How to Tell if Your Content Ideas Are Any Good

It’s often said that quality is the most important component in content marketing. What does this mean, exactly? Among other things, it implies that some content ideas are better than others, and that part of the content marketer’s job is deciding which content ideas have potential and which are better discarded.

Sometimes, you’ll have a new content idea that just seems so obvious, it’s almost too good to be true. In other cases, seeds of uncertainty will be there throughout the content development process. In all cases, it’s wise to do a quick inventory, asking some key questions to properly vet your content idea.

Is This Relevant to My Core Business Offerings?

Content marketing depends on you displaying real thought leadership, providing your readers with something valuable—not simply advertising your brand all the time.

But even when your content isn’t directly “salesy,” it should be relevant to your core business offerings, underscoring your knowledge of the field.

For example, if your business is a used car dealership, good content ideas might encompass vehicle ownership, vehicle buying guides, even vehicle financing. But you wouldn’t want to branch out to topics that don’t directly impact either vehicle buyers or vehicle owners.

Does This Topic Offer Value?

Another way to phrase this question: What’s in it for my reader?

Your content should always provide an actionable insight; there should be a clear sense in which readers are better off having consumed your content. In short, they should learn something that’s actually helpful to them.

Vet your content ideas by asking: What are the benefits? If you can’t list them, it’s probably not a very strong topic.

What’s the Hook?

Another way to phrase this question: Why will anyone care about this topic?

Sometimes, the hook is closely tied to the value proposition. If your article is 5 Ways to Save Money on Your Next Used Car Purchase, the hook is self-explanatory; everyone wants to save money, and your content offers five ways to do it.

In other cases, though, you might look for a seasonal hook—e.g., 5 Reasons to Buy a New Car in December, or Why Summer is the Best Time to Shop for New Trucks. You could also tie in your topic to hot topics, current headlines, holidays, celebrity announcements, or even sporting events; for example, an alcohol rehab company we work with recently posted a great blog about how to stay sober at Super Bowl parties.

What’s the Pitch?

Take a minute and try to summarize or explain your content angle in two or three sentences.

If you can’t give a fairly succinct elevator pitch, it may mean that the topic is still too broad or unrefined. This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad topic; just that you need to polish it a bit more, and zero in on exactly what you’re trying to say in your content.

What’s the Call to Action?

Or: What do you want readers to do once they finish your content?

Does your blog lend itself to a CTA for a free consultation? Should it link to a particular product or service page? Or should you simply invite readers to contact you directly for more information?

Can I Write This?

A final consideration: Just because you have the technical faculty to understand your topic, that doesn’t always mean you have the time or the writing craft to develop your content fully.

If that’s the case, it may be wise to enlist the services of a content writing company, like Grammar Chic, Inc. Our writers can help you at each stage of content development—brainstorming, content creation, content distribution, and more.

Learn more about our comprehensive content creation services. Contact Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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5 Ways to Earn Links in 2018

When other websites or blogs link to your content, it feels really good; it’s flattering to think that one of your readers enjoyed the content enough to share it with others.

But earning links is about more than just good feelings. It’s actually an important part of effective content marketing. Consider:

  • Backlinks lend prestige and respectability to your content; they make it more likely for other readers to find and to trust
  • Backlinks also enhance your online brand. They cast you as a thought leader and an industry expert.
  • Finally, backlinks are critical SEO ranking factors. As you accrue links from authoritative websites, it helps your standings in Google.

Building backlinks should be a priority in every content marketing strategy—but it’s important to note that there are right ways and wrong ways to do it.

Black Hat and White Hat Approaches

In fact, all link building efforts can be boiled down to two basic categories—black hat and white hat.

  • Black hat tactics ignore Google’s stated guidelines; the most common black hat tactic is buying links outright. This is dishonest and can actually lead to SEO penalties.
  • White hat tactics consist of actually earning your backlinks through valuable content and real relationships. These tactics comply with Google’s stated guidelines.

