Category Archives: Brand Management

7 Content Marketing Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make in 2017

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Many of us are still in the leaf-turning phase of the new year, eager to identify and implement key areas for personal and professional change. Perhaps some of your own resolutions include improvements to your company’s content marketing endeavors. And if not—well, maybe they should.

There is never a bad time to revise your content marketing mechanisms—to be more strategic about consumer outreach, relationship-building, and thought leadership. Getting more serious about content marketing can yield many benefits, and the good news is, making constructive content marketing resolutions doesn’t have to be anything too nebulous or complex: It can be as simple as learning from yesterday’s mistakes.

With that in mind, we’ve got some suggestions for you: Some content marketing mistakes we’ve seen before, and ones we encourage you to learn from as you move forward toward bigger and better content endeavors.

Mistake #1: Blogging Inconsistently

Anyone can resolve to start a blog. Even writing that first post can seem pretty easy. Maintaining robust and regular blog content, though, is another matter altogether—yet it requires consistency for you to keep your audience engaged, increase our search engine exposure, and develop your brand’s authority.

Mistake #2: Making Grade-School Grammar Mistakes

Be honest: Have you ever posted a company blog that interchanges your with you’re, or that mixes up their and there? These aren’t just little errors. They make your business look shoddy and unprofessional. Make sure you have a skilled editor proof your content before it’s posted.

Mistake #3: Overlooking SEO Opportunities

You don’t have to be a technical whiz to fill in the meta description for your company blog post (WordPress and other content management systems will offer you a place to do this), or to include a few judicious keywords in your posts and your titles. Don’t forfeit these opportunities to tell the search engine what your content is all about.

Mistake #4: Missing Email Marketing Opportunities

Remember that when you post a really good entry to your blog, it’s something you ought to be promoting everywhere—and that includes in emails. Your email marketing list is a great place to turn when you want to get attention for a new piece of content. Spread the word, and make sure you’re conveying real value to your readers.

Mistake #5: Misusing Social Media

Your Facebook and Twitter accounts aren’t just for promoting your latest products or sales, though that’s certainly a good use for them. You should also be using them to spread meaningful, value-adding content, though—not just your company blog posts, but curated content from other industry resources, too.

Mistake #6: Poorly Formatting Your Content

Are your company blog posts difficult to read—or difficult to skim? Sub-headings, lists, and bullet points can really make life easier for your readers. If nothing else, shorter paragraphs are generally recommended.

Mistake #7: Not Offering Value Through Your Content

It ultimately comes down to what you’re writing about: You should be developing content that truly makes life better for your readers, answering their questions and posing actionable solutions to their problems. Otherwise, why would they bother?

Content development happens to be our strong suit—so if you’re looking for a hand in making big content improvements in 2017, give Grammar Chic a call at 803-831-7444, or visit us at www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Brand Management, Content Marketing, Content Writing, Email Writing, Social Media

Why Your Company Should Move Beyond Content Marketing Freelancers

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These days, there aren’t many business owners who seriously dispute the value of original, branded content. It can be proven, with graphs and charts, that YouTube videos increase brand engagement and boost website traffic; that blog posts can be invaluable for bolstering SEO; that e-books and white papers can be unparalleled tools for generating leads. The list goes on and on.

What business owners do question is how best to achieve their content goals. Some take on the tough job of content creation themselves, which is something we admire. Others choose to enlist freelancers. Certainly, the Internet is full of resources that make it easy to track down freelance writers and content creators, and in some cases this approach can work wonderfully.

There is another option that we would obviously recommend most highly, which is engaging the services of a content writing firm—like Grammar Chic, Inc. For companies that have grown past freelancers, this is the logical next step. Allow us to provide a few reasons why.

As your content needs grow, you’ll need to hit bigger volume goals. A freelancer can work well when you’re looking for a blog post each week, but what happens when you need 40 articles churned out, a full website content revamp, or something similarly ambitious? A lone freelancer won’t be able to keep up with that brisk production pace, but a full writing team, with a deep bench of content creators, will.

