Tag Archives: blog management

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

Choosing Between Long-Form and Short-Form Content

It’s a question that our content writing team receives on a regular basis, from business owners in virtually all industries and verticals: How long should my company’s online content be?

Our answer: Long enough.

What people are really getting at is whether there is some magic number they need to hit in terms of their word count. Technically, 400 words is all you need to write to ensure that your blog post or Web page is indexed by Google.

But if you’re trying to truly optimize your content—not just writing the bare minimum, but writing enough so that you can build trust, inform customers, reap ample SEO benefits, and position your brand for thought leadership—well, you may need to write a little more. Or in some cases, a lot more.

Long-Form vs. Short-Form Content

For the purposes of this post, we’re defining long-form content as blog posts, white papers, and other assets that exceed 2,000 words—give or take. Short-form content is usually closer to 1,000 words, sometimes less. In fact, a good short-form blog post can be as brief as 500 words and still be perfectly effective.

To decide which route is best for your business, you’ve got to think about your marketing objectives, and tailor your content length accordingly. We’ll provide you with some guidelines here.

Long-Form Content Makes the Most Sense When:

  • You have a brand new product or service, without much precedent, and you need longer copy to explain what it is and how it adds value.
  • You are writing about products or services that come with higher price tags, and thus buyers want as much information as possible before making a purchasing decision.
  • You are offering products or services that require more of a commitment on behalf of the buyer.
  • Your product is more technical in nature, and needs all its technical specs discussed in the marketing content.
  • You are in a B2B scenario, one in which the sales cycle tends to be longer or more complicated.

Short-Form Content Makes the Most Sense When:

  • You have a product or service with which most of your readers are already going to be quite familiar.
  • Your product or service is either inexpensive or quite commonplace, and therefore less explanation is needed.
  • You’re writing content that is going specifically to qualified leads.
  • You are writing for a channel that requires fewer words—an email, a Facebook ad, an AdWords ad, etc.

In other words, your content length should be determined by how much your buyers already know, versus how much they need to be educated; by how interested your readers are, or rather, by where they are located in the sales funnel; and by the basic marketing goals for the content.

Being Judicious About Content Length

As you seek to determine the ideal length for your content, it’s best to consult with marketing professionals. Grammar Chic’s experts can not only help you strategize, but we can also handle the content creation for you—no matter how long or how short!

Learn more by contacting us today for a consultation at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Blog Writing, Business Writing, Web Content

How to Get Better Engagement on Your Blog Posts

If a blog gets posted to your company website, but nobody reads it, does that blog really exist? The answer, for all practical purposes, is no. For your business blogging to be meaningful, you need to get engagement—and that means people not only reading your post, but commenting on it, sharing it, liking it on Facebook, retweeting it, and more.

You can’t buy this kind of engagement, and neither can you force it—but there are ways you can make your blog posts more engaging. There are steps you can take to entice people to not only read your posts, but interact with them on various levels.

Here are some of the basic principles our team recommends for writing truly engaging blog posts.

Steps for Better Blog Engagement

Know Your Audience

If you want to engage people, you first need to know who you are engaging—and that means writing a blog post that speaks directly to their needs and their values. Ensure that you are using a buyer persona or a similar tool to help you write to a specific audience, taking into account their pain points, their interests, the problems they are trying to solve, etc.

Create a Seamless User Experience

Also ensure that your posts are easy to read. Don’t make your reader scroll incessantly, or read long blocks of unbroken test. Write in short sentences and brief paragraphs. Include section subheadings and bulleted lists where appropriate. Provide graphics when you can. And always ensure that the content is relevant to the needs of your audience (see our first point).

Ensure a Compelling Headline

We’ve blogged many times before about the importance of headlines, which draw readers into your content. Your headline should make a clear promise of value: What will the reader learn from your post? How will he or she be better off having read it.

Start Strong

Your opening paragraph is also quite important, as most readers never make it past the introduction of an online article. Begin with a statement of value, with a question, with a fascinating statistic… something to draw the reader to keep going.

Make it Actionable

Ensure that your blog post provides some real takeaways for your readers—some things they can actually do with the information you’ve given them; some steps for putting the blog post to use. Before you even begin writing, consider what your actionable takeaways will be.

Ask for Feedback

Finally, don’t be afraid to actually ask for feedback. Invite readers to leave comments. Encourage them to share photos or personal stories that might relate to your blog. Open the floor to suggestions for your next blog topic. Be approachable. Be open to interaction with your readers.

