Category Archives: Social Media

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

Breathe New Life into Your Content Marketing Strategy

These days, most companies understand the value in content marketing. Just because you’re doing content marketing, though, that doesn’t mean you’re deriving the maximum value from it.

If your content marketing efforts have grown stagnant—or never quite took off in the first place—that’s no reason to throw in the towel. Instead, it shows that you need to step back and revise your content marketing strategy.

Take Stock

Start by gathering data. Conduct a content audit of your website, sizing up the blogs, downloadable guides, FAQ pages, infographics, and other assets you have assembled.

Look at your Google Analytics or a comparable dashboard and see how these assets are performing. What’s working, and what’s not?

If you don’t have any analytics set up, now’s the time to do so! Until then, you can possibly glean some anecdotal data: Did you have a piece of content that got a lot of Facebook likes or shares, or something your customers have actually mentioned to you in conversation?

Get a clear sense of where your content marketing stands before you disrupt it.

Go Back to Basics

It’s important to determine why your content isn’t connecting with the end user. There could be a few things happening here:

  • You’re not writing with your customers’ pain points in mind. Revisit your buyer personas and make sure you’re tailoring your topics to your audience.
  • You’re not writing toward the right goals—for example, you’re not writing content that will cultivate trust, or that will result in more phone calls or appointments. Be clear in articulating your content marketing goals, and make sure you use them to direct your content creation.
  • You’re not distributing your content in the right channels; are you sure you’re active on the same social platforms as your target audience?

Look again at these basic considerations and see how your content measures up.

Reallocate Resources

It’s possible that you’re misusing your valuable content marketing resources—for example, spending money and time on the wrong platforms, or spreading yourself too thin.

Look at your social media metrics and see if you’ve had particular success on Facebook, or on LinkedIn, or on Twitter. Conversely, see if you’ve consistently come up short on a particular platform.

You may be able to make better use of your resources by cutting losses on one platform and doubling down on another.

Connect with Influencers

Influencer marketing isn’t going to replace content marketing, but it can augment it.

Do some research to figure out who the movers and shakers are in your industry—and start tagging them in tweets, engaging with their content, and forging a cordial relationship. An influencer can amplify the reach of your content and lead to a big increase in your followers.

Hire a Content Writer

A final way to breathe new life into your content marketing efforts is by hiring a ghostwriter—someone who can help you refine your brand’s voice, tell your story, and ultimately offer greater value to the end user.

That’s where Grammar Chic, Inc. shines—and we’d love to consult with you about your content marketing needs and goals. Reach out to us today and let’s start a conversation: Hit us up at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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5 Ways to Prepare for the Holiday Marketing Season

For many businesses, the holidays are make-or-break. Retailers, in particular, depend on a brisk holiday shopping season to reach their annual revenue goals. To ensure a successful season, it’s vital to execute a sound marketing plan—and the time to start is now.

Remember that the holiday shopping season really begins on November 1—which isn’t that far away! You don’t want to be scrambling to get your affairs in order at the last minute, so take some time to prepare for the holiday marketing season today. Here are five steps we recommend.

Plan Your Promotions

Before you do anything else, get a good sense of what you’ll be promoting this year—and how. Make a list of any particular products you want to focus on, and decide what kinds of discounts or special offers you can afford. Also think about special promotions, whether that’s a Cyber Monday sale of a free-shipping offer that extends through the end of the year.

Decide when you’re going to schedule these promotions—when you’ll announce them, and how long they’ll last. Put it all on your calendar. This is a critical first step before you start producing any marketing collateral.

Build Marketing Emails

Once you decide what your seasonal promotions will be, you can start building marketing emails to announce them.

There’s a lot of work that goes into email marketing—choosing templates, uploading images, and writing body text. Again, you don’t want to be doing this at the last minute. Pick your promotions and start developing your marketing emails today. (Our content marketing team is happy to assist with this.)

Create Landing Pages

As you promote special offers—whether through email, PPC, or some other channel—you’ll want to provide your customers with an offer-specific, conversion-oriented landing page where they can complete their transaction.

In other words, if you send out an email promoting a certain product, you want to send traffic to a page that’s all about that product—not just to your company home page.

