Category Archives: Content Writing

7 Content Marketing Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make in 2017

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Many of us are still in the leaf-turning phase of the new year, eager to identify and implement key areas for personal and professional change. Perhaps some of your own resolutions include improvements to your company’s content marketing endeavors. And if not—well, maybe they should.

There is never a bad time to revise your content marketing mechanisms—to be more strategic about consumer outreach, relationship-building, and thought leadership. Getting more serious about content marketing can yield many benefits, and the good news is, making constructive content marketing resolutions doesn’t have to be anything too nebulous or complex: It can be as simple as learning from yesterday’s mistakes.

With that in mind, we’ve got some suggestions for you: Some content marketing mistakes we’ve seen before, and ones we encourage you to learn from as you move forward toward bigger and better content endeavors.

Mistake #1: Blogging Inconsistently

Anyone can resolve to start a blog. Even writing that first post can seem pretty easy. Maintaining robust and regular blog content, though, is another matter altogether—yet it requires consistency for you to keep your audience engaged, increase our search engine exposure, and develop your brand’s authority.

Mistake #2: Making Grade-School Grammar Mistakes

Be honest: Have you ever posted a company blog that interchanges your with you’re, or that mixes up their and there? These aren’t just little errors. They make your business look shoddy and unprofessional. Make sure you have a skilled editor proof your content before it’s posted.

Mistake #3: Overlooking SEO Opportunities

You don’t have to be a technical whiz to fill in the meta description for your company blog post (WordPress and other content management systems will offer you a place to do this), or to include a few judicious keywords in your posts and your titles. Don’t forfeit these opportunities to tell the search engine what your content is all about.

Mistake #4: Missing Email Marketing Opportunities

Remember that when you post a really good entry to your blog, it’s something you ought to be promoting everywhere—and that includes in emails. Your email marketing list is a great place to turn when you want to get attention for a new piece of content. Spread the word, and make sure you’re conveying real value to your readers.

Mistake #5: Misusing Social Media

Your Facebook and Twitter accounts aren’t just for promoting your latest products or sales, though that’s certainly a good use for them. You should also be using them to spread meaningful, value-adding content, though—not just your company blog posts, but curated content from other industry resources, too.

Mistake #6: Poorly Formatting Your Content

Are your company blog posts difficult to read—or difficult to skim? Sub-headings, lists, and bullet points can really make life easier for your readers. If nothing else, shorter paragraphs are generally recommended.

Mistake #7: Not Offering Value Through Your Content

It ultimately comes down to what you’re writing about: You should be developing content that truly makes life better for your readers, answering their questions and posing actionable solutions to their problems. Otherwise, why would they bother?

Content development happens to be our strong suit—so if you’re looking for a hand in making big content improvements in 2017, give Grammar Chic a call at 803-831-7444, or visit us at www.grammarchic.net.

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

10 Questions for Your Web Developer

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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.

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Filed under Business Writing, Content Writing, Web Content

6 Factors That Help Your Website Rank Well

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Clients are always asking us: How can we get our website to rank as #1 in the Google search results?

And the answer is… it’s complicated. Google’s search algorithms are notoriously complicated, and they can change at any moment, which is why you won’t find reputable SEO companies that promise you a particular ranking. It’s just too complex an endeavor to make such an iron-clad guarantee.

What we can tell you with certainty is that there are numerous ranking factors that contribute to your site’s Google visibility. The specific recipe is something of a secret, but Google has made public many of the most significant ranking factors. Ensuring that you have each of these ranking factors in place can help you position your site for maximum SEO success.

A quick note: There are both positive ranking factors (which make your site increase in the rankings) and negative ones (which can cause your site to incur search engine penalties). For today, we’re only going to list some of the positive ones.

Remember: These are all elements that are confirmed by Google to be crucial for SEO—so make sure you have them in place!

6 Factors to Improve Your Google Rankings

No. 1. Keywords in your title and heading tags. While we encourage our clients to use keywords naturally, rather than cramming them into their content inorganically, a couple of places you always want to include a keyword or two are in the title tag and the heading tag. The former is the title you see at the top of your search browser while you are on the page; the latter is the H1 tag, the heading you place at the top of your Web page. Both are key areas for SEO enrichment, so make sure you max them out with strong keywords.

No. 2. Content substance. While there is no magic word count for Google, studies confirm that in-depth content, which fully addresses user needs and questions, is going to rank better than content that is short and skimpy. Make sure you take the time to really develop content that offers actionable value! (Of course, this is something the writers at Grammar Chic can help you with.)

No 3. A keyword in your URL. The URL slug you use for each page of content provides another way to enrich your content with keywords. Make sure you are strategic in naming your URLs!