Write Posts That Get Engagement

If you’re not getting engagement on your company blog posts, it’s time for you to make a change. Consider outsourcing your blog writing to the Grammar Chic team. We have ample experience writing blog posts that get read—and that generate engagement. Contact us to learn more at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Blog Writing, Content Marketing, Social Media

What to Ask Your Web Content Writing Company

The written content you include on your company website is of paramount importance. After all, most new or potential customers will head straight to your website to learn more about what your company does. The content they find there will establish their first impression of your brand. It’s in your best interest to provide content that is well-written, easy to follow, substantive, and informative; ideally, it should instill trust while also encouraging the reader to pick up the phone and call you for more information, or even to buy a product from you straight away.

That’s a tall order, which is why a lot of business owners outsource their Web content writing services to an outside firm—like Grammar Chic. This is the best way to tell the story of your company in a way that is compelling, and persuades the user of the value you can offer.

Evaluating a Web Content Writing Company

As you meet with a Web content writing company for the first time, it is important to establish clear lines of communication; in particular, we recommend asking a few key questions, to ensure that you understand the process and that you are truly comfortable with the company you’re meeting with.

Here are a few of the key questions you should ask:

What’s your experience in Web content writing? Learn more about the track record of the company you’re working with. Inquire about how long they’ve been writing websites, and ask to see examples of their past work.

How will you capture my voice? You may not be the one writing the content, but your voice should still come through. Ask the writer how this will be achieved.

What’s your research process? The content writers will need to gain an understanding of your company and of your industry, through interviews, independent research, or some combination of the two. Make sure you get a good sense of what this process entails.

What do you expect from me? Your Web content writer may need you to furnish some information, and it’s important that you do so as promptly as possible.

What are the SEO considerations being made with this site? Your Web content writing company may not be an SEO firm per se, and that’s fine—but hopefully there will be some attention paid to the best practices for search engine optimization. You might especially ask about keyword inclusion, meta descriptions, and meta tags.

Will there be calls to action on the website? The answer should be yes!

How will the page be formatted? Ask about section subheadings and bulleted lists, and be sure to voice any of your own preferences.

What about revisions/rewriting? Even a great Web content writer may miss a few things on the first pass. This is usually a process, and it’s good to clarify whether revisions and rewriting are included in the company’s services.

Ask Your Questions Today

Get your questions asked and answered by the Web content writing team at Grammar Chic. Contact us today to set up a consultation: 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

 

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

7 Ways to Get Maximum Value from Your Company Blog Posts

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Just because you hit publish on a new company blog post, share it on social media, and email it to the folks on your subscription list, doesn’t mean the blog post is through. On the contrary, there are plenty of ways to repurpose older content and wring more value from it.

There are many benefits to repurposing old content, regardless of whether that content performed well or it didn’t. If you’ve got a blog post that failed you, repurposing it might allow you to give it a new lease on life—to salvage it and derive some value from all your hard work. Conversely, if you have a really popular and high-performing post, repurposing it can allow you to harness that momentum and reach even more people with your message.

And there are a number of effective ways to breathe new life into an older blog post, too. Here are seven that the Grammar Chic team recommends.

Update Older Posts

In most industries, trends shift and best practices change over time. As such, it may be worthwhile to revisit your most popular posts every year or so and see if a new iteration is needed. You can revise an older post with new statistics or trends, then share it all over again.

Optimize Older Posts

It can also be worth revisiting older posts to tweak their SEO features—inserting new title tags, meta descriptions, and keywords for some of your most effective posts, drawing on new analytics and more recent data.

Turn a Blog Post into an Infographic

Pull out the main talking points and put them into image form. Then share that image widely on your social media platforms!

Break Down Larger Posts

Often, a comprehensive, big-picture post can be whittled down into three or four smaller posts, which delve into specific topics a little more deeply. Provide readers with one overview post, and then some smaller supporting posts that get down into the nitty gritty.

Turn Long Posts into Downloadable Offers

You can also expand your more in-depth posts and format them into e-books or white papers, making them available as downloads on your company website.

Use Your Blog as Fodder for a Webinar

We’re big believers in webinars, and we know that sometimes a popular blog post can provide the blueprint you need for a really compelling online presentation.

Split a Post into an Email Series

A final thought: You can dissect a blog post and draw a few 50-to-100-word blurbs from it, then use those in an email series—a great way of providing added value to your subscribers!

Of course, all of this starts with creating compelling blog posts—and for that, we’re here to help. Contact the ghostwriting team at Grammar Chic today at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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

Blogging Blunders: Don’t Regress in 2016!

