Tag Archives: Best content marketing strategies.

From the Grammar Chic Mailbag

mailbag

And now for something a little different.

Here at Grammar Chic, we blog, tweet, and opine fairly regularly on topics related to content marketing, online copywriting, and social media management—so as you might imagine, we receive some interesting questions and provocative inquiries from time to time. Many of these questions are weirdly specific—like when you should use further versus farther, or what’s the plural for hypothesis—but many are more broadly interesting questions about the best strategies for digital marketing success.

Some of these questions come via Facebook or blog comments; others, by email or even directly from some of our clients. We hope these answers are informative. If so, we may even dip into the ol’ mailbag again, sooner or later…

With that said… on to our first question:

Hi, Grammar Chick! (Is that how you pronounce it?) You guys talk all the time about content marketing, and how social media is an important component of it—but do your content marketing strategies ever encompass paid posts, sponsored tweets, etc? Sincerely, Jason

Thanks for the letter, Jason—and actually, it’s pronounced like sheik. But as for your main question: We’re big believers in organic content development—meaning that you need to grow your number of social media followers not simply by writing big checks to Facebook and to Twitter, but rather by providing them with content that keeps them engaged. Paid ads are not without their place, and can be great for jacking up those numbers and boosting your visibility on key social platforms—but if you’re not coupling them with really engaging content, the kind that turns social media followers into true brand advocates, then you’re not really getting your money’s worth.

The short answer: We’d be lying if we said we never considered paid posts, but it’s by no means a major component in our content marketing strategy.

On to another…

Hi, Grammar Chic team. I get what you guys are saying about the need for regular social media updates—but so long as I’m posting interesting articles or cute photos, I don’t really need to have my own blog, do I? I mean, isn’t that a little much? Yours truly, Sylvia

We get this question all the time, Sylvia, from blogging skeptics—and in fact, it was basically the impetus for our popular Netflix-themed blog from a couple months ago. Truthfully, though, we recommend blogging to virtually all our content marketing clients. The blog is your avenue for posting truly original, distinct content; without it, you’re not a content creator so much as a curator. While curating content has its place, users will eventually realize that you’re not offering them anything they can’t get elsewhere, making a blog necessary for sustaining long-term interest and loyalty.

Another reach into the mailbag:

Thank you, Grammar Chic, for handling my content marketing needs. I look forward to seeing the results—probably by first thing tomorrow morning, right? Respectfully, Jim

Well, not exactly, Jim. While our content marketing team does move pretty fast, and will likely start work on your campaign within 24-48 hours, if not sooner, we urge you to remember that content marketing is all about building relationships—and that doesn’t happen over night. Content marketing requires an investment over the long haul; you need to have the right expectations, rather than assuming this process will work overnight magic.

That about does it for today’s Grammar Chic mailbag. If you’d like us to address any particular question or issue in a future post, we invite you to contact us today: Call 803-831-7444, or visit http://www.grammarchic.net.

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Chain of Command: Who Handles Your Content Marketing?

establishing a chain of command

There’s an old expression—you have to win by not losing. It’s used everywhere from financial planning to poker, and it also has some resonance for content marketing. One of the best ways to develop a winning, long-term content marketing strategy is to avoid failing or getting burned out in the early stages. In other words, you’ve got to lay the foundation for success even before you start developing and distributing your content.

This includes broaching a number of practical questions: Where will you publish your content? With what frequency? When will content actually be written and reviewed, and when will comments and retweets be responded to?

And don’t forget this important question: Who is actually going to do your content marketing?

The Importance of a Content Marketing Chain of Command

It is critically important that you formally assess who’s doing what in terms of your company’s content marketing campaign—that you assign responsibilities and make it clear that those responsibilities are meant to be maintained. This might mean making one person your dedicated content marketing person, and having him or her devote a few hours each week to writing blogs and updating the social media pages. It might mean, as the small business owner, that you do it all yourself. In some cases, it might even mean that your team members take turns writing weekly blogs—though this approach requires discipline and organization!

This is an important step to take because, frankly, content marketing is easy to put off. It’s critical to your company’s success, and yet it often feels like it’s less than urgent. If you don’t assign it to someone and allow them time to do it, chances are it just won’t get done.

The Question of Who

This doesn’t address the important question of who should do your company’s content marketing. There is not necessarily a one-size-fits-all answer here; it depends a bit on the makeup of your organization, and the specific gifts and talents represented.

Many small business owners feel like it’s up to them to handle the content marketing. There is some merit to this: Even if you’re not particularly experienced in online marketing, you do understand your company’s voice and vision better than anybody else—and that’s not for nothing.

The problem, of course, is that small business owners often lack the time they need to handle content marketing, which is why delegation is often the only answer. A team sales professional might make sense, though again, it depends on availability and other responsibilities. Some companies might even give content marketing duties to a part-time employee or an intern, which might work—but it’s vital to ensure that this individual has a grasp on the company’s vision and goals, which is often not the case.

