Category Archives: Business Writing

How Data Visualization Can Enhance Your Content Marketing

There’s never any shortage of online data. For marketers, this can be both a blessing and a curse.

On the one hand, if you want to quantify the reach of your content or identify trends in your social media engagement, there are metrics available to give you the illumination you need. But at the same time, the process of setting benchmarks, establishing core measures, mapping the data, then interpreting it properly can be incredibly time intensive. When you’re already struggling to keep up with your routine content creation efforts, handling data and analytics may feel all but impossible.

But the answer isn’t to forgo the data-driven approach. Rather, it’s to implement the processes you need to make data-mining as simple and intuitive as can be.

Thankfully, there are some options available for small business owners, including both the incredible technological resources of Google Data Studio as well as the consultative services of agencies like Analytics Clarity.

It’s worth taking just a moment to examine how each of these vendors could help automate your data and analytics efforts, and ultimately make your content marketing more streamlined and focused.

The Benefits of Data Automation and Visualization

Google Data Studio is a unique platform that allows you to take different kinds of analytic data, both from Google as well as from compatible social networks, and turn that data into fluid, dynamic reports.

This may sound a little mundane, but actually, it’s a revolutionary service. Just some of the benefits include:

  • Through Google Data Studio, you can have key data automatically turned into a report. And that report will change in real-time, ensuring you always have ready access to the metrics you need.
  • You can choose to display the data in whatever visual format you like, making it easy for you and your team to understand the big picture.
  • You can share the visual report with key partners, vendors, and stakeholders; it’s as easy as sharing a Google Doc or a Google Sheet.

Meanwhile, when you work with a firm like Analytics Clarity, you can ensure that you’re always rightly interpreting the data, capturing even the subtlest trends, and making informed decisions about how to tweak or adjust your content marketing campaign.

Indeed, the kind of data solutions available today have really been game-changers for content marketers, who can now work with a much clearer understanding of how their content performs with target readers as well as Google Search algorithms. This has implications for everything from topic selection to CTA development.

Take a Data-Driven Approach to Content Marketing

It’s vital that you use data to guide your content marketing efforts; Analytics Clarity, a proud partner of Grammar Chic, Inc., can provide all the expertise you need to make smart use of Google Data Studio.

And, as you use that data to guide your content efforts, you can always reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. Speak to one of our content professionals by calling 803-831-7444, or by visiting www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Business Writing, Client Spotlight, Content Marketing, Social Media, Web Content

Has AI Made Content Writers Obsolete?

Do you remember the old joke about monkeys? How if you put enough of them in front of typewriters and allowed them to bang away, one of them might eventually bash out the Great American Novel?

Well, we’re currently seeing a similar premise play out in real time. It’s not with chimps, but with robots. AI is rapidly overtaking the content marketing industry, helping to automate some of those simple, repetitive functions that take so much time. The idea is that, when AI is able to handle things like scheduling and reporting, it frees marketers to focus more of their efforts on real, creative work.

But what happens when the robots take over the creative work, as well?

Maybe it sounds farfetched to think that AI could actually produce written content… but the truth is, it’s happening already. There are programs out there that can automatically generate simple, factual stories (think stock reports or sports updates) with little or no input from human writers.

Great news for anyone who needs basic Web copy quickly, and without a lot of hassle. Bad news for, well, writers, the latest professionals to see their livelihoods encroached on by faceless tech.

What AI Can’t Do

Actually, though, the situation is not that dire. While AI can and should be used in certain content marketing functions, it will never be able to put writers out of work.

Why? Because AI is great for many things: Learning, mastering basic patterns, even mimicking human speech. Indeed, it’s no great surprise that simple reporting can now be automated; for AI to take sports scores and plug them into a formula doesn’t require much in the way of out-of-the-box thinking.

And that’s the one thing AI doesn’t possess: The ability to engage in lateral thinking or creative brainstorming. Robotic “writers” may be able to mimic some narrative archetypes, but they can’t build worlds or capture emotion like a human writer can.

To put it one way, AI can absolutely report the basic stats of a soccer game… but it could never invent Quidditch, or develop the story beats for a Rocky movie.

The functionality of AI rests on what’s repeatable… on tasks that can be boiled down to a formula or algorithm. But there’s no algorithm for human creativity; no way you can automate out-of-the-box thinking, storytelling, human interest, or reader engagement.

And what that means is that, while AI can be a helpful tool for generating boilerplate copy, it can’t produce the kind of original, emotionally-charged, and value-adding content that’s required for effective content marketing.

Still a Role for Writers

Writers can rest easy. And companies that have invested in automated programs to assist with their content marketing can pat themselves on the back: They’ve taken meaningful steps toward streamlining their processes and maximizing efficiency.

But they still need human beings who are skilled in using words to facilitate connection. That’s where we come in. To speak with a Grammar Chic writer about any of the things your AI can’t do, reach out today: 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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

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

4 Ways the Right Content Can Fuel Business Growth

To achieve consistent growth at your company, everything needs to be firing on all cylinders—your sales team, your marketing department, your business development crew, you name it. Everyone needs to be doing their part, leveraging resources and expertise to move the ball forward.