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We’re now more than a month into a new calendar year—and a new chance for your company to excel in its blogging endeavors.

Don’t blow it.

Business blogging can be an invaluable way to build credibility and trust; to cultivate authority and thought leadership; to engage readers and to drive traffic to your website. But that’s all assuming you’re blogging well. That’s all assuming you aren’t falling prey to classic blogging blunders, or regressing in your business blogging practices.

We’ll show you what we mean: A few blogging faux pas that are easy enough to make, but potentially lethal to your overall marketing goals.

Writing Posts, but Not Augmenting Them

A good blog post isn’t just about the words on the page—though obviously, those are important! It’s really about the overall presentation. And if you don’t have compelling images, infographics, embedded videos, and/or social sharing buttons, your presentation leaves something to be desired.

Writing to Nobody in Particular

Quick: Who’s your audience? What are the demographics? What are the values and pain points? It’s critical to keep these things in mind as you blog. You can write the best blog post in the world, but if you’re writing to the wrong crowd, it won’t make any impact on your readers.

Writing, but Not Sharing

A great blog post means absolutely nothing if it never gets seen—if it never gets read. That’s where social media comes into play. The minute you publish a new post, your next step should be spreading the post on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest—you name it. Don’t let your content just sit there. Pass it around.

Writing About Stale Topics

Don’t beat a dead horse. If you’ve written about a topic in the past and it hasn’t gotten you any results, there’s no point in resurrecting it. Move on to something your readers actually care about.

Writing Without Linking

A good blog post is like an information hub: Not only does it provide insight of its own, but it points readers toward some related resources and avenues for further learning. Internal and external links can really add depth and context to a solid blog post.

One way to take your blogging to the next level this year: Hire a ghostblogger. Contact Grammar Chic to start the conversation: 803-831-744, or www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Blog Writing, Social Media, Writing

How Many Keywords Do I Need in My Company Blog Posts?

image1We’re approached by a lot of small business owners who are looking to hire us as ghostbloggers—and we’ll be honest with you: While many of these entrepreneurs are mostly concerned with decent, brand-enhancing content, there are also plenty of them who are keyword-obsessed. And we don’t blame them. If you spend much time reading SEO blogs, you’re going to come away with the notion that it’s keywords, more than anything else, that determine the search engine rankings for any given piece of content.

The keyword question we get asked most frequently, of course, is how many do I need? Or, to be more accurate, what’s the ideal keyword density? Should three percent of the words in my blog entries be keywords? 13 percent? 30 percent?

We’re going to address the question, but here’s a quick spoiler: There’s not necessarily a specific, target number that you all need to hit. Sorry to disappoint, but we’re not going to be giving away any such easy answers. However, we will make a few general comments that we hope can be meaningful:

  1. First of all, SEO does matter, and keywords can be quite helpful. If you don’t have the phrase “custom bird calls” anywhere in your blog, then it’s just not going to rank very well for people who search for “custom bird calls”—plain and simple. Plus, picking one focus keyword for your blog helps give it some shape, and it helps you keep your writing on track.
  2. Keyword placement can yield diminishing returns. This video from Google’s chief search bigwig Matt Cutts is several years old now, but the information in it is still true. Using one keyword will flag the search engine’s attention; a couple more will reinforce that your blog is indeed about that topic; eventually, you start to see diminishing returns; and finally, you get into a place where you’re keyword stuffing or just writing gibberish, and that will likely land you with a search engine penalty.
  3. You want to avoid keyword stuffing. We cannot emphasize that point enough. You can’t cheat your way to search engine success by typing “custom bird calls” 35 times in a 400 word article. Google is way too smart to fall for that!
  4. Keyword placement matters. Small business owners can sometimes be so obsessed with keyword density that they forget about keyword placement—but instead of focusing on how many keywords you have, you might want to think about ensuring you’ve got one in your title, perhaps somewhere in the meta description, in whatever big header you have on the page, and so on. Think about positions of prominence to optimize keyword use.
  5. You really just want to write organically. Think of a keyword and use it to bring focus to your writing—but from there, you really don’t need to waste a lot of time counting, or worrying about the benefits of five as opposed to four keyword placements. Just write naturally, and in most cases that’ll turn out just fine.

So to recap: We don’t have a specific number for you. (And you should be skeptical of those who say they do!) What we recommend is picking a good keyword to hang your blog post on, making sure you have it in strategic locations, but beyond that just focusing on writing a good, helpful, natural-sounding article—and if you need help, just hit up Grammar Chic at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Blog Writing, Content Marketing