7 Reasons to Hire an Editor for Your Business

We live in a golden era of outsourcing. (Thanks, Internet!) It’s never been easier for small business owners to connect with subject matter experts and vendors who can provide their services on a limited, cost-effective basis. For example, if you have a graphic design project, it’s pretty simple to find a talented designer with a robust portfolio, commissioning the work you need without having to hire someone on a full-time basis.

Our premise for today: Editors, like graphic designers or PPC consultants or Web gurus or SEO experts, are professionals whose services may be invaluable to your business, whether as a one-time thing or as a long-term relationship.

Whether you’re putting together a business blog, a press release, or a whole new suite of written website content, it may be in your best interests to engage the services of an editor, like those at Grammar Chic, Inc.

Here’s why.

Why Hire an Editor?

  1. You need a fresh set of eyes. How many times have you read that blog? How many hours have you spent staring at the words of your new company home page? Sooner or later, it all becomes a bit of a blur, and it may be impossible for you to truly see what’s right in front of you. You need an outsider’s vision, and that’s what a professional editor can offer.
  2. You also need objectivity. Your document may be a true labor of love for you, which can be a blessing and a curse: It’s good to feel passionate, but not at the expense of objectivity. An editor, who has no emotional attachment to the document, will be in a better position to accurately assess it and propose changes.
  3. Editors can save you time and frustration. Nothing is more maddening than reading the same document over and over and feeling like you’re still not quite there. An editor’s job isn’t just to make your document shine, but to streamline the revision process, quickly fixing spelling and grammar errors and providing straightforward guidance regarding any conceptual issues. All of this allows you to finish the project and pour your attention into other things!
  4. An editor will help you with clarity. Sometimes, there’s a distance between what you think you’re saying and what you’re actually saying. It happens to all of us, but when it comes to your business communications, clarity and precision are key. A professional editor knows how to articulate ideas in a way that’s unambiguous.
  5. Working with an editor can be a boon to your project development. Trying to figure out the best way to implement your white paper? Unsure of whether your new blog should be one long post or a couple of smaller ones? Part of the editor’s job is helping you develop each project in a way that’s efficient and intuitive.
  6. An editor will enhance your professionalism. Anything you publish or send to your clients is going to be a reflection on your brand… on your standards of quality, accuracy, and professionalism. As such, you naturally want each document to be superlative. An editor will help ensure that you’re always putting the best foot forward!
  7. Professional editors are versatile. Just take it from the Grammar Chic team: We’ve worked on everything from books to resumes, from blog posts to brochures; our clients span a full spectrum of industries, including HOA management and used car sales, manufacturing and personal fitness. We have the skills needed to furnish you with a sterling document, no matter the line of work or the nature of your project.

Enlist an Editor Today

Whatever the specifics of your editing project, Grammar Chic, Inc. is here to lend professionalism, precision, and clarity. Contact us directly to learn more: Call 803-831-7444 or visit www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Brand Management, Business Writing, Content Marketing, Content Writing, Editing, Social Media, Web Content

Workflow and Content Automation Defined: How to Get Started

Managing content for your website and social media accounts takes a lot of time and expertise. Like everything else these days, companies are looking for ways to get technology involved to help reduce time and costs when it comes to their content generation. Workflow and Content Automation (WCA) has been a rapidly growing industry for the past few years. Experts estimate that this industry will grow to be a $6B market by the year 2023. But what is it exactly and how can you utilize it?

When we say, “content automation,” we don’t necessarily mean hiring a robot or computer to write your company’s blog and social media posts. While such technology exists, what we mean is applying tools to help you create the most impactful content possible. Continue reading to find out the ways WCA can help you and how to integrate it into your daily routines.

Basics

You have a few options when it comes to automating your content marketing, which can be done at several different points in the content marketing pipeline:

  • Curation

Content curation tools are not there to create content for you, but rather they rely on algorithms to mine content from across the Web, and to then recommend content that would be most relevant to your audience.

An example of an automated content curation tool is DrumUp, which makes quick work of sorting through the billions of pieces of content that are online. Other tools like Google trends are great if you have access to those accounts. Tools like these take the guesswork out of content ideation and allow creators to rely on data to make better decisions.

  • Distribution

Content distribution tools help to ensure that the most relevant pieces of content appear in front of the right people. Email marketing software, which sends out messages to customers based on their past behavior or purchases, is one example of automated content distribution.

What we’re really talking about here are ads. Getting your tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram stories and more, out in front of targeted audiences is key to social media marketing. Using paid advertising tools takes advantage of these platforms’ user data, to make sure the content you’re trying to promote is ending up in front of the right people.

