Tag Archives: business blogging

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

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

5 Personal Branding Tips for Freelancers

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There are certain agreed-upon resume standards that apply to almost all 9-to-5 jobseekers—but when you’re a freelancer, some of those rules go out the window, and you’re forced to make some critical decisions about how best to present your different skills to potential clients.

The basic principle is the same: You want to develop a strong personal brand, and to posit yourself as someone who can deliver tremendous value and ultimately achieve the desired results. The question is, how do you accomplish that when your career has consisted more of freelance positions than of regular, salaried employment?

The Grammar Chic resume team can provide guidance to any freelancer looking to craft a strong personal brand. We invite you to call us any time. In the meanwhile, here are a few tips to help you with your branding endeavors.

How Freelancers Can Develop Strong Personal Brands

Rethink Your Resume Structure

Generally speaking, we recommend a chronological format for resumes—but when you’re a freelancer, what you want to emphasize is your array of skills. Sometimes, a more thematically-arranged and functional resume, one designed to show what you can do rather than to mark your career progression, might make more sense.

Include a Strong Executive Summary

It’s critical to have a clear summary of your skills and the value you can bring to an employer—something of an elevator pitch for your personal brand. This should be at the top of your resume!

Make Sure You Have a Portfolio

If at all possible, provide potential employers with a way to see your work. An online portfolio can be a tremendous asset, and if you have one, we recommend linking to it on your resume as well as your LinkedIn profile.

Establish Thought Leadership

Prove that you really know your industry well. Start a blog, or at the very least publish content on social media sites, including LinkedIn. Show any potential employer that you are truly committed to your vertical or niche.

Use LinkedIn to Get Recommendations

The biggest obstacle you’ll face as a freelancer is that employers simply aren’t sure whether they can trust you—so give them every reason to feel confident in your abilities. Work hard to accumulate recommendations, especially on LinkedIn. Be persistent in asking all your colleagues and former clients/employers to leave you a glowing notice.

Get Help with Your Personal Branding

All jobseekers need to brand themselves, but it’s especially challenging when you work as a freelancer. Grammar Chic can help you hone your resume and optimize your LinkedIn profile. Contact us today to get started: www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Blog Writing, Brand Management, Content Marketing, Writing

5 Ways to Be Found by Local Consumers

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For any business to succeed, it needs to be discovered by local customers; it needs to bring in clients and consumers who are actually seeking the products or services in question, and willing to spend their money to get them. In today’s marketing ecosystem, that means a strong presence in local search queries.

After all, when you want to find a good local business, where do you turn for answers? More likely than not, you go to Google—and the businesses you find there are the ones most likely to win your patronage. If you want your business to thrive, then, you’ve got to position it to be embraced by local search engine users—but how?

Local SEO can sometimes be complicated and daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. There are some simple ways you can boost your visibility in local search rankings today.

Get Reviewed

Google reviews are critical to search engine success. Google takes any review to be a sign that people are engaging with your business, and gaining reviews will only help your search engine standings. Of course, it’s helpful if these are good reviews, bolstering your company’s authority and trustworthiness. If you’re not getting regular reviews, we recommend the following steps:

  • Make sure your Google review link is clearly displayed on your website
  • Actively ask your customers to leave you their feedback; include a request on invoices and receipts
  • Send an email to all your best, most loyal customers, and simply explain to them how meaningful a quick review would be
  • Include your Google review link on your email signature

Optimize for Mobile

Most local searches happen on mobile devices, so it’s critical that your website be optimized for users who are on phones or tablets; indeed, Google prioritizes sites with mobile-readiness. Check out your company website on various devices to make sure it looks good and flows smoothly. If it doesn’t, you’ll want to talk to your Web designer about switching to a mobile-friendly site ASAP.

Ensure Consistent NAP

NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone number, and you need to have this vital contact information displayed on every page of your website. Make sure you state it the exact same way every time, too. Inconsistencies—“Al’s Pancakes” on one page and “Al’s Pancake House” on another, or even listing your address as “Main Street” here but “Main St.” there—can drop your Google ranking.

Get Local Links

Reach out to local directories, business bureaus, and chambers of commerce to get a link to your website—along with NAP information, consistent with the way you list it on your site.

Write Valuable Content

Finally, a website that’s dense with valuable content—not just sales pitches, but information that addresses consumer questions—is going to get more love from Google, for the simple reason that it offers a better product to Google’s customers (i.e. search engine users). A good website with FAQs, how-tos, detailed product descriptions, and a regular blog can go a long way.

Grammar Chic can help with all of these content creation needs, of course. Learn more by reaching out to our team today at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Business Writing, Content Marketing