These landing pages require some build-out, so start today. Remember to keep landing page copy brief and value-focused. Again, the Grammar Chic team can help!

Spruce Up Your Website

Hopefully, this marketing activity will result in a big traffic spike—so make sure your website looks its best. Some quick tips:

  • Audit your site for accessibility issues, such as broken links, and make the necessary repairs.
  • Run some speed tests to be sure your site loads quickly across all platforms and devices.
  • Look for any content opportunities—for instance, product guides or tutorials, tied to the products you’re promoting this holiday season.

Create Marketing Collateral

One more thing you can start doing today to prepare for holiday shoppers: Develop the creative materials you’ll require for seasonal promotions. We mentioned marketing emails already, but also consider product- or offer-specific blog posts, video guides, Web content additions, graphics, banners, and more.

The time to start preparing for a successful holiday marketing campaign is now—and our team can help. Ask us more about our expertise in developing marketing emails, blog posts, landing pages, and beyond. Contact Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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Online Marketing for Real Estate Agents – Tips & Tricks

Editor’s Note: There are numerous books, websites, and other mediums devoted to assisting real estate agents who want to grow their business. Few of these mediums, however, provide substance when it comes to leveraging the possibilities of online marketing. Mary Beth Downing is a Dayton, Ohio real estate agent who has gotten off to a fast start in her career by leveraging the web. In the article below, she shares how she has achieved early success.

Breaking in as a real estate agent is incredibly difficult. This difficulty is the reason why so many agents quit within their first few years, out of frustration. I’ve seen realtor discussion boards in which many agents say that one should only expect to sell three to four homes in their first year. As of this writing, I’ve had my license for slightly over five months and I’ve put eight homes under contract. The most exciting part is that each month has been better than the previous. I’m excited to use this article to share how I’m going about growing my business.

The biggest thing that has surprised me, early on, is the extent to which many new agents entirely devote their time to trying to meet people face to face as opposed to leveraging online resources. These online resources can include paid ads as well as things which you own outright (more on this below). It’s understandable that many new agents don’t want to put money into building a website or into online listings. In my opinion, however, there’s a flaw in refusing to do so. If you take the approach that “I’m not spending any money and I’ll spend my time networking and trying to meet people” then you’re only saving money if you value your time at $0. Given that time is valuable, and can’t be replaced, I find online marketing to be highly effective.

In my first five months I’ve focused on three main areas: my website, my blog, and video. I’ll discuss each of these in turn.

Real estate agents can use their website to attract and capture leads

Most agents don’t invest the time or money to create a website for themselves. This is the first mistake as having a web presence helps to validate you in the eyes of potential clients. Simply, having a website, however, isn’t enough; too many agents build a basic page for the sake of having one, but don’t truly leverage their site. You can use your website to attract clients who would have never heard of you otherwise. You can then use it to capture more of those leads and turn them into signed contracts.

I didn’t want a website that simply said “Hi, this is me. I’m a real estate agent.” I wanted something that would actually provide value to potential clients. This is why I had my webmaster integrate the MLS (through third-party software) into my site. This allows people to search listings of homes for sale through my site instead of through a service such as Zillow. One of the big benefits of this has been that individual home listings tend to show up well in organic search results on Google and Bing. So when people see a for sale sign, and search for the specific address to get more information, my site’s listing of the property shows up. People then land on my website and call me from there. This results in leads with no additional time or meaningful financial investment on my part.

Another big benefit is that the MLS integration into my website allows me to automate the follow-up process. The software I use, to integrate the MLS, allows me to add a lead’s email and other information to a database. That lead will then receive automated emails whenever a new listing, which meets their desired criteria, comes on the market. This means that, instead of me having to call someone about a new listing, they receive it automatically. This helps people to be informed of listings they may be interested in and, importantly, ensures that the information is coming from me. I could spend hours, every day, researching listings and calling people or I could have an automated system which handles this task. I prefer the latter.