As you consider link building strategies, remember that there are no short cuts—not really. Buying backlinks will cause your SEO rankings to take a dive. The best way to pursue backlinks is by earning them, fair and square. The question is how.

5 Tips for Earning Backlinks

We recommend a few simple tactics:

  1. Write content that’s worth linking to. Make sure you’re producing high-quality content that offers helpful, practical information to your audience. If the content is flimsy, irrelevant to the target reader, or overly promotional, nobody’s going to want to link to it—plain and simple.
  2. Don’t stop at written content. Written content, like blogs, is incredibly important—foundational, even. But as you create this content, spin it into infographics and video content, as well. A broader, richer content profile can help you attract more backlinks.
  3. Ensure that some of your content is evergreen. It’s fine to write about industry trends or headlines, but also make sure you’re producing some content that won’t age or become obsolete—such as glossaries, guides, and compendiums. This is the kind of content that tends to win links most readily.
  4. Engage in influencer marketing. Using social media, form relationships with some of the key influencers in your industry, including prominent bloggers or social media personalities. If you can get their attention, and in turn they share some of your content, that could be huge for your link-building efforts.
  5. Don’t forget about press releases. Sending out regular press releases helps keep your content in front of local or industry-specific publications, which can often win you the links you’re seeking.

These simple tips provide the basis of a sound link building campaign—but of course, they are easier said than done. Building the right kind of content takes time and skill, but Grammar Chic, Inc. can help. Our writers have ample expertise writing across myriad industries, and we know how to create content that’s link-worthy.

Schedule a consultation with our writing team today. Contact Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Blog Writing, Business Writing, Content Marketing, Content Writing, Press Release Writing, Social Media, Web Content, Writing

Get the Most Out of Your Resume Writing Service

If your resume isn’t landing you the kinds of interviews or job offers you’d hoped for—or if you’re struggling to assemble a respectable resume in the first place—there may be some merit to working with a professional resume writing service.

A professional resume writer will have both the stylistic flair and the technical acumen to articulate your professional achievements in the most compelling and condensed way possible; and, to ensure the resume is properly formatted for optimal results. What’s more, your professional resume writer can help you craft auxiliary documents, such as a cover letter and thank-you notes.

Your role in the process is not a passive one. You’ll need to make a little time for the resume writer to interview you, getting to know your history and your professional strengths.

In addition, there are some small steps you can take to make this interview as productive as possible, and to get the absolute most out of your resume writing journey.

Three Steps for a Better Resume Writing Experience

Three particular steps you can follow:

  1. Know what your goals are. Come to your resume writing interview ready to talk about the kinds of jobs you want to apply for—or better yet, the specific job openings that you’re interested in. Remember that an effective resume is tailored to match the job in question, so being able to provide this information can help your resume writer be as precise as possible.
  2. Gather information. The more information you can provide about your career history, the better. Your current and past resumes can be useful resources for creating your new one. Additionally, spend a little time thinking back on your previous jobs, and jot down some of your core achievements. Specifically try to think of any awards or honors you’ve received, and furnish your writer with the details.
  3. Be ready for feedback. You’ll naturally feel protective of your resume—since it’s essentially your story. But remember that the resume writer is your ally, and that you have the same goals. What’s more, you may know your career history, but your resume writer knows what does and does not belong on a good resume, and how it all comes together to form a compelling document. Be open to certain parts of your career history being worded a bit differently, or perhaps cut completely, to make the messaging stronger overall.

These three small steps can help make your resume writing experience more enjoyable—and more fruitful. If you’re ready to take the next step and consult with a resume writing professional, reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. today at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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Does Your Resume Highlight Your Passion?

In an increasingly competitive job market, passion can be your greatest competitive advantage—the thing that helps you stand out from the crowd. If you’re vying for a job along with similarly-experienced and similarly-skilled professionals, being the one who loves their work the most—the one with the most spirit and enthusiasm—can help you rise to the top.

But how are potential employers going to know you’re passionate? Hopefully, it will come through in your job interview. Even before you get to the interview, though, your resume can highlight what a passionate employee you are. Here are a few ways you can make that happen.

