Category Archives: Blog Writing

How to Make Your Boring Industry Really Interesting

At Grammar Chic, Inc., we truly believe that content marketing can deliver meaningful results for any company, in any industry.

But some may have to work a little bit harder for it than others.

Simply put, some industries more naturally lend themselves to fresh, exciting, compelling content. But what happens if you sell annuities?  What happens if you prepare tax returns? What happens if you’re an estate planning lawyer? We’re not saying these things are unimportant! We’re just saying they may not seem as flashy or as exciting to the average reader.

It may cause you to wonder what can be done to turn your “boring” line of work into really rich, persuasive content—content that people will actually want to read.

Here’s our advice.

Always Be Helpful

A good rule of thumb: If your content is helpful, someone out there’s going to find it interesting.

Take our example of an estate planning attorney. You may write a blog post about how to draft a will; when a living trust is necessary; or how to choose guardians for your children.

Those topics may not jump off the page, and sure, some may say they’re unglamorous. But people want to know those things. They need to know those things. And if you can provide that information in a clear and actionable way, there will be readers who find great value in it—

period.

Maybe the best advice here is to change your way of thinking: If you can’t make your content exciting, just make sure that it helps someone.

Write Without Jargon

One thing that can stand between you and an engaged readership is reliance on industry jargon.

We see this a lot when working with insurance companies, who trot out a bunch of words and phrases that may be foreign to the layperson. Of course, that’s the quickest way to get eyes to glaze over!

Don’t think (or write) in terms of industry buzzwords. Instead, come at it from the customer’s point of view. What are their pain points? What answers do they seek? And how can your company benefit from them? Focus on those things, with as much clarity as you can.

Inject Some Personality

Your business may be boring—or at least, that may be how people perceive it.

But you’re not boring!

Feel free to inject some personality, even humor, into your content. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to make your content come alive.

This might mean throwing in some personal anecdotes, some gentle self-deprecation, or even some specific examples from past clients (ensuring you keep things anonymous, of course).

Another strategy is to draw connections to shows, movies, or other pop culture reference points that might mean something to you. Remember our posts invoking Mad Men and The Walking Dead?

Get Help from the Pros

It’s frustrating to feel like your industry is just a dead space for compelling content—but we honestly believe that any field can be made enticing, or at the very least valuable, to the reader.

We’d love to show you how. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. to schedule a content consultation today. You can reach us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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

How to Prepare for Your Content Call

Nobody knows your business better than you do—but that doesn’t mean you should be the person to write all your company blogs, press releases, and social media posts.

Actually, your intimate knowledge of the business can be as much a liability as a boon. Simply put, you may be too close to it to be able to sort through what’s really important, and what’s discursive.

A professional content writer, meanwhile, can provide a helpful level of remove—helping you see the business from an outsider’s point of view and more precisely hone your marketing message.

Of course, there’s still a lot riding on your ability to explain what your business does, who your business serves, and what makes your business unique. Here at Grammar Chic, Inc., our content writers will want to jump on the phone with you for a content call, where we get to hear your story, in your words, allowing us to capture your voice.

Getting Ready for Your Content Call

As you prepare to speak with a Grammar Chic writer, here are a few questions you can start to ponder.

  1. Who are your clients? To write effective content, step one is knowing the audience. We’ll want to know who your clients are, basically. Do you serve just women? Mostly seniors? Professionals within a certain field? How would you describe your typical client?
  2. What’s your reach? Where are you located—and from how far away do your customers come? Help your content writer get a sense of your geographic spread.
  3. What’s your elevator pitch? What makes your business unique? Why would a customer pick you over the competition? How would you articulate your value proposition if you only had 30 seconds to do it?
  4. What’s in it for the end user? To come at it differently, what are the benefits customers and clients can anticipate? What pain points do you address? How are people better off having worked with your business?
  5. Who’s your competition? Can you point your writer to a few competitors, just to get a sense of how similar companies present themselves?
  6. What are your keywords? If you had to summarize your products or services in just a few quick SEO keywords, what would some of those keywords be?
  7. Do you have any existing content? Do you have some company blog posts already published? What about some social media posts? Do you like the current content on your website, or does it need some work?
  8. What are your goals? What are you hoping to achieve through content writing? How will you define success?

Getting ready for a content call may feel a little daunting: What should you say? Where do you begin? However, if you can take some time to answer these questions, you’ll really be prepared for a constructive meeting, and a terrific launch to your content writing partnership!

We’d love to set up a call with you today to discuss your content writing needs. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444 or via www.grammarchic.net.

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4 Ways the Right Content Can Fuel Business Growth

To achieve consistent growth at your company, everything needs to be firing on all cylinders—your sales team, your marketing department, your business development crew, you name it. Everyone needs to be doing their part, leveraging resources and expertise to move the ball forward.

Content marketing is very much a part of that equation. When wielded strategically, content can actually be fuel for your business growth—helping turn leads into conversions and one-time customers into repeat clients.

A few types of content can be especially helpful in this regard. Here are our recommendations.