Freelancers may not have the breadth of experience you need. An integrated marketing campaign will require a wide range of content—not just blog posts but e-books, marketing emails, FAQ pages, how-tos, and more. Each of these content types calls for a different skillset—something you’ll find on a writing team, but not necessarily with a lone freelancer.

Proving ROI is something many freelancers will struggle with. It is inaccurate to say that content ROI cannot be proven; in fact, Grammar Chic routinely provides clients with reports and statistics that show just what kind of results our content is getting. This is a capability that freelance writers simply might not have.

Writing companies will have a wider network of resources to call on. Looking to get a blog post syndicated, or to have a press release distributed through a reputable PR newswire? Freelancers may not have these connections—but a company like Grammar Chic does.

A writing company will provide critical dependability. The worst-case scenario, content-wise, would be for a writer to quit on you in the middle of a big content push, leaving you to find and train someone new. Freelancers are much more likely to do this than a writing company is; a company like Grammar Chic puts its professional reputation on the line when it enters into a contract with a new client, and always sticks to the promises made.

There are some other key distinctions we could name, too—and we’d love to talk with you about them one-on-one. Start the conversation today. Contact Grammar Chic’s deep bench of writers by calling 803-831-7444, or by visiting www.grammarchic.net.

 

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

5 Trust Symbols to Add to Your Website

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Do customers trust your brand?

That’s always been an important question for businesses and sales professionals to address, but it’s taken on a new urgency in the era of digital commerce. After all, if you’re doing business primarily through your website, customers may never have a chance to look you in the eye, shake your hand, or freely question you about the nature of your products or services. This does not in any way mean that your products and services are less trustworthy, but it does mean that some customers will struggle; they will need additional reassurances.

The good news is, there are ways to offer precisely that, simply by adding trust symbols to your website. The concept of a trust symbol is pretty self-explanatory: Anything that signifies your company as reputable and reliable can qualify. The question is, what are some of the main trust symbols that can be added to a small business website?

Trust Symbols to Consider for Your Site

The answer can vary slightly from one company to the next, and your brand may not really qualify for every one of these five symbols—but it will certainly qualify for a couple of them. Adding them to your business website can make a huge difference in fostering trust-based relationships with your treasured clients.

  1. There is no better way to engender faith in your product than to put a seal up showing that you offer a money-back guarantee. Note that there are different types of guarantee you can use. An absolute guarantee promises that your product will never break. A risk-free guarantee, meanwhile, might say that if the product does break down, all your money will be refunded. This second type of guarantee can actually be better for building trust: Promising your product will never break can seem too good to be true, while offering no risk if it does break feels more genuine.
  2. Consumer testimonials. Have other people used your products or services and responded favorably? Ask them to write a quick testimonial on your behalf. Usually, a loyal and happy customer, when asked politely and authentically, will be happy to do this for you. We proudly display client testimonials on the Grammar Chic page, and believe them to be important in showing that we know our stuff.
  3. Similarly, if your business receives five-star reviews on Google or Facebook, consider having those reviews embedded or linked to from your site. Just be sure you monitor the reviews in case you get some bad ones that need addressing!
  4. Helpful content. Does the content on your site support and educate your client? Do you have product guides, FAQs, demos, and tutorial videos? All can be vital for building trust on your brand’s behalf, and allowing the customer to move forward in confidence.
  5. A strong About Us page. Finally, you can build trust on your page by ensuring you lay out the details of what your company stands for and what value it offers. Don’t underestimate how far this can go in assuaging customer fears!

With the right trust symbols added, your website can really instill buyer confidence. To learn more about these strategies, we encourage you to get in touch with Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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

CHECKLIST: Is Your Website Working for You?

