Category Archives: Web Content

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

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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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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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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5 Factors That Give Your Website Credibility

Your website provides customers with a peek into the kind of business you run—its reputation, its trustworthiness, and its basic value proposition. In other words, your website hints at how credible your company is, and whether or not customers should trust it with their time and money.

Just think for a minute: There are plenty of legitimate businesses on the Web, but also some sketchy ones. Potential customers aren’t going to bank on your business unless they see that it’s the real deal—not something shady or unscrupulous.

And customers aren’t the only ones who care about credibility. Search engine algorithms also work to assess the credibility level of your website. As you might imagine, a higher level of credibility will improve your SEO rankings.

But just because your business is credible doesn’t mean your website conveys it—which raises the question: How can you inject some credibility into your website design?

5 Ways to Develop a More Credible Website

Here are five factors that can make a world of difference.

Reviews and Testimonials

One of the quickest ways to establish your business’s legitimacy is to simply offer some social proof—direct reports from satisfied customers. Reviews and testimonials are both powerful ways to accomplish this. Just make sure you steer clear of any fake testimonials, which can come back to bite you. (And today’s savvy online consumers are better than you might imagine at detecting fakes.)

Advertisements

Some businesses host third-party ads on their site in order to generate extra revenues. This may seem tempting, but it can ultimately be counterproductive. Simply put, the presence of ads makes your business seem a little iffy.

Regular Updates

Have you ever stumbled upon a website that seemed as though it hadn’t been updated in years? That’s obviously not a good look for your business site, as an out-of-date website can make it seem like the business itself is dead. Build credibility by refreshing your website content annually, and by updating your blog often.

Clear Contact Information

Here’s an easy one: Make sure your company contact information is clearly listed on your website, and invite customers to call or email with any questions. If you don’t include this contact information, it can make it seem like you’re hiding from your own customer base

“About Us” Content

Finally, you can make your business seem more credible by offering some information about who you are. Ideally, you’ll have team member bios and photos on the website, emphasizing the real people behind the company.

Boost Your Website Credibility Today

Make it clear to search engines and to potential customers alike that your business is the real deal—and that it’s worthy of their time and money. To learn more about enhancing website credibility, reach out to the team at Grammar Chic, Inc. today. Connect at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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