Tag Archives: Blog writing tips

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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How to Add Google Analytics to Your WordPress Site

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Who visits your website? How long do they spend there? How do they find your website, and which pieces of content seem to be the most popular? These questions are all critical for you to ask as you strategize about your website and how you market it. The more you know about these meaningful metrics, the better you can tweak your site to bring in the kind of traffic you need.

There are different ways to track your metrics, but one of the simplest and easiest ways is to install Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a dashboard that records certain stats about your site and feeds you the results; it doesn’t cost anything and requires no technical know-how to use it, which is why it’s popular with small business owners.

Once you have Google Analytics installed in your website, you will be able to tell how many people visit your site; what they do when they get there; where they’re coming from; and when they’re most active.

But before you can access any of that data, you’ll need to actually have Google Analytics installed. This is a quick and easy DIY project; just follow these short steps to get Analytics up and running!

For WordPress.org Sites

First, go to the Google Analytics signup page and log in. If you have an existing Google or Gmail account, you can use that; if not, you’ll need to sign up for one.

Next, you’ll be prompted to start using Google Analytics. You should see a button inviting you to “sign up” for the program. Click it!

Then, you’ll be asked to choose between tracking a website or a mobile app. Ensure that you have “website” selected.

You may also be asked to participate in a Google Analytics Beta program. For the sake of simplicity, you may want to stick with the classic account, and wait to receive the extra features once beta testing is complete.

Fill in the rest of the required information. Google will ask for your website name and URL, the time zone you’re in, and more. It’s mostly self-explanatory; note that “Account Name” doesn’t really matter and can be anything you want, perhaps simply your business name.

Click on the get tracking ID command. You’ll also be asked to agree to Google’s terms of service. From there, you will be given a piece of Web code that you are supposed to copy and paste into WordPress—but where?

Leave that tab open but open a new one for WordPress. There are different ways to input the code to WordPress, but maybe the easiest is to install the Insert Header and Footer plugin, go to the plugin settings page, and then simply copy the Google Analytics code. And voila! You’re done, and ready to start tracking.

For WordPress.com Business Sites

If you happen to be using a premium business account on Worpress.com, the whole process is actually much easier. Sign in to Google Analytics, as we lay out above, and enter your website URL when prompted. You should be issued a tracking code—something alphanumeric.

From there, go back to WordPress.com and hit Settings, then Analytics. Simply paste the tracking code you received and you’re ready to go!

From there you can get started tracking and analyzing data—and if you need any help with that, we’re happy to consult. Contact Grammar Chic at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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Essential Traits for Highly Successful Bloggers

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Business owners, do you ever wonder if you truly have what it takes to develop a successful blog—one that garners traffic and increases conversions for your company website? It’s only natural to wonder and perhaps even to doubt; throughout literary history, great authors have struggled with questions about their own worthiness, and while business blogging is different from writing War and Peace, the same principle applies.

Today, we want to offer some reassurance:

  1. First, know that all businesses are capable of developing effective business blogs; there’s no topic too boring, no industry too bland!
  2. Even if you’re not a trained writer, you still have much insight to offer your customers and clients.
  3. If blogging is something that completely eludes you, or if you don’t have the time you need to invest in really getting it right, there is always ghostblogging and content marketing agencies.

With all that said, it’s worth pausing for a moment to take stock of your own blogging propensities, and to evaluate whether you have the skills and characteristics needed to be great at blogging. If you have all of the traits listed below, then we would encourage you to try business blogging; if not, then we’d recommend either working to develop them, or outsourcing to us!

  • Great bloggers are attentive. They keep tabs on what their readers like and don’t; what they respond to and what they are indifferent toward. Blogging means constantly monitoring your efforts and tweaking as needed.
  • Great bloggers are confident in who they are and what they do; they are able to write authentically and passionately about the benefits they can offer to readers and to customers.
  • Great bloggers can be dramatic, too—they know how to create headlines and titles that immediately attract attention.
  • Great bloggers are organized, and can lay out their points in a way that makes sense and is easy to follow.
  • Great bloggers are tenacious, willing to consistently post new content on a daily or weekly basis.
  • Great bloggers are ultimately service-oriented, and know that what they do needs to provide something truly helpful to readers; mere self-promotion will never do.

How do you stack up? Do you have these critical blogging skills mastered, or is there still room for improvement? We’re happy to help however we can; just contact the Grammar Chic team today to learn more!

