Tag Archives: Blogging tips

7 Content Marketing Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make in 2017

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Many of us are still in the leaf-turning phase of the new year, eager to identify and implement key areas for personal and professional change. Perhaps some of your own resolutions include improvements to your company’s content marketing endeavors. And if not—well, maybe they should.

There is never a bad time to revise your content marketing mechanisms—to be more strategic about consumer outreach, relationship-building, and thought leadership. Getting more serious about content marketing can yield many benefits, and the good news is, making constructive content marketing resolutions doesn’t have to be anything too nebulous or complex: It can be as simple as learning from yesterday’s mistakes.

With that in mind, we’ve got some suggestions for you: Some content marketing mistakes we’ve seen before, and ones we encourage you to learn from as you move forward toward bigger and better content endeavors.

Mistake #1: Blogging Inconsistently

Anyone can resolve to start a blog. Even writing that first post can seem pretty easy. Maintaining robust and regular blog content, though, is another matter altogether—yet it requires consistency for you to keep your audience engaged, increase our search engine exposure, and develop your brand’s authority.

Mistake #2: Making Grade-School Grammar Mistakes

Be honest: Have you ever posted a company blog that interchanges your with you’re, or that mixes up their and there? These aren’t just little errors. They make your business look shoddy and unprofessional. Make sure you have a skilled editor proof your content before it’s posted.

Mistake #3: Overlooking SEO Opportunities

You don’t have to be a technical whiz to fill in the meta description for your company blog post (WordPress and other content management systems will offer you a place to do this), or to include a few judicious keywords in your posts and your titles. Don’t forfeit these opportunities to tell the search engine what your content is all about.

Mistake #4: Missing Email Marketing Opportunities

Remember that when you post a really good entry to your blog, it’s something you ought to be promoting everywhere—and that includes in emails. Your email marketing list is a great place to turn when you want to get attention for a new piece of content. Spread the word, and make sure you’re conveying real value to your readers.

Mistake #5: Misusing Social Media

Your Facebook and Twitter accounts aren’t just for promoting your latest products or sales, though that’s certainly a good use for them. You should also be using them to spread meaningful, value-adding content, though—not just your company blog posts, but curated content from other industry resources, too.

Mistake #6: Poorly Formatting Your Content

Are your company blog posts difficult to read—or difficult to skim? Sub-headings, lists, and bullet points can really make life easier for your readers. If nothing else, shorter paragraphs are generally recommended.

Mistake #7: Not Offering Value Through Your Content

It ultimately comes down to what you’re writing about: You should be developing content that truly makes life better for your readers, answering their questions and posing actionable solutions to their problems. Otherwise, why would they bother?

Content development happens to be our strong suit—so if you’re looking for a hand in making big content improvements in 2017, give Grammar Chic a call at 803-831-7444, or visit us at www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Brand Management, Content Marketing, Content Writing, Email Writing, Social Media

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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Are Your Blog Posts Readable?

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Last week, the Grammar Chic, Inc. team offered a few tips for businesses just getting into the blogging routine. Today, we’re going to hone in on an important concept for new and seasoned business bloggers alike—the concept of readability.

Obviously, you want your blog to offer value, you want it to be interesting to read, and you want it to cast your business in the best light possible. All of that is predicated on your blog being approachable, accessible even to lay people. After all, if reading your blog is nightmarishly difficult, headache-inducing, or just flat-out impossible, then it’s ultimately just a waste of your time and effort.

In other words, your blog should be for readers, not for you—but how can you ensure that your blog can, in fact, be read and enjoyed by lay people?

Missing the Forest for the Trees

You know your business better than your customers do—at least, we hope you do! If you’re the company’s owner, you know it better than anyone in the world. You’re likely brimming over with insights into your industry and vertical, as well—but that can be sort of a mixed blessing when it comes to blogging. You can become so bogged down in the minutiae of your business, with insider perspectives and little technicalities, that you miss the big picture and bypass the things your readers really care about. You can miss the forest for the trees.

The first step toward readability, then, is stepping outside of Business Owner mode, and putting yourself in the mindset of your customers and clients. What questions do they have? What aspects of your company are truly relevant to them? What do they need to know to get more out of your products, or to feel confident buying from you in the first place? What problems do they need solved? Buyer personas may be helpful here, but even if you don’t have time for that, do make sure you think in terms of consumer value, not the nuts-and-bolts stuff that only you really care about.

Formatting Matters, Too

Good, readable blogs are value-focused, consumer-oriented, and devoid of technical talk and jargon—but they’re also well formatted. You can have a really accessible bit of content, and totally ruin it by presenting it as one epically long, unbroken paragraph—something that’s just a pain to read.

