Category Archives: Blog Writing

How to Write Great Content for Short Attention Spans

There is always more and more online content vying for readers’ attention—yet it seems like the average online attention span is getting shorter all the time.

This is something that any content marketer has to take into consideration. You need your content to be read and interacted with, yet your audience may have very little patience to sit through anything that isn’t totally optimized to keep them engaged.

So how do you optimize your written content? Here are a few tips to consider.

Start with Buyer Personas

People are going to be a lot more willing to read your content if it feels like it was written directly for them. That’s why you need to start with your audience, and ideally with a well-composed buyer persona. What are the pain points you need to address? What are the values? What kind of language should you be using—highly technical or extremely casual? And what do your readers ultimately want to gain from your content? To answer these questions, you have to have a pretty good sense of who you’re writing to.

Structure it Well

It’s also important to make sure you organize your content in a way that makes it easier to read—and, for that matter, to skim. Some ways to do so include:

  • Write in short paragraphs
  • Avoid long sentences
  • Use subject headings to break up the content
  • Use bulleted lists whenever you can
  • Make sure you end with a good summary of your main takeaways/action steps

Don’t Let Your Words Stand Alone

A plain black-and-white page of text is inevitably going to be a little boring, and strain the average reader’s attention span. Images, infographics, and embedded videos can spice things up significantly, while also helping to break up the content and make it more digestible.

Be Clear in Your Value Proposition

Put yourself in the shoes of your reader, and ask: What’s in it for me? The reader should be able to walk away from your content with some value, some specific benefit. You need to emphasize that value up front, both in your headline and in your introduction, ideally in the first paragraph. Let readers know that they will see a benefit from reading your content.

Don’t Be Afraid to Go Long

A final note: Short attention spans do not necessarily call for short content. There is still plenty of room for articles that go in-depth and provide more specific value. In fact, a reader with a short attention span may prefer these articles; a flimsy blog post may seem like a waste of time, while something more substantive may seem like it’s a lot more worthwhile.

You can create content that engages even the ficklest reader—but if you need an extra hand in enhancing your content, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Grammar Chic can help you write content that gets read and engaged with. Learn more at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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

Choosing Between Long-Form and Short-Form Content

It’s a question that our content writing team receives on a regular basis, from business owners in virtually all industries and verticals: How long should my company’s online content be?

Our answer: Long enough.

What people are really getting at is whether there is some magic number they need to hit in terms of their word count. Technically, 400 words is all you need to write to ensure that your blog post or Web page is indexed by Google.

But if you’re trying to truly optimize your content—not just writing the bare minimum, but writing enough so that you can build trust, inform customers, reap ample SEO benefits, and position your brand for thought leadership—well, you may need to write a little more. Or in some cases, a lot more.

Long-Form vs. Short-Form Content

For the purposes of this post, we’re defining long-form content as blog posts, white papers, and other assets that exceed 2,000 words—give or take. Short-form content is usually closer to 1,000 words, sometimes less. In fact, a good short-form blog post can be as brief as 500 words and still be perfectly effective.

To decide which route is best for your business, you’ve got to think about your marketing objectives, and tailor your content length accordingly. We’ll provide you with some guidelines here.

Long-Form Content Makes the Most Sense When:

  • You have a brand new product or service, without much precedent, and you need longer copy to explain what it is and how it adds value.
  • You are writing about products or services that come with higher price tags, and thus buyers want as much information as possible before making a purchasing decision.
  • You are offering products or services that require more of a commitment on behalf of the buyer.
  • Your product is more technical in nature, and needs all its technical specs discussed in the marketing content.
  • You are in a B2B scenario, one in which the sales cycle tends to be longer or more complicated.

Short-Form Content Makes the Most Sense When:

  • You have a product or service with which most of your readers are already going to be quite familiar.
  • Your product or service is either inexpensive or quite commonplace, and therefore less explanation is needed.
  • You’re writing content that is going specifically to qualified leads.
  • You are writing for a channel that requires fewer words—an email, a Facebook ad, an AdWords ad, etc.

In other words, your content length should be determined by how much your buyers already know, versus how much they need to be educated; by how interested your readers are, or rather, by where they are located in the sales funnel; and by the basic marketing goals for the content.