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What to Do When Your Blog Bombs

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Writing a post for your company blog is something that requires a certain investment of time; whether it takes you 20 minutes or two hours, it’s time that you might otherwise have spent doing something else, and as such you want to be sure that the time is well-utilized. If your blog post garners you some social media attention or some website traffic—if even one person picks up the phone and calls you because of something you wrote in the post—then it’s all well worth it. But what happens when you post a new company blog and it just kind of…. sits there?

What happens when your blog post bombs?

Not All Blogs are Created Equal

To begin with, understand that this is going to happen from time to time—and in fact, the more often you blog, the more likely it is that you’re going to have some duds and some misfires. It’s just part of the process. There will be blogs that simply land at the wrong time or don’t get seen by the right, interested readers—perhaps through no fault of your own.

Before you write off the blog completely, though, take a day or two to let it sit, then read back through it with fresh eyes. Maybe a bit of distance and perspective will help you identify some ways you could make it better.

  • What’s the value proposition? Reading through it again, can you clearly identify the value your readers are supposed to glean?
  • Is the blog practical? Actionable? Interesting?
  • Does it line up with your buyer personas?
  • Does the headline grab attention?
  • Is it well-formatted with appropriate paragraph and section breaks, bullet points, and images?
  • Is it too long? Is it not long or substantive enough?

Retooling, Redeploying

If you identify some areas in which your blog could be revised and improved, then by all means make those changes. Don’t just leave it there, though. Take to social media to try to drum up some interest in the blog. Post it on LinkedIn, tweet it, pin it—distribute the blog however you deem appropriate.

It is entirely possible that the blog initially bombed because you just posted it at a bad time, or with the wrong hashtags, and it didn’t really penetrate anyone’s newsfeed. Waiting five to seven days, then pushing it out again, can give the blog a new lease on life.

Scrapping and Salvaging

If there doesn’t seem to be anything you can do to make the blog a big hit, don’t worry: Your time hasn’t been wasted. You’ve got a piece of content that you can pick apart for scrap pieces, recycling the content into a new blog post, a press release, a piece of evergreen website content, or simply a few quick tweets. That’s valuable content fodder, so don’t be afraid to hack away at the post and use its pieces wherever and whenever you can.

Of course, if your blogs are consistently underperforming, there may be a systemic issue to address. That’s where we come in. Grammar Chic’s team is ready to help you kick your business blogging to the next level. Inquire about our services today: Call 803-831-7444, or visit http://www.grammarchic.net.

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8 Tips to Write Blog Posts Quickly (While Entertaining an Audience)

Content marketing has really changed the game for business owners everywhere.  While it is totally true that content marketing offers serious revenue generating opportunity to the marketer who does it well, the fact is many of my clients often tell me that they feel seriously bogged down with their content creation and development.

Yes, the successful content marketing strategy includes creating material for many platforms, but let’s focus on blogging specifically.  As a business owner and writer who is tasked not only with coming up for material for my own blog, but also for the blogs of others, I regularly follow these eight tips for creating blog posts quickly while ensuring readability.

1.)   Assign a deadline.  At Grammar Chic, my writers and I live and die by the “job board,” or internal calendar that assigns daily deadlines.  Know that we have a mantra that subscribes to the idea that what is on the job board for the day gets done that day.  Let’s face it, work will expand to fill the time you have allotted for it.  If you say, “Oh, I have a couple days to write this blog,” you more than likely will not do it within an assigned space of time and the blog post may go unwritten or take much longer than it should.  However, when you have a deadline to meet, whether imposed by a client or self-imposed, you are more likely to focus and get it done.  Think of every piece of writing you engage in as an assignment that is non-negotiable.  Eventually, this mindset will become a habit and you will not procrastinate or take more time than necessary to complete a post.

2.)   Use an editorial calendar.  Just as Grammar Chic has an internal job board that handles our scheduling and manages the external and internal writing we do for business purposes, you too should create an editorial calendar to handle your content marketing.  When you get started, set the calendar months ahead and, as you develop some discipline, modify it accordingly.

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1.)   Make a topic list.  It’s hard to engage in daily or weekly blog writing blindly, so you should brainstorm on topics (using the editorial calendar outlined in the second tip) and plan accordingly.  This will allow you to plan around holidays relevant to your business or product, incorporate happenings in your industry and also avoid repetition.

