Category Archives: Social Media

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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Not All Keywords Are Created Equal

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Since the earliest days of search engine optimization, there has always been some disagreement with regard to keywords. To this day, many small business owners, zealous to optimize their company websites as best they can, wonder about the best keywording principles: How many keywords should they use? What should those keywords be? Where should keywords be placed?

A key concept in any SEO endeavor is keyword research. Google AdWords provides a keyword research tool that’s invaluable, even if you’re not necessarily using it for PPC purposes. You can do research using this tool that informs all your on-site keyword efforts—showing you the best, most valuable and competitive words to use in your Web content, on your blog, and so on.

Branded vs. Non-branded Keywords

As you dip into keyword research, it’s important to understand that there are different types of keywords out there. One of the first distinctions you’ll want to make is the one about branded versus non-branded keywords.

Let’s start with branded keywords—the ones that are connected to your specific brand. Some examples of branded keywords include:

  • Your website name;
  • Your company name, if different from your website name;
  • Misspellings of your website name; for example, you have to prepare for the possibility that some people might search for Grammar Chick instead of Grammar Chic; and
  • Branded products—like Big Mac, iPhone, etc.

Often, branded keywords are the ones that prove to be the highest converting. That’s what makes it so important to optimize for these terms; they represent your best chance at turning traffic into paying customers. Additionally, it’s important for brand management. You wouldn’t want your competitor to outrank you for your own company name, would you? And can you imagine what Microsoft would do if they actually ranked better than Apple for the term iPhone? It certainly wouldn’t be good for Apple!

As for non-branded keywords, those are the ones that don’t fit into the categories above. These don’t convert as consistently, but are vital in reflecting the way people really search for information. A lot of people are going to Google for writing company rather than Grammar Chic because they simply don’t know that Grammar Chic exists; optimizing for non-branded keywords is important for reaching those users.

Informational vs. Transactional Keywords

These two broad categories of keywords can be further broken down into additional types—specifically, informational and transactional keywords.

  • Informational keywords are upper funnel keywords that attract users and creates awareness. You optimize these keywords with goal of wanting to increase new users and traffic.
  • Transactional ones, meanwhile, are the lower funnel and money-oriented keywords that are more likely to turn into a transaction of a lead, depending on website’s goal.

These types of keywords function differently, and you may want to emphasize one type over the other simply depending on the type of content you’re writing (that is, where in the sales funnel you’re trying to reach people). As you seek to determine whether a keyword falls under the informational or transactional heading, I recommend asking the following three questions:

  1. Use AdWords to see the kind of traffic and the kind of conversions associated with each keyword. A high-converting keyword is more likely to be transactional; a keyword with lots of traffic but not many conversions is probably informational.
  2. If you are not running AdWords or you don’t have sufficient data, look at Google’s keyword planner and find out the cost per click for each keyword (it’ll be abbreviated CPC) as well as the competition. If the CPC and competition are high, then that is more likely to be a transactional keyword because marketers often don’t spend a ton of money on informational ones.
  3. Finally, you can always just copy and paste each keyword into Google to see what Google returns. For example, if you type in “how to get an oil change,” most of the search results are blogs and articles, which are informational. But if you search for “where to get an oil change” then the results will change and show nearby mechanic shops, Yelp results, etc.—businesses where you’d make a transaction.

Know Your Keywords

No matter what marketing activity you’re engaged in, it’s important to know which keywords you’re dealing with. That all starts with research—and if you need a hand with any of the heavy lifting, don’t hesitate to contact the digital marketing experts at Digital Advertiser.

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Big Changes to Google’s Star Systems (And What They Mean for You)

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Here’s a hypothetical for you: Say you’re looking to purchase a new product of some kind, but you don’t really know much about it, or where to get it. You need to gather some information. You need to do some research. So where do you head? The answer, of course, is Google. That’s where consumers do their research these days—and it’s where they make most of their decisions about which products to buy and which local businesses to visit.

One way in which consumers make their purchasing decisions is to consult with Google’s star system. If you see a local company with a one-star rating, you’d probably think twice before giving them your business, right? You’d at least look around for competitors. And on the flipside, if a business has a five-star Google score, you’d feel a lot more confident shopping there.

The implication for businesses is that Google star ratings matter—they matter for your bottom line. That’s why, when Google makes changes to its star system, small business owners need to sit up and take notice.

What’s Changed with Google’s Star System?

As it happens, Google has made changes to its star rating scale. Here’s the change: It used to be that Google only gave star ratings for businesses with at least five reviews. Now, Google has lowered the threshold—and some businesses are receiving Google ratings on the basis of a single review!

What this means is that, more than ever before, every single online review you get matters. A single one-star review could totally sink your Google score, especially if it’s the only review you have. Meanwhile, a single five-star review could be all it takes to send your company toward a perfect score.

How to Be Proactive About Your Google Reviews

Our advice to business owners: Don’t leave your Google stars to chance. Be proactive in getting your full five-star score! Here are some tips:

  • Make sure your Google review link is clearly displayed on your website and on social media profiles.
  • Actively ask your customers to leave you their feedback. Include a request on invoices and receipts.
  • Go as far as to send an email to all your best, most loyal customers, and simply explain to them how meaningful a quick review would be.
  • Sweeten the deal! Offer a $5 Starbucks gift card or a promo code to people who take the time to leave you a review.
  • Include your Google review link on your email signature.

There are a lot of strategies that can get results, and we’d love to help you execute a good one. Contact Grammar Chic today to learn more! Reach out to our team at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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