5 Ways to Become a Lean, Mean, Blogging Machine

Many business owners recoil at the notion of regular blogging—and their concern is a perfectly fair one: They simply feel as though they can’t afford the time investment required for consistent, high-quality blogging.

To be sure, maintaining a robust business blog is going to require some man hours. With that said, there are ways to make your blogging endeavors more efficient—requiring less time, but still getting good results.

Indeed, with the right tweaks to your blogging strategy, you can become a lean, mean, content-creating machine—and we can show you how!

Become Ruthlessly Efficient in Your Blogging

Here are our five tips:

  1. Always start with an outline. One of the most time-consuming parts of blogging is going back through a post to review, to add or subtract points, and to bring shape and focus to your argument. One way you can cut back on revisions is to have a clear blueprint of all your primary points before you start writing. A simple outline will take a couple of minutes to put together, but it could save you a lot of time on the back end.
  2. Know your call to action in advance. A lot of time can be spent trying to land the plane—figuring out how you want your blog post to end and what results you hope to achieve. Those are things you should know before you start writing. Have a goal in mind—a specific call to action—and allow that to guide your writing. Again, this is a small investment of time on the front end that can make your process more efficient overall.
  3. Keep buyer personas handy. You should always know who you are writing for. Once more, this is imperative for keeping your writing focused and on-point. Start each blog post with a clear sense of who’s in your audience, and which problems or pain points you need to address on their behalf.
  4. Block off time for content marketing. Schedule an hour each week (or more) for content marketing activities, and treat it just like an appointment with a client—that is to say, don’t blow it off! Use this time to write a blog post, but also to put together the accompanying social media posts you’ll use to share that blog. Get all of these like tasks done at the same time.
  5. Keep a running list of blog ideas. Always be ready to write down a topic for some future post—meaning that, when you sit down to write, you shouldn’t feel stuck or have to spend too much of your time brainstorming.

Another Way to Save Time on Blogging

Of course, another way to minimize your blogging time—and still get great results—is to outsource the entire endeavor to the ghost bloggers at Grammar Chic, Inc. We’d love to talk to you about that. Reach out to our team today at either 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

 

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Content Marketers Don’t Have the Luxury of Writer’s Block

When you spend your time creating fresh content, all day every day, it’s natural to run out of juice from time to time. Even the most professional content creators can get stuck sometimes. In short, they feel as though they have writer’s block—yet the content demand never stops, never relents. Blogs still need updating, social feeds still need posts, and the Google algorithms need to be fed fresh content.

To be totally blunt, content marketers don’t really have the luxury of writer’s block. There’s just too much to write, too much content to create! The question is, how can you minimize the risk of writer’s block—and when it does happen, how can you get yourself unstuck quickly?

How Content Creators Cope with Writer’s Block

  • One suggestion we’d offer is to always keep a running list of ideas. Apps like Evernote make it easy for you to have that running list handy at all times, and to be able to quickly jot down a fresh inspiration whenever it strikes. When you have a day where you just feel stuck, you’ll always have that list to consult.
  • Also have several blogs bookmarked to consult whenever you need a new direction. You may feel out of ideas, but other bloggers in your niche or market are still cranking stuff out! Turn to them for some ideas.
  • Sometimes, writers get half of an idea, but aren’t sure how to complete it. That’s where outlining can come in handy. Rather than writing half a blog post then getting stuck, just try outlining your main argument—your central ideas.
  • Sometimes, stepping away and turning your mind to other things works wonders. Go for a walk, clear your head, get blood pumping, and allow your mind to sort things out in the background.
  • Another tactic is to flex your writing muscles in different ways. Can’t come up with a good company blog post? Try your hand at writing something else for an hour or so—a short story or a poem, maybe. Just write something you like, and see how it inspires you.
  • Finally, remember that there are pros out there whose full-time job is to assist in content creation. The Grammar Chic team can help you develop your ideas, from inception to publication, and we’re always around when you feel stuck.

To start a conversation with us about our content marketing expertise, reach out to us now. You can get a hold of Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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5 Ways to Turn Website Visitors into Subscribers

Getting 150,000 hits on your website is pretty good, right? Well, yeah, maybe—unless all 150,000 of your visitors leave the site without taking action. Then, it might turn out, all you’ve got is sound and fury—a lot of buzz, but nothing that directly improves your bottom line.

