Category Archives: Blog Writing

6 Types of Content That Always Tank

Brands and small businesses invest time and money into content creation because they know that it has myriad benefits—including increased brand awareness, boosted website traffic, and higher conversion rates.

But of course, not every piece of content has the intended effect.

In fact, some content can actually be counterproductive—turning off your readers and failing to move the sales needle in any meaningful way at all.

In this post, we’re going to list a few content archetypes that are guaranteed to fall flat—content FAILs to avoid at all cost.

Content That’s Guaranteed to FAIL

Boring Content

We’re not saying you have to turn every company blog post into the great American novel, but there should be some semblance of a story—a theme, hook, or angle to make readers interested. Here it’s important to remind you that you’re always creating content for human readers, not for search algorithms exclusively; if you wouldn’t find the content to be interesting and readable, no one else will, either.

Brand-centric Content

It’s not about you! It’s about your readers. Make sure your content focuses on what’s in it for thembenefits, value, actionable takeaways that they can draw from your content.

Content That’s Written to Nobody in Particular

When you write content, you should always have an audience in mind—a specific demographic you’re trying to target, based on internal data or buyer personas. The content should be tailored to address your audience’s needs, problems, and values; generic content, written with no specific audience in mind, will always fail to offer clear and specific benefits, and should be avoided.

Content That’s Written for Robots

Are SEO tricks and gimmicks making your content unreadable to actual human beings? If so, then you might as well not bother. People matter, and Google will see right through your tricks.

Salesy Content

Your content can obviously be written to build trust, to increase brand awareness, and ultimately to sell, but it shouldn’t just be straight-up advertising. On the contrary, content that is aggressively salesy and interruptive will peter out pretty fast, as readers just aren’t going to want to engage with it, share it, or link back to it.

Your Content is Hard to Read

Paragraph breaks, short sentences, bullet points, section subheadings—all of these things are important for making your content easy to skim and to digest. Poor formatting will leave your content basically useless and unread.

Write Content That Gets the Job Done

These are just a few examples of what not to do—but to take a more positive approach, and to write content that gets results, we encourage you to call the pros. Grammar Chic, Inc. is ready to offer our expertise, and to make your words and ideas shine. Reach out to us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

 

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Filed under Blog Writing, Content Marketing, Content Writing, Web Content

6 Reasons Why Guest Blogging Still Matters

SEO and content marketing are in a constant state of flux—and some of the strategies that worked well three years ago (or even three months ago) are of dubious impact today.

Yet there are some strategies that are tried and true, and remain very much recommended. One of the best is guest blogging. Simply put, submitting authoritative posts to relevant blogs—other than your own—is one of the smartest ways you can build your online brand.

Allow us to explain why. Here are just a few of the top benefits you can expect from guest blogging.

What Do You Get Out of Guest Blogging?

Targeted Traffic

First and foremost, there’s traffic. Even if you don’t get a backlink, you will almost certainly arouse the audiences’ interest—and that can lead to curious readers flocking to your website. Not only do you get traffic, but—assuming the blog you write for is relevant to your own industry—that traffic will probably be well-matched to your own customer demographics.

Relationships

Something else that guest blogging provides you? Connections. Developing some common bonds with other bloggers and contributors can open the door to more possibilities down the road—more guest blogging opportunities, more social media shares, more collaborations.

Social Media Shares

Speaking of social media, when you write a blog for another publication, you can bet that the owners of that publication will promote it—meaning you can expect social shares and re-tweets from a lot of folks who aren’t otherwise aware of your brand or your content.

Authority

When a respected publication agrees to host your guest blog, it’s a vote of confidence—a vouch for your authority. This can increase your visibility and prestige within your industry, and also lead to more social media followers—people who determine that your brand must be legitimate, since your guest blog was accepted by their favorite publication.

Links

We’re burying this one deep down in our list because most everybody knows that this is a benefit of guest blogging, and if anything it’s overemphasized. Still, the point must be made: Guest blogging is the best way to build up your backlink profile, which is an SEO essential.

