Category Archives: Social Media

Content Marketers Don’t Have the Luxury of Writer’s Block

When you spend your time creating fresh content, all day every day, it’s natural to run out of juice from time to time. Even the most professional content creators can get stuck sometimes. In short, they feel as though they have writer’s block—yet the content demand never stops, never relents. Blogs still need updating, social feeds still need posts, and the Google algorithms need to be fed fresh content.

To be totally blunt, content marketers don’t really have the luxury of writer’s block. There’s just too much to write, too much content to create! The question is, how can you minimize the risk of writer’s block—and when it does happen, how can you get yourself unstuck quickly?

How Content Creators Cope with Writer’s Block

  • One suggestion we’d offer is to always keep a running list of ideas. Apps like Evernote make it easy for you to have that running list handy at all times, and to be able to quickly jot down a fresh inspiration whenever it strikes. When you have a day where you just feel stuck, you’ll always have that list to consult.
  • Also have several blogs bookmarked to consult whenever you need a new direction. You may feel out of ideas, but other bloggers in your niche or market are still cranking stuff out! Turn to them for some ideas.
  • Sometimes, writers get half of an idea, but aren’t sure how to complete it. That’s where outlining can come in handy. Rather than writing half a blog post then getting stuck, just try outlining your main argument—your central ideas.
  • Sometimes, stepping away and turning your mind to other things works wonders. Go for a walk, clear your head, get blood pumping, and allow your mind to sort things out in the background.
  • Another tactic is to flex your writing muscles in different ways. Can’t come up with a good company blog post? Try your hand at writing something else for an hour or so—a short story or a poem, maybe. Just write something you like, and see how it inspires you.
  • Finally, remember that there are pros out there whose full-time job is to assist in content creation. The Grammar Chic team can help you develop your ideas, from inception to publication, and we’re always around when you feel stuck.

To start a conversation with us about our content marketing expertise, reach out to us now. You can get a hold of Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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

5 Things to Do When Your Business Gets a Bad Review

No small business owner likes to see negative reviews pop up. Criticisms posted to Facebook, Google, or Yelp can sting. They can feel personal. What’s more, they can damage your business’ online reputation—causing potential customers to think twice about giving you their hard-earned money.

Still, negative reviews happen, despite your best efforts to make every customer happy. When you see a bad review, don’t panic. Instead, follow these five basic rules.

What to Do When You Get a Negative Review

First, acknowledge it. Ignoring online reviews doesn’t do any good. It might just encourage the reviewer to troll you even harder. Plus, other customers who see the review may wonder why you haven’t taken the time to help the customer with the complaint. The bottom line: Unaddressed reviews look bad.

Keep calm. If it looks bad to leave negative reviews unanswered, it looks even worse to fly off the handle and respond to a customer in rage. No matter how unreasonable you think the customer is being, remember: People are watching. They want to see how you respond. Take some time to cool off, and don’t reply until you’re able to do so without any anger or hostility.

Offer a solution. A negative review presents you with an opportunity to show real customer service skills—and if you can do so effectively, it might end up enhancing, rather than detracting from, your brand. Try to think of some ways to make things right with the customer who’s complaining. Go above and beyond, because again—people are watching!

Flip the script. Negative reviews also provide a great chance for you to reiterate what makes your company great. Saying something like “We’ve been in business for 10 years, and maintain 99 percent satisfaction scores from our clients” can be a great way to emphasize that your reputation is for excellence, and that you’re committed to impressing your clientele.

Ask to take the conversation offline. Arrange to speak with the customer privately, over email or phone, to make things right—rather than airing your dirty laundry for all the world to see. If you can turn that unhappy customer into a happy one, you might even ask for them to revise their review accordingly.

Now, there’s just no pleasing some customers—so if you follow these tips and still can’t get through to them, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just focus on providing great service to your other customers, and hopefully winning some positive reviews to offset the bad ones.