2.)   Control your ADD and remove distractions.  Face it, there are a ton of things out there begging for your attention; the Internet, your phone, what your friends are doing on Facebook—all serious time wasters.  To write quickly, you have to be focused.  Turn off your phone, close Internet browser screens and ignore your email.  Pretend you have a non-negotiable deadline that needs to be met in the next 30 minutes.

3.)   Consider your ending.  Before you begin writing, determine what you want a reader to take away from the post.  Do you want them to click on a link?  Visit a website?  Submit their contact information?  If you identify your goal, you can better determine the drivers that will provide for this result to be attained.

4.)   Save the editing for later.  One of the big mistakes most writers make is that they try to edit themselves as they write.  Know this is an amateur move and one that will drain you of your time and dedication.  Rule to follow: write first, edit later.  What’s more, proof after all of that.

5.)   Focus on flow.  As you are writing you might realize that, to make a point, you have to look up a fact or substantiate a claim.  Resist the urge to do that right now.  Instead just write XXX or make a small note to yourself to fact check later.  Fact checking is part of the editing process.  Doing it this way will make you more efficient and save time.

6.)   Remember you are telling a story.  Therefore, at the end of everything read it aloud to yourself to first ensure you are making a point; second, that it is entertaining to read; and third, that you are catching any final errors.  Reading aloud is one of the most efficient forms of proofreading.

Blogging can feel like a major chore, but if you follow these tips, you can make it much easier on yourself.  But remember, if you feel like you have just way too much to do as a business owner or marketer to add one more thing to your daily to-do list, call Grammar Chic.  Our team can handle any blogging need for your business, no matter your industry or topic matter or how often you need a blog written.  Call 803-831-7444 or email info@grammarchic.net to set up a consultation. We invite you to learn more about Grammar Chic by visiting our website at www.grammarchic.net and “liking” us on Facebook.

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Blog Writing Tips: Bad Habits to Drop in Order to Better Your Blog

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It’s a common occurrence, here at Grammar Chic, for business owners and individuals alike to contact us for help with blog writing.  While it’s true that we manage a variety of different blogs on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, and I certainly don’t want to divert business, the fact is, blog writing is something that a person can do with relative ease if they are disciplined enough.  At the same time, it must be noted that, according to a statistic posted by Olivia Root on Business2Community, “Within a 24 hour period, two million blog posts are written.”

Yikes!

Root goes onto talk about some interesting rules that any blogger or online marketer needs to consider as they write their own material for use on the Internet, as this idea of “content marketing” means that there is a lot of generic or irrelevant information put out there at the same time.  While Google may reward a website or a blog that creates compelling content, there is still a lot of information to sift through.

Here are some simple rules that you must adhere to if you are thinking about managing and writing your own blog.

  • Stop being a cliché. Do not use buzzwords if you aren’t going to provide specific guidelines.  This means writing an article and having a catchy headline do absolutely no good if you aren’t also providing specific advice.
  • Have a title that represents what the post is about.  Oftentimes, writers can begin writing a blog post or an article with their headline already laid out; however, once they start writing, a new article emerges that has different content from what the headline originally promises.  While there still may be some helpful advice in the post, readers will feel misled.  Therefore, if you plan on writing about one subject, stick to it.  If you are unsure about whether or not you actually wrote about what you had originally planned, I suggest you find an editor who can critique your work.
  • Use stock photos with a purpose.  Simply put, most Internet surfers are highly visual people and, as much as I like to talk about how writing is important, the same can be said regarding graphics.  In her article, Root notes that eye tracking studies have actually shown that “people ignore big, feel-good images that function purely as decoration.”  She also goes on to state that “people who looked at a webpage that featured a generic photo serving as pure filler, completely ignored the photo and focused solely on the text.”  I think the point of the matter is that visuals and text must be compelling in order to convince a reader to stick around.
  • Write in a way to which readers can relate.  I’m not saying that you have to be overly simplistic, but if you use words or phrases that the average reader cannot comprehend you are not going to build your readership.  Just as readers will reject you for being boring, they will do the same if your vocabulary doesn’t fit your audience.

If you are thinking about managing and writing your own blog, follow these tips but also commit to a writing strategy.  If you are confused about how to do this don’t feel frustrated and certainly don’t give up.  Give Grammar Chic, Inc. a call today at 803-831-7444.

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