Why Small Businesses Don’t Pursue Content Marketing

The benefits of content marketing are well-established. If anything, they have only been vindicated and solidified in recent years, with more and more marketing firms doubling down on content and study after study confirming content marketing’s mettle.

Those benefits—increased brand visibility and authority, more consumer trust, qualified leads, thought leadership—would seem like no-brainers for small business owners, but actually, some small companies remain resistant to content marketing. There are a few reasons why.

Reasons Against Content Marketing

A Lack of Strategy

One reason why small business owners shy away from making a content investment is that they just aren’t sure what they want to do with it—draw traffic to their website? Increase their brand prestige? Educate leads? Remarket to previous customers? To make content marketing work, you need to know what you’re trying to accomplish, something you can determine through talking over the possibilities with a firm like Grammar Chic.

A Lack of Time

Some small business owners, knowing full well that content marketing is an ongoing process, are worried about time commitments. That’s not really an argument against content marketing, though; rather, it’s an argument for bringing in a content development team. This will require a bit of a time commitment on the front end, as you work to get the content developers up to speed on your brand, but over time it can really be an efficient way to work.

Brand Concerns

If your company is a funeral home, an accounting office, or an automotive F&I provider, you might think that what you do just isn’t sexy enough for content marketing—but actually, all brands can benefit from cultivating trust and displaying thought leadership, and all companies can find a content angle that works for them.

Industry Red Tape

Highly regulated industries, such as financial planning firms and law practices, will impose some rules about what you can and cannot say in content marketing. This can be frustrating, but it doesn’t mean there isn’t a way to write content that is valuable to your consumers.

Lack of Talent

You may not be a writer, plain and simple—and that’s okay! There are other ways for you to create content. Plus, you can always outsource the writing to a firm like Grammar Chic, where writing is what we do all day, every day.

Insufficient Data

Establishing a content marketing strategy will give you a data-backed baseline which you can then use to prove ROI. For your first month or two, you won’t have that kind of data, but really the only way to get it is to start putting up some content.

Overcoming Obstacles to Content Marketing

The bottom line: With the right counsel, you can work your way around any content marketing objective—and start reaping those benefits! Start the process today by reaching out to our team at Grammar Chic, Inc. You can visit us online at www.grammarchic.net or we invite you to call 803-831-7444.

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

How to Write Copy for Facebook Ads

We’re big believers in using Facebook as a channel for good, engaging content—but as we’ve noted in the past, content marketing isn’t necessarily sufficient all on its own. Facebook increasingly forces marketers to pair their organic content with paid ads; if you don’t play ball, don’t be surprised when your organic posts start slipping out of newsfeeds, and your overall engagement starts to tank.

In other words, Facebook basically makes you pony up for paid ads—if you really want your Facebook marketing efforts to bear fruit, anyway. But there are other reasons to use the Facebook Ads platform, as well. Simply put, Facebook Ads is a really good advertising platform. It allows all manner of advanced targeting and audience segmentation, which means that, if you know how to use it, you can really get a lot of bang for your buck, without wasting a lot of ad dollars.

We’re not going to get into all of that today, but we are going to highlight one especially important part of the Facebook Ads process—and that’s copywriting. Facebook will allow you to include an image, headline, and body text with each ad, and it’s imperative that all three components are firing on all cylinders. The engagement you get from your ads hinges on the harmonious functioning of these three items.

Tips for Writing Compelling Facebook Ads Copy

So, to begin with, you should have an image in mind. Starting with the image is the best way to go. If you’re working with a graphic designer, commission the image before you finalize your text; if you’re doing it by yourself, find the image you want to use first, then write copy to match it. Remember to let the image do a lot of the talking; you don’t need to use your limited copy space to explain or describe the image. People can see it for themselves.

Speaking of which, remember your character limits. You only get 25 characters for your headline, and 90 for your body text. Brevity is key!

Lead with value. You want the reader of your ad to do something—click through to your website, LIKE your company Facebook page, or something similar. Your headline and your ad copy should tell the reader what’s in it for them if they take that action. Explain the benefit to reading your ad and doing what it says.

Include strong verbs. Make sure your entire ad copy reads like a call to action, including verbs to indicate the actions you want your readers to take.

Remember who you’re writing for. Your Facebook ads will be targeted to a specific audience, which should match up with one of your own buyer personas or customer demographics. Knowing who you are writing for can provide some invaluable insight into how you write your copy—which values to highlight, which pain points to address, etc.