My blog is crucial to my strategy of driving seller listings

As I mentioned above, most realtors don’t create a website. Of the ones who do, very few create a blog and maintain it. Blogging is crucial to my strategy going forward. The thing about a blog post is that it can be the gift that keeps on giving. Say, for example, that I write an article on “how to price your home for sale” and it gets clicked on just five times a month in search. That’s five clicks every month that I pay no money for and spend no time on after I’ve written the article. In other words, investing a little bit of time provides me with web content, which I own outright, that will continue to give me indefinite exposure to potential

clients. This is why I wrote a comprehensive series on the subject of “selling your home.” I see my blog as a crucial component to obtaining listings without expending extensive time or money.

Video is important to helping me convert leads into clients

One of the first things I did after starting my business is hire a videographer to make the following “intro” video:

This has been vital in terms of helping me convert leads into clients. This has happened in two ways.

First, the client with the highest dollar contract I’ve signed so far explicitly mentioned my video when they first contacted me. In other words, these clients found me on the web and were considering calling me. They watched my video and it helped clinch their decision. Second, and interestingly, is another call I received. I market heavily on Zillow for a given zip code. My video appears on my Zillow profile as well as on my website. I received a call from a homeowner in the zip code I market to. She stated that she had been receiving letters from realtors offering to assist with selling her home (a common tactic for obtaining listings). She went onto Zillow to get an idea of what her home may be worth as part of deciding whether or not she wanted to sell it. Since I market to her zip code, she came across my Zillow profile and watched my video. She then contacted me regarding the listing of her home and, again, explicitly mentioned my video.

The foregoing are two examples of how my video introduces me to clients and helps me to convert more leads into signed contracts. I own this video outright. That means it’s another gift that keeps on giving. It’s another way that I’m getting clients, on an ongoing basis, without having to expend large amounts of time or pay ongoing amounts of money.

I strongly believe that many real estate agents are missing out on their opportunity to leverage the web. This is actually good news. The fact that agents aren’t leveraging the web means that it’s not as competitive as one may think. In my humble opinion, this is the best way to leverage one’s time and money when growing their business.

I owe a big thanks to Amanda Clark and the team at Grammar Chic for inviting me to write on this topic.

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10 Things You Need for Successful Social Media Marketing

Every business wants a robust presence on social media; indeed, it’s almost impossible to succeed without one. But social media marketing requires a lot more than just signing up for a Facebook account and posting the occasional meme.

Actually, it requires a comprehensive strategy, involving many moving parts. Here’s a quick checklist—some non-negotiable elements of any successful social media marketing campaign.

10 Things You Need for Your Social Marketing Efforts

  1. Goals. What’s the point of your social marketing outreach? How will you know whether or not you’re succeeding? You need to have clearly defined goals to guide your efforts—and that means goals that are specific, measurable, and time-bound.
  2. Audience. Who are you trying to reach? On which social networks will you find them? And what kind of content are they looking for? Use buyer personas to ensure you’re speaking directly to your target audience.
  3. Automation. Not everything can be automated, but using a program like Hootsuite to schedule some posts can remove some of the grunt work, and help your campaign run more efficiently.
  4. Humanity. The whole point of social media is connection. Make sure you’re humanizing your brand: Use humor when appropriate and include some candid photos of your team.
  5. Consistency. Regular activity is critical for social media success. Simply put, nobody’s going to keep up with a social media presence where the updates are infrequent or sporadic. Use an editorial calendar to stay on schedule.
  6. Interaction. Social media is a two-way street! Monitor your accounts and take the time to respond to any questions or comments you get from customers or fans.
  7. Curated content. If you’re looking to build thought leadership and display your industry authority, it’s important to sometimes share informative content from external sources (not your competitors).
  8. Original content. Curated content is important, but hopefully you’re developing plenty of branded content to share, too. Aim for a spectrum of content—blog posts, photos, videos, Web page shares, etc.
  9. Data. Are you regularly consulting analytics to see what’s working—and what’s not? Make sure you’re using the right dashboards and tweaking your strategy as you go.
  10. Optimization. Finally, make sure your social media bios and profiles are all well-optimized. Include target keywords and convey the value proposition for your brand. Refresh your profiles roughly once a year or so.

