Category Archives: Brand Management

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

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

10 Innovative Content Marketing Resolutions for 2019

New year, new opportunities to create content that shines. As we sprint headlong into 2019, consider turning over a new leaf (or 10) with regard to your content marketing efforts. Here are some outside-the-box suggestions to get you started.

1. Stop thinking quantity-first, start thinking quality-first.

We meet a lot of small business owners who get hung up on content volume—and while we definitely think it’s important to be consistent in your content development, we also think that quality matters more than actual quantity.

Did you know that, for many companies, the overwhelming majority of their online engagement comes through just five percent of their content? That’s because that one really high-quality, in-depth blog post you develop is ultimately way more meaningful than 10 micro-blogs you dash off in an afternoon.

Resolve to produce good stuff this year, as opposed to just a lot of okay stuff.

2. Stop guessing and start measuring.

It’s amazing how many businesses invest big bucks in content marketing, but almost nothing into measurement and analytics. Simply put, if you’re going to be investing in any kind of marketing channel, you should have some idea of how well it’s performing for you.

And this doesn’t have to be some big, technical, or expensive undertaking. Google Analytics is free and user-friendly. Social media management platforms such as Hootsuite come with their own built-in reporting features. Start paying real attention to these metrics today.

3. Create a way for your whole team to participate.

A simple strategy: Make a shared Google Document where all the members of your team can log content ideas they come across, or report on questions they are asked by customers—all of which can be invaluable inspiration for your next blog post or e-book.

There’s no reason at all why every person in your company shouldn’t feel empowered to suggest new directions in content.

4. Document everything.

Along the same lines, make this the year you actually keep track of your content marketing efforts—who writes what, how often you publish new content, etc.

Documenting your efforts can be an invaluable way to hold yourself accountable, but also to identify potential areas of improvement. And again, this is an easy thing to do: A Google Doc or a running Excel spreadsheet is really all you need.

5. Be consistent in the story you’re telling.

It’s all too easy to forget that the content you produce is really telling the story of your brand—and it’s important to keep that narrative clear and muddle-free.

Some things to think about: What’s your mission? What’s your value proposition? What problems do you solve, and what customer pain points do you address? And, why would a customer choose you over your competitors?

It’s worth it to not only ponder these questions, but also to document your answers—creating a brand narrative you can refer back to often, making sure all the content you create reinforces that central message.

6. Start thinking of yourself as a publisher.

Some of the most successful companies in the world have begun to think of themselves as publishers—and the result is that they convey thought leadership, command a large social media audience, and maintain total control over their brand narrative.

To make this resolution even more practical, consider some options for publishing branded content beyond your company website. Two places where we’ve found success: LinkedIn Pulse and Medium.

7. Unite SEO and content marketing.

We’ve all read articles about SEO and content marketing, and how they are really two sides of the same coin—but do you actually practice that?

One resolution you might make is to use tools like the Google Keyword Planner to generate some targeted terms for your content—deploying them for SEO effect but also using them as jumping-off points for your content topics. This is a simple yet effective way to make sure your content marketing and SEO efforts are working in cahoots with one another, not at odds.

8. Flip your formula.

How’s this for a creative exercise: If you tend to think of content marketing purely in terms of blog posts, take one of your most popular blogs and use it as the script for a YouTube or Instagram video.

And, if you prefer to use tools like Facebook Live, take one of your most popular broadcasts and use it as the basis for a downloadable PDF.

The point is to think outside your usual format—shake things up, inspire some new ideas, and give your audience something a little bit outside the ordinary.

9. Go live.

The thought of any kind of live streaming might be intimidating for you—and we get it! But remember, a live stream on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. In fact, the virtue of live streaming is that it allows for some candid, off-the-cuff interaction with your audience—perhaps in the form of a quick hello, a product update, or even an audience Q&A.

It’s something that can effectively humanize your brand, and it’s worth trying in the year to come!

10. Work with a content development team.

Finally, if you’ve been seeking a way to make your content production more strategic, more efficient, or more creative, maybe now’s the time to take a leap forward into working with a content writing team. That, of course, is where we come into play.

Whether you’re looking to implement these resolutions or simply want to know what your options are, we’d love to talk with you. Reach out to Grammar Chic today at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net. And oh yeah—Happy New Year!

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5 Factors That Give Your Website Credibility

Your website provides customers with a peek into the kind of business you run—its reputation, its trustworthiness, and its basic value proposition. In other words, your website hints at how credible your company is, and whether or not customers should trust it with their time and money.

Just think for a minute: There are plenty of legitimate businesses on the Web, but also some sketchy ones. Potential customers aren’t going to bank on your business unless they see that it’s the real deal—not something shady or unscrupulous.

