Category Archives: Content Writing

How to Tell if Your Content Ideas Are Any Good

It’s often said that quality is the most important component in content marketing. What does this mean, exactly? Among other things, it implies that some content ideas are better than others, and that part of the content marketer’s job is deciding which content ideas have potential and which are better discarded.

Sometimes, you’ll have a new content idea that just seems so obvious, it’s almost too good to be true. In other cases, seeds of uncertainty will be there throughout the content development process. In all cases, it’s wise to do a quick inventory, asking some key questions to properly vet your content idea.

Is This Relevant to My Core Business Offerings?

Content marketing depends on you displaying real thought leadership, providing your readers with something valuable—not simply advertising your brand all the time.

But even when your content isn’t directly “salesy,” it should be relevant to your core business offerings, underscoring your knowledge of the field.

For example, if your business is a used car dealership, good content ideas might encompass vehicle ownership, vehicle buying guides, even vehicle financing. But you wouldn’t want to branch out to topics that don’t directly impact either vehicle buyers or vehicle owners.

Does This Topic Offer Value?

Another way to phrase this question: What’s in it for my reader?

Your content should always provide an actionable insight; there should be a clear sense in which readers are better off having consumed your content. In short, they should learn something that’s actually helpful to them.

Vet your content ideas by asking: What are the benefits? If you can’t list them, it’s probably not a very strong topic.

What’s the Hook?

Another way to phrase this question: Why will anyone care about this topic?

Sometimes, the hook is closely tied to the value proposition. If your article is 5 Ways to Save Money on Your Next Used Car Purchase, the hook is self-explanatory; everyone wants to save money, and your content offers five ways to do it.

In other cases, though, you might look for a seasonal hook—e.g., 5 Reasons to Buy a New Car in December, or Why Summer is the Best Time to Shop for New Trucks. You could also tie in your topic to hot topics, current headlines, holidays, celebrity announcements, or even sporting events; for example, an alcohol rehab company we work with recently posted a great blog about how to stay sober at Super Bowl parties.

What’s the Pitch?

Take a minute and try to summarize or explain your content angle in two or three sentences.

If you can’t give a fairly succinct elevator pitch, it may mean that the topic is still too broad or unrefined. This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad topic; just that you need to polish it a bit more, and zero in on exactly what you’re trying to say in your content.

What’s the Call to Action?

Or: What do you want readers to do once they finish your content?

Does your blog lend itself to a CTA for a free consultation? Should it link to a particular product or service page? Or should you simply invite readers to contact you directly for more information?

Can I Write This?

A final consideration: Just because you have the technical faculty to understand your topic, that doesn’t always mean you have the time or the writing craft to develop your content fully.

If that’s the case, it may be wise to enlist the services of a content writing company, like Grammar Chic, Inc. Our writers can help you at each stage of content development—brainstorming, content creation, content distribution, and more.

Learn more about our comprehensive content creation services. Contact Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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

5 Ways to Earn Links in 2018

When other websites or blogs link to your content, it feels really good; it’s flattering to think that one of your readers enjoyed the content enough to share it with others.

But earning links is about more than just good feelings. It’s actually an important part of effective content marketing. Consider:

  • Backlinks lend prestige and respectability to your content; they make it more likely for other readers to find and to trust
  • Backlinks also enhance your online brand. They cast you as a thought leader and an industry expert.
  • Finally, backlinks are critical SEO ranking factors. As you accrue links from authoritative websites, it helps your standings in Google.

Building backlinks should be a priority in every content marketing strategy—but it’s important to note that there are right ways and wrong ways to do it.

Black Hat and White Hat Approaches

In fact, all link building efforts can be boiled down to two basic categories—black hat and white hat.

  • Black hat tactics ignore Google’s stated guidelines; the most common black hat tactic is buying links outright. This is dishonest and can actually lead to SEO penalties.
  • White hat tactics consist of actually earning your backlinks through valuable content and real relationships. These tactics comply with Google’s stated guidelines.

As you consider link building strategies, remember that there are no short cuts—not really. Buying backlinks will cause your SEO rankings to take a dive. The best way to pursue backlinks is by earning them, fair and square. The question is how.