Being Judicious About Content Length

As you seek to determine the ideal length for your content, it’s best to consult with marketing professionals. Grammar Chic’s experts can not only help you strategize, but we can also handle the content creation for you—no matter how long or how short!

Learn more by contacting us today for a consultation at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Blog Writing, Business Writing, Web Content

How to Get Better Engagement on Your Blog Posts

If a blog gets posted to your company website, but nobody reads it, does that blog really exist? The answer, for all practical purposes, is no. For your business blogging to be meaningful, you need to get engagement—and that means people not only reading your post, but commenting on it, sharing it, liking it on Facebook, retweeting it, and more.

You can’t buy this kind of engagement, and neither can you force it—but there are ways you can make your blog posts more engaging. There are steps you can take to entice people to not only read your posts, but interact with them on various levels.

Here are some of the basic principles our team recommends for writing truly engaging blog posts.

Steps for Better Blog Engagement

Know Your Audience

If you want to engage people, you first need to know who you are engaging—and that means writing a blog post that speaks directly to their needs and their values. Ensure that you are using a buyer persona or a similar tool to help you write to a specific audience, taking into account their pain points, their interests, the problems they are trying to solve, etc.

Create a Seamless User Experience

Also ensure that your posts are easy to read. Don’t make your reader scroll incessantly, or read long blocks of unbroken test. Write in short sentences and brief paragraphs. Include section subheadings and bulleted lists where appropriate. Provide graphics when you can. And always ensure that the content is relevant to the needs of your audience (see our first point).

Ensure a Compelling Headline

We’ve blogged many times before about the importance of headlines, which draw readers into your content. Your headline should make a clear promise of value: What will the reader learn from your post? How will he or she be better off having read it.

Start Strong

Your opening paragraph is also quite important, as most readers never make it past the introduction of an online article. Begin with a statement of value, with a question, with a fascinating statistic… something to draw the reader to keep going.

Make it Actionable

Ensure that your blog post provides some real takeaways for your readers—some things they can actually do with the information you’ve given them; some steps for putting the blog post to use. Before you even begin writing, consider what your actionable takeaways will be.

Ask for Feedback

Finally, don’t be afraid to actually ask for feedback. Invite readers to leave comments. Encourage them to share photos or personal stories that might relate to your blog. Open the floor to suggestions for your next blog topic. Be approachable. Be open to interaction with your readers.

Write Posts That Get Engagement

If you’re not getting engagement on your company blog posts, it’s time for you to make a change. Consider outsourcing your blog writing to the Grammar Chic team. We have ample experience writing blog posts that get read—and that generate engagement. Contact us to learn more at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Blog Writing, Content Marketing, Social Media

5 Personal Branding Tips for Freelancers

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There are certain agreed-upon resume standards that apply to almost all 9-to-5 jobseekers—but when you’re a freelancer, some of those rules go out the window, and you’re forced to make some critical decisions about how best to present your different skills to potential clients.

The basic principle is the same: You want to develop a strong personal brand, and to posit yourself as someone who can deliver tremendous value and ultimately achieve the desired results. The question is, how do you accomplish that when your career has consisted more of freelance positions than of regular, salaried employment?

The Grammar Chic resume team can provide guidance to any freelancer looking to craft a strong personal brand. We invite you to call us any time. In the meanwhile, here are a few tips to help you with your branding endeavors.

How Freelancers Can Develop Strong Personal Brands

Rethink Your Resume Structure

Generally speaking, we recommend a chronological format for resumes—but when you’re a freelancer, what you want to emphasize is your array of skills. Sometimes, a more thematically-arranged and functional resume, one designed to show what you can do rather than to mark your career progression, might make more sense.

Include a Strong Executive Summary

It’s critical to have a clear summary of your skills and the value you can bring to an employer—something of an elevator pitch for your personal brand. This should be at the top of your resume!

Make Sure You Have a Portfolio

If at all possible, provide potential employers with a way to see your work. An online portfolio can be a tremendous asset, and if you have one, we recommend linking to it on your resume as well as your LinkedIn profile.

Establish Thought Leadership

Prove that you really know your industry well. Start a blog, or at the very least publish content on social media sites, including LinkedIn. Show any potential employer that you are truly committed to your vertical or niche.