Need additional tips for responding to online feedback? We’d love to offer our advice. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Content Marketing, Social Media, Web Content

The 7 Signs of Truly Effective Content

The sheer amount of online content is staggering—and there’s more of it every second. Companies in all industries now regularly post blogs, prepare e-books, and build out their own website content—and the effect is something of a content overload. It’s more difficult than ever for your content to stand out. Difficult, but not impossible.

See, there’s a wide gap between good and mediocre content—and if you know the hallmarks of the good stuff, you can work to make your content truly distinguished and effective.

But what does good content look like? We’d argue that there are seven traits all effective content shares. We’ll list them for you here.

What Makes Content Great?

Good content is written for a specific audience. Effective writing is never general. It’s written with a specific group of people in mind—the audience laid out in your buyer personas. Before you ever write a word of content, you should think carefully about who you’re addressing, what their needs are, and how your content can offer some kind of solution.

It’s optimized for search and social, too. What do we mean when we say that content is optimized? Well, for our purposes today, we mostly just mean that it has the right keyword phrases inserted—as naturally and as judiciously as possible. This allows your content to be discovered by search engine users, including people who search for content on Facebook or Twitter.

Good content provides value. What’s in it for your reader? What benefit will they receive from reading your content? Those are the questions that should guide your content creation. Always have an actionable takeaway you can provide to your readers. If you don’t provide value, the content won’t do well—it won’t get shared, and nobody will come back for more.

To be most effective, content must also be structured well. We say this all the time, but it’s important: Nobody wants to read a long, unbroken block of text. You’ve got to provide bullet points and section subheadings for your content to be more readable.

Your content should inform. Facts, figures, statistics, how-tos—your content needs some meat to it. It shouldn’t just be a tease. It shouldn’t require the reader to call you or buy your product in order to obtain value. Your content should be enriching and informative in and of itself.

Good content converts. A strong, simple, and clear call to action should be included at the end of your content, directing readers on the next steps they should take.

Finally, good content should be properly distributed and promoted. If you’re not sharing your company blog posts across different social media channels, as well as in your email newsletter, you’re missing out on some key opportunities to connect.

Does Your Content Stand Out?

If you’re concerned that your content lacks any of these critical elements, we invite you to contact Grammar Chic, Inc., today, and find out more about what we can do to transform your content writing—truly making it effective and distinct. Learn more at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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

Content Marketing with RankBrain in Mind

How does Google determine which content ranks where on the search engine results page (SERP)? That question is at the heart of SEO, and it’s also important to content marketing. Answering it is, truthfully, close to impossible; Google’s algorithms are complicated, and ever-changing. There are a lot of factors in play, and the way Google balances and prioritizes them is somewhat veiled.

With that said, Google has been clear about one thing: RankBrain is one of the most important of all ranking factors. In fact, Google has stated that it’s in the top three. So, if you want to write content that ranks well, you have to know what RankBrain is—and how to appease it.

What is Google RankBrain?

RankBrain represents the artificial intelligence and machine learning aspect of Google’s algorithms. RankBrain works to understand user queries and content topics, and to match the right content with the search request— evaluating all the content out there and formulating the best possible results for the search engine user.

In other words, RankBrain is a machine that’s actually capable of learning about content and user search queries, and of judging which content provides the most relevant and actionable results for a search engine query. That’s really pretty cool, especially when you consider that these editorial decisions are made strictly by AI; there is no human assistance required for RankBrain to do its thing.

Again, RankBrain is not the only factor in determining search engine rankings—but it’s a major one. This brings us to our ultimate question: How can you design content that appeals to RankBrain? How can you get your website or blog ranked well by this AI system?

3 Tips for Mastering RankBrain

There are three tips we can offer here.