Content marketing is very much a part of that equation. When wielded strategically, content can actually be fuel for your business growth—helping turn leads into conversions and one-time customers into repeat clients.

A few types of content can be especially helpful in this regard. Here are our recommendations.

4 Types of Content That Can Help Your Business Grow

  1. Product and service descriptions.

Whether you have an e-commerce clothing boutique or an all-purpose plumbing company, it’s important to devote some website real estate to describing what it is you do—and how your customers stand to benefit. Remember, online shoppers can’t pick up, examine, or try on your products and services, so you need Web copy that makes them feel like they have. Be descriptive enough to help customers feel confident that they know what they’re getting into, and focus on the benefit to the end user—what’s in it for them when they buy.

  1. Landing pages.

Imagine this scenario. A potential customer sees a PPC ad for your law firm’s estate planning services. They click it, and it takes them to your firm’s home page—where there’s no explicit mention of estate planning. That may be frustrating, and your lead may decide it’s not worth their trouble to poke around your site to find what they’re looking for. The long and short of it is, it’s valuable to have dedicated landing pages for each service/product you have, ensuring that you can always send leads to somewhere that specifically addresses what they’re looking for.

  1. Emails.

Don’t ignore the power of email marketingstill the most effective way to directly connect with your customers past and present. Whether you put together a monthly newsletter or a weekly e-blast, take the time to think through your content (including subject lines) to make sure you’re offering value. When leveraged correctly, email marketing can build brand awareness and loyalty, and turn some of those one-time customers into follow-up buyers.

  1. Google My Business listing.

Has your company signed up for a free Google My Business listing? It’s worth doing, as it can help you achieve greater visibility among local search engine users. And that positive SEO impact is compounded when you take the time to write compelling, keyword-optimized descriptions of your business. All of this is just to say that GMB is an invaluable but oft-overlooked content deployment opportunity, and it can play a big role in helping you connect with local customers.

Do You Have the Content You Need?

Chances abound for you to use content in a way that leads to business growth—and the Grammar Chic, Inc. team is standing ready to help you make the most of them. Reach out today and let’s talk together about a sound content strategy for your company! Connect with us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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

How to Spot Online Propaganda

You can’t believe everything you read—especially online.

As content marketing professionals, this is something we’re uniquely sensitive to. We believe strongly that there’s value in companies providing good, substantive, valuable information as a way to build their brand and establish thought leadership.

And yes, the content marketing model does blur the line between information and advertisement—but it’s only effective if it’s ultimately truthful.

By contrast, a lot of the content out there is outright propaganda—designed to misinform, to mislead, and to obscure the truth.

To be a responsible online citizen, it’s important to know the difference. That’s what we’re going to look at today.

Where You’ll Spot Propaganda

The first thing to be aware of is that propaganda can come from almost any source. Some common examples:

  • Brand/company pages on Facebook. Note that Facebook doesn’t regulate these pages and doesn’t have any standard of transparency or veracity in place. Maybe one day that will change—but for now, public pages are all potential breeding grounds for propaganda.
  • Twitter accounts. We’re mostly thinking of bots here—fake accounts that usually have a highly political slant. Be careful; not every social media user is a real person!
  • A lot of the memes that come across as good-natured and funny are actually made by marketing companies and have an insidious agenda—which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is something to be aware of!
  • News items. A lot of the links that look like real news could in fact be—we hate to say it—fake news. You can usually tell by looking at the URL; anything lacking a good, clean URL (like nytimes.com, washingtonpost.com, bbc.com, reuters.com, economist.com etc.) could potentially be a propaganda site.
  • Photo editing tools have become truly advanced and sophisticated—and sadly, you just can’t take every online photo you see seriously.

Steer Clear of Propaganda

That’s just a cross-section of some of the places you’ll find propaganda—and our point really is that you can find it anywhere. So the question is, how can you protect yourself?

Some tips:

  • Be a skeptic. Simply having a discerning mindset, and realizing that what you’re reading could be propaganda, is a good first step.
  • Google around. If you find a news story that seems hard to believe, use Google to look for other sources. If you can’t find them, it may very well be phony. One of the first things taught in journalism school is that all facts in any story should be confirmed by two reliable sources. In today’s day and age, finding two or more sources that share a story’s detail is not overly taxing. Real news stories are picked up by multiple outlets—even if a single platform breaks the story.
  • Avoid interacting with unvetted sources. Liking and commenting on a public page can suck you into the web of propaganda—unless you know the brand in question and trust them.
  • Take reviews with a grain of salt. Online reviews are sometimes fake—and you can usually tell which ones lack credibility. Fake ones won’t be very long or specific.
  • Read widely. Don’t rely on a single platform or website for your news. Try to be a curious and voracious reader.
  • Learn what fake ads look like. It’s helpful to know how you can identify paid content—and there are usually some giveaways. On social networks, as well as on Google, these ads will be labeled as “sponsored.” On Instagram specifically, sponsored posts must carry the hashtag #ad.

