Category Archives: Content Marketing

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

How to Get Better Engagement on Your Blog Posts

If a blog gets posted to your company website, but nobody reads it, does that blog really exist? The answer, for all practical purposes, is no. For your business blogging to be meaningful, you need to get engagement—and that means people not only reading your post, but commenting on it, sharing it, liking it on Facebook, retweeting it, and more.

You can’t buy this kind of engagement, and neither can you force it—but there are ways you can make your blog posts more engaging. There are steps you can take to entice people to not only read your posts, but interact with them on various levels.

Here are some of the basic principles our team recommends for writing truly engaging blog posts.

Steps for Better Blog Engagement

Know Your Audience

If you want to engage people, you first need to know who you are engaging—and that means writing a blog post that speaks directly to their needs and their values. Ensure that you are using a buyer persona or a similar tool to help you write to a specific audience, taking into account their pain points, their interests, the problems they are trying to solve, etc.

Create a Seamless User Experience

Also ensure that your posts are easy to read. Don’t make your reader scroll incessantly, or read long blocks of unbroken test. Write in short sentences and brief paragraphs. Include section subheadings and bulleted lists where appropriate. Provide graphics when you can. And always ensure that the content is relevant to the needs of your audience (see our first point).

Ensure a Compelling Headline

We’ve blogged many times before about the importance of headlines, which draw readers into your content. Your headline should make a clear promise of value: What will the reader learn from your post? How will he or she be better off having read it.

Start Strong

Your opening paragraph is also quite important, as most readers never make it past the introduction of an online article. Begin with a statement of value, with a question, with a fascinating statistic… something to draw the reader to keep going.

Make it Actionable

Ensure that your blog post provides some real takeaways for your readers—some things they can actually do with the information you’ve given them; some steps for putting the blog post to use. Before you even begin writing, consider what your actionable takeaways will be.

Ask for Feedback

Finally, don’t be afraid to actually ask for feedback. Invite readers to leave comments. Encourage them to share photos or personal stories that might relate to your blog. Open the floor to suggestions for your next blog topic. Be approachable. Be open to interaction with your readers.

Write Posts That Get Engagement

If you’re not getting engagement on your company blog posts, it’s time for you to make a change. Consider outsourcing your blog writing to the Grammar Chic team. We have ample experience writing blog posts that get read—and that generate engagement. Contact us to learn more at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Blog Writing, Content Marketing, Social Media

6 Things to Ask When Brainstorming for Content Ideas

One of the challenges facing any business owner who invests in content marketing is coming up with new ideas. For a content marketing campaign to last, you have to sustain it with fresh content ideas—and generating new ideas on a regular basis might require some intense brainstorming.

As you pause to reflect on potential new content ideas, we recommend a few simple questions to guide the process.

Questions to Guide Your Content Brainstorming

Are you repeating yourself? There’s nothing wrong with recycling old ideas and putting new twists on them. In fact, it’s something we recommend. You don’t want to just keep saying the same thing over and over again, though, so always stop to consider whether you’ve crossed the line into redundancy.

Do you have enough information for this topic? Do a quick Google search to ensure that you’ll actually be able to find some good resources to help you write. There’s no use in committing to an idea that you simply can’t support.

Can you bring unique perspective to this topic? You don’t just want to rehash the same points that your competitors are making in their content. Make sure you have a way to add real, original value to your content idea. Make sure you can provide your take on things.

Does your idea address the needs and interests of your target audience? Make sure your topic isn’t too “inside baseball.” It may be interesting to you, but what really matters is that it is valuable to your audience.

How does the content reflect on your brand, products, and/or services? Your content doesn’t need to be straightforwardly promotional, and in fact we recommend keeping the selling to a minimum. You should make sure it relates to your brand in some way, though. What you want is compelling content that leads naturally into a strong call to action.

What’s the headline going to be? How will you frame your content? How will you structure it—as a top 10 list, bullet points, or just a straightforward essay? And how will you generate interest from readers? What will your hook be? These are important considerations as you brainstorm.