  1. Write content that is focused. RankBrain evaluates content to determine—basically—what it’s about, and whether it answers the user’s question. If your content is all over the place, jumping from topic to topic and presenting a hodgepodge of information, it’s unlikely that the algorithms will be able to reach clear conclusions. Content like this almost never ranks well. Make sure each blog post and each website has a strong, singular topic—and that everything within the content points back to that topic.
  2. Structure content in a logical way. Along the same lines, your content should be structured in a way that leads the reader (or the RankBrain algorithms) through a logical argument. Present your main topic or point in the first paragraph, then use section sub-headings to advance the content, one step at a time, until you reach a clear conclusion or CTA.
  3. Test everything. You won’t be able to guess your way to ranking success. Instead, you’ve got to constantly consult your data and analytics—seeing which content works and which doesn’t, learning from your SEO successes and failures alike.

Step Up Your Content Game

Effective content has to appeal to human readers and to Google’s machine learning system—and that’s a tall order. We can help. Get some seasoned, SEO-minded content writing professionals on your team. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. to learn more: 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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

3 Reasons to Marry Content Marketing with PPC

One of the oldest debates in digital marketing is the ongoing clash of organic versus paid reach. Should you focus your marketing efforts on earned users (i.e., through compelling content and organic SEO) or paid users (i.e., through online ad placement)?

The answer, of course, is that there is no reason why you can’t do both, and in fact, we believe it is increasingly vital for content marketers to pair their organic approach with pay per click (PPC) ads, which might include paid Facebook ads, sponsored tweets, and Google AdWords placement.

Paid ads and content marketing work best when they work together—and in this post, we’ll offer you three reasons why.

Dominate the SERP

One reason to consider content marketing and paid search as two sides of the same coin: When you do so, you can expand your reach over the search engine results page (SERP). Through content and SEO efforts, you can earn listings within the organic search results themselves—but what about the rest of the page? What about the paid ad spaces at the top and along the column of Google? You can only claim that real estate through AdWords.

In other words, you need both PPC and organic reach to blanket the SERP—and when you do so, you not only increase your brand’s visibility, but you earn trust. Any company that’s present in both paid product ads and organic search listings can’t help but be seen as a primary contender within its industry.

Get More Eyeballs on Your Content

Your content is only meaningful when people have a chance to see it and engage with it—and paid ads can help with that. Consider Facebook. You can use paid ads to get more likes for your company page, and then, once people engage your page, you can keep them there with regular, organic content updates. This is a perfect example of how these two disciplines can work harmoniously.

Span the Entire Customer Journey

One of the big pushes in marketing these days is the search experience—that is, using all the tools at your disposal to address the needs of customers at each stage of their journey. In other words, you need to be working to build awareness for your brand, then to educate your leads, and ultimately to lead them through the conversion process. Even after the conversion, you need to stay in touch with clients to earn repeat business and referrals.

PPC and content marketing both speak to different stages of the customer journey. For instance, content marketing can be a great way to build brand awareness, to educate, and to earn trust. Paid ads, meanwhile, can encourage conversions during searches with commercial intent, while paid remarketing can help you to stay close to former customers.

It All Starts with a Plan

How can you integrate paid and organic marketing on your brand’s behalf? The first step is to develop an integrated marketing plan. That’s something we can help with. Reach out to Grammar Chic to start a conversation. Connect at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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How Your Blog Can Sell Without Selling

Content marketing is sometimes described as the art of selling without selling. That is, content marketing is meant to facilitate conversions in a way that is decidedly non-salesy; the focus is always supposed to be on providing real value (not hard sales pitches) to the consumer, but doing so in a way that ultimately helps your bottom line.

This is not an easy balance to strike. Take your company blog, for instance. You can probably understand why it’s not a good idea to make each post a straightforward advertisement for one of your products or services: Simply put, it wouldn’t be very engaging, and not many people would read it. On the flipside, if you write blog posts without ever even mentioning your products and services, you may fear that the blog won’t have any practical effect on your sales.

So how can you write company blog posts that sell without coming across as too confrontational, too over-the-top, or too aggressive? We have some tips for you.