Traffic alone isn’t the most meaningful metric. What matters are conversions. Ideally, you want all your website visitors to buy a product from your business, though of course this is a lofty goal. A more reasonable one is to convert as many visitors as possible into subscribers; this, in turn, can help build brand loyalty and awareness, and ultimately lead these visitors down the sales funnel.

Okay—but then, how do you turn your website into a subscription hub? How do you coax as many visitors as possible into joining your inner circle? Here are five methods we’ve found to be highly effective.

How to Convert Website Visitors into Subscribers

Provide valuable content that matches user intent. What are search engine users really looking for—and how can your website provide them with relevant solutions? Those are the questions you have to ask as you develop your website content. If you’re a plumber, you can assume that search engine users are probably looking for authoritative answers to all their plumbing needs. If you’re an attorney, your users may want to know when, where, and why to engage your services. Your content should always convey valuable solutions, and provide the information search engine users are after.

Create fresh content regularly. If your website blog hasn’t been updated in a year, and if the top entry in your Company News section dates to 2011, then it may be hard for your visitors to imagine why they’d want to subscribe. You’ve got to show them that by taking the time to subscribe, they will receive meaningful updates on a regular basis.

Fill your website with diverse content. The goal here is to write content that appeals to as many different people as possible—that is, blog readers, video watchers, e-book downloaders, and so on. Be robust and varied in creating value-adding, solutions-focused content.

Include strong calls to action. If you want people to subscribe to your list, you’ve got to ask them to, and provide them with an easy lead-capturing form. Do so on every page of your website, if subscriptions are your goal.

Analyze your results. In marketing, analytics are everything. Make sure you track the results of your content, and pay attention to what works and doesn’t work in terms of subscriptions.

Does Your Website Convert?

The bottom line: Your website shouldn’t just be an online placeholder. It should be a conversion machine—and in many cases, that means a subscription generator. If you’re not seeing those results, reach out to our team for a consultation. Contact Grammar Chic at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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5 Things to Do When Your Business Gets a Bad Review

No small business owner likes to see negative reviews pop up. Criticisms posted to Facebook, Google, or Yelp can sting. They can feel personal. What’s more, they can damage your business’ online reputation—causing potential customers to think twice about giving you their hard-earned money.

Still, negative reviews happen, despite your best efforts to make every customer happy. When you see a bad review, don’t panic. Instead, follow these five basic rules.

What to Do When You Get a Negative Review

First, acknowledge it. Ignoring online reviews doesn’t do any good. It might just encourage the reviewer to troll you even harder. Plus, other customers who see the review may wonder why you haven’t taken the time to help the customer with the complaint. The bottom line: Unaddressed reviews look bad.

Keep calm. If it looks bad to leave negative reviews unanswered, it looks even worse to fly off the handle and respond to a customer in rage. No matter how unreasonable you think the customer is being, remember: People are watching. They want to see how you respond. Take some time to cool off, and don’t reply until you’re able to do so without any anger or hostility.

Offer a solution. A negative review presents you with an opportunity to show real customer service skills—and if you can do so effectively, it might end up enhancing, rather than detracting from, your brand. Try to think of some ways to make things right with the customer who’s complaining. Go above and beyond, because again—people are watching!

Flip the script. Negative reviews also provide a great chance for you to reiterate what makes your company great. Saying something like “We’ve been in business for 10 years, and maintain 99 percent satisfaction scores from our clients” can be a great way to emphasize that your reputation is for excellence, and that you’re committed to impressing your clientele.

Ask to take the conversation offline. Arrange to speak with the customer privately, over email or phone, to make things right—rather than airing your dirty laundry for all the world to see. If you can turn that unhappy customer into a happy one, you might even ask for them to revise their review accordingly.

Now, there’s just no pleasing some customers—so if you follow these tips and still can’t get through to them, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just focus on providing great service to your other customers, and hopefully winning some positive reviews to offset the bad ones.