 

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Your company website is much more than an online placeholder—much more than the Google equivalent of a Yellow Pages listing. Ideally, your business website is the hardest-working member of your sales team, a brand ambassador that’s tireless in its effort to draw in new leads, convert them into customers, and ultimately showcase everything that’s great about your business. In a perfect world, your website keeps your e-mail inbox full of inquiries, your phone ringing off the hook.

Of course, this isn’t a perfect world, and it’s possible that you don’t exactly have a perfect website. Is it time to rewrite your website content, rethink the navigation, or even overhaul the site completely? Maybe. Before jumping to any conclusions, though, use our quick checklist to determine what you’re dealing with.

A Few Quick Questions to Ask About Your Website

Who are you trying to reach with your website? Who’s your target audience? Who are the people who benefit from your products/services? Who’s your ideal client? Who can you help? Think about the answer, and write down a simple, sentence-long statement about who you’re on a mission to serve. Use that as a guide for your website overhaul; you might even include that sentence somewhere on your home page.

Do you have a useful About page? A good About page isn’t really about you at all—not really. Nobody wants to read seven paragraphs of text about your company history. What people care about is the value you can provide. Does your About page suggest what’s in it for your customer?

Is the branding consistent? Does your website use a coherent vocabulary of colors and fonts—and are those branding choices reflected in other marketing collateral, like social media pages and brochures?

Do you have streamlined value propositions? Whether you have a list of individual Products, a list of Services, or something more general, you need to ensure that your website is to-the-point about how it makes your customer’s life better, how it solves problems, etc. Another way of asking this question: Does your website identify your clients’ problems, and posit your brand as the solution?

Are there strong calls to action on every page? Your site should lead customers through the sales funnel, and provide easy ways for them to engage with you.

Does your site capture leads? Are there forms on your page where customers can input their name and contact information, perhaps in exchange for an e-book or some other downloadable offer?

When was the last time your site was updated? A good website needs to be refreshed regularly with new content. When’s the last time you refurbished your page?

Use these questions to assess where your company website stands now—and perhaps start brainstorming some changes, if needed.

If you decide it’s time to rewrite the site, or simply add some new, fresh content, Grammar Chic can help. Give us a buzz at 803-831-7444, or visit www.grammarchic.net.

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4 Easy Ways to Get More Followers on Instagram

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If you still think Instagram is all about selfies, cat photos, and bad pictures of food, then it’s time to wake up. The picture-sharing mobile platform now has more than 400 million users, and is growing at a faster rate than any other social channel. In other words, it’s a channel far too significant for your brand to ignore it.

That’s not necessarily to say that Instagram is for everyone. Some companies are more photogenic than others, and it’s understandable that, say, an accounting firm might see less worth in Instagram than a florist, a baker, or a pet groomer.

Using Instagram for All It’s Worth

But if your branding has any visual component at all, you should at least think about using Instagram—and using it strategically. That means optimizing each pictorial post to not only get likes and comments, but ultimately grow your number of followers.

Some simple ways to do that include:

  1. Use popular hashtags. You don’t have to be an Instagram expert to know what hashtags are; they’re the cross-platform language of social media, and they provide a great way to connect your posts to broader conversations. And while there is merit in using custom hashtags, it’s at least as important to use Instagram’s Search icon to track down really hot hashtags and anchor your posts to them. (Just make sure to keep them relevant; don’t jump on an irrelevant hashtag just for the sake of being trendy.)
  1. Interact with other posts. Keep the social in social media. If your Instagram strategy is all about you, don’t be surprised when your follower list fails to grow. Rather than being insular and self-absorbed, take some time to find posts relevant to your niche—again, use search/hashtags—and like and comment.
  1. Always tag your posts with a location. Want people to come see you in your office? Make sure you let them know where it is—and also make it easier to connect with customers and clients who may also tag themselves at your location.
  1. Spread links to your Instagram. People like Instagram because they like looking at photos, so it doesn’t necessarily take much of a push for you to get people to look you up. Include links to your Instagram account on your blogs, your website, other social platforms—even your email signature.