Use LinkedIn to Get Recommendations

The biggest obstacle you’ll face as a freelancer is that employers simply aren’t sure whether they can trust you—so give them every reason to feel confident in your abilities. Work hard to accumulate recommendations, especially on LinkedIn. Be persistent in asking all your colleagues and former clients/employers to leave you a glowing notice.

Get Help with Your Personal Branding

All jobseekers need to brand themselves, but it’s especially challenging when you work as a freelancer. Grammar Chic can help you hone your resume and optimize your LinkedIn profile. Contact us today to get started: www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Blog Writing, Brand Management, Content Marketing, Writing

5 Ways to Improve Your Website’s Internal Linking

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Internal linking is one of the backbones of search engine optimization. It’s one of the things that separates a mediocre website from a truly stellar one. Providing links that connect the different pages of your website is a small and simple thing you can do that could yield big results.

Internal linking is significant for a number of reasons. One is that it makes it easier for Google search bots to crawl your pace. Another, just as important reason is that it makes it easier for your customers to find the information they want. Internal links keep people on your page, which reduces your bounce rate, and they can also boost the SEO value of the pages you’re linking.

The bottom line? Spending some time on an internal linking strategy is certainly prudent, and can certainly pay off. The question is, what can you do to get internal linking right?

Here are five tricks of the trade.

Link to Content-Heavy Pages

Let’s say you write a 1,000-word blog post. You definitely want to insert a couple of internal links, but you don’t want to waste them on parts of your website that are low on content value—like a generic “Contact Us” page.

Think about it this way: The pages you link to should be resources for your reader, providing them with additional information that enhances their experience. As such, it’s best to link to pages that provide further details or delve into related topics… pages that actually provide enriching, value-adding content, not just boilerplate.

Use Descriptive Anchor Text

The anchor text refers to the actual words on the page that you make into a hyperlink—and choosing the right anchor text can add real value to those links. That’s why you never want to link to bland, boring, or valueless text like click here.

Consider this: You want to provide a link to a recent blog post about the best Instagram strategies. You can make the words blog post into your anchor text, or the words best Instagram strategies. Which of these do you think offers more link value? The more descriptive option is always going to be the better one. Be wise in including good, colorful anchor text with every link.

Include a Couple of Internal Links on Every Page

How many internal links should you feature in each post, or on each page? There’s no hard and fast rule here, and different SEOs will tell you different things, but we’d recommend at least a couple. Remember that each link boosts the “freshness value” of the page you’re linking to, so you might as well take advantage of each opportunity.

Be Logical with Your Links

With that said, we also recommend being wise: You don’t want to appear like you’re spamming your reader, or bombarding your website users with links. Make sure the links you include are relevant. For example, a Grammar Chic blog post about Facebook ads probably shouldn’t link to a separate post about resume writing. That’s just not a logical connection.

Update Your Links Often

Remember that broken links decrease your site usability and its SEO value. Meanwhile, when you write a really good piece of new content, you may want to include links to it from older, relevant posts. Routine link audits and updates are essential.

Of course, linking is an integral part of your broader content marketing strategy—and that’s something the Grammar Chic team can help you put into place. Learn more by calling us today for a free consultation. Reach Grammar Chic’s content marketing team at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Blog Writing, Brand Management, Web Content

7 Ways to Get Maximum Value from Your Company Blog Posts

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Just because you hit publish on a new company blog post, share it on social media, and email it to the folks on your subscription list, doesn’t mean the blog post is through. On the contrary, there are plenty of ways to repurpose older content and wring more value from it.

There are many benefits to repurposing old content, regardless of whether that content performed well or it didn’t. If you’ve got a blog post that failed you, repurposing it might allow you to give it a new lease on life—to salvage it and derive some value from all your hard work. Conversely, if you have a really popular and high-performing post, repurposing it can allow you to harness that momentum and reach even more people with your message.

And there are a number of effective ways to breathe new life into an older blog post, too. Here are seven that the Grammar Chic team recommends.

Update Older Posts

In most industries, trends shift and best practices change over time. As such, it may be worthwhile to revisit your most popular posts every year or so and see if a new iteration is needed. You can revise an older post with new statistics or trends, then share it all over again.