Brand Awareness

Finally, guest blogging simply gets your name and your writing out there in front of people who probably wouldn’t see it otherwise—and if even one of those people becomes a paying customer, the guest blog has served an important purpose.

Start Guest Blogging Today

The benefits to guest blogging are many—but how do you get started? We’d love to chat with you about mapping out a guest blog initiative for your brand. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. to begin that dialogue: www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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

4 Ways to Make Your Copywriting SUPER Persuasive

Good online copywriting does more than just fill up the page, or offer fodder to the search engine algorithms. It also persuades. It encourages the reader to travel further down the sales path, either signing up for an email list, buying a product, or picking up the phone.

Or at least, that’s the way it should happen. We all know that much online copy just doesn’t move the dial; it doesn’t motivate the reader; and it certainly doesn’t improve the bottom line. That’s because it fails to persuade, often because it’s too steeped in tired, clichéd used-car-salesman tactics, or else bogged down in generalities.

So how can you make your copy not only pristine, but persuasive? Here are four steps to take right now.

Cut Meaningless Phrases

Consider this copywriting example: Our company produces world-class products that are bound to delight.

What does world class mean in this sentence? If your copywriting includes words or phrases you can’t readily explain, then it’s just not very good copy.

Specificity should always be your goal. Consider this rewrite:

Our products empower customers to increase their lead generation by 200 percent, representing the highest return on investment of any company in our industry.

Now that means something to your customers—and it’s better copy, because of it.

Use Numbers

Our second tip once again hinges on the idea of specificity. Simply put, using numbers and statistics is almost always more persuasive than speaking in generalities.

So, rather than saying that countless customers love your product, say something like, more than 200 businesses have trusted us with their email marketing needs, and we maintain an average 4.7-star rating among our clients.

Again, the specificity is eye-catching. It’s meaningful. It’s persuasive.

Get to the Point

A good rule of thumb with calls to action: Be direct, and tell your customer what to do next.

Consider these two variants:

If you’re interested in learning more, we encourage you to contact us at your convenience.

Or:

Call us now to start improving your lead generation by as much as 200 percent.

Which is more direct? And, which is more persuasive? The second, we’ll contend, is the option that conveys the most urgency and the most value.

Focus on Value

Your copy isn’t really about you. It’s about your customers, and the benefits they can gain from choosing your product or your brand.

Focusing on those benefits is the best way to persuade. Again, consider two variant CTAs:

Contact us today to learn more!

OR:

Contact us to empower your sales team and start capturing more leads.

Only the second option lays out a reason for your reader to take action—and that makes it by far the more persuasive of the two.

Get Help with Your Copywriting

Good writing should get results. At Grammar Chic, Inc., persuasive writing is our bread and butter. We can help you beef up your sales copy and start increasing your leads and conversions. Contact us today to schedule a consultation, and start filling your website with compelling sales copy.

Reach Grammar Chic, Inc. at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Blog Writing, Content Writing, Web Content, Writing

5 Ways You’re Botching Your Blog’s SEO

Blogging is one of the things we’re most proficient in here at Grammar Chic, Inc., and it’s a true honor to have so many small and medium-sized businesses entrust us with their blogging needs.

When new companies come to us wanting help on the blog front, they tend to have a couple of different emphases. First, they want something that will be compelling to their customers—compelling enough to elicit social media shares and perhaps even light up their phone lines. Second, they want something that will rank well on Google. After all, what’s the point of a business blog if no one can see it?

And here’s the tricky thing about blogging: It can be an absolutely critical tool for improving search engine visibility, but only if careful attention is paid to a few technical dimensions of the blog itself. Far too often, we see business blogs that have been written well, but not necessarily optimized well. Simply put, there are some key blunders that make otherwise-good blog posts less than SEO-friendly.

Naturally, you’ll want to avoid these blunders. Allow us to point out some of the most common ones.