And customers aren’t the only ones who care about credibility. Search engine algorithms also work to assess the credibility level of your website. As you might imagine, a higher level of credibility will improve your SEO rankings.

But just because your business is credible doesn’t mean your website conveys it—which raises the question: How can you inject some credibility into your website design?

5 Ways to Develop a More Credible Website

Here are five factors that can make a world of difference.

Reviews and Testimonials

One of the quickest ways to establish your business’s legitimacy is to simply offer some social proof—direct reports from satisfied customers. Reviews and testimonials are both powerful ways to accomplish this. Just make sure you steer clear of any fake testimonials, which can come back to bite you. (And today’s savvy online consumers are better than you might imagine at detecting fakes.)

Advertisements

Some businesses host third-party ads on their site in order to generate extra revenues. This may seem tempting, but it can ultimately be counterproductive. Simply put, the presence of ads makes your business seem a little iffy.

Regular Updates

Have you ever stumbled upon a website that seemed as though it hadn’t been updated in years? That’s obviously not a good look for your business site, as an out-of-date website can make it seem like the business itself is dead. Build credibility by refreshing your website content annually, and by updating your blog often.

Clear Contact Information

Here’s an easy one: Make sure your company contact information is clearly listed on your website, and invite customers to call or email with any questions. If you don’t include this contact information, it can make it seem like you’re hiding from your own customer base

“About Us” Content

Finally, you can make your business seem more credible by offering some information about who you are. Ideally, you’ll have team member bios and photos on the website, emphasizing the real people behind the company.

Boost Your Website Credibility Today

Make it clear to search engines and to potential customers alike that your business is the real deal—and that it’s worthy of their time and money. To learn more about enhancing website credibility, reach out to the team at Grammar Chic, Inc. today. Connect at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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10 Things You Need for Successful Social Media Marketing

Every business wants a robust presence on social media; indeed, it’s almost impossible to succeed without one. But social media marketing requires a lot more than just signing up for a Facebook account and posting the occasional meme.

Actually, it requires a comprehensive strategy, involving many moving parts. Here’s a quick checklist—some non-negotiable elements of any successful social media marketing campaign.

10 Things You Need for Your Social Marketing Efforts

  1. Goals. What’s the point of your social marketing outreach? How will you know whether or not you’re succeeding? You need to have clearly defined goals to guide your efforts—and that means goals that are specific, measurable, and time-bound.
  2. Audience. Who are you trying to reach? On which social networks will you find them? And what kind of content are they looking for? Use buyer personas to ensure you’re speaking directly to your target audience.
  3. Automation. Not everything can be automated, but using a program like Hootsuite to schedule some posts can remove some of the grunt work, and help your campaign run more efficiently.
  4. Humanity. The whole point of social media is connection. Make sure you’re humanizing your brand: Use humor when appropriate and include some candid photos of your team.
  5. Consistency. Regular activity is critical for social media success. Simply put, nobody’s going to keep up with a social media presence where the updates are infrequent or sporadic. Use an editorial calendar to stay on schedule.
  6. Interaction. Social media is a two-way street! Monitor your accounts and take the time to respond to any questions or comments you get from customers or fans.
  7. Curated content. If you’re looking to build thought leadership and display your industry authority, it’s important to sometimes share informative content from external sources (not your competitors).
  8. Original content. Curated content is important, but hopefully you’re developing plenty of branded content to share, too. Aim for a spectrum of content—blog posts, photos, videos, Web page shares, etc.
  9. Data. Are you regularly consulting analytics to see what’s working—and what’s not? Make sure you’re using the right dashboards and tweaking your strategy as you go.
  10. Optimization. Finally, make sure your social media bios and profiles are all well-optimized. Include target keywords and convey the value proposition for your brand. Refresh your profiles roughly once a year or so.

Those are the basic elements of a strong social media presence—but of course, bringing them all together can be tough. We’d love to chat with you about how the Grammar Chic team can provide strategy, day-to-day management, content creation, and reporting. Contact us today and ask about our social media management services! Reach out at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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How to Use Testimonials in Your Content Marketing

Today’s consumers are wired—even if on a purely subconscious level—to seek social proof. Before making a purchasing decision, they want to know that other people have made that decision—and been happy with the results.

Indeed, studies show that even a testimonial or recommendation from a total stranger can positively impact a purchasing decision; seven out of 10 consumers are more likely to buy a product or service if it has testimonials attached to it. The question is, how can you get these testimonials, then effectively use them within your marketing materials?

Asking for Reviews

The only way to get testimonials is to ask for them. You can contact your customers at random and ask for reviews, and sometimes that will yield results. A better approach is to be systematic about who, how, and when you ask.

