Category Archives: Business Writing

7 Ways to Get Maximum Value from Your Company Blog Posts

social-1958774_1280

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.

Leave a comment

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

9 Words and Phrases That are Ruining Your Resume

crumpled-paper-1852978_1280

Every word on your resume matters—for better or for worse. There’s no such thing as a neutral resume content; anything that’s not making you more desirable to hiring managers is making you less desirable. Of course, those are the things you want to scrub, but how do you know what’s helping and what’s actually hurting?

To get you started, we’re put together a list of nine words and phrases that we still see on resumes all the time; hopefully, they’re not on yours, but if they are, we’d urge you to strike them right away.

Remove These Words from Your Resume

  1. “Unemployed.” The employment dates on your resume should make it clear whether or not you currently have work; there’s really no need to highlight it, especially with such a bummer of a word.
  2. “Hardworking.” The same goes for any of these vague adjectives that can’t really be qualified. Every jobseeker claims to be hardworking, but there’s really no way to prove it, so it doesn’t mean much for you to say it.
  3. “On time.” It’s assumed that you’ll do your work on time; there’s no need to brag about it.
  4. “Objective.” Every jobseeker’s objective is the same—i.e., to get a job—so there’s no need to say it. Use an executive summary instead, highlighting all the things that make you a good candidate.
  5. “References available upon request.” It should go without saying that you’ll provide references for any employer who asks for them.
  6. Anything that’s misspelled. You need a proofreader for your resume, because a single typo is all it takes to get your resume tossed into the trash can.
  7. Any outdated technical competencies. In 2017, there’s no reason for you to brag about your familiarity with email, Microsoft Office, or Internet Explorer. In fact, doing so just makes you look out of touch.
  8. Any meaningless corporate buzzwords. What does synergy even mean? If you can’t define it pretty readily, don’t put it on your resume.
  9. “Can’t” or “won’t.” A resume should be positive! Don’t bog it down with negative words.

Is Your Resume Full of Wasted Words?

If your resume is riddled with these harmful words, it may be a good idea to get a professional tune-up. The Grammar Chic team can provide you with a resume that’s both efficient and effective. Contact us today at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

Leave a comment

Filed under Business Writing, Resume Writing

How to Keep Your Emails Out of the Spam Folder

email-1903444_1280

Email marketing is potentially quite rewarding, an effective way to stay in contact with clients and with leads. As with anything, though, it takes some strategy and foresight if you want to steer clear of major obstacles—and as far as email marketing goes, the most major obstacle of all is the spam filter.

Simply put: People won’t like receiving low-value, spammy emails, which is why most email programs have sophisticated algorithms to detect spam and send it directly into a separate folder—keeping inboxes clean and uncluttered. That’s good news for email users but bad news for marketers, whose well-intentioned emails may inadvertently run afoul of these spam filters.

So what can you do to keep your emails in inboxes, where they belong? Keep reading for a few practical tips.

How to Avoid Getting Your Emails Flagged as Spam

To keep out of the way of those spam filters, here’s what we recommend:

Don’t buy an email list. If you’re sending emails to people who didn’t ask for them, it’s likely that they’ll flag your messages as spam. Only send marketing emails to customers who actually opt in to your email list.

Avoid conventionally “salesy” language. Spam filters will weed out any emails that seem like they’re strictly selling something—so using subject lines with “sale” or “free” can get you in trouble. Likewise, “30% off” and all-caps subject lines are destined to get your emails discarded. Focus on providing real information and value, and describing the email contents in non-salesy terms.

Don’t send image-only emails. While some images are fine, you also want to include text. Why? Some spammers have tried to use image-only emails to outsmart spam filters, so messages that only contain images may be discarded automatically.

Provide options for unsubscribing or for receiving fewer emails. Again, if you want to avoid getting your emails flagged as spam, it’s smart to allow readers some say in the emails they receive.

Segment and personalize your emails. The more specifically you can target your message to a particular audience, the more likely it is that people will want to read it rather than mark it as spam.

Strategize Your Email Marketing

Of course, the best way to make sure your marketing emails hit their target is to consider a robust, integrated approach to content marketing—and that’s something Grammar Chic can help with. Ask us about it today. Contact the Grammar Chic team at www.grammarchic.net, or at 803-831-7444.

Leave a comment

Filed under Business Writing, Email Writing

10 Questions for Your Web Developer

web-1668927_1280

Your company’s website is sort of like its virtual storefront—so when your website gets a facelift, it can almost feel like you’re moving into new digs, or at the very least getting a major renovation. That’s something you obviously want to approach strategically, and doing so means communicating your vision to the designer, while also making sure you have the right expectations about the finished product.

If you don’t have much experience talking to Web designers, you may be unsure of what to ask. Allow us to recommend a few basic, important questions to get you started.

What Should You Ask Your Web Designer?

  1. What’s my role in the process? Your designer will need to solicit your opinion or obtain information from you at various points, and if there is any delay in your response, it could stall the whole project. Make sure you have a good sense of what’s expected of you.
  2. What are the most common hold-ups in the process? Along the same lines, you might ask your designer where projects usually stall, and how you can avoid that happening.
  3. What resources can I provide up front? Most designers will be happy to receive marketing materials, brochures, links to old websites, etc. to get some sense of your style and your branding choices.
  4. What’s the process for adding new content to the site? What do you do when you have another part of the page that you need to add, and how much will it cost you?
  5. Will the site be hard-coded? What you’re asking here, basically, is whether the site will be done in old-school HTML format. Be warned: If the answer is yes, you will have to depend on the designer to make site updates for you!
  6. How can I update the site? Make sure the designer shows you around the CMS dashboard, allowing you to easily make small tweaks or additions to the site as needed.
  7. Will the website be responsive? A responsive website is vital for mobile friendliness. Make sure you confirm this with your designer.
  8. What are all of the costs associated with this site? You’ll want to know up-front the costs associated with the domain, hosting, etc., all of which may be in addition to the fee charged by the designer.
  9. How will we discuss revisions? You may have some tweaks you want to make to the designer’s initial mock-up, so clarify how that will go down—how you’ll communicate, how promptly you can expect those changes to be implemented, etc.
  10. What are the content needs? Your designer will probably need you to provide written content for each page—but how much? And are there any SEO requirements for your content to meet?