To ensure that your content is actually easy to digest, keep in mind the following:

  • When applicable, numbers and bullet points help to break up paragraph-after-paragraph monotony.
  • Section subheadings and images can also be great ways to separate your content into digestible chunks; your subheadings will also be useful for skimmers.
  • Online attention spans are usually less than stellar, so make a substantive point without rambling too much.
  • Keeping each blog post to a single point is the best way to make it digestible and memorable.

Again: Put yourself in the shoes of an average reader. Think about the kinds of blog posts that you would actually read, and perhaps even enjoy—and use that to guide you.

To learn more about the best blogging techniques, don’t hesitate to contact Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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It’s Time to Face the Facts: Your Blog Sucks

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If you’ve been keeping up with the Grammar Chic blog—or for that matter, any other blog that’s related to online marketing—then you don’t need to be convinced of the importance of content creation. We really do believe that creating compelling, informative content is a smart thing for businesses to do; what you’re reading right now is proof! And we’re not alone: Statistics indicate that an overwhelming percentage of marketers (more than 90 percent) embrace content marketing as the new norm.

You’ve surely read all about the benefits of content marketing, then—but maybe you’re struggling to see the proof in your own efforts. Maybe you’ve started a business blog, and you’re investing some real time and effort into sustaining it. Your posts are starting to pile up, and as of yet, you’ve got nothing to show for it—not much readership, not much engagement, not any discernable monetary value gleaned from your business blogging. So what’s the deal?

We’ll be honest: It’s entirely possible that your blog sucks.

That doesn’t have to be a terminal problem. There are ways you can address the problems with your blog, and start seeing that ROI. The first step is diagnosing the problem. If your blog falls into any of the following dubious categories, then it’s time to make some course corrections.

Blog Types That Nobody Wants to Read

  • The “This Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time, but I Quickly Ran Out of Steam” blog. How often have you visited a business website, clicked on the “blog” tab, and seen that the most recent entry came from March 2003, or some similarly distant date? It’s enough to make you wonder if the company is even still in business. If you’re updating your blog sporadically and inconsistently, it’s time to get serious, preferably by implementing an editorial calendar.
  • The “I Read an Article About SEO and Now I Think I’m a Marketing Expert” blog. You can always tell the blogs that were written by business owners overzealous for SEO. Yes, everyone wants his or her business blog to be easily discovered by Google users, and keywords can help accomplish that goal. Keywords are not nearly as important as overall reader value or readability, though—so if you’re using the phrase “Acme Widgets reviews” or “Ft. Mill South Carolina plumbing companies” in every other sentence, it’s time to tone it down.
  • The “Roll-o-Dex” blog. If you’re too young to remember, a Roll-o-Dex is kind of like the Contacts section of your phone—only it’s on paper. Some bloggers, obsessed with the idea of guest blogging, essentially use their blog to show off how many people they know, posting one guest blog after another. Guest blogging is certainly valuable, but only in moderation. The point is to show off your expertise and knowledge—not how many people you know—so you need to ensure that a majority of the posts are written by someone on your team (or by a marketing company you’re using to ghostwrite).
  • The “Used Car Salesman” blog. We get it: You think your company is great, you think your products are essential, you think your latest sale or online promo is an absolute steal. The blog is not really a place to talk about any of that, though—at least not 24/7. The point of the blog is to boost engagement, and frankly, nobody’s going to want to read the blog if it just sounds like a non-stop commercial.
  • The “I’m Not Really Listening” blog. You should be talking with your audience, not at them—yet many business blogs go essentially unmoderated and unengaged by the business owner, or by the blog author. If you’ve got a stack of questions in the comment section, and you haven’t taken the time to address any of them, it gives the distinct impression that you just don’t care about your readers.
  • The “I’m Trying to Be a Jack of All Trades” blog. Some small business owners try to wear all the hats—CEO, President, HR Person, Morale Director, Marketer, and Blogger. Frankly, though, not everyone is gifted with the writing skills needed to blog. If you’re biting off more than you can chew and trying to do something you’re just not meant to do, it’s going to be pretty obvious from the writing. This is when outsourcing your blog writing may be smart.

Which of these blog types do you most hate to see? Are there any others that you would add? Let us know in the comments section—and don’t hesitate to contact us for more insights into how we can help you turn your business blog around.

The team at Grammar Chic specializes in a variety of professional writing and editing services. For more information about how we can help you, visit www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444. We also invite you to follow us on Twitter @GrammarChicInc for the latest in writing and editing tips and to give a “like” to our Facebook page. Text GRAMMARCHIC to 22828 for a special offer.

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