Best Practices

  • Define your problem

The first step in implementing an automated content generation process is to think of your goals or an area of content marketing where you’re struggling. Maybe your content sinks like a stone once you publish it, or maybe you need to find ways to get it in front of the right audience. You might have an internal resource issue where you just don’t have enough people who can produce the right content. Whatever the problem is, make sure it is properly identified.

You also want to define your audience, so that you know what tools will best reach them. Email marketing might not work so well if your customers largely hang out on social media, for example. Make sure you know who you want to talk to and where they are spending their time online.

  • Find a product

Once you’ve determined what your internal struggles with content are, determine the best tools available to fix those issues for you. There are plenty of options out there that specialize on the generation, scheduling, and distribution of your content. We’ve mentioned some here in this article, but make sure to do plenty of research.

Talk to the salespeople at any company you are considering. Make sure they understand your unique situation. No two organizations are the same so ensure they aren’t treating you like everyone else. Does their program offer specific solutions to the problems you’ve identified? If not, continue the search until you’ve found something that does.

  • Iterate the process

Once you’ve chosen a tool or tool set to use for your content automation, the job isn’t over. It’s imperative to continue to monitor and adjust the process until you are seeing positive results.

Also, do not forget to benchmark current content performance. How much traffic do your blog posts typically receive? What is the average number of engagement events on your social platforms by channel? Without this data, it will be impossible to tell if you’re making progress.

Compare your success metrics with the automated content generation in place to your benchmark data. Continue when things are improving and adjust when metrics dip.

Workflow and Content Automation is an industry on the rise and can be a huge help for a growing organization looking to streamline their blog and social channels. Be sure to figure out where you need help and find the tools to correct course. It’s not as scary as it looks, so get out there and create!

Author Bio: Amanda Peterson is a software engineer and regular contributor at Enlightened Digital. Based in New York City, she enjoys Netflix bingeing with her Puggle, Hendrix, and shopping in record stores.

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How Data Visualization Can Enhance Your Content Marketing

There’s never any shortage of online data. For marketers, this can be both a blessing and a curse.

On the one hand, if you want to quantify the reach of your content or identify trends in your social media engagement, there are metrics available to give you the illumination you need. But at the same time, the process of setting benchmarks, establishing core measures, mapping the data, then interpreting it properly can be incredibly time intensive. When you’re already struggling to keep up with your routine content creation efforts, handling data and analytics may feel all but impossible.

But the answer isn’t to forgo the data-driven approach. Rather, it’s to implement the processes you need to make data-mining as simple and intuitive as can be.

Thankfully, there are some options available for small business owners, including both the incredible technological resources of Google Data Studio as well as the consultative services of agencies like Analytics Clarity.

It’s worth taking just a moment to examine how each of these vendors could help automate your data and analytics efforts, and ultimately make your content marketing more streamlined and focused.

The Benefits of Data Automation and Visualization

Google Data Studio is a unique platform that allows you to take different kinds of analytic data, both from Google as well as from compatible social networks, and turn that data into fluid, dynamic reports.

This may sound a little mundane, but actually, it’s a revolutionary service. Just some of the benefits include:

  • Through Google Data Studio, you can have key data automatically turned into a report. And that report will change in real-time, ensuring you always have ready access to the metrics you need.
  • You can choose to display the data in whatever visual format you like, making it easy for you and your team to understand the big picture.
  • You can share the visual report with key partners, vendors, and stakeholders; it’s as easy as sharing a Google Doc or a Google Sheet.

Meanwhile, when you work with a firm like Analytics Clarity, you can ensure that you’re always rightly interpreting the data, capturing even the subtlest trends, and making informed decisions about how to tweak or adjust your content marketing campaign.

Indeed, the kind of data solutions available today have really been game-changers for content marketers, who can now work with a much clearer understanding of how their content performs with target readers as well as Google Search algorithms. This has implications for everything from topic selection to CTA development.

Take a Data-Driven Approach to Content Marketing

It’s vital that you use data to guide your content marketing efforts; Analytics Clarity, a proud partner of Grammar Chic, Inc., can provide all the expertise you need to make smart use of Google Data Studio.

And, as you use that data to guide your content efforts, you can always reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. Speak to one of our content professionals by calling 803-831-7444, or by visiting www.grammarchic.net.

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5 Types of Content That Can Wreck Your Rankings

By now it’s hardly controversial, nor even surprising, to note the close ties between content marketing and SEO. As we noted in one recent blog, Google has come right out and said that the best way to achieve impressive SERP rankings is to provide the end user with valuable, relevant content.

But if the right content can make your SEO, it can also break it… and there are a few types of content that are especially toxic to your ranking efforts.

Here are just a few examples of content you’ll want to avoid.