5 Tips for Earning Backlinks

We recommend a few simple tactics:

  1. Write content that’s worth linking to. Make sure you’re producing high-quality content that offers helpful, practical information to your audience. If the content is flimsy, irrelevant to the target reader, or overly promotional, nobody’s going to want to link to it—plain and simple.
  2. Don’t stop at written content. Written content, like blogs, is incredibly important—foundational, even. But as you create this content, spin it into infographics and video content, as well. A broader, richer content profile can help you attract more backlinks.
  3. Ensure that some of your content is evergreen. It’s fine to write about industry trends or headlines, but also make sure you’re producing some content that won’t age or become obsolete—such as glossaries, guides, and compendiums. This is the kind of content that tends to win links most readily.
  4. Engage in influencer marketing. Using social media, form relationships with some of the key influencers in your industry, including prominent bloggers or social media personalities. If you can get their attention, and in turn they share some of your content, that could be huge for your link-building efforts.
  5. Don’t forget about press releases. Sending out regular press releases helps keep your content in front of local or industry-specific publications, which can often win you the links you’re seeking.

These simple tips provide the basis of a sound link building campaign—but of course, they are easier said than done. Building the right kind of content takes time and skill, but Grammar Chic, Inc. can help. Our writers have ample expertise writing across myriad industries, and we know how to create content that’s link-worthy.

Schedule a consultation with our writing team today. Contact Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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

4 Reasons Your CTAs Are Falling Flat

Every piece of marketing content you write—every blog post, every email, and every Web page—should have a clear call to action. The CTA serves a simple yet pivotal role in telling your readers what steps they should be taking next—whether that means buying a product, calling for an appointment, signing up for your email list, or simply sharing your post with their friends.

But not all CTAs are created equal—and if your calls aren’t generating action, it could be for any number of reasons. Here’s a quick troubleshooting guide.

You forgot the action part.

This is more common than you might think. It’s common to assume that the CTA is any short, snappy wrap-up to your content—but the goal of the CTA isn’t to summarize; it’s to encourage your readers to take the next step. So if your CTA doesn’t include a clear verb, calling your readers to action, then it’s simply not doing its job.

Some examples of basic, effective CTAs:

  • Call today to schedule your appointment.
  • Download our free e-book right now.
  • Sign up for additional updates.

Notice that each one starts with a verb, and each one leaves little doubt as to what you want the reader to do next.

Your verb choice is weak.

Speaking of verbs, it’s important to pick some really evocative ones—yet all too often, we see CTAs written with bland, boring verbs like these:

  • Enter
  • Continue
  • Click here

Though these technically qualify as action words, they’re hardly motivating. Aim for something a little more exciting! Some of our favorite CTA verbs include discover, explore, and start your journey—e.g.:

  • Discover the secrets of content marketing by joining our email newsletter.
  • Explore your financing options by calling a loan specialist today.
  • Start your journey with meditation today; download our free guide!

You forget about benefits.

It’s not enough to tell people what to do; you also need to tell them why they should do it. In other words, what’s in it for them?

A good CTA conveys real value—like in these examples:

  • Save money on your monthly utility bills by downloading our energy efficiency e-book.
  • Get one-on-one content marketing assistance when you call one of our consultants.
  • Increase your sales numbers by up to 20 percent when you download our program.

Your CTA is too long.

Finally, remember that the hallmark of a strong CTA is that it’s short and snappy. You don’t need to rehash your entire sales pitch; just get to the point. There’s no reason for your CTA to be any longer than one to two sentences, clearly laying out the invitation and the benefits, then moving on.

Though a CTA is brief, there’s a lot of strategy that goes into writing one—and that’s where we come in. Our writers have ample experience crafting CTAs that generate measurable results. Learn how our team can make your CTAs exponentially more effective; contact Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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4 Essential Sources of Content Inspiration

Producing new content for your brand can feel like a full-time job in and of itself—and sooner or later, you’re bound to come up against a wall. Even the most proficient content creators sometimes have these moments, moments when they feel like they have said all there is to say, and there simply aren’t any ideas left in the hopper.

What you need, in moments like these, is fresh inspiration—but where can you find it? Here are four essential sources for fresh content ideas.