Using Your Resume to Showcase Your Enthusiasm

Highlight Your Awards and Accolades

Have you ever been formally honored for your professional achievements? If so, don’t be shy about it! List awards on your resume, as they signify not only that you care about what you do, but that your good work is seen and affirmed by your superiors.

Note Your Volunteer Work

Have you done volunteer work that’s somehow related to your industry or profession? For example, are you a healthcare professional who volunteers at free clinics during your off-time? That’s the kind of thing that definitely shows passion—enough passion that you’re willing to go above and beyond, even when you’re not on the clock.

Show That You Can Exceed Expectations

One way that passion manifests is in completing your work in a way that surpasses quotas and expectations. Do you complete projects on time and under budget? And can you attach numbers or proof to quantify it? If so, include it on your resume for sure!

Demonstrate a Commitment to Education

One final thing that shows passion is a commitment to learning. If you’ve voluntarily taken any continuing education or training courses, you might consider listing those credits on your resume—proof that you love your field so much you actively like to learn more about it.

Inject Passion into Your Resume

You might associate “passion” with “coming on too strong”—but clearly, that’s not the case. There are some subtle yet powerful ways you can use your resume to underscore your professional enthusiasm.

For help crafting a robust and effective resume, reach out to our writing team. Our resume experts can help develop a resume that captures all your skills, experience, and enthusiasm. Set up a resume consultation today by contacting Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Cover Letters, Job Search, Resume Writing, Resumes

4 Reasons Your CTAs Are Falling Flat

Every piece of marketing content you write—every blog post, every email, and every Web page—should have a clear call to action. The CTA serves a simple yet pivotal role in telling your readers what steps they should be taking next—whether that means buying a product, calling for an appointment, signing up for your email list, or simply sharing your post with their friends.

But not all CTAs are created equal—and if your calls aren’t generating action, it could be for any number of reasons. Here’s a quick troubleshooting guide.

You forgot the action part.

This is more common than you might think. It’s common to assume that the CTA is any short, snappy wrap-up to your content—but the goal of the CTA isn’t to summarize; it’s to encourage your readers to take the next step. So if your CTA doesn’t include a clear verb, calling your readers to action, then it’s simply not doing its job.

Some examples of basic, effective CTAs:

  • Call today to schedule your appointment.
  • Download our free e-book right now.
  • Sign up for additional updates.

Notice that each one starts with a verb, and each one leaves little doubt as to what you want the reader to do next.

Your verb choice is weak.

Speaking of verbs, it’s important to pick some really evocative ones—yet all too often, we see CTAs written with bland, boring verbs like these:

  • Enter
  • Continue
  • Click here

Though these technically qualify as action words, they’re hardly motivating. Aim for something a little more exciting! Some of our favorite CTA verbs include discover, explore, and start your journey—e.g.:

  • Discover the secrets of content marketing by joining our email newsletter.
  • Explore your financing options by calling a loan specialist today.
  • Start your journey with meditation today; download our free guide!

You forget about benefits.

It’s not enough to tell people what to do; you also need to tell them why they should do it. In other words, what’s in it for them?

A good CTA conveys real value—like in these examples:

  • Save money on your monthly utility bills by downloading our energy efficiency e-book.
  • Get one-on-one content marketing assistance when you call one of our consultants.
  • Increase your sales numbers by up to 20 percent when you download our program.

Your CTA is too long.

Finally, remember that the hallmark of a strong CTA is that it’s short and snappy. You don’t need to rehash your entire sales pitch; just get to the point. There’s no reason for your CTA to be any longer than one to two sentences, clearly laying out the invitation and the benefits, then moving on.

Though a CTA is brief, there’s a lot of strategy that goes into writing one—and that’s where we come in. Our writers have ample experience crafting CTAs that generate measurable results. Learn how our team can make your CTAs exponentially more effective; contact Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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4 Essential Sources of Content Inspiration

Producing new content for your brand can feel like a full-time job in and of itself—and sooner or later, you’re bound to come up against a wall. Even the most proficient content creators sometimes have these moments, moments when they feel like they have said all there is to say, and there simply aren’t any ideas left in the hopper.