Follow these tips to boost your Insta-following—and for help, don’t hesitate to contact Grammar Chic: 803-831-744 or www.grammarchic.net.

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Facebook is Rolling Out Local Business Verification Badges. Here’s Why You Should Get One.

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Have you ever been on Twitter or Facebook and noticed an account with a little blue checkmark beside its name—say, the account for a celebrity, a musician, a professional athlete, or a politician?

These check marks show that the account is verified. All this means is that it’s the real deal. When you see Chris Rock on Twitter with a blue check mark beside his name, that means that it really is the Chris Rock—not a fan and not an imposter. By contrast, if you see a Chris Rock account without the checkmark, that’s probably a Chris Rock fan page—still funny, maybe, but not affiliated with the actual guy.

According to Marketing Land, Facebook has rolled out a new verification system—this time marked by gray badges, to distinguish from the blue ones. While blue is still the color for celebrities, gray is now used to verify and legitimize local businesses. The feature is being rolled out to businesses across several countries, including the United States and Great Britain.

For verified businesses, the gray checkmarks will now show up beside the business name in Facebook searches and on the account page itself. For companies looking to get verified, the process is fairly simple. All you’ll need is a couple minutes of time and a business phone number. Details are available here.

This is something we recommend local businesses do, and for a couple of reasons. One of the stated reasons from Facebook is to ensure that consumers are finding the authentic business listing. A lot of companies have duplicate pages on Facebook, perhaps created by former employees or perhaps generated through social media “check-ins.” The gray badge lets consumers know that they have found the real, official business listing.

And piggybacking off that point, verification badges provide consumer confidence. Your business has to be fairly legitimate to qualify for this—it needs a real phone number and a physical address—so opting to get verified is a sign that you’re running a real operation. It’s a sign that consumers can confidently do business with you.

For businesses not able to qualify for the gray checkmark—perhaps because they don’t have physical locations that consumers can visit—there are other ways to ensure credibility, such as using testimonials, sharing customer reviews, and showcasing thought leadership. But if you do qualify for the gray checkmark, there’s really no reason not to get one.

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5 Ways to Bring Humanity to Your Brand

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People like doing business with other people—not with faceless, personality-deficient corporate brands.

So if you’re looking to build real connections, and to convince your customers to trust you, it’s important that you present your brand with some humanity—a hard thing to quantify or to achieve, but essential nonetheless.

But how can you make your company come across as more approachable, more humane—without compromising your polish or your professionalism?

Consider these strategies:

  1. Use your actual team members in your marketing. If you want to put a human face on your business—well, why not actually use human faces? Involve the different people and personalities who work for your company. Put employee bios and photos on your website. Share behind-the-scenes employee photos on social media. And don’t resort to the use of stock photos; there’s no need, when you’ve got plenty of talented humans right under your roof!
  2. Encourage your employees to be brand ambassadors. You probably don’t want to force anyone to share branded content on their personal social media channels, but you can at the very least encourage them to post or tweet company blogs and status updates. Create a culture in which employees are eager to showcase the brand on social media; ensure that there is plenty of positive and entertaining content for them to share.
  3. Get your users involved. Encourage your social media followers to post pictures of your products being used, or to send in their stories and experiences related to your brand. Create a hashtag for them to use, and share some of the best submissions you get.
  4. Personalize your automated messages. Do you have automated e-mails that go out when people buy your products or sign up for your newsletter? Write a brief but creative message to use in these e-mails—something to lend your brand a little extra pizzazz.
  5. Write like a human. This one is the toughest, but perhaps also the most essential. In writing company content, avoid using jargon or needless technical terms. Instead, write naturally, conversationally, perhaps even humorously. Don’t write as The Company; write as a person. That’s what readers will connect to.

And that’s what this is all about: Creating marketing materials that will facilitate real relationships. That’s something you can only accomplish when you show some humanity.

Get help with your content marketing today: Contact Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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