Tag Archives: Content management

Here’s How to Write Content That Ranks Well

The Google Search algorithms are notoriously complex. There are dozens upon dozens of factors that Google considers when assessing a site’s ranking; those factors are weighted differently, and the exact algorithmic make-up changes on a regular basis.

Thankfully, Google has made it surprisingly simple for content writers to do their job and to create content that achieves search engine visibility. Google’s own search engineers have conceded that, for all the algorithmic complexity and churn, there’s essentially one huge factor that overshadows all the rest. Content writers who can capitalize on that one huge factor are positioned well for SEO success.

So what’s the secret?

In a word, relevance.

That’s not just a buzzword. It’s something that the Google algorithms actually measure and quantify. And according to Google’s internal experts, it’s the one thing that content writers should focus on as they pursue SEO-effective copy.

What is Relevance?

But how can Google possibly categorize something that sounds so nebulous?

The definition of relevance isn’t as fuzzy as you might think. Essentially, it boils down to user-centered content that serves a purpose.

That is to say, is the content useful?

Does it provide helpful, clarifying, and/or actionable insight to the user?

And is it related to the intentions of the search user? Does it meaningfully address their search query?

If you can honestly say yes to all of these questions, then there’s a good chance your content is indeed relevant in the eyes of Google.

Simple Steps for Writing Relevant Content

If you’re still uncertain about the relevance of your content, you’re in luck: Google’s Webmaster Guidelines actually offer some best practices for content writers. We’re going to summarize and paraphrase them here, because not only do they represent a good recipe for relevant content, but they also reflect good online content writing principles more generally.

Google’s advice is as follows:

  1. Write content primarily for the search engine users, not for the algorithms. If you’re thinking about how to appease the search bots, you’re going about it all wrong. Instead, step back and ask yourself how you can connect with the end user, answer their questions, and fortify them with good information. Using buyer personas may be valuable here.
  2. Don’t be deceptive. If your headline promises 5 Simple Steps to Improve Your Credit Score, the article should provide five simple steps for readers to improve their credit scores… plain and simple. Bait-and-switch routines will kill your relevance ratings.
  3. Avoid anything that’s designed to trick the search engines. Before attempting some sort of SEO gimmick, ask yourself: Would I do this if Google didn’t exist? If your answer is no, then it’s probably not worth doing.
  4. Consider the things that make your business or your website unique. What are some of the unique benefits and value points that you can offer? Make sure your content captures those things.

The bottom line: Relevance is the most important characteristic of digital copy, and it’s not as nebulous or as unattainable as you might think.

We can help you write content that’s truly relevant to your audience. Are you ready to talk? Reach out to the Grammar Chic, Inc. team today. Connect with us at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Content Marketing, Content Writing, Web Content

How to Make Your Boring Industry Really Interesting

At Grammar Chic, Inc., we truly believe that content marketing can deliver meaningful results for any company, in any industry.

But some may have to work a little bit harder for it than others.

Simply put, some industries more naturally lend themselves to fresh, exciting, compelling content. But what happens if you sell annuities?  What happens if you prepare tax returns? What happens if you’re an estate planning lawyer? We’re not saying these things are unimportant! We’re just saying they may not seem as flashy or as exciting to the average reader.

It may cause you to wonder what can be done to turn your “boring” line of work into really rich, persuasive content—content that people will actually want to read.

Here’s our advice.

Always Be Helpful

A good rule of thumb: If your content is helpful, someone out there’s going to find it interesting.

Take our example of an estate planning attorney. You may write a blog post about how to draft a will; when a living trust is necessary; or how to choose guardians for your children.

Those topics may not jump off the page, and sure, some may say they’re unglamorous. But people want to know those things. They need to know those things. And if you can provide that information in a clear and actionable way, there will be readers who find great value in it—

period.

Maybe the best advice here is to change your way of thinking: If you can’t make your content exciting, just make sure that it helps someone.

Write Without Jargon

One thing that can stand between you and an engaged readership is reliance on industry jargon.

We see this a lot when working with insurance companies, who trot out a bunch of words and phrases that may be foreign to the layperson. Of course, that’s the quickest way to get eyes to glaze over!

Don’t think (or write) in terms of industry buzzwords. Instead, come at it from the customer’s point of view. What are their pain points? What answers do they seek? And how can your company benefit from them? Focus on those things, with as much clarity as you can.