5 Types of Content That Can Ruin Your SEO

  1. Content that’s unoriginal. This is largely a problem with ecommerce stores, or with websites that have a lot of individual product pages. It’s tempting to employ standard, boilerplate copy on each product page, rather than writing new product descriptions from scratch… except, Google really doesn’t like that. The more duplicate content you produce, the more it dilutes your SEO efforts. Work with a professional content writing team to come up with sharp, wholly original text for each of your products and services.
  2. Thin content. There’s no magic word count for achieving Google success, and sometimes it’s wise to opt for short and sweet. Remember, though, that the end goal should always be to say something valuable and substantive… and for most topics, 50 words probably isn’t going to cut it. If your content is short, rote, and lacking in real substance, Google may not give it much credit.
  3. Content that misleads. This goes back to our recent post on relevance, where we warned that the bait-and-switch technique never works. Simply put, your content needs to make good on the promises of its title. If your post is titled 5 Ways to Save Money on Your Next Used Car, that’s exactly what it should offer the reader.
  4. Fluff. You probably know what we mean by this. We said before that you didn’t want thin content, but if you’re just repeating the same thing over and over again because you think your blog needs to have 700 words in it, well, that hardly offers value to the reader, and it hardly aligns with Google’s algorithmic interests.
  5. Content that’s hard to read. Finally, remember a little thing called user experience, or UX. Your content needs to be valuable, but also easy to digest, and that means using section subheadings, lists, bullet points, and small paragraphs. Leave plenty of white space and make it easy on the eye.

Content That Does the Job

You need content that works on every level… appealing to readers and also winning over the algorithms. And we can help you develop it. Talk with a professional content writer today. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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Here’s How to Write Content That Ranks Well

The Google Search algorithms are notoriously complex. There are dozens upon dozens of factors that Google considers when assessing a site’s ranking; those factors are weighted differently, and the exact algorithmic make-up changes on a regular basis.

Thankfully, Google has made it surprisingly simple for content writers to do their job and to create content that achieves search engine visibility. Google’s own search engineers have conceded that, for all the algorithmic complexity and churn, there’s essentially one huge factor that overshadows all the rest. Content writers who can capitalize on that one huge factor are positioned well for SEO success.

So what’s the secret?

In a word, relevance.

That’s not just a buzzword. It’s something that the Google algorithms actually measure and quantify. And according to Google’s internal experts, it’s the one thing that content writers should focus on as they pursue SEO-effective copy.

What is Relevance?

But how can Google possibly categorize something that sounds so nebulous?

The definition of relevance isn’t as fuzzy as you might think. Essentially, it boils down to user-centered content that serves a purpose.

That is to say, is the content useful?

Does it provide helpful, clarifying, and/or actionable insight to the user?

And is it related to the intentions of the search user? Does it meaningfully address their search query?

If you can honestly say yes to all of these questions, then there’s a good chance your content is indeed relevant in the eyes of Google.

Simple Steps for Writing Relevant Content

If you’re still uncertain about the relevance of your content, you’re in luck: Google’s Webmaster Guidelines actually offer some best practices for content writers. We’re going to summarize and paraphrase them here, because not only do they represent a good recipe for relevant content, but they also reflect good online content writing principles more generally.

Google’s advice is as follows:

  1. Write content primarily for the search engine users, not for the algorithms. If you’re thinking about how to appease the search bots, you’re going about it all wrong. Instead, step back and ask yourself how you can connect with the end user, answer their questions, and fortify them with good information. Using buyer personas may be valuable here.
  2. Don’t be deceptive. If your headline promises 5 Simple Steps to Improve Your Credit Score, the article should provide five simple steps for readers to improve their credit scores… plain and simple. Bait-and-switch routines will kill your relevance ratings.
  3. Avoid anything that’s designed to trick the search engines. Before attempting some sort of SEO gimmick, ask yourself: Would I do this if Google didn’t exist? If your answer is no, then it’s probably not worth doing.
  4. Consider the things that make your business or your website unique. What are some of the unique benefits and value points that you can offer? Make sure your content captures those things.

The bottom line: Relevance is the most important characteristic of digital copy, and it’s not as nebulous or as unattainable as you might think.

We can help you write content that’s truly relevant to your audience. Are you ready to talk? Reach out to the Grammar Chic, Inc. team today. Connect with us at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

 

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Has AI Made Content Writers Obsolete?

Do you remember the old joke about monkeys? How if you put enough of them in front of typewriters and allowed them to bang away, one of them might eventually bash out the Great American Novel?

Well, we’re currently seeing a similar premise play out in real time. It’s not with chimps, but with robots. AI is rapidly overtaking the content marketing industry, helping to automate some of those simple, repetitive functions that take so much time. The idea is that, when AI is able to handle things like scheduling and reporting, it frees marketers to focus more of their efforts on real, creative work.

But what happens when the robots take over the creative work, as well?