For instance, it can be ideal to ask for a testimonial from someone who has just completed a purchase. Send an email within a day or two of their purchase and ask them to share some feedback. Because the product is still fresh in their minds, they’ll be more likely to oblige.

If you don’t get a response, send a follow-up a couple of weeks later. Sometimes, it may take that long for a customer to form a solid opinion about the product. And if you do get a response, take note of that, and reach out again the next time that customer makes a purchase. When someone proves willing to give you a review, that’s always something you should track and leverage.

One more tip: Consider sending personalized emails to your best, most loyal customers—the ones who you feel are likely to provide you with honest, positive feedback. Simply let them know how much their business means to you, and how helpful a quick testimonial would be.

As you send out testimonial requests, consider asking a few “guiding” questions. For example, ask the customer how much money the product saved them, or how much time it saves them on a daily or weekly basis. You can also ask more open-ended questions, e.g., what’s the biggest benefit this product has given you?

Using Testimonials

As you receive testimonials, don’t be afraid to edit them for grammar, punctuation, or length, making them as punchy and as readable as possible. Note that, for substantive changes, you’ll need to get approval from the customer.

Though it may not always be possible, consider putting an image of the customer beside their testimonial; of course, you’ll need to ask the customer to send that image, and to give their permission for its use, but such effort can really pay off. Remember that testimonials are all about building trust, and an image can make your testimonials far more human and trustworthy.

As for how you use testimonials, there are a number of ways you can implement this content:

  • On a designated Testimonials page on your company website
  • On the home page
  • Product-specific testimonials on the corresponding product pages
  • In your print brochures
  • Turned into images and posted to social media (simple resources like Canva can be used here)
  • In email newsletters
  • In your email signature

There are a number of creative places where a testimonial can be implemented to offer that social proof that your buyers are looking for—and in the process, to win their trust.

We’d love to chat with you more about the best ways to collect and implement testimonials. Schedule a free consultation with Grammar Chic’s content marketing experts: Reach out at www.grammachic.net or 803-831-7444.

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5 Reasons Your Business Should Have a Content Marketing Strategy

Content creation. Content distribution. Data and analytics. These are all important components of any content marketing campaign. And yet, they can all be fairly meaningless if they’re not united by a broader sense of strategy.

Your content marketing strategy provides you guidance on what you’re trying to achieve; how you’ll achieve it; and how you’ll define success. It clarifies the kind of content you need to create, and the channels you need and don’t need as you distribute that content.  A good strategy can help you use all your content marketing resources effectively, and it also ensures that the content you create is consistently on-message.

Before you do anything else, then—before you write a blog, make a video, or post to social media—it’s important to have a documented strategy. In creating this content marketing strategy, you’ll reap a number of big benefits.

You’ll have clearly defined goals.

The first benefit is that you’ll have some sense of what you’re trying to achieve. Are you producing content to educate and inform potential customers, making things easier on your sales team? Is it purely for SEO? Are you trying to develop industry-wide thought leadership and authority?

All of these are noble and attainable goals, but you need to clarify them so you know what kind of content to write.

You’ll have metrics in place.

Not only does a content marketing strategy help you set goals, but it also forces you to define success. How will you know when your content marketing efforts are doing what they’re supposed to? Which metrics will you look toward? What kind of reporting do you need to measure your content’s effectiveness?

A content marketing strategy provides you with the answers to these questions—and helps you to say for certain whether or not you’re achieving the right results with your content efforts.

You’ll define your audience.

Your content won’t be effective unless you tailor it to your audience—which means, of course, that you have to know who that audience is.

A content marketing strategy should lead you to think critically about who you’re trying to reach, and ideally to create buyer personas to ensure that you address your audience with as much precision as possible.

You’ll discover the right channels.

Regular content creation on YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and Twitter—to say nothing of blogs and emails—may prove both costly and time-consuming. But what if you don’t actually need all those channels? What if, to meet your goals and address your audience, you really just need two or three of them?

That could prove tremendously advantageous to the bottom line—and with a content marketing strategy in place, you’ll have a much more accurate sense of which channels you really need and which you can do without.

You’ll understand your content creation needs.

Content marketing always involves a question of how much. How much content do you need? How often should you be blogging, posting to social media, and sending out emails? It’s important to get the right frequency, and in some cases this might require you to outsource some of your content development tasks to a company like Grammar Chic.

When you thoughtfully craft a content marketing strategy, it helps illuminate your content needs, and give you some sense of whether or not you need that extra hand in content creation.

Are you ready to create a content marketing strategy?

Without a strategy to guide you, your content marketing efforts will really just be guesswork. Get more out of your efforts—clearer goals, better results, more judicious spending—by getting a strategy in place.

We’d love to help you brainstorm one. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. to set up a consultation. Reach us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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