Have Your Content Handled by the Pros

Speaking of content creation, that happens to be our forte—and we would love to help you develop the written collateral for your new site. Ask us about our process today. Contact Grammar Chic at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

Leave a comment

Filed under Business Writing, Content Writing, Web Content

4 Keyword Errors That Can Tank Your SEO

seo-1746842_1280

Keywords are critical for successful search engine optimization (SEO), but they can also be stumbling blocks. We’ve all been to websites where the keywords were so dense and so awkward that the text didn’t read naturally, or offer any meaningful insight to the user. By the same token, you’ve probably struggled with blog posts or web pages that simply didn’t generate any SEO traction, likely because of insufficient keywording.

In other words, working with keywords requires some balance. To help you achieve it, we’re going to run down four of the most common keyword mistakes—technical errors that can sink your SEO endeavor. We’ll also provide some hints for avoiding them.

Common Keyword Mistakes—And How to Avoid Them

Only choosing short-term keywords. Before you can implement keywords, you have to select them—and many SEO novices spend too much time and attention on shorter, more general search terms. The problem with choosing a keyword like “plumbing” is that it’s just not how users tend to search for things; at the same time, it happens to be really expensive to rank for, especially with PPC ads. A long-tail keyword—“affordable plumbing in Charlotte, NC,” for example—better reflects user habits, and also provides more room to be competitive.

Keyword stuffing. When people ask us how many keywords they should be using, we generally just recommend that they use the words naturally. Keyword stuffing is when you use so many keywords that any semblance of meaning is lost. For example: “Looking for a good Charlotte, NC plumber? There are many Charlotte, NC plumber companies to choose from. Talk to a Charlotte, NC plumber by dialing into our Charlotte, NC plumber hotline today!” If your text doesn’t read naturally, you’re probably stuffing it with keywords—and that can actually lead to search engine penalties.

Going off-topic. Is your chosen keyword “Charlotte plumbing expert?” And are you using “Charlotte plumbing expert” 10 times within your text? If so, then the content needs to be about Charlotte plumbing experts. If it’s about something totally off-topic, that’ll just infuriate readers—and, again, land you with search engine penalties.

Forgetting title tags and meta descriptions. There are the most crucial areas for including keywords—so if you’re not filling them in strategically, you’re missing prime SEO opportunities!

Get Your Keywords in Order

If you’re struggling to balance content creation with keyword deployment, our Web copywriters would love to lend a hand. Contact Grammar Chic to learn more, either at 803-831-7444 or at www.grammarchic.net.

Leave a comment

Filed under Business Writing, Web Content

How to Overcome Writer’s Block (And Generate Better Blog Topics)

typewriter-801921_1280

Content marketing requires constant engagement. It’s like a beast that must continually be fed. You can’t slack off, or take a month off from content creation; there are always new blog posts to be written, new social media updates to share, new emails to send. If you stop moving—if you stop hustling—your audience will shrink and your efforts will come up short.

This can obviously lead to some obstacles. Take blogging as an example. When you’re tasked with developing new, unique, creative blog posts every single day, it can be draining. You may find yourself developing a case of writer’s block, even as you also realize that you don’t have that luxury. You’ve got to keep writing—but how can you come up with a fresh topic to write about, without simply plundering and repurposing older ideas?

There are some simple habits that can prove effective in pumping those creative juices, and providing you with the fresh insights and ideas you need.

Have Regular Brainstorming Sessions

You may be the person who is tasked with writing the company blog posts, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some help sparking your creativity. Meet with team members once a month or so and ask them for their thoughts. What are some of the questions that customers have been asking them? What are some of the topics they’ve detected interest in? How do they see the blog being improved, made more useful and informative? These brainstorming sessions can generate new perspectives you may not have thought of otherwise.

Look Through Your Customer Correspondence

Make a habit of regularly reading your recent customer emails or social messages, and take note of the questions or concerns that people are bringing up. Those are things people want to hear more about. Those are the pain points. And those can make for really timely and relevant blog posts.

Consider Your Hobbies

We’ve written articles comparing content marketing to The Walking Dead and to Mad Men—because we happen to really like those shows. Are there activities or passions in your personal life that you could translate into blog posts? Think about the things you care most about, outside of the office, and ask yourself how these things intersect with your professional life.

Subscribe to Other Industry Blogs

This one is simple: When you see another industry blog that you admire, bookmark it, or subscribe to the RSS feed. Make a habit of at least skimming through these posts from your competitors, and using them as potential launch pads for your own posts. (Obviously, you need to make sure you’re putting your own spin on things, not pilfering posts wholesale.)

These are all basic habits you can form that will keep your good-idea machine hoppin’. If you need an extra hand, though, we’re always around. Contact Grammar Chic’s ghostwriters at 803-831-7444 or at www.grammarchic.net.

Leave a comment

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

Why Your Company Should Move Beyond Content Marketing Freelancers

home-office-336373_1280

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.

 

Leave a comment

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