Of course, outsourcing your content marketing is another option, and in many ways the one that makes the most sense. You will still need someone on your team to manage these outsourced efforts, but the time commitment here is exponentially less than it would be if you did all the work in-house.

The Grammar Chic, Inc. team stands ready to consult with your business about outsourcing its content marketing. To learn more, call us today at 803-831-7444 or visit http://www.grammarchic.net.

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Spring Clean Your Content Marketing

spring-cleaning-2012

Clean out your gutters, sweep the garage, sort through your closets—oh yeah: And while you’re at it, make sure your content marketing efforts are all working at tip-top shape. ‘Tis the season, we mean to say, for spring cleaning—and that includes not just your home and office, but the various online platforms you’re using to boost your company’s image.

It’s one of the toughest, but most important, truths of content marketing: The process is never really finished, and you’re never going to get things just perfect. There are always going to be tweaks you could make, ways to improve your processes. Now is as good a time as any to go through your entire content marketing plan and make sure things are neat, clean, and organized.

There are plenty of ways to spruce up your content marketing, and our list is by no means meant to be exhaustive—yet we’d say the following items will give you a strong starting point for your content marketing spring cleaning:

  • Read over your buyer personas. Hopefully, you have some personas sketched out, indicting the audience you’re trying to appeal to. If you don’t, now is the time to make them! If you have them but haven’t looked at them in a while, take some time to read through them, make sure they are still in line with your vision, and make whatever changes you might think are necessary.
  • Whip your editorial calendar into shape. Do you have an editorial calendar that you’ve long fallen out of sync with? Or does your editorial calendar only take you a couple of days into the future? Now may be a good time to start with a clean slate, planning your blogging and social media activity at least two weeks in advance—and really sticking with it!
  • Generate some press. When’s the last time you sent out a press release, announcing company news? If it’s been more than six months, start brainstorming some recent or upcoming events that you could publicize.
  • Makeover your social media profiles. If your Facebook cover photo and Google+ graphics have been stagnant for the last year, you may wish to give your social media platforms a makeover, switching out the images for some newer ones.
  • Connect on LinkedIn. Do you tend to be pretty lazy on LinkedIn? Many of us do, but if you haven’t formed any professional connections in a while, take the time to make some today.
  • Send out an e-mail blast. If you’ve got a list of client e-mail addresses—and surely you do—then you should be taking advantage of that, sending out e-mail newsletters or promotions every month or so. If you have not done this in a while, sign up for Constant Contact and do so today!
  • Update your blog. And plan topics for the next two or three updates, at least. The blog is the cornerstone of your content marketing campaign, and you can’t afford to let it languish!

Again, there is plenty that can be done, and these steps are merely suggestions—but by following them, you can ensure that your content marketing campaign is pointed in the right direction as the busy spring and summer seasons begin. For more tips, contact the Grammar Chic, Inc. team: Visit www.grammarchic.net, or call 803-831-7444803-831-7444.

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Content Marketing Cupid’s Rules for Romancing New Customers

cupid-pictures_1391371291

Whether you love the rosy red heartthrobs of Valentine’s Day or despise the “Singles Awareness” nature of February 14—there is no getting around this time of year. For business owners, it’s especially important to capitalize on this romantic holiday—there is no price to be put on love.

Business owners—especially those just starting to venture out in the social media space—should recognize that there are a lot of similarities to building a customer base and finding love. So if you are looking to grow your clientele, rather than your dating pool, here are a few tips from Content Marketing Cupid on finding the sweet spot:

  • Perfect Your Arrow’s Aim

A common dating strategy among the desperados is simply shooting in the dark, throwing out pick-up lines and hoping someone will bite. A lot of businesses fall into this trap as well, blindly advertising to consumers that would have no interest in them.

In the age of Big Data, it is essential to get a hold of your target audience—or those consumers that are in your league. Social media can be a great way of determining who is following you and what they are looking for. With this knowledge, you can craft your content marketing to cater to the specific viewer you know you have a chance with. Think of it as refining “icebreaker” topics with fresh potential customers.

  • Keep it Short and Sweet

Valentine’s Day is iconic for its prolific cards and love letters—after all, it spawned a whole new level for the greeting card market. However, in the romantic world, those who send long, descriptive love letters—or text messages—can often come off as overbearing and anxious, or simply lose the interest of their object of affection.  Sometimes, those trying to make a solid first impression can win hearts over, not with lengthy prose, but with short, sweet poems.

Much in the same way, businesses must keep it together and avoid crawling down the rabbit hole of being too descriptive. When writing articles, blogs or posts for the social media market, make sure to pose interesting ideas, but not give it all away at once. Perk the interest in the viewer, and you will have customers knocking down your door.