The bottom line: it takes some effort and some deliberation to tell which online content you can trust—but it’s worth it to not get snookered by the propaganda machine.

We’d love to tell you more about honest and authentic content creation. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. to learn more! Call 803-831-7444 or visit www.grammarchic.net.

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

How to Connect with Baby Boomers through Content Marketing

It seems like every day there’s a new think piece about millennials. (We recently contributed to this phenomenon ourselves.) It’s worth taking a step back, however, to remember that there are other people in the world buying products and consuming content. The success of your company may largely depend on how well you can connect with these demographics.

Take the Baby Boomers, for instance—still very much a commercial force to be reckoned with. But unlike millennials, Boomers came to content marketing and social media later in life, which means their responses can be a little different. Today, we’re going to offer just a few practical considerations for connecting with Boomers through digital content.

Using Content Marketing to Reach Baby Boomers

  1. Use the right formatting.

It’s always important to format content in a way that’s easy to read, from any browser or device type. That’s doubly important when you’re marketing to Boomers. We don’t mean to be insensitive in the least, but candidly, Boomers may not quite have the same ocular health as you younger readers, so short paragraphs, large fonts, and plenty of white space can all help with clarity.

  1. Don’t go hog wild with abbreviations.

The tl;dr version: Your Boomer customers know an awful lot, but they may not know all the latest Internet short-hands. Use full words.

  1. Develop catchy headlines.

By catchy, we don’t mean clickbait. What we mean is headlines that convey an immediate value: 7 tips for better estate planning, or 5 foods to increase digestive health, or 4 home renovations that enhance your home’s worth. Make it clear to the reader how your content will benefit them; show them that it’s worth their time to consume it.

  1. Don’t make Boomers feel old.

By all means, talk about the issues that are close to Boomer hearts, but do so in a way that makes it clear they are still spry and they still have plenty left to give. Avoid the one-foot-in-the-grave attitude that mars so much Boomer-centric content.

  1. Choose the right platforms.

Studies show that some Boomers are active on Twitter and Instagram, but these are relatively small populations. Facebook remains the platform of choice among Boomers.

  1. Focus on blogs and video content.

Finally, make sure you’re focused on the kinds of content that Boomers tend to like—and, according to most studies, that means concise, to-the-point blog posts and brief, informative videos.

Right Content, Right Audience

It takes a thoughtful approach to deploy content that will ultimately connect with your Boomer customers—and Grammar Chic’s team can help you develop it. Contact us today to discuss any of your content strategy needs, either at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Breathe New Life into Your Content Marketing Strategy

These days, most companies understand the value in content marketing. Just because you’re doing content marketing, though, that doesn’t mean you’re deriving the maximum value from it.

If your content marketing efforts have grown stagnant—or never quite took off in the first place—that’s no reason to throw in the towel. Instead, it shows that you need to step back and revise your content marketing strategy.

Take Stock

Start by gathering data. Conduct a content audit of your website, sizing up the blogs, downloadable guides, FAQ pages, infographics, and other assets you have assembled.

Look at your Google Analytics or a comparable dashboard and see how these assets are performing. What’s working, and what’s not?

If you don’t have any analytics set up, now’s the time to do so! Until then, you can possibly glean some anecdotal data: Did you have a piece of content that got a lot of Facebook likes or shares, or something your customers have actually mentioned to you in conversation?

Get a clear sense of where your content marketing stands before you disrupt it.

Go Back to Basics

It’s important to determine why your content isn’t connecting with the end user. There could be a few things happening here:

  • You’re not writing with your customers’ pain points in mind. Revisit your buyer personas and make sure you’re tailoring your topics to your audience.
  • You’re not writing toward the right goals—for example, you’re not writing content that will cultivate trust, or that will result in more phone calls or appointments. Be clear in articulating your content marketing goals, and make sure you use them to direct your content creation.
  • You’re not distributing your content in the right channels; are you sure you’re active on the same social platforms as your target audience?

Look again at these basic considerations and see how your content measures up.

Reallocate Resources

It’s possible that you’re misusing your valuable content marketing resources—for example, spending money and time on the wrong platforms, or spreading yourself too thin.

Look at your social media metrics and see if you’ve had particular success on Facebook, or on LinkedIn, or on Twitter. Conversely, see if you’ve consistently come up short on a particular platform.

You may be able to make better use of your resources by cutting losses on one platform and doubling down on another.

Connect with Influencers

Influencer marketing isn’t going to replace content marketing, but it can augment it.

Do some research to figure out who the movers and shakers are in your industry—and start tagging them in tweets, engaging with their content, and forging a cordial relationship. An influencer can amplify the reach of your content and lead to a big increase in your followers.

Hire a Content Writer

A final way to breathe new life into your content marketing efforts is by hiring a ghostwriter—someone who can help you refine your brand’s voice, tell your story, and ultimately offer greater value to the end user.

That’s where Grammar Chic, Inc. shines—and we’d love to consult with you about your content marketing needs and goals. Reach out to us today and let’s start a conversation: Hit us up at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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