Write Blogs That Sell (Without Being Salesy)

Always focus on your audience. The guiding question of each post should be, “What’s in it for my audience?” Write to provide value not just to your brand but to your readers. Make sure your topics and your takeaway points are relevant to the people you’re targeting with your blog.

Give away valuable information. In keeping with the point above, make your blog a place where you give away expertise that your customers can use. Don’t hesitate to give away your “secret weapons” and your tried-and-true practices. This is how you build trust in your own expertise—by being confident enough to give it away.

Don’t write about yourself. Your posts don’t actually need to be about your brand. In fact, to keep them relevant to your readers, it’s probably smarter to write about your industry more broadly, or about the way your trade/profession brings value to consumers.

Don’t mention your brand in every sentence. Your blog can absolutely mention your company name—in fact, we recommend it—but a couple of mentions is probably fine, perhaps in the call to action at the article’s end. Too many mentions of your brand will definitely cause the post to read as “salesy.”

Maintain a conversational tone. Read your blog post out loud, and simply ask yourself: Does it sound like something you’d say in real life? If not, you may want to modify it a bit so that it’s less formal.

Include a CTA. By writing blog posts that earn credibility through giving away free and valuable information, you create the opportunity to end your post with a strong sales pitch—just a sentence or two inviting your reader to contact you for further value.

We Can Help

Writing blogs that are credible, value-adding, and effective is a big part of what we do here at Grammar Chic, Inc. We’d love to handle blogging for your brand. Reach out to us today to learn more: www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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

Give Google Exactly What it Wants

Here at Grammar Chic, our pet nickname for Google is the Content Monster. You see, the world’s most powerful search engine is like a beast that’s constantly hungry; if you want to stay in its good graces—that is, maintain online visibility and SEO prominence—you’ve got to throw it some chow on a pretty consistent basis.

And it helps to know exactly what kinds of grub this Content Monster likes to devour.

Regular content publication is certainly crucial, but it’s especially beneficial to post content that fits within the Content Monster’s regular diet; in other words, you don’t want to feed it just anything. There is such a thing as bad content—stuff Google just spits back out. No, you want to make sure the Content Monster is enjoying all of its favorite delicacies.

So what does that mean, exactly?

Allow us to show you, with a quick rundown of Google’s favorite kinds of content.

This is the Content That Google Loves

Long Form Articles

We’ve blogged before about word count, and noted that in some cases, a shorter article just makes more sense. With that said, Google is in the business of providing substantive answers and thorough solutions to its users—so if you’re able to put together a really rigorous and in-depth article that spans 1,500-2,000 words, that’s certainly something the Content Monster will eat up.

Evergreen Posts

If you’re writing about a topic that will be old-hat or out-of-date by tomorrow morning, you can’t really expect to score long-time search engine prominence. While flashy, hot topic posts have their place, those timeless topics are the ones that will more likely win you the Content Monster’s favor.

Lists and Galleries

The human brain seeks organization, and tends to like information that’s laid out in a clear, easy-to-follow format—like a top 10 list. Google knows this, and lends priority to articles that are structured in this way.

Resource Banks

What we mean by resource bank is, any article that will lead search engine users to still more good content. For example, a used car dealership could post its list of the top 10 best family cars, and under each entry on the list it could have a link to a separate, in-depth review of the vehicle. Google likes its users to be able to keep clicking, keep searching, and keep discovering more—so use that to your advantage with inter-connected posts.

Videos

You don’t want to post a video without some kind of caption or written synopsis, but you can make video a focal point of your content marketing campaign. The Content Monster isn’t going to object.

A final note: What Google ultimately wants is anything that provides good, relevant, and actionable information to users—period. Make that your guiding concern in content creation.

Feed the Content Monster

Keeping up with the constant demands of the Content Monster is tough—but we can help. Let’s talk about Grammar Chic’s content marketing services and how they can benefit your business. Reach out to us at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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