Category Archives: Content Writing

What is Episodic Content Marketing?

You’re probably familiar with the old show business adage: Leave the audience wanting more.

That simple piece of advice has recently become popular in content marketing circles, as well. One of this year’s big trends is episodic content marketing, which is all about providing your audience with just enough value to be satisfied, but also to make them want to come back for seconds.

At its most basic, episodic content marketing is simply about taking a big piece of content and doling it out as individual installments. For instance, maybe instead of writing a 10-point, 3,000-word blog, you create a series of ten 300-word blogs—each one devoted to a single point, all of them adding up into a more comprehensive argument or narrative.

The Benefits of Episodic Content Marketing

As you can tell, this isn’t a complete retooling of the content ecosystem so much as a simple paradigm shift: Maybe instead of long and meaty content, it’s more logical to have bite-sized morsels. And there are some clear benefits. For example:

  • Episodic content marketing gives your audience a reason to come back for more, just like when a TV show (or an Avengers movie!) ends on a big cliffhanger.
  • It also provides an incentive for people to subscribe to your email list or to follow you on social media—after all, they don’t want to miss the next episode!
  • Finally, episodic content allows you to develop a grand narrative or arc, which can lend to your brand’s thought leadership and authority.

What Does Episodic Content Marketing Require?

Another upshot of episodic content marketing is that, if you already have a strong content development structure in place, it’s a pretty easy shift into the episodic realm. Some guidelines to consider:

  • Make sure you have a good sense of the big picture. A 10-part blog series needs a unifying theme or idea, and that’s something you have to figure out in advance.
  • It’s also important that each piece of content creates anticipation for the next. At the end of a blog post, tease the upcoming topic. Again, this requires advance planning.
  • Encourage interaction when you can. Share each episode on social media and in your company emails and ask for feedback. Pose some specific questions to get people to engage with you.

If you’ve been in a content rut and are looking for a way to reinvigorate audience interest, this is an approach that could pay off. And we’d love to help however we can! Connect with Grammar Chic, Inc. to discuss content strategy or creation. You can find us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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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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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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6 Reasons Your Small Business Should Invest in Content Marketing

A question we get asked all the time by small business owners: Is content marketing really worth the cost? Does the payoff ultimately redeem the time and effort put into writing, publishing, and monitoring blog and social media content—or the money spent outsourcing it to a content marketing company?

We obviously think that it does, and we encourage our clients to think not in terms of cost but investment. Yes, content marketing has a threshold for entry, and trying to cut corners ultimately just means you end up with bad content and wasted resources. But when you actually invest in doing content marketing well, the dividends can be manifold.

Here are just a few examples.

Why Invest in Content Marketing?

  1. It proves your thought leadership.

Say you’re a financial planner. Why should a potential client choose you over any of the other financial planners in your area? Why should they assume that you know what you’re talking about and have the expertise to provide wise investment advice? One answer is that you show them you know what you’re talking about by producing content—content that shows a real fluency with your chosen niche or subject matter. The result? Prestige for your brand; trust from your potential customers and clients.

  1. It feeds the content monster.

The content monster is our little nickname for Google’s search algorithms, which always want more, more, more fresh content to gobble up. All else being equal, the site that has new blog updates twice monthly is going to have better search engine visibility than the site that lays dormant for years at a time. In other words, an investment in content marketing is an investment in SEO.

  1. It allows you to connect with customers and clients.

Content marketing isn’t just about blog posts. It’s also about social media, and a well-maintained social media presence can bring lots of little interactions and touch points with your clients. Google refers to these as “micro moments,” and they’re important for building brand loyalty and boosting your transactions/conversions.

  1. It educates your customers.

These days, the consumer experience never actually starts in a physical retail location. It starts online with the customer doing ample research to ensure a wise purchasing decision. You need to guide that research toward you and your brand, and content marketing is how you accomplish that. Content marketing provides the means for elucidating all the reasons why a customer might pick you over the competition.

