Category Archives: Business 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

5 Ways to Make Your Written Content More SEO-Friendly

Whether you’re writing content for your company website or dashing off the latest company blog post, you want it to be something good—something that offers value to your reader, and reflects well on your brand. At the same time, you want it to be something that’s search engine optimized. After all, great content isn’t very useful if nobody can find it.

This is a little bit of a false dichotomy, perhaps. Generally speaking, writing good, valuable content is the single best way to optimize it, and all the SEO tricks and gimmicks in the world can’t compete with the raw power of quality writing.

With that said, there is certainly a need to ensure that your content is as palatable for search algorithms as it is for human readers, and simply writing a good article is only the first step. As you seek to maximize your content’s SEO potential, here are five simple principles to keep in mind.

Improve Your On-Site SEO

Originality is Imperative

First and foremost, make sure that what you are writing stands on its own. Google doesn’t see any value in duplicate content, and as such it tends to penalize it. Regurgitating the exact same copy for each product page on your website, for instance, or simply copying text from the website to the company blog, will lead to diminished rankings. Take the time to ensure that every piece of content you write is phrased uniquely. Tools like Copyscape can help you ensure that you’re not plagiarizing yourself or others.

Readability Matters, Too

Google’s bots are more likely to favor articles that are readable to wide audiences—and that means using short sentences and paragraphs, limiting your ten-dollar words, and abstaining from the passive voice. Good, concise, punchy content—written in a way that makes it easy to read—will only help you as far as SEO rankings go.

Your Title Should Be Optimized

Writing a catchy headline is key. So is keeping the title to a Google-friendly length of 55-60 characters max. Finally make sure your URL matches the title and contents of the page; a URL that’s just random numbers hampers your SEO efforts.

Be Structured

Your content should have a structure that makes it easy for readers—and search bots—to follow along and get the basic gist of what you’re saying, even just by skimming. The best way to do this is to structure your article with H1, H2, and H3 tags to break up different sections of content. Bullet points and numbered lists can also be helpful, when applicable.

Use Keywords—Judiciously

Though you want to avoid keyword stuffing, and shouldn’t sacrifice quality for keyword count, keywords can certainly be useful in demonstrating what your content is ultimately about. We’ve blogged about the importance of judicious keyword strategy before.

Write Content That Gets Discovered

With the right approach, you can write content that pleases people and search bots alike—no easy feat, but worth it in the long run. Or, you can hire our team to write it for you. Contact Grammar Chic today to ask us about our SEO-friendly content writing services. Reach out at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Business Writing, Web Content, Writing

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

Getting Started with Integrated Marketing

There is no shortage of digital marketing tools you can use to build your brand—but which ones are most effective? And how do you use them well? These are the questions that integrated digital marketing concerns itself with. Essentially, integrated marketing is about not putting all your eggs in one basket; rather than spend all your marketing dollars on SEO, an integrated marketing approach might pull together SEO, content marketing, PPC, and more.

The key to integrated marketing is harmony. You want each arm of your marketing endeavor to be working toward the same goal. In other words, your content marketing should complement your SEO, and your SEO should in turn work in tandem with your PPC. Everything should be oriented toward the same goal.

Pulling these disparate digital marketing threads together may seem daunting. For business owners looking to get started with an integrated approach, these general tips and strategies may be useful.

Getting Started with Integrated Digital Marketing

Start by Identifying Your Target Audience

Your integrated marketing approach needs to speak to a particular user demographic—to the people you’re trying to reach, to convert into customers. Before you do anything else, identify that audience. Consider crafting buyer personas to spell out their interests, values, and pain points. Make sure that, throughout your marketing endeavors, you know exactly who you are talking to.

Choose the Right Marketing Channels

An integrated approach does not require you to use every single marketing channel that’s out there; your budget may leave room for just two social networks, for example, so be prudent about picking which two you’ll use. This is where a data-driven approach becomes invaluable; if you have metrics from past marketing campaigns, you can use them to determine which channels get the best results with your target audience.

Know Your Message

What are you trying to accomplish through your integrated marketing strategy? How will you define success? And what message are you going to tell in order to achieve that goal? These are the questions you need to address as you put together marketing content. Ensure that your messaging is consistent across each channel.

Be Cohesive

It’s not just your message that needs to be consistent across all platforms, but also your visual style, the kind of verbiage you use, and more. Think ahead about color schemes, font choices, logos, graphic design decision, and the kinds of buzzwords and phrases you use to promote your brand.