No. 4. Fast loading speed. Nobody wants to sit and wait for your page to load, at least no more than two or three seconds. Having a page that loads quickly—not just on desktops, but on mobile devices, is critical for pleasing users and, therefore, pleasing Google. Experiment with your site on multiple devices, and if you find that it takes more than three seconds to load, you may want to pare it down and make it load faster.

No. 5. Website security. This is especially important for ecommerce sites. Having an https:// site is a trust signal, showing your users that the site has been built to protect their information; according to Google, that’s a potentially meaningful way to improve SEO, as well as user experience.

No. 6. Internal linking. A final way to boost your online authority is to ensure that each page of content has relevant links to other meaningful, related content—resources on other websites, but also resources found elsewhere on your own site.

Clearly, there are many components of strong SEO. To get started writing rankings-friendly content, contact Grammar Chic today. Reach out to us at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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

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

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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.

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

How to Get Your Website Ready for Holiday Sales

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As we’ve mentioned already, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are huge sales days in America—and you ignore them at your own risk.

Even with these two significant dates quickly approaching, though, there are still ways to ensure that you’re ready to take full advantage of them. In fact, some basic tweaks to your company website can provide you with the opportunities you need to lead customers down your holiday sales funnel.

Here are the website touch-ups we recommend.

Ensure Mobile Friendliness

Mobile friendliness is always critical, but especially so during the holidays, when a lot of people are going to be shopping for gifts from their phones and their tablets. Look at your site on multiple devices to make sure it’s readable and easy to navigate—and if it’s not, go into your CMS dashboard or talk to your webmaster to activate mobile readiness.

Create Guides for Your Holiday Products/ Services

Provide holiday shoppers with an easy way to view all the items you’re pitching during the holiday season. A YouTube video or a simple photo catalog can be effective in showing what you have on offer. The point is to give your viewers a way to quickly and clearly see your holiday specials, without having to wade through each page of your site.

Create Landing Pages

It’s wise to promote specific holiday specials on social media, as well as AdWords, etc. As you do so, you want to provide links to targeted landing pages for the specific product in question—not just your home page. Creating Cyber Monday and Black Friday landing pages is so important for capturing leads.

Emphasize Consumer Trust

Provide shoppers with plenty of reason to trust you, and no reason to doubt your legitimacy. Put reviews, star ratings, and testimonials front and center on your website, if they’re not there already.

Craft a Unique Value Statement

Really, this is something that’s important throughout the seasons; when someone visits your site, they should immediately understand the unique value your company can offer—what’s in it for them to choose you over a competitor. You want to craft something like an elevator pitch here—something short, something specific, something memorable.

That’s something our team can help you with! Contact Grammar Chic today to start the process—but act soon! The holidays will be here before you know it. Reach us at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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How to Prepare Your Business for Cyber Monday

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Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas, New Year’s—for most of us, these and perhaps a few others are the main holidays to focus on at year’s end. If you’re a business owner, though—and an ecommerce merchant in particular—then there’s one other day you should mark on your calendar: Cyber Monday. The Monday following Thanksgiving is one of the biggest shopping days of the year, a day on which many of your regular customers and clients are going to be in a holiday shopping state of mind. You ignore this day at your own detriment; hosting some Cyber Monday specials and promotions is a great way to seize some of this traffic and generate some real business.

But there’s not that much time until Cyber Monday gets here—so if you haven’t planned your promotions, the time to do so is now!

Allow us to offer a few pointers.

Getting Ready for Cyber Monday

You need to start building buzz now. Trust us: Your audience is already thinking about the holiday season, and many brick and mortar stores have had their holiday promotions and displays running for several weeks already. You’ve got to compete with that, so set the details of your Cyber Monday promotions and start hyping them on social media and on your website soon.

Make sure customers can browse your features products/services now. Long before Cyber Monday arrives, many shoppers will be doing online research to scout out the best deals. Whatever items you are going to promote, make sure your website showcases them well, including a note about any Cyber Monday discounts or specials.

Begin the process of creating content. You’ll want to promote your Cyber Monday offerings with images, ads, blog posts, and more—and you don’t want to have to create all of that content at the very last minute. Start compiling some of it today.

Be meticulous and thoughtful in creating ad copy. On Cyber Monday (and really for the entire holiday season), your audience is going to be inundated with sales copy. Yours must stand out. Brainstorm email marketing subject lines, blog headings, and effective tweets now. Engage a writing team, like Grammar Chic, to help make your words memorable.

Tap into your existing customer base. Cyber Monday can be a good season for new customer acquisition, but it can frankly be an even better time to re-engage with previous customers. Make sure your Cyber Monday marketing efforts include some emails targeted to the folks who are already on your mailing list.

It won’t be long before the big day is here—so are you prepared? If not, get with Grammar Chic today to find out how we can help you. Reach out at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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Why Your Company Should Move Beyond Content Marketing Freelancers

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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.

 

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