Those are the basic elements of a strong social media presence—but of course, bringing them all together can be tough. We’d love to chat with you about how the Grammar Chic team can provide strategy, day-to-day management, content creation, and reporting. Contact us today and ask about our social media management services! Reach out at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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How to Avoid Keyword Stuffing

Proper keyword use is essential for content marketing—and for SEO. The keywords help reflect those search terms you’re trying to rank for; in many cases, they will also align with your chosen PPC terms. Keywords can even be valuable on a creative level, helping guide and structure your content writing.

With that said, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. Keyword stuffing—the act of including so many keywords that your content is stiff, robotic, nonsensical, or simply very hard to read—can result in SEO penalties, which makes the entire endeavor moot.

So how can you avoid keyword stuffing, without flat-out avoiding keywords? Where’s the balance?

Tips to Avoid Keyword Stuffing

A few tips:

  • Know who you’re writing for. One of the most common causes of keyword stuffing is the belief that you’re writing, first and foremost, for search algorithms. Scrap that idea right now, and instead remind yourself that you’re writing for human beings. Nine times out of 10, if you simply write in a way that’s natural and that makes sense to human readers, everything else will fall into place.
  • Identify the prime spots for keywords. There are a few places where you really want to insert keywords, for maximum SEO value—heading, title tags, meta descriptions, and in the first paragraph of your body content. Once you ensure keywords in these locales, you can ease up, and just focus on writing good, natural content.
  • Use long-tail variations. You can break up your keyword monotony, and avoid any signs of keyword stuffing, by throwing in some long-tail alternates. For example, if your main keyword is Charlotte plumbers, you might mix in some references to Charlotte plumbing companies, plumbers in Charlotte, etc., all of which can help your content read more gracefully.
  • Remember: Synonyms are your friends! Along the same lines, trust in Google’s increasingly-intelligent bots to put two and two together, and to register synonyms for your main keywords. If you’re looking to rank for the term HVAC, it’s fine to also use air conditioning or heating system. Google knows what you mean, and you’re not going to lose any SEO mojo by varying things up.

It can’t be stressed enough: 90 percent of the battle is just writing good, natural, value-adding content for human readers—and if you need help with that, you’ve come to the right place. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. to set up a consultation with one of our SEO-trained content writing professionals. Contact us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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How Recent Grads Should Handle Their Social Media

For recent college graduates who are now fully invested in the job search, social media can be either a blessing or a curse.

On the one hand, it can provide invaluable networking opportunities, chances to connect, to stay in touch, and to discover new opportunities. This is especially true if you know all the right social media tools to use.

Then again, when it’s used unwisely, social media can undercut your professionalism—and cause you to lose out on those opportunities. It’s all but certain potential employers will check out your online profiles before hiring you—and if all they see are those slovenly photos from your most recent spring break, that could be trouble!

So what should recent grads do about social media? And, what shouldn’t they do? Here are a few tips from the Grammar Chic, Inc. team.

What You Should Do on Social Media

We’ll start with the positives.

  1. Check your privacy settings. There’s nothing wrong with sharing personal photos with your close friends—but are those photos also visible to potential employers? Are you sure? Check your privacy settings to be sure.
  2. Search yourself. Do a quick Google search for your own name, and simply see what comes up. This might call up some older social media posts or Tumblr entries you want to delete!
  3. Create at least one strong, professional social media profile. Use LinkedIn to put your best foot forward, and to convey your professionalism and passion.
  4. Double and triple check your spelling and grammar. Sloppy writing on your LinkedIn page may cause you to get looked over for someone just a little more detail-oriented!
  5. Familiarize yourself with LinkedIn’s job search tools. Again, there are many great resources out there, for anyone willing to learn them.

What You Shouldn’t Do on Social Media

Now, the flipside.

  1. Don’t share a lot of controversial opinions. If you like talking about religion and politics on Facebook, be very careful with those privacy settings.
  2. Don’t complain. Even if you’re currently working a retail job you don’t especially care for, keep negativity off your feeds. Nobody wants to hire a complainer!
  3. Don’t think a LinkedIn profile replaces your need for a resume. While some information can be the same, for a successful job search, you really need both!

Whether you need help building that resume or getting your LinkedIn profile up to speed, our resume writing team is here to help. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. today to discuss your job search needs; contact us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Job Search, Resume Writing, Resumes, Social Media