Make Content Creation a Priority

Content feeds all your other marketing endeavors. It provides you with SEO value, with social media fodder, and more. Creating original content—whether landing pages or blogs—should be a central activity in your integrated marketing strategy.

Track Everything

It’s often said that marketing without data is akin to flying blind. Don’t fly blind through your integrated marketing endeavors, but rather set up tracking and analytics for everything. You can really never have too much information.

Review and Revise as Needed

Using the data you collect, determine what’s working and what’s not. Test new ideas, and see how they work. Make tweaks and adjustments as needed, always relying on that information you’ve gathered along the way.

Take a Big Leap Forward with Integrated Marketing

You’re not going to be able to launch an integrated marketing campaign over night, but you can start making your plans and laying your foundation. These tips should help. Start thinking about your goals, your audience, and how you can move your brand forward, using all the digital marketing tools at your disposal.

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

What to Ask Your Web Content Writing Company

The written content you include on your company website is of paramount importance. After all, most new or potential customers will head straight to your website to learn more about what your company does. The content they find there will establish their first impression of your brand. It’s in your best interest to provide content that is well-written, easy to follow, substantive, and informative; ideally, it should instill trust while also encouraging the reader to pick up the phone and call you for more information, or even to buy a product from you straight away.

That’s a tall order, which is why a lot of business owners outsource their Web content writing services to an outside firm—like Grammar Chic. This is the best way to tell the story of your company in a way that is compelling, and persuades the user of the value you can offer.

Evaluating a Web Content Writing Company

As you meet with a Web content writing company for the first time, it is important to establish clear lines of communication; in particular, we recommend asking a few key questions, to ensure that you understand the process and that you are truly comfortable with the company you’re meeting with.

Here are a few of the key questions you should ask:

What’s your experience in Web content writing? Learn more about the track record of the company you’re working with. Inquire about how long they’ve been writing websites, and ask to see examples of their past work.

How will you capture my voice? You may not be the one writing the content, but your voice should still come through. Ask the writer how this will be achieved.

What’s your research process? The content writers will need to gain an understanding of your company and of your industry, through interviews, independent research, or some combination of the two. Make sure you get a good sense of what this process entails.

What do you expect from me? Your Web content writer may need you to furnish some information, and it’s important that you do so as promptly as possible.

What are the SEO considerations being made with this site? Your Web content writing company may not be an SEO firm per se, and that’s fine—but hopefully there will be some attention paid to the best practices for search engine optimization. You might especially ask about keyword inclusion, meta descriptions, and meta tags.

Will there be calls to action on the website? The answer should be yes!

How will the page be formatted? Ask about section subheadings and bulleted lists, and be sure to voice any of your own preferences.

What about revisions/rewriting? Even a great Web content writer may miss a few things on the first pass. This is usually a process, and it’s good to clarify whether revisions and rewriting are included in the company’s services.

Ask Your Questions Today

Get your questions asked and answered by the Web content writing team at Grammar Chic. Contact us today to set up a consultation: 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

 

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

Not All Keywords Are Created Equal

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Since the earliest days of search engine optimization, there has always been some disagreement with regard to keywords. To this day, many small business owners, zealous to optimize their company websites as best they can, wonder about the best keywording principles: How many keywords should they use? What should those keywords be? Where should keywords be placed?

A key concept in any SEO endeavor is keyword research. Google AdWords provides a keyword research tool that’s invaluable, even if you’re not necessarily using it for PPC purposes. You can do research using this tool that informs all your on-site keyword efforts—showing you the best, most valuable and competitive words to use in your Web content, on your blog, and so on.

Branded vs. Non-branded Keywords

As you dip into keyword research, it’s important to understand that there are different types of keywords out there. One of the first distinctions you’ll want to make is the one about branded versus non-branded keywords.

Let’s start with branded keywords—the ones that are connected to your specific brand. Some examples of branded keywords include:

  • Your website name;
  • Your company name, if different from your website name;
  • Misspellings of your website name; for example, you have to prepare for the possibility that some people might search for Grammar Chick instead of Grammar Chic; and
  • Branded products—like Big Mac, iPhone, etc.

Often, branded keywords are the ones that prove to be the highest converting. That’s what makes it so important to optimize for these terms; they represent your best chance at turning traffic into paying customers. Additionally, it’s important for brand management. You wouldn’t want your competitor to outrank you for your own company name, would you? And can you imagine what Microsoft would do if they actually ranked better than Apple for the term iPhone? It certainly wouldn’t be good for Apple!