4 Types of Content That Can Help Your Business Grow

  1. Product and service descriptions.

Whether you have an e-commerce clothing boutique or an all-purpose plumbing company, it’s important to devote some website real estate to describing what it is you do—and how your customers stand to benefit. Remember, online shoppers can’t pick up, examine, or try on your products and services, so you need Web copy that makes them feel like they have. Be descriptive enough to help customers feel confident that they know what they’re getting into, and focus on the benefit to the end user—what’s in it for them when they buy.

  1. Landing pages.

Imagine this scenario. A potential customer sees a PPC ad for your law firm’s estate planning services. They click it, and it takes them to your firm’s home page—where there’s no explicit mention of estate planning. That may be frustrating, and your lead may decide it’s not worth their trouble to poke around your site to find what they’re looking for. The long and short of it is, it’s valuable to have dedicated landing pages for each service/product you have, ensuring that you can always send leads to somewhere that specifically addresses what they’re looking for.

  1. Emails.

Don’t ignore the power of email marketingstill the most effective way to directly connect with your customers past and present. Whether you put together a monthly newsletter or a weekly e-blast, take the time to think through your content (including subject lines) to make sure you’re offering value. When leveraged correctly, email marketing can build brand awareness and loyalty, and turn some of those one-time customers into follow-up buyers.

  1. Google My Business listing.

Has your company signed up for a free Google My Business listing? It’s worth doing, as it can help you achieve greater visibility among local search engine users. And that positive SEO impact is compounded when you take the time to write compelling, keyword-optimized descriptions of your business. All of this is just to say that GMB is an invaluable but oft-overlooked content deployment opportunity, and it can play a big role in helping you connect with local customers.

Do You Have the Content You Need?

Chances abound for you to use content in a way that leads to business growth—and the Grammar Chic, Inc. team is standing ready to help you make the most of them. Reach out today and let’s talk together about a sound content strategy for your company! Connect with us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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

How to Spot Online Propaganda

You can’t believe everything you read—especially online.

As content marketing professionals, this is something we’re uniquely sensitive to. We believe strongly that there’s value in companies providing good, substantive, valuable information as a way to build their brand and establish thought leadership.

And yes, the content marketing model does blur the line between information and advertisement—but it’s only effective if it’s ultimately truthful.

By contrast, a lot of the content out there is outright propaganda—designed to misinform, to mislead, and to obscure the truth.

To be a responsible online citizen, it’s important to know the difference. That’s what we’re going to look at today.

Where You’ll Spot Propaganda

The first thing to be aware of is that propaganda can come from almost any source. Some common examples:

  • Brand/company pages on Facebook. Note that Facebook doesn’t regulate these pages and doesn’t have any standard of transparency or veracity in place. Maybe one day that will change—but for now, public pages are all potential breeding grounds for propaganda.
  • Twitter accounts. We’re mostly thinking of bots here—fake accounts that usually have a highly political slant. Be careful; not every social media user is a real person!
  • A lot of the memes that come across as good-natured and funny are actually made by marketing companies and have an insidious agenda—which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is something to be aware of!
  • News items. A lot of the links that look like real news could in fact be—we hate to say it—fake news. You can usually tell by looking at the URL; anything lacking a good, clean URL (like nytimes.com, washingtonpost.com, bbc.com, reuters.com, economist.com etc.) could potentially be a propaganda site.
  • Photo editing tools have become truly advanced and sophisticated—and sadly, you just can’t take every online photo you see seriously.

Steer Clear of Propaganda

That’s just a cross-section of some of the places you’ll find propaganda—and our point really is that you can find it anywhere. So the question is, how can you protect yourself?

Some tips:

  • Be a skeptic. Simply having a discerning mindset, and realizing that what you’re reading could be propaganda, is a good first step.
  • Google around. If you find a news story that seems hard to believe, use Google to look for other sources. If you can’t find them, it may very well be phony. One of the first things taught in journalism school is that all facts in any story should be confirmed by two reliable sources. In today’s day and age, finding two or more sources that share a story’s detail is not overly taxing. Real news stories are picked up by multiple outlets—even if a single platform breaks the story.
  • Avoid interacting with unvetted sources. Liking and commenting on a public page can suck you into the web of propaganda—unless you know the brand in question and trust them.
  • Take reviews with a grain of salt. Online reviews are sometimes fake—and you can usually tell which ones lack credibility. Fake ones won’t be very long or specific.
  • Read widely. Don’t rely on a single platform or website for your news. Try to be a curious and voracious reader.
  • Learn what fake ads look like. It’s helpful to know how you can identify paid content—and there are usually some giveaways. On social networks, as well as on Google, these ads will be labeled as “sponsored.” On Instagram specifically, sponsored posts must carry the hashtag #ad.

The bottom line: it takes some effort and some deliberation to tell which online content you can trust—but it’s worth it to not get snookered by the propaganda machine.

We’d love to tell you more about honest and authentic content creation. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. to learn more! Call 803-831-7444 or visit www.grammarchic.net.