Test everything. Write a few variants on your headline and test them against each other; keep track of which headlines get results and which don’t, and use that as a template for future copywriting.

Get Help with Your Facebook Ads

A final thought: You can always outsource your Facebook Ads copywriting to the pros. Grammar Chic’s team can deliver ad text that is short, punchy, and powerful. Talk with us about it. Visit us online at www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444.

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3 Reasons Your Email Marketing Doesn’t Work

Email is an incredible and still-undervalued marketing tool—one that allows you to reach out to both past and potential clients directly with a personalized message and a tailored value proposition. It’s something we use for our own marketing here at Grammar Chic, Inc., and it’s something we recommend for our clients.

Sometimes, though, the best intentions for an email marketing campaign fall short, and emails are sent out without any kind of response coming back. Sometimes, email marketing just plain doesn’t work—and when that happens, it’s important to ask yourself why.

There are a number of possible reasons, but really three main ones—and today we want to look closer at each of them.

You Haven’t Segmented Your List

Email is best used in a highly targeted way, with messages being tailored to segments of your subscription list. For example, here at Grammar Chic, we have some clients for our resume writing division and other clients within our marketing wing. If we’re sending out a promotion for content marketing services, it doesn’t make as much sense to send it to the resume crew. Instead, we’d tailor it to the part of our email list that comes to us for marketing expertise.

Make sure you work with your email list to divide it and segment it into different audiences—and that your message always mirrors the people you’re sending it to.

Your Headline Doesn’t Grab Attention

This is always the struggle with email marketing: How do you grab attention and make your email stand out within busy inboxes? The headline is everything—your best and only chance at a strong first impression.

Some basic tips for writing good email headlines:

  • Keep it brief—seven words or less!
  • Avoid words that will run you afoul of spam filters—Sale, Free, 50% Off, etc.
  • Be clear about your value proposition; how will the reader benefit from reading your email?

You’re Not Clear in Your Value Proposition

And that brings us to the final point: Some emails don’t work because they just don’t have much to say. Everything from your headline to your body text to your call to action should spell out the value you’re offering to readers—the “what’s in it for me” of reading your message and responding to your CTA at the bottom. If your value offer is unclear, readers just won’t know what to do with your message.

These are all potentially fatal blows to your email marketing campaign, but the good news is that all of them can be corrected. The first step is to meet with the email marketing strategists at Grammar Chic, Inc. Contact us about a consultation today, either at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Blog Writing, Business Writing, Content Marketing, Email Writing, 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

5 Ways to Make Your Written Content More SEO-Friendly

Whether you’re writing content for your company website or dashing off the latest company blog post, you want it to be something good—something that offers value to your reader, and reflects well on your brand. At the same time, you want it to be something that’s search engine optimized. After all, great content isn’t very useful if nobody can find it.

This is a little bit of a false dichotomy, perhaps. Generally speaking, writing good, valuable content is the single best way to optimize it, and all the SEO tricks and gimmicks in the world can’t compete with the raw power of quality writing.

With that said, there is certainly a need to ensure that your content is as palatable for search algorithms as it is for human readers, and simply writing a good article is only the first step. As you seek to maximize your content’s SEO potential, here are five simple principles to keep in mind.

Improve Your On-Site SEO

Originality is Imperative

First and foremost, make sure that what you are writing stands on its own. Google doesn’t see any value in duplicate content, and as such it tends to penalize it. Regurgitating the exact same copy for each product page on your website, for instance, or simply copying text from the website to the company blog, will lead to diminished rankings. Take the time to ensure that every piece of content you write is phrased uniquely. Tools like Copyscape can help you ensure that you’re not plagiarizing yourself or others.

Readability Matters, Too

Google’s bots are more likely to favor articles that are readable to wide audiences—and that means using short sentences and paragraphs, limiting your ten-dollar words, and abstaining from the passive voice. Good, concise, punchy content—written in a way that makes it easy to read—will only help you as far as SEO rankings go.

Your Title Should Be Optimized

Writing a catchy headline is key. So is keeping the title to a Google-friendly length of 55-60 characters max. Finally make sure your URL matches the title and contents of the page; a URL that’s just random numbers hampers your SEO efforts.