As for non-branded keywords, those are the ones that don’t fit into the categories above. These don’t convert as consistently, but are vital in reflecting the way people really search for information. A lot of people are going to Google for writing company rather than Grammar Chic because they simply don’t know that Grammar Chic exists; optimizing for non-branded keywords is important for reaching those users.

Informational vs. Transactional Keywords

These two broad categories of keywords can be further broken down into additional types—specifically, informational and transactional keywords.

  • Informational keywords are upper funnel keywords that attract users and creates awareness. You optimize these keywords with goal of wanting to increase new users and traffic.
  • Transactional ones, meanwhile, are the lower funnel and money-oriented keywords that are more likely to turn into a transaction of a lead, depending on website’s goal.

These types of keywords function differently, and you may want to emphasize one type over the other simply depending on the type of content you’re writing (that is, where in the sales funnel you’re trying to reach people). As you seek to determine whether a keyword falls under the informational or transactional heading, I recommend asking the following three questions:

  1. Use AdWords to see the kind of traffic and the kind of conversions associated with each keyword. A high-converting keyword is more likely to be transactional; a keyword with lots of traffic but not many conversions is probably informational.
  2. If you are not running AdWords or you don’t have sufficient data, look at Google’s keyword planner and find out the cost per click for each keyword (it’ll be abbreviated CPC) as well as the competition. If the CPC and competition are high, then that is more likely to be a transactional keyword because marketers often don’t spend a ton of money on informational ones.
  3. Finally, you can always just copy and paste each keyword into Google to see what Google returns. For example, if you type in “how to get an oil change,” most of the search results are blogs and articles, which are informational. But if you search for “where to get an oil change” then the results will change and show nearby mechanic shops, Yelp results, etc.—businesses where you’d make a transaction.

Know Your Keywords

No matter what marketing activity you’re engaged in, it’s important to know which keywords you’re dealing with. That all starts with research—and if you need a hand with any of the heavy lifting, don’t hesitate to contact the digital marketing experts at Digital Advertiser.

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Filed under Brand Management, Business Writing, Content Writing, Social Media

5 Ways to Be Found by Local Consumers

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For any business to succeed, it needs to be discovered by local customers; it needs to bring in clients and consumers who are actually seeking the products or services in question, and willing to spend their money to get them. In today’s marketing ecosystem, that means a strong presence in local search queries.

After all, when you want to find a good local business, where do you turn for answers? More likely than not, you go to Google—and the businesses you find there are the ones most likely to win your patronage. If you want your business to thrive, then, you’ve got to position it to be embraced by local search engine users—but how?

Local SEO can sometimes be complicated and daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. There are some simple ways you can boost your visibility in local search rankings today.

Get Reviewed

Google reviews are critical to search engine success. Google takes any review to be a sign that people are engaging with your business, and gaining reviews will only help your search engine standings. Of course, it’s helpful if these are good reviews, bolstering your company’s authority and trustworthiness. If you’re not getting regular reviews, we recommend the following steps:

  • Make sure your Google review link is clearly displayed on your website
  • Actively ask your customers to leave you their feedback; include a request on invoices and receipts
  • Send an email to all your best, most loyal customers, and simply explain to them how meaningful a quick review would be
  • Include your Google review link on your email signature

Optimize for Mobile

Most local searches happen on mobile devices, so it’s critical that your website be optimized for users who are on phones or tablets; indeed, Google prioritizes sites with mobile-readiness. Check out your company website on various devices to make sure it looks good and flows smoothly. If it doesn’t, you’ll want to talk to your Web designer about switching to a mobile-friendly site ASAP.

Ensure Consistent NAP

NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone number, and you need to have this vital contact information displayed on every page of your website. Make sure you state it the exact same way every time, too. Inconsistencies—“Al’s Pancakes” on one page and “Al’s Pancake House” on another, or even listing your address as “Main Street” here but “Main St.” there—can drop your Google ranking.

Get Local Links

Reach out to local directories, business bureaus, and chambers of commerce to get a link to your website—along with NAP information, consistent with the way you list it on your site.

Write Valuable Content

Finally, a website that’s dense with valuable content—not just sales pitches, but information that addresses consumer questions—is going to get more love from Google, for the simple reason that it offers a better product to Google’s customers (i.e. search engine users). A good website with FAQs, how-tos, detailed product descriptions, and a regular blog can go a long way.

Grammar Chic can help with all of these content creation needs, of course. Learn more by reaching out to our team today at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Business Writing, Content Marketing