Maybe it sounds farfetched to think that AI could actually produce written content… but the truth is, it’s happening already. There are programs out there that can automatically generate simple, factual stories (think stock reports or sports updates) with little or no input from human writers.

Great news for anyone who needs basic Web copy quickly, and without a lot of hassle. Bad news for, well, writers, the latest professionals to see their livelihoods encroached on by faceless tech.

What AI Can’t Do

Actually, though, the situation is not that dire. While AI can and should be used in certain content marketing functions, it will never be able to put writers out of work.

Why? Because AI is great for many things: Learning, mastering basic patterns, even mimicking human speech. Indeed, it’s no great surprise that simple reporting can now be automated; for AI to take sports scores and plug them into a formula doesn’t require much in the way of out-of-the-box thinking.

And that’s the one thing AI doesn’t possess: The ability to engage in lateral thinking or creative brainstorming. Robotic “writers” may be able to mimic some narrative archetypes, but they can’t build worlds or capture emotion like a human writer can.

To put it one way, AI can absolutely report the basic stats of a soccer game… but it could never invent Quidditch, or develop the story beats for a Rocky movie.

The functionality of AI rests on what’s repeatable… on tasks that can be boiled down to a formula or algorithm. But there’s no algorithm for human creativity; no way you can automate out-of-the-box thinking, storytelling, human interest, or reader engagement.

And what that means is that, while AI can be a helpful tool for generating boilerplate copy, it can’t produce the kind of original, emotionally-charged, and value-adding content that’s required for effective content marketing.

Still a Role for Writers

Writers can rest easy. And companies that have invested in automated programs to assist with their content marketing can pat themselves on the back: They’ve taken meaningful steps toward streamlining their processes and maximizing efficiency.

But they still need human beings who are skilled in using words to facilitate connection. That’s where we come in. To speak with a Grammar Chic writer about any of the things your AI can’t do, reach out today: 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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

3 Things Lil Nas X Can Teach Us About Content Marketing

What do Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Post Malone, Ed Sheeran, and Justin Bieber all have in common?

Over the last several weeks, all of them have been blocked from the #1 spot on the Billboard Top 100, their ascendency stopped by a little song called “Old Town Road.”

Whether you herald it as the cutting edge of rap/country hybridization or you hear it as a musical meme gone horribly wrong, there’s no question that it’s the most talked-about, most argued-about, and most historically significant song of the year.

You probably know the backstory: A rapper named Lil Nas X assembled the song from trap beats and country instrumentation, initially uploading it to YouTube where it became a viral sensation. It rose to the top of the country charts; country radio disavowed it, essentially saying it wasn’t “authentic” enough. The incident sparked an online debate about the fluid nature of genre and country music’s vexing history of racism, among other things.

Also, somewhere along the way, Billy Ray Cyrus got involved.

Of course, the song eventually made it back to the charts, and stands as one of the defining pop culture moments of the year. And, it got us thinking about the nature of content marketing—

something Lil Nas X obviously has a pretty good handle on.

Viral Still Matters

One takeaway: Creating something that connects with people, even on a small scale, still matters… and those little connections can quickly build into huge movements.

Nobody had ever heard of Lil Nas X before “Old Town Road,” and he released the song without much in the way of industry support. It was just a goof that he uploaded to the Web—but people liked it. The song is strange, funky, extremely catchy, and a joy to listen to. It caught on. It went viral, even without much in the way of supportive infrastructure. And in much the same way, a really well-honed piece of content, with the right audience and the right moment, can catch serious fire… with or without the help of big publishers or influencers.

Categories are Innately Limiting

Even if you don’t care much for the song, you have to admit that it’s spawned some compelling meta-narratives and critical conversations… including dialogue about what it actually is. Country? Trap? A novelty? A new frontier?

Maybe that’s a big part of why it’s connected with people: It exists outside of our pre-set boxes and categories. Similarly, there’s room for content marketing that doesn’t fit in with expectation.

You don’t have to blog about the same topics as everyone else in your industry. You don’t have to create Instagram videos that follow a formula. You can allow your own personality to sparkle and shine through, and trust that your unclassifiable authenticity will resonate.

When in Doubt, Remix

We made a joke about Billy Ray Cyrus, but in all seriousness: His remix of “Old Town Road” is an important part of why the song has stayed in the public consciousness for so long.

Remixing your content marketing can have a similar impact; if you have a blog that’s performed well, why not break it down into some tweets? Reshape it into a press release? Or if nothing else, use it as a jumping off point for some ancillary blog posts?

Recognize when you have a good thing… and look for ways to spin it in a fresh direction.

These are just a few of the takeaways we’ve gathered from “Old Town Road” and Lil Nas X… and if you want to know how these lessons can impact your content marketing efforts, we invite you to reach out.

Let’s chat: Contact Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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