Be Structured

Your content should have a structure that makes it easy for readers—and search bots—to follow along and get the basic gist of what you’re saying, even just by skimming. The best way to do this is to structure your article with H1, H2, and H3 tags to break up different sections of content. Bullet points and numbered lists can also be helpful, when applicable.

Use Keywords—Judiciously

Though you want to avoid keyword stuffing, and shouldn’t sacrifice quality for keyword count, keywords can certainly be useful in demonstrating what your content is ultimately about. We’ve blogged about the importance of judicious keyword strategy before.

Write Content That Gets Discovered

With the right approach, you can write content that pleases people and search bots alike—no easy feat, but worth it in the long run. Or, you can hire our team to write it for you. Contact Grammar Chic today to ask us about our SEO-friendly content writing services. Reach out at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Business Writing, Web Content, Writing

No, You Shouldn’t Include References on Your Resume

Often, the things you don’t include on your resume are just as important as the ones you do.

Case in point: We blogged just a few days ago about the Career Objective, and how it really has no place on a resume.

Today, we’ve got another resume element you’re better off ditching—and that’s your list of references.

Why References Are Out

Our resume team still sees a lot of resumes that come with reference lists—but in truth these lists are unnecessary, and in some cases, can be harmful.

The main reason why we recommend against reference lists is that they simply aren’t in keeping with modern resume trends. When you include one, it makes you look older, out of touch. Of course, what you want is a resume that does just the opposite.

An alternative to listing resumes is to say that references are available upon request—but we’re not big on this, either. The reason is that this is redundant. Employers know that you’re willing to offer references if they ask for them—if you’re serious about the job, anyway. No job candidate is going to deny a request to provide a few references. There’s just no need to state your willingness on the resume, and doing so wastes invaluable real estate.

The bottom line is that your resume should be about you. That’s what hiring managers care about—and a list of other people’s names isn’t going to tell them much.

Rethinking the Reference List

Does this mean you should delete your reference list altogether?

Not necessarily. We still recommend keeping a reference list. We’d just advise that you make it a separate document—not part of your resume.

Have a file where you have references on hand, so that when a hiring manager does request to see them, you can provide them quickly and easily.

Make sure that, when you hand out a reference sheet, you let your references know; nothing good can come of them being caught off guard by a request from a potential employer, and besides, it’s just good manners to fill them in.

Update Your Resume Today

You need a resume that’s compact and powerful—and reference lists take away from that. Get your resume up to date today. Reach out to the Grammar Chic resume writing team for a full resume makeover. Call 803-831-7444 or visit www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Resume Writing, Resumes

7 Times You Should Update Your Resume

Your resume is a living document—fluid, ever-changing, evolving just as your own career evolves. As such, it’s never something you should just set and forget. It’s smart for any professional to make regular resume updates—even when you don’t happen to be in the job market.

So, when is it smart to go through your resume and make a few tweaks and additions? Here are seven instances when a resume update is absolutely called for.

When to Update Your Resume

  1. Any time you finish a significant new project at work. Take a few moments to record it on your resume, lest your achievement go unmentioned. Make note of your own responsibilities for the project, the people you collaborated with, the skills you employed, the challenges you faced, and the results you obtained.
  2. Any time you receive new metrics. Did you just receive this month’s client satisfaction scores, or this quarter’s sales figures? Take just a second to log them in your resume, where numbers and statistics carry tremendous power.
  3. Any time you complete a new training course or obtain a certification. Log your continuing education achievements on your resume to show that you’re still growing, still learning, still pushing yourself.
  4. Any time you consider freelance or side positions. Take a minute to customize your resume, really highlighting the value you can bring to that specific job.
  5. Any time you want to speak at a conference or seminar. Customize your resume to show why you deserve the gig!
  6. Any season of tumult or transition at your current company. Hopefully you won’t find yourself on the receiving end of a layoff, but there’s certainly no harm in being prepared for it, just in case.
  7. At the start of the new calendar year. When January rolls around, and as you think through your New Year’s resolutions, make one of them to make some updates to your resume, keeping it fresh and up to date.

Get Help Changing Your Resume

Here’s a bonus one for you: If you can’t remember the last time you updated your resume, now is as good a time as any to do it. And if you need some help with it, we’ve got you covered. Contact the Grammar Chic resume writing team today, and we’ll get your resume in good working order! Reach out at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Resume Writing, Resumes