Your Old Content

First and foremost, don’t hesitate to go back through your own blog archives to see if there’s an older topic you could revive or revisit.

Don’t misunderstand: We don’t recommend ever running duplicate content, which can hurt your SEO rankings. But maybe a trend you wrote about three years ago has evolved enough that a follow-up piece is in order. Maybe your 5 things to do… post can be morphed into a 5 things not to do… post. Maybe something will just jump out at you as a worthy topic to relitigate or to approach from a new angle.

Your Competition

Another place to turn for content ideas? Your chief competitors.

Spend some time reading your competitor’s blog posts. See if there are any angles he or she has thought of that you haven’t yet covered yourself. Pay special attention to any posts that seem to get a lot of engagement from readers. These are clearly hot topics, and it may be worth your while to write about them yourself.

Your Customers

Are there certain questions that your customers tend to ask on a regular basis? Any recurring concerns or considerations they bring to the table?

These are the kinds of things you should be writing about on your blog and in your email blasts—because you already know your customers have an interest. Make sure your content ideas take into account real-life interactions with your clientele!

Your Team

You never know when a member of your team might have a winning content idea up their sleeve.

Customer-facing team members can be especially useful here, because they know the kinds of things your clients want to learn more about (see our last point).

Make sure you regularly ask your team members for content feedback.

Transform Your Best Ideas into Compelling Content

Whether you’re stuck for ideas or need assistance turning those ideas into great content, our writers and strategists can help. We’d love to set up a content consultation today. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. now—either at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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How to Write an Effective Facebook Bio for Your Business

First impressions are everything—and while many consumers will first encounter your business through its official website, there are some who will be introduced to your business via its Facebook page. As such, it’s important to treat your company’s Facebook profile almost like a second home page—a succinct but effective summary of the things you do and the value you offer.

But how can you make your Facebook bio resonate? Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Tips for Optimizing Your Business Facebook Bio

Start with your value proposition. You can’t include everything about your business, and it’s best not to try. Instead, focus on the things that make your company distinctive. What’s your elevator pitch? Or, why would a consumer pick your brand over the competitor’s? Those should be the focus points for your bio.

Be mindful of SEO. While it’s important not to stuff your Facebook bio with keywords, to the point where it reads as stiff and robotic, you do want to include some keywords whenever you can do so naturally. Geographically-specific keywords are especially important.

Don’t forget links. Invite your Facebook visitors to learn more about your company—and make sure to include a link to your home page! Alternatively, create a landing page for your Facebook visitors, a page that thanks them for their visit and invites them to take the next steps in learning about your brand.

Include CTAs, too. All good online content comes with a call to action. Use some compelling verbs to encourage your readers to call, email, or visit your website. Alternatively, simply invite them to like and follow your Facebook page!

Don’t waste space with redundant words. We see a lot of bloated Facebook bios that waste their precious online real estate. For example, telling your visitors that they have reached “the official Facebook home of [Company Name]” is needless. Trim the fat and focus on words that pack a punch.

Drive your benefits. Specifically, focus on language that conveys the value your brand delivers to consumers. Ultimately, your Facebook bio shouldn’t be about you; it should be about your consumers. It should be centered on what’s in it for them to dive into your brand.

Get a Facebook Facelift

Your Facebook bio is an important marketing asset. Make yours count. For help, reach out to Grammar Chic. Our writers are experts in crafting compelling Facebook bios, and we even offer full social media management services.

Set up a social media consultation with Grammar Chic, Inc. Contact us at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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6 Things to Ask Your Social Media Manager

While it’s not quite fair to say that everyone has a social media presence, the reality is that most of us do—and that number is only increasing as time goes by. Businesses and public figures can’t afford not to have a footprint on social media, which is where more and more consumers turn for news, recommendations, and connections.

Yet actively managing a social media presence is almost a full-time job in itself. That’s why a lot of small and mid-sized companies now outsource their social media management to a professional—someone who can coordinate postings, respond to comments, generate reports, and ensure strong, consistent brand messaging.

Before hiring a social media manager, though, it’s important to do your due diligence. Here are a few things you should ask to ensure you’re hiring the right person (or team) for the job.