Need additional tips for responding to online feedback? We’d love to offer our advice. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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3 Timeless SEO Rules Anyone Can Master

Google’s algorithms are constantly shifting, the technical rules of search engine optimization (SEO) regularly changing. That can be frustrating, especially for small business owners who don’t have a technical background. The good news is that, though details may vary, the big picture remains more or less the same: Google wants to provide its search engine users with value, and if you help them accomplish that, you’ll probably get decent enough rankings. That’s something that even the complete novice can latch on to.

Specifically, there are three basic SEO principles that we believe will guide you toward a smart, savvy approach—and they don’t require any great technical know-how on your part. Here are those three principles, which are timeless and evergreen.

It’s Always About the End User

Again, Google is a business, and it wants to provide its customers with a great product. In this case, that means providing search engine users with relevant and valuable results.

A lot of small business owners get caught up in writing for the search algorithms—but that’s backwards thinking. You don’t need to write for Google. You need to write for the end user. Write content that is clear, well-structured, informative, and full of actionable takeaways. Writing for actual human beings is the best way to appease the algorithms.

Be One of the White Hats

Do you know the difference between black hat and white hat SEO? Basically, black hat SEO seeks to cheat the system and circumvent Google’s stated rules, while white hat SEO abides by those rules. Black hat tactics can sometimes generate quick results, but they’re never lasting results. A solid, enduring SEO presence requires a white hat approach.

So, don’t try to game Google. You don’t need to resort to gimmicks, or buy links. Just focus on providing valuable content that includes natural, judicious keywords and that earns links from other websites. Skip the shortcuts and do the real work instead.

Make Use of Every Opportunity

If you’re wondering how many keywords you can cram into your content, you’re thinking about it all wrong. The key is to use keywords organically. With that said, you definitely want to optimize every square inch of online real estate that’s available to you. That means focusing not just on writing good content, but also writing strong title tags and meta descriptions.

Not sure that you’re following these timeless rules properly? Our team of SEO-savvy copywriters can help. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. today to talk about getting your Web content ranked better. Find us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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The 7 Signs of Truly Effective Content

The sheer amount of online content is staggering—and there’s more of it every second. Companies in all industries now regularly post blogs, prepare e-books, and build out their own website content—and the effect is something of a content overload. It’s more difficult than ever for your content to stand out. Difficult, but not impossible.

See, there’s a wide gap between good and mediocre content—and if you know the hallmarks of the good stuff, you can work to make your content truly distinguished and effective.

But what does good content look like? We’d argue that there are seven traits all effective content shares. We’ll list them for you here.

What Makes Content Great?

Good content is written for a specific audience. Effective writing is never general. It’s written with a specific group of people in mind—the audience laid out in your buyer personas. Before you ever write a word of content, you should think carefully about who you’re addressing, what their needs are, and how your content can offer some kind of solution.

It’s optimized for search and social, too. What do we mean when we say that content is optimized? Well, for our purposes today, we mostly just mean that it has the right keyword phrases inserted—as naturally and as judiciously as possible. This allows your content to be discovered by search engine users, including people who search for content on Facebook or Twitter.

Good content provides value. What’s in it for your reader? What benefit will they receive from reading your content? Those are the questions that should guide your content creation. Always have an actionable takeaway you can provide to your readers. If you don’t provide value, the content won’t do well—it won’t get shared, and nobody will come back for more.

To be most effective, content must also be structured well. We say this all the time, but it’s important: Nobody wants to read a long, unbroken block of text. You’ve got to provide bullet points and section subheadings for your content to be more readable.

Your content should inform. Facts, figures, statistics, how-tos—your content needs some meat to it. It shouldn’t just be a tease. It shouldn’t require the reader to call you or buy your product in order to obtain value. Your content should be enriching and informative in and of itself.

Good content converts. A strong, simple, and clear call to action should be included at the end of your content, directing readers on the next steps they should take.

Finally, good content should be properly distributed and promoted. If you’re not sharing your company blog posts across different social media channels, as well as in your email newsletter, you’re missing out on some key opportunities to connect.

Does Your Content Stand Out?

If you’re concerned that your content lacks any of these critical elements, we invite you to contact Grammar Chic, Inc., today, and find out more about what we can do to transform your content writing—truly making it effective and distinct. Learn more at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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