  • Cliché is Passé

Roses, chocolates, decorated letters, teddy bears—these are all the signature elements of St. Valentine’s special day. While these gifts may appeal to those in the Lonely Hearts Club, those who are in demand may shrug off these cliché favors from their suitors. As we’ve learned from all the romantic comedies of recent years, those who want to win a date with their true love must make a gesture—small or large—that is truly original. Being original means being remembered.

Consider this approach in content marketing, especially when expanding your audience. Instead of repurposing content, hashing out another writer’s article or piggy-backing on an overplayed trend, take the time to craft some truly unique material for your company. Whether using images, videos or words, make sure to present your brand’s unique message in a way that will keep customers close and win new hearts over.

  • Keep an Open Ear

A lot of first dates happen on Valentine’s Day—unfortunately, many of them go horribly wrong. One of the major causes of a faulty courtship is simply not listening to the other party. Talking too much, not asking the right questions or failing to take the time to get to know your person of interest could send many mixed signals that will leave him or her running for the door.

With this in mind, business owners and content creators should know that the whole social experience of the Internet is not always a one-way conversation. Businesses should pose questions to their customers, get to know them and listen to their concerns. Gaining this insight can be a great way to keep consumers on board and show them you care. Even better, listening to the voice of consumers by engaging with them on social media can help develop a brand in an organic way that aligns with what your market really wants.

  • Forget the One-Night Stand

While Valentine’s Day is often a sweet celebration of love, others may approach the holiday as a chance to “get lucky.” This may work for some, but pandering to one lover to seal the deal in one way or another can damage reputation and future relationships in the long run. In the romantic world, you don’t want to be known as the player who just wanted to make a quick sale.

It’s no secret that businesses often have a similar goal in mind—to make that sale with the right customer. However, when it comes to content marketing, it is important to remember that “setting and forgetting” can quickly burn the chance of attracting loyal followers. For example, if your company offers a flash sale to draw in new attention—make sure that relationship is not left unattended to after the transaction is made. Stay in touch, keep the conversation going and you’ll build a lasting online presence that draws visitors back time and time again.

Need a Content Marketing Match Made in Heaven?

While some lovers may have the “right stuff” or a “great personality,” they may go unnoticed if they don’t take chances to connect with others. Similarly, there are many great businesses that exist that have yet to build an online presence and become masters of their own content marketing strategy.

If you’re looking for a Cyrano de Bergerac for your content marketing needs, the Grammar Chic team is ready to help. For more information about how our talented writers and editors can help you, visit www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444. If you’re ready to boost your “appeal” in the business world—don’t be shy! Follow us on Twitter @GrammarChicInc for the latest in writing and editing tips and remember to like us on our Facebook page. Text GRAMMARCHIC to 22828 for a special offer.

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Building Trust Through Content Marketing

Social-Media-Whiteboard

There’s no shortage of discussion about content marketing these days—but what is content marketing really all about? The conventional definition is that content marketing is about selling without selling—that is, telling the story of your brand in a way that’s not overly salesy or promotional. But if you’re investing in a marketing campaign that’s explicitly non-promotional, then what exactly are you trying to do?

The short answer: You’re trying to build trust among consumers, customers, and potential clients.

The sheer volume of content marketing out there makes trust key. Countless companies are getting involved on Facebook, on Twitter, and on blogs—to say nothing of the thousands of advertisements that consumers are exposed to on the Internet every single day. The way you make your content marketing stand out, then, is to make it really trustworthy—building a strong rapport with your readers.

The question is how.

5 Tips for Building Trust Through Content Marketing

  1. The first step is to define your audience. If you want to instill trust in your reader, you need to make it clear that you are writing expressly for that reader, taking his or her needs, questions, and problems in mind. Generic, one-size-fits-all content marketing always comes across as aggressive and promotional. Instead, define your audience and create content accordingly.
  2. Next, define the type of content you will deliver, the frequency of it, and the location. This will depend solely on your audience as defined in the first step. You may believe that your audience will be most accepting of e-mail newsletters; or else, that your audience is particularly hip to Twitter. You may feel like your audience needs multiple blog posts each week to know that you mean business; alternatively, you might suspect that too much content will seem too aggressive, and that you need to scale things back a bit.
  3. Share your content, but make sure you respect the line between promotion and spam. Promote your content on the social channels where your audience tends to be active, and curate content shrewdly, only sharing information that could be of real, practical use to your readers.
  4. Make it as easy as possible for people to receive your content updates and to connect with your brand through their phones, tablets, e-mail accounts, social media accounts, etc. Social media buttons, RSS feeds, bookmark buttons—all of these things should be readily accessible from your website and from every piece of content you produce.
  5. Finally, don’t forget that your analytics play an important part in the trust-building process. It’s only by looking at your content reports—and making the necessary tweaks—that you can get a feel for what’s working, what’s resonating with your readers, and what’s not.

If you’re not building trust with your content marketing, then you’re really just spinning your wheels; make sure that trust creation is the #1 goal in all of your content endeavors!

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