 What to Ask When Hiring a Social Media Management Team

  1. What do you need from me? In theory, you’re hiring a social media management team to take that workload off your plate—yet for your social media presence to feel personal and authentic, you may need to weigh in on some of the content. That’s a tricky balance, and it’s always smart to find out what your social media manager will expect from
  2. How will you evaluate progress? One of the first things your social media manager will ask you is what you hope to achieve—what your goals are from the process. (If your social media team doesn’t ask this, that’s a red flag.) After telling them your goals, turn the tables: Ask how your social media manager will evaluate progress, and what metrics will be used to determine whether or not you’re hitting those goals.
  3. How often will I hear from you? Communication is key, and as you work with your social media manager, it’s good to have a clear idea of how often you’ll touch base, when you should expect reports to be generated, how accessible your manager will be should you have any questions, etc.
  4. What programs do you use for automation, reporting, etc.? A good social media manager will use programs like Hootsuite to ensure that posts are published promptly, and that data is generated consistently. Ask what kinds of programs your social media team will use, and make sure they’re doing what they need to do to make your campaign smooth and efficient.
  5. How will you respond to commenters? What will your social media manager do to answer questions, pass along feedback, or—if necessary—deal with trolls? There’s not necessarily one right answer here, but do make sure your team has a thoughtful plan in place, and that it’s something you feel comfortable with.
  6. What’s your approach to content? A good social media manager will post a good mix of curated and syndicated content—that is, stuff that’s original to your brand, and stuff from outside sources.

Of course, this is your social media presence on the line—so by all means, ask any questions that come to mind. Our team is happy to field all inquiries. Grammar Chic, Inc. provides robust and flexible social media management services, and we invite you to reach out today to set up a consultation. Contact us at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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Don’t Let Bad Content Ruin Your SEO Rankings

You’re probably familiar with the old SEO axiom: Content is king. That’s a little bit of an oversimplification, but there’s a lot of truth to it. If you’re trying to enact a savvy SEO campaign and achieve higher Google rankings for your business website, strong content is crucial. It’s job #1. It’s an absolute deal-breaker.

And why is that? Think about it from Google’s point of view. Like any business, Google wants to provide its customers (search engine users) with the best product possible (relevant search results). That means content that adequately answers their questions. If you want to rank well, that’s the kind of content you need to create.

But if good content can boost rankings, bad content can sink them. Unfortunately, bad content is all too plentiful. Here are a few ways in which bad content can disrupt your SEO undertaking—and not in a good way.

Bad Content Means Bad SEO

Content that’s too flimsy. While we are adamant that there’s no magic word count you need to hit, it is wise to be as thorough as you can be, completely addressing the topic at hand. Just ask yourself: Would this be satisfactory to a search engine user who wants to learn more about this topic or issue—or would a search engine user come away with more questions than answers?

Content that lacks the right keywords. When it comes to keywords, moderation is key. If you jam in so many keywords that your content feels stilted or robotic, your rankings will slip. Do include a few target keywords in strategic locations, however—titles, section subheadings, meta descriptions, and sprinkled throughout your body content.

Content that’s not localized. For retail companies or brick-and-mortar businesses, some geographically specific keywords are vital. Some examples include keywords like [City] plumbing company, [City] accountants, [City] pizza restaurant, etc.

Content that doesn’t offer a good UX. User experience is a key SEO ranking factor, so make sure that any visitor to your page feels totally welcome, and that it’s easy for users to find the content they’re after. We recommend plenty of white space; bullet points whenever appropriate; section subheadings; and, of course, a mobile-friendly layout.

Content that doesn’t offer value. There’s nothing wrong with developing content to sell your products, but remember that any content you create is meant to be informative and educational; if all you write is marketing fluff, you’re not helping Google provide its customers with a strong product.

Content that lacks internal linking. One more hallmark of strong content? It makes it easy for users to navigate to related resources. Make sure to include links to relevant resource pages or blog posts whenever you can.

Get the Help You Need Creating Strong Content

SEO can get really technical, and those technicalities are important—but they don’t mean anything if you don’t have good content to offer. That’s where we come in. Grammar Chic, Inc. is adept at content creation that delights readers while also pleasing the search algorithms. And we’d love to talk with you about your company’s content writing and SEO needs.

Schedule a consultation today: Reach out at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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