Optimize Older Posts

It can also be worth revisiting older posts to tweak their SEO features—inserting new title tags, meta descriptions, and keywords for some of your most effective posts, drawing on new analytics and more recent data.

Turn a Blog Post into an Infographic

Pull out the main talking points and put them into image form. Then share that image widely on your social media platforms!

Break Down Larger Posts

Often, a comprehensive, big-picture post can be whittled down into three or four smaller posts, which delve into specific topics a little more deeply. Provide readers with one overview post, and then some smaller supporting posts that get down into the nitty gritty.

Turn Long Posts into Downloadable Offers

You can also expand your more in-depth posts and format them into e-books or white papers, making them available as downloads on your company website.

Use Your Blog as Fodder for a Webinar

We’re big believers in webinars, and we know that sometimes a popular blog post can provide the blueprint you need for a really compelling online presentation.

Split a Post into an Email Series

A final thought: You can dissect a blog post and draw a few 50-to-100-word blurbs from it, then use those in an email series—a great way of providing added value to your subscribers!

Of course, all of this starts with creating compelling blog posts—and for that, we’re here to help. Contact the ghostwriting team at Grammar Chic today at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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

5 Reasons Your Business Needs a Blog

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As a small business owner, you’ve undoubtedly got a lot on your plate. What’s more, you understand the importance of protecting your time: Everything you do during the course of your day needs to add value to your company, and anything that doesn’t fit that criteria is ultimately wasted effort. It’s for this reason that some business owners excuse themselves from blogging, assuming it to be something that’s ornamental at best, pointless at worst.

Actually, though, you might be surprised by how much utility can be gained from a well-maintained business blog. Plus, you don’t even have to handle the blogging yourself: There’s always the option of outsourcing it to ghostbloggers, like the pros at Grammar Chic.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s consider just some of the ways in which a blog can benefit your business—some of the ways in which it is most definitely not a waste of your time. Here are five of them.

Blogging Turns Your Website into an Invaluable Resource

Ultimately, you want your website to be a hub of information—a place where customers can have their questions answered, their pain points addressed, and their problems solved. You want to position yourself as an authority, and your products and services as remedies for what’s ailing them. A blog can help with this. Your company blog posts can authoritatively address common questions, provide product how-tos, list the benefits of your services, or explain how your industry works in a way that will resonate with consumers. The upshot? Consumers who are better informed, more trusting, and more likely to feel confident moving forward with a purchase.

Blogging Helps You Improve Your Website’s Google Ranking

We like to tell our clients that Google is a monster that constantly needs to be fed. That is to say, Google’s search engine algorithms are always prowling for fresh content, and the websites that rank the best are the ones that are updated regularly with fresh, value-adding content. A business blog is the single best way to regularly add content to your site, and thus can help you rank better and improve your visibility among search engine users.

Your Blog Can Be Repurposed for LinkedIn Pulse, Too

LinkedIn’s publishing platform, called Pulse, has quickly become one of the truly invaluable tools for establishing thought leadership. We use Pulse on behalf of our own company as well as many of our clients, and we’ve found it to be a significant source of website traffic, online shares, and more. What’s more, it can help you build credibility among your peers and name recognition within your industry. Best of all, you can use your regular company blog posts as LinkedIn Pulse fodder—another reason why blogging can be beneficial.

Blog Posts Make Great Email Marketing Content

Email marketing is still one of the most powerful and direct ways of reaching out to clients, but the challenge many business owners face is knowing what to say in their emails. Effective email marketing provides the reader with something of real value, and sending a link to a particularly substantive blog post is a great way to provide your email subscribers with something that’s free as well as useful—which is in turn great for improving your customer loyalty and engagement.

You Can Share Blogs on Social Media, Too

Finally, note that a good social media account includes both curated and original content; finding content from other sources is easy enough, but what will you do for original social media posts? The obvious answer is to share your blog posts, a smart way to keep your Facebook and Twitter followers in the loop.

A blog really can add value to your company—and if you want that value without having it eat into your daily schedule too much, contact Grammar Chic. Our ghostbloggers can help! Reach us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Blog Writing, Content Marketing, Web Content