1. Is all of my website content unique? It can sometimes be tempting to plagiarize yourself, especially if your website has a lot of product or service listings. Using boilerplate language from one page to the next may be convenient, but it can also incur penalties from Google, diminishing your search engine visibility. Uniqueness is key to effective content.
  2. Who was my content written for? There’s not necessarily one right answer to this question… but if you can’t answer it at all, then that probably means your content was designed without a buyer persona or any kind of data about your target audience. And that, in turn, means you probably haven’t honed in on user questions or pain points. Writing for a more clearly defined audience can help you achieve your sales and marketing goals.
  3. How’s the formatting? Is it easy to read your content? Do you have spacing, bullet points, subheadings, and short sentences to facilitate skimming? And does your content look just as sharp on a mobile device as it does on a desktop computer?
  4. Does my content have action-oriented language? We generally advise business owners to include at least one clear call to action on each page, whether that’s an invitation for the reader to call you, schedule an appointment, or shop in your online store. Make sure your content aligns with the sales funnel, and that you use strong action words to guide readers through next steps.
  5. Does your content answer common questions? The best content usually follows the consumer’s journey. What this means is, you begin with general concepts and definitions of terms, then move through common questions, objections, or pain points. Again, your website content provides you with a great opportunity to guide potential clients through their initial product research to a point where they are ready to buy.
  6. Does my content convey trust? The most effective content gives people a reason to trust you. This may mean listing your awards and accolades, outlining your experience, citing testimonials and reviews, or simply conveying your knowledge of the industry. In particular, bio and about us pages can be great places to highlight your expertise.
  7. How old is my content? If your content is full of references that might have been dated during the George Bush administration, or if it doesn’t capture the ways in which your value proposition has expanded or evolved, then you should probably spend some time updating it. (One good rule of thumb: Any statistics or studies you cite should be no more than three years old.)

If your answers to any of these questions leave you feeling dissatisfied with your website content, we’d love to hear from you. Our writers have ample experience writing business Web content that generates real results. To schedule a consultation with Grammar Chic, Inc., reach out via www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

Leave a comment

Filed under Web Content

How COVID-19 Changed Content Marketing

At this point, it feels like the height of cliché to talk about how COVID-19 has changed everything. As with most clichés, however, this one carries a kernel of truth. After all, virtually every aspect of our lives has been impacted by the pandemic. Content marketing is no different. Not only have marketing workflows had to adapt to life in lockdown, but consumer behaviors and preferences have changed, too. And as with many other COVID-related disruptions, this one may prove durable: For as much as we all hope to “return to normal” soon, the reality is that COVID will continue to echo through our lives for a long time to come.

So, even as most of us get vaccinated and shift back toward our pre-pandemic patterns, there are some significant ways in which content marketing will bear COVID’s imprint. Here are a few of the changes that marketers and small business owners should keep in mind.

Uplift Will Win the Day

Pretty much all of us would agree that 2020 was the year from hell. Thus far, its successor seems like it is moving in a much healthier direction (knock on wood), but the fact remains: There’s plenty of bad news to go around. Do not believe us? Just turn on the news or switch over to your Twitter feed.

There is so much bad news out there, in fact, that a lot of consumers are frankly numb to it. Content that is negative or pessimistic in tone is increasingly at risk of being tuned out, while content that’s more positive in its tone stands a greater chance of breaking through.

In short, consumers crave uplift, and that is something a good content marketing plan can deliver. Do not just focus on pain points. For your content marketing efforts to succeed, you may need to double down on problem-solving potential, on inspirational messages, and on anything that helps people feel good.

As you begin to feel a little optimism, a sense that COVID is finally beginning to fade, channel that optimism into your content marketing.

Honesty Will Be Rewarded

Pre-COVID, none of us had any experience navigating pandemics. We have all been doing the best we can, and as business owners have been forced to adapt, it has required a new level of transparent communication with their customers and clients.

In fact, the companies that have been the most honest and forthcoming with their customers, showing real candor about how they have been handling the pandemic, are the ones that have seen the greatest groundswells of support. As it turns out, consumers really value businesses and brands that are willing to shoot straight.

There is no reason that should end just because the pandemic does. Continue to make candor your policy, communicating with your audience in as direct and authentic way as you can. The alternative is to risk finding out just how little patience people have for content that obfuscates or beats around the bush.

SEO Will Be a Big Deal

To be fair, SEO has been a big deal for a while now. And yet, ever since the start of the pandemic, its importance in the marketing world has only grown. And we think that trend is likely to continue.

Why is this? For one thing, the pandemic led to a surge in e-commerce, for reasons that are probably obvious. And even now that people are feeling more comfortable in brick-and-mortar stores, a lot of consumers still prefer to do their research in advance, Googling around for local businesses to verify that they are still open, that they have good reviews, and that they seem reasonably safe.

As such, for any brand to succeed, it will need content that wins rankings in Google. To that end, we recommend a value-focused content marketing campaign that will provide something relevant and useful to search engine users, and thus find the favor of Google’s algorithms.

One Thing That Hasn’t Changed? Grammar Chic’s Commitment to Quality

As you consider what your content marketing endeavors might look like in a post-pandemic world, keep in mind that Grammar Chic has been creating authentic and original content campaigns on behalf of our clients throughoutthe COVID crisis. We would love to talk with you about developing quality content that meets the moment. Reach out any time at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

Leave a comment

Filed under Content Marketing