Forgetting Keywords

There’s been a curious shift in the way people perceive keywords; where they used to be overemphasized, now they’re all too often overlooked. So let us clear this up: You definitely don’t want to force a bunch of ill-fitting keywords into your content, but you do want to have a couple of target keywords to guide your content creation. Use them as organically as you can, and try to smoothly work them into the following places:

  • Your title
  • Your meta description
  • Section sub-headings
  • Body content—not excessively, but wherever they naturally fit

Not Creating a Meta Description

Speaking of the meta description, each individual blog post should have one—roughly 150 characters to summarize your content, lay out your value proposition to readers, work in a keyword or two, and end with a call to action.

Not Formatting for Readability

Keep in mind just how many of your blogs will be read by people on their mobile devices, waiting in doctor’s officers, stuck in traffic, or taking a quick break from work. Making for fast, easy readability is key. Think:

  • Bullet points
  • Lists
  • Section sub-headings
  • Short paragraphs
  • Images and/or embedded video

Not Including a Call to Action

Every blog should have a strong call to action, inviting the reader to take the next step. Include your company contact information here for best results, especially in terms of local search.

Not Offering Value

A good blog post should be substantive and value-adding—which means providing take-away points for your readers; enough length to do your topic justice; and some external and/or internal links to related resources. Remember that by writing for the end user, you’re ultimately making your blog more appealing to Google.

Blog Better. Avoid SEO Blunders.

These are all potentially serious errors, yet they can also be very easily avoided. One way to steer clear of them: Trust your blogging to the pros. Learn more by contacting 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

The Right Way to Use SEO Keywords in Your Company Blog

One way to add SEO value to your written content is to include keywords. This is one of the oldest practices in all of digital marketing, yet also one of the least understood.

There have been a lot of pendulum shifts in the way marketers understand keywords; for a time, keywords were gleefully stuffed into every piece of content, and then there was a season when many wondered if keywords were on their way out.

The truth is that keywords still matter a great deal, and inserting them properly can add tremendous SEO value to your writing—yet judicious and strategic keyword use is something that requires some forethought and some discipline.

In this post, we’ll offer some basic practices for ensuring that, when you add keywords to your content, you do so effectively.

Keywords Drive Content—Not the Other Way Around

First, it’s really ideal if you use keywords as your starting point. Come up with your targeted keywords before you do any writing, and allow them to guide your approach—your topic selection, your structure, etc. This way, the keywords are worked into your content more organically.

The alternative is to write a piece of content and then add keywords after the fact. This isn’t optimal because it means the keywords will likely stick out like sore thumbs, or disrupt the flow of the writing. The goal should always be for your keyword use to be natural and seamless.

Keywords Reveal Something About Your Readers

Another important concept is keyword intent. If someone is searching for a particular keyword, it’s because he or she is seeking a certain kind of information. Think about why your buyers would be searching for a particular set of keywords, and what it says about their pain points and their ideal solutions.

This allows you to craft content where your keywords are not only present, but used in such a way to address the reader’s questions and provide a real sense of value. In other words, your keywords are in the content as answers, not just as SEO add-ons.

The Best Places to Include Keywords

Getting caught up in how many keywords is usually a dead end, but we do recommend trying to include keywords in a few strategic locations. Here are the places where keywords offer the most SEO value.

Headline

Include a keyword within the first 65 characters of your headline, if at all possible.

Body Text

The body of your blog post should have keywords used naturally throughout. Remember to never force them or stuff them; just use them where they fit naturally, ensuring that the content still reads well.

URL

A vanity URL slug, with your keyword included, is a great SEO feature.

Meta Description

Another great, often-overlooked place to add keywords is in your blog’s meta description.

Write Blogs with SEO Value

Keywords aren’t everything, but they can make your content more discoverable among search engine users. The Grammar Chic, Inc. team offers unsurpassed expertise in writing blog content with SEO value in mind. To talk to one of our ghost bloggers today, contact us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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5 Ways to Become a Lean, Mean, Blogging Machine

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

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

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

Become Ruthlessly Efficient in Your Blogging

Here are our five tips:

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

Another Way to Save Time on Blogging

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

 

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Filed under Blog Writing, Content Marketing, Content Writing

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

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

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

How Content Creators Cope with Writer’s Block

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

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

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