Get the Best Content Ideas

Another consideration: Our content marketing specialists can help you not only develop ideas, but implement them effectively. Learn more about our content marketing services by reaching out to Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Brand Management, Content Marketing, Social Media

4 Ways to Do Content Marketing Throughout Your Work Day

We tend to think of content marketing in terms of content creation—that is, actually sitting down to make a blog post, a YouTube video, or a series of tweets. Content creation is definitely important, though it can also be time-consuming, which is precisely why many small business owners are daunted by it.

In addition to creation, though, there is also a role for documentation. Throughout your day, you can simply document what you are doing on different social media platforms, providing a behind-the-scenes glimpse into how your company works.

There are two advantages to this. One is that it humanizes your company. It makes it more approachable and relatable. Additionally, it’s something you can easily fold into your day, without it ever becoming too terribly time-consuming.

We’d encourage small business owners to look for little ways to document when they can, as part of their content marketing approach. We’ll offer four suggestions to help you get started.

Quick and Easy Content Ideas

Just take some behind-the-scenes photos. Whether it’s a photo of your employees, of a new product, or of some process that clients seldom get to see, a little casual and candid photography can help your social media followers relate to your business better. Post your photos to Instagram and Facebook.

Use Instagram and Snapchat Stories. We’d also recommend taking advantage of the Story functions on these two social platforms to provide spur-of-the-moment insights into what your company does. Again, the idea is just to be human and relatable. If you’re having a special employee lunch or starting a big new project, make that the focus for your story. Tell a narrative about your brand, even if it’s just the narrative of what’s going on at the office on a particular day.

Let people get to know your employees. Pick a different team member to spotlight each day, and let them take pictures on Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat. Make it into a day-in-the-life series, showing the different ways in which each team member contributes.

Do an impromptu live stream. Take just a minute to address your Facebook followers directly, using Live Stream to simply stop, say hi, or announce something special going on at the company that day. (You can and should be casual and informal here, but do pause long enough to plan what you’re going to say before you get started.)

Take it Further

We recommend some quick social media documentation as you’re able to do it, but only in conjunction with—not as a replacement for—a robust content marketing strategy.

We can help you assemble and implement one. Contact the Grammar Chic team today to schedule a consultation: www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Content Marketing, Content Writing, Social Media

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

5 Personal Branding Tips for Freelancers

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There are certain agreed-upon resume standards that apply to almost all 9-to-5 jobseekers—but when you’re a freelancer, some of those rules go out the window, and you’re forced to make some critical decisions about how best to present your different skills to potential clients.

The basic principle is the same: You want to develop a strong personal brand, and to posit yourself as someone who can deliver tremendous value and ultimately achieve the desired results. The question is, how do you accomplish that when your career has consisted more of freelance positions than of regular, salaried employment?

The Grammar Chic resume team can provide guidance to any freelancer looking to craft a strong personal brand. We invite you to call us any time. In the meanwhile, here are a few tips to help you with your branding endeavors.

How Freelancers Can Develop Strong Personal Brands

Rethink Your Resume Structure

Generally speaking, we recommend a chronological format for resumes—but when you’re a freelancer, what you want to emphasize is your array of skills. Sometimes, a more thematically-arranged and functional resume, one designed to show what you can do rather than to mark your career progression, might make more sense.

Include a Strong Executive Summary

It’s critical to have a clear summary of your skills and the value you can bring to an employer—something of an elevator pitch for your personal brand. This should be at the top of your resume!

Make Sure You Have a Portfolio

If at all possible, provide potential employers with a way to see your work. An online portfolio can be a tremendous asset, and if you have one, we recommend linking to it on your resume as well as your LinkedIn profile.

Establish Thought Leadership

Prove that you really know your industry well. Start a blog, or at the very least publish content on social media sites, including LinkedIn. Show any potential employer that you are truly committed to your vertical or niche.

Use LinkedIn to Get Recommendations

The biggest obstacle you’ll face as a freelancer is that employers simply aren’t sure whether they can trust you—so give them every reason to feel confident in your abilities. Work hard to accumulate recommendations, especially on LinkedIn. Be persistent in asking all your colleagues and former clients/employers to leave you a glowing notice.

Get Help with Your Personal Branding

All jobseekers need to brand themselves, but it’s especially challenging when you work as a freelancer. Grammar Chic can help you hone your resume and optimize your LinkedIn profile. Contact us today to get started: www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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