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

Connecting with Millennials Through Content Marketing

Among its many virtues, content marketing is ideal for reaching millennials.

The reason for this is actually pretty simple: Millennials—whatever you think of their pros and cons, their strengths and their shortcomings—are naturally adept at sniffing out bullshit. They know when they’re being coerced, duped, or talked down to, and as a result, they have very low vulnerability to traditional, prescriptive advertising.

But content marketing is different: Here, the goal isn’t to talk anyone into anything, but simply to find some helpful, engaging, Google-friendly information. And to the extent that content marketing does have ulterior motives, it’s usually pretty transparent.

All that to say, if you’re wondering how you can use content marketing to better connect with millennials, congratulations! You’re already on the right track!

With that said, there are right ways and wrong ways to connect with millennials through content marketing—and in this post, we’ll offer some tips and some solutions.

How to Connect with Millennials through Social Media

  1. Remember the mantra.

The old line about content marketing is that it’s “selling without selling.” That is, you want to earn trust and create brand awareness, but you don’t want to give a hard sell. That’s really important for getting content marketing right, but it’s especially important for reaching the millennial generation—because again: They tend to be pretty allergic to aggressive sales pitches. Focus on engaging and authoritative content, offer a gentle call to action, and trust your content to do its job.

  1. Don’t mistake millennials for dummies.

Or at least, don’t assume they’re ill-informed. Statistics show over and over that millennials tend to do a ton of online research before they buy anything. Keep that in mind when you develop content: Your millennial readers are probably well-studied, they’ve seen the competition, and they’re examined some of the same sources as you. What you offer them should be original; it should have a unique point of view; and it should exist in dialogue with other content that’s out there.

  1. Note that millennials tend to be justice-driven.

The millennial generation is often called the social justice generation—and there’s a reason for this: While they may not vote for the same political candidates or hold the same policy preferences, millennials as a whole tend to be pretty motivated by racial, economic, and environmental justice issues. One of the best ways to earn trust is to highlight the ways in which your brand stands for those same things.

  1. Leverage FOMO.

Something else that millennials as a whole have in common: Fear of missing out, or FOMO. This marketing concept is hardly new, but it’s gained new resonance as marketers have increasingly sought connections with millennials. If you can use your content to instill a sense of urgency, or cause the reader to feel like they can take advantage of a limited-time or limited-quantity offer, that can really help you reach millennials.

  1. Get visual whenever you can.

You can and should write blogs as part of your content marketing strategy, but also make sure you use plenty of visual content—including Instagram posts, Facebook and Twitter memes, and graphics embedded in your website content. Simply put, millennials tend to be pretty visual—and much as we hate to admit it, words alone probably won’t be enough!

With these pointers, you can start connecting more effectively with members of the millennial demographic—and for additional tips or content marketing resources, we hope you’ll reach out.

Chat with us today by calling 803-831-7444 or by visiting www.grammarchic.net.

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How to Avoid Keyword Stuffing

Proper keyword use is essential for content marketing—and for SEO. The keywords help reflect those search terms you’re trying to rank for; in many cases, they will also align with your chosen PPC terms. Keywords can even be valuable on a creative level, helping guide and structure your content writing.

With that said, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. Keyword stuffing—the act of including so many keywords that your content is stiff, robotic, nonsensical, or simply very hard to read—can result in SEO penalties, which makes the entire endeavor moot.

So how can you avoid keyword stuffing, without flat-out avoiding keywords? Where’s the balance?

Tips to Avoid Keyword Stuffing

A few tips:

  • Know who you’re writing for. One of the most common causes of keyword stuffing is the belief that you’re writing, first and foremost, for search algorithms. Scrap that idea right now, and instead remind yourself that you’re writing for human beings. Nine times out of 10, if you simply write in a way that’s natural and that makes sense to human readers, everything else will fall into place.
  • Identify the prime spots for keywords. There are a few places where you really want to insert keywords, for maximum SEO value—heading, title tags, meta descriptions, and in the first paragraph of your body content. Once you ensure keywords in these locales, you can ease up, and just focus on writing good, natural content.
  • Use long-tail variations. You can break up your keyword monotony, and avoid any signs of keyword stuffing, by throwing in some long-tail alternates. For example, if your main keyword is Charlotte plumbers, you might mix in some references to Charlotte plumbing companies, plumbers in Charlotte, etc., all of which can help your content read more gracefully.
  • Remember: Synonyms are your friends! Along the same lines, trust in Google’s increasingly-intelligent bots to put two and two together, and to register synonyms for your main keywords. If you’re looking to rank for the term HVAC, it’s fine to also use air conditioning or heating system. Google knows what you mean, and you’re not going to lose any SEO mojo by varying things up.

It can’t be stressed enough: 90 percent of the battle is just writing good, natural, value-adding content for human readers—and if you need help with that, you’ve come to the right place. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. to set up a consultation with one of our SEO-trained content writing professionals. Contact us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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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