What you need, in moments like these, is fresh inspiration—but where can you find it? Here are four essential sources for fresh content ideas.

Your Old Content

First and foremost, don’t hesitate to go back through your own blog archives to see if there’s an older topic you could revive or revisit.

Don’t misunderstand: We don’t recommend ever running duplicate content, which can hurt your SEO rankings. But maybe a trend you wrote about three years ago has evolved enough that a follow-up piece is in order. Maybe your 5 things to do… post can be morphed into a 5 things not to do… post. Maybe something will just jump out at you as a worthy topic to relitigate or to approach from a new angle.

Your Competition

Another place to turn for content ideas? Your chief competitors.

Spend some time reading your competitor’s blog posts. See if there are any angles he or she has thought of that you haven’t yet covered yourself. Pay special attention to any posts that seem to get a lot of engagement from readers. These are clearly hot topics, and it may be worth your while to write about them yourself.

Your Customers

Are there certain questions that your customers tend to ask on a regular basis? Any recurring concerns or considerations they bring to the table?

These are the kinds of things you should be writing about on your blog and in your email blasts—because you already know your customers have an interest. Make sure your content ideas take into account real-life interactions with your clientele!

Your Team

You never know when a member of your team might have a winning content idea up their sleeve.

Customer-facing team members can be especially useful here, because they know the kinds of things your clients want to learn more about (see our last point).

Make sure you regularly ask your team members for content feedback.

Transform Your Best Ideas into Compelling Content

Whether you’re stuck for ideas or need assistance turning those ideas into great content, our writers and strategists can help. We’d love to set up a content consultation today. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. now—either at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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5 Ways to Turn Email Subscribers into Customers

There’s much you can accomplish through email marketing—driving traffic to your website, creating engagement with your blog posts, and simply building brand awareness.

But of course, the ultimate goal is to boost your sales—and with the right strategy, you can turn your email list subscribers into paying customers.

Actually, there are a number of ways to do so. Here are five strategies to consider.

Turning Subscribers into Customers

Abandoned Cart Emails

If you have any experience in ecommerce, you know all about abandoned carts. Sometimes, a customer will like a product enough to throw it into their proverbial buggy, but they end up leaving the page before they complete their transaction—for whatever reason.

With email marketing, you can gently remind these folks to go back and close out their purchase. Your message doesn’t have to be sophisticated. Something on the level of hey, remember this? can work just fine.

Discount and Sale Emails

An obvious one: If you’re running a discount or a sale to help move a particular product, make sure you let your email subscribers know about it. Sometimes, this is all the nudge people need to complete a purchase.

A twist on this strategy: Provide some discounts or coupon codes that are only available to email subscribers, helping the members of your list see the value, and feel like they are part of a special club.

Cross-Sale Emails

Email marketing can also be a good platform to cross-sell or to upsell—basically, encouraging customers who’ve just bought one product or service to consider something related, or auxiliary.

Did someone just buy an electric toothbrush from your store? Send them an email and let them know that you also sell electric toothbrush replacement heads, toothpaste, mouthwash, and other assorted dental products.

Trial Upgrade Emails

Do you offer free trials for your products? This can sometimes be a smart way to get people interested in what you have to offer.

As the trial ends, though, make sure you send an email to let the customer know it—and to encourage that customer to sign on for extended service.

Demo Follow-Up Emails

A similar idea: Say your sales team provides a client with a personal demo of a high-end product. Make sure to send a follow-up email, inviting that person to complete a purchase or to contact you with any lingering questions.

Using Email to Close Sales

When leveraged correctly, your email list can be a powerful tool for generating conversions. We’d love to show you some additional email marketing strategies; reach out to the marketing professionals at Grammar Chic, Inc. to learn more about our services in email strategy, content creation, and more.

Contact Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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