  1. It can be a form of customer service.

One way to use content marketing is to provide product tutorials, troubleshooting guides, and FAQs—showing potential customers that, if they ever have questions about how to use your product, all they have to do is head to Facebook or YouTube and they can have their questions answered.

  1. It proves that you’re listening.

Good content is always tailored to address the specific needs, interests, and pain points of the end user—which in turn shows that end user that you’ve taken the time to get to know and understand them, and that you listen to what they say. Again, the upshot here is trust and rapport-building.

We could go on—but rather than do so on our blog, we’d love to do it on the phone with you. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. and we’ll tell you how we think content marketing could make a world of difference for your small business. Contact us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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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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Connecting with Millennials Through Content Marketing

Among its many virtues, content marketing is ideal for reaching millennials.

The reason for this is actually pretty simple: Millennials—whatever you think of their pros and cons, their strengths and their shortcomings—are naturally adept at sniffing out bullshit. They know when they’re being coerced, duped, or talked down to, and as a result, they have very low vulnerability to traditional, prescriptive advertising.

But content marketing is different: Here, the goal isn’t to talk anyone into anything, but simply to find some helpful, engaging, Google-friendly information. And to the extent that content marketing does have ulterior motives, it’s usually pretty transparent.

All that to say, if you’re wondering how you can use content marketing to better connect with millennials, congratulations! You’re already on the right track!

With that said, there are right ways and wrong ways to connect with millennials through content marketing—and in this post, we’ll offer some tips and some solutions.

How to Connect with Millennials through Social Media

  1. Remember the mantra.

The old line about content marketing is that it’s “selling without selling.” That is, you want to earn trust and create brand awareness, but you don’t want to give a hard sell. That’s really important for getting content marketing right, but it’s especially important for reaching the millennial generation—because again: They tend to be pretty allergic to aggressive sales pitches. Focus on engaging and authoritative content, offer a gentle call to action, and trust your content to do its job.

  1. Don’t mistake millennials for dummies.

Or at least, don’t assume they’re ill-informed. Statistics show over and over that millennials tend to do a ton of online research before they buy anything. Keep that in mind when you develop content: Your millennial readers are probably well-studied, they’ve seen the competition, and they’re examined some of the same sources as you. What you offer them should be original; it should have a unique point of view; and it should exist in dialogue with other content that’s out there.

  1. Note that millennials tend to be justice-driven.

The millennial generation is often called the social justice generation—and there’s a reason for this: While they may not vote for the same political candidates or hold the same policy preferences, millennials as a whole tend to be pretty motivated by racial, economic, and environmental justice issues. One of the best ways to earn trust is to highlight the ways in which your brand stands for those same things.

  1. Leverage FOMO.

Something else that millennials as a whole have in common: Fear of missing out, or FOMO. This marketing concept is hardly new, but it’s gained new resonance as marketers have increasingly sought connections with millennials. If you can use your content to instill a sense of urgency, or cause the reader to feel like they can take advantage of a limited-time or limited-quantity offer, that can really help you reach millennials.

  1. Get visual whenever you can.

You can and should write blogs as part of your content marketing strategy, but also make sure you use plenty of visual content—including Instagram posts, Facebook and Twitter memes, and graphics embedded in your website content. Simply put, millennials tend to be pretty visual—and much as we hate to admit it, words alone probably won’t be enough!

With these pointers, you can start connecting more effectively with members of the millennial demographic—and for additional tips or content marketing resources, we hope you’ll reach out.

Chat with us today by calling 803-831-7444 or by visiting www.grammarchic.net.

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10 Innovative Content Marketing Resolutions for 2019

New year, new opportunities to create content that shines. As we sprint headlong into 2019, consider turning over a new leaf (or 10) with regard to your content marketing efforts. Here are some outside-the-box suggestions to get you started.

1. Stop thinking quantity-first, start thinking quality-first.

We meet a lot of small business owners who get hung up on content volume—and while we definitely think it’s important to be consistent in your content development, we also think that quality matters more than actual quantity.

Did you know that, for many companies, the overwhelming majority of their online engagement comes through just five percent of their content? That’s because that one really high-quality, in-depth blog post you develop is ultimately way more meaningful than 10 micro-blogs you dash off in an afternoon.

Resolve to produce good stuff this year, as opposed to just a lot of okay stuff.

2. Stop guessing and start measuring.

It’s amazing how many businesses invest big bucks in content marketing, but almost nothing into measurement and analytics. Simply put, if you’re going to be investing in any kind of marketing channel, you should have some idea of how well it’s performing for you.

And this doesn’t have to be some big, technical, or expensive undertaking. Google Analytics is free and user-friendly. Social media management platforms such as Hootsuite come with their own built-in reporting features. Start paying real attention to these metrics today.

3. Create a way for your whole team to participate.

A simple strategy: Make a shared Google Document where all the members of your team can log content ideas they come across, or report on questions they are asked by customers—all of which can be invaluable inspiration for your next blog post or e-book.

There’s no reason at all why every person in your company shouldn’t feel empowered to suggest new directions in content.

4. Document everything.

Along the same lines, make this the year you actually keep track of your content marketing efforts—who writes what, how often you publish new content, etc.

Documenting your efforts can be an invaluable way to hold yourself accountable, but also to identify potential areas of improvement. And again, this is an easy thing to do: A Google Doc or a running Excel spreadsheet is really all you need.

5. Be consistent in the story you’re telling.

It’s all too easy to forget that the content you produce is really telling the story of your brand—and it’s important to keep that narrative clear and muddle-free.

Some things to think about: What’s your mission? What’s your value proposition? What problems do you solve, and what customer pain points do you address? And, why would a customer choose you over your competitors?

It’s worth it to not only ponder these questions, but also to document your answers—creating a brand narrative you can refer back to often, making sure all the content you create reinforces that central message.

6. Start thinking of yourself as a publisher.

Some of the most successful companies in the world have begun to think of themselves as publishers—and the result is that they convey thought leadership, command a large social media audience, and maintain total control over their brand narrative.

To make this resolution even more practical, consider some options for publishing branded content beyond your company website. Two places where we’ve found success: LinkedIn Pulse and Medium.

7. Unite SEO and content marketing.

We’ve all read articles about SEO and content marketing, and how they are really two sides of the same coin—but do you actually practice that?

One resolution you might make is to use tools like the Google Keyword Planner to generate some targeted terms for your content—deploying them for SEO effect but also using them as jumping-off points for your content topics. This is a simple yet effective way to make sure your content marketing and SEO efforts are working in cahoots with one another, not at odds.

8. Flip your formula.

How’s this for a creative exercise: If you tend to think of content marketing purely in terms of blog posts, take one of your most popular blogs and use it as the script for a YouTube or Instagram video.

And, if you prefer to use tools like Facebook Live, take one of your most popular broadcasts and use it as the basis for a downloadable PDF.

The point is to think outside your usual format—shake things up, inspire some new ideas, and give your audience something a little bit outside the ordinary.

9. Go live.

The thought of any kind of live streaming might be intimidating for you—and we get it! But remember, a live stream on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. In fact, the virtue of live streaming is that it allows for some candid, off-the-cuff interaction with your audience—perhaps in the form of a quick hello, a product update, or even an audience Q&A.

It’s something that can effectively humanize your brand, and it’s worth trying in the year to come!

10. Work with a content development team.

Finally, if you’ve been seeking a way to make your content production more strategic, more efficient, or more creative, maybe now’s the time to take a leap forward into working with a content writing team. That, of course, is where we come into play.

Whether you’re looking to implement these resolutions or simply want to know what your options are, we’d love to talk with you. Reach out to Grammar Chic today at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net. And oh yeah—Happy New Year!

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