Inject Some Personality

Your business may be boring—or at least, that may be how people perceive it.

But you’re not boring!

Feel free to inject some personality, even humor, into your content. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to make your content come alive.

This might mean throwing in some personal anecdotes, some gentle self-deprecation, or even some specific examples from past clients (ensuring you keep things anonymous, of course).

Another strategy is to draw connections to shows, movies, or other pop culture reference points that might mean something to you. Remember our posts invoking Mad Men and The Walking Dead?

Get Help from the Pros

It’s frustrating to feel like your industry is just a dead space for compelling content—but we honestly believe that any field can be made enticing, or at the very least valuable, to the reader.

We’d love to show you how. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. to schedule a content consultation today. You can reach us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

Leave a comment

Filed under Blog Writing, Brand Management, Business Writing, Content Marketing, Content Writing, Email Writing, Social Media, Web Content

6 Ways You Can Clean Up Your Content Marketing

Is it too late for spring cleaning?

Not where your content marketing is concerned.

In fact, there’s no time like the present to sort through your social media profiles, your website, and your blog, refreshing your content and removing clutter.

The goal? A content marketing enterprise that’s streamlined and effective, providing a more satisfying experience for your audience.

We recommend doing a quick content clean up at least once a year, and in this post, we’ll provide a few steps you can follow to make that clean up effective.

6 Ways to Clean Up Your Content Marketing

  1. Rewrite your social media profiles. When’s the last time your Facebook “About” section was revised or your Twitter bio got an overhaul? Do they still reflect the core value proposition of your business and the kind of language you like to use to describe your products and services? It’s a good habit to review and revise this content annually.
  2. Prune your email list. The goal for any email marketing effort is to have an active and engaged subscriber list. Do you have people who haven’t opened or engaged with your messages in two or three years? If so, you’re probably safe removing them from the database. You might also check for any email addresses that bounce messages back to you; sometimes it’s a simple typo that’s causing your messages to go unread, so verify that you’ve entered the email address correctly.
  3. Audit your links. Nothing frustrates your website users like links that lead to nowhere. It’s worth taking a few minutes to scour your Web content for any links that may be broken, either repairing or removing them as necessary.
  4. Organize your blogging efforts. Has your company blog fallen into an irregular, inconsistent schedule? Develop a new editorial calendar, clarifying when new posts will be written and published. Also note who’s responsible for what—i.e. which team members will do the writing, the image sourcing, the posting, and the social media promotion.
  5. Check your online reputation. Do you have customer reviews you’ve never responded to or online listings that are less than flattering? If you haven’t Googled your company name in a while, do so now, and get a better sense of what’s out there. You might also set up a Google Alert to stay in the know.
  6. Clean up your Google My Business page. Does your GMB account have up-to-date hours and contact information, as well as fresh images? Is it time to rewrite the content to better reflect your current business and SEO objectives? Review your GMB page and make whatever adjustments are necessary.

Content marketing clean up isn’t the flashiest topic, but it can be an important way to keep your efforts aligned with your goals. Reach out to us if you’d like to discuss further ways to enhance your content marketing efforts. Connect with Grammar Chic, Inc. at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

Leave a comment

Filed under Content Marketing, Social Media

5 Factors That Give Your Website Credibility

Your website provides customers with a peek into the kind of business you run—its reputation, its trustworthiness, and its basic value proposition. In other words, your website hints at how credible your company is, and whether or not customers should trust it with their time and money.

Just think for a minute: There are plenty of legitimate businesses on the Web, but also some sketchy ones. Potential customers aren’t going to bank on your business unless they see that it’s the real deal—not something shady or unscrupulous.

And customers aren’t the only ones who care about credibility. Search engine algorithms also work to assess the credibility level of your website. As you might imagine, a higher level of credibility will improve your SEO rankings.

But just because your business is credible doesn’t mean your website conveys it—which raises the question: How can you inject some credibility into your website design?

5 Ways to Develop a More Credible Website

Here are five factors that can make a world of difference.

Reviews and Testimonials

One of the quickest ways to establish your business’s legitimacy is to simply offer some social proof—direct reports from satisfied customers. Reviews and testimonials are both powerful ways to accomplish this. Just make sure you steer clear of any fake testimonials, which can come back to bite you. (And today’s savvy online consumers are better than you might imagine at detecting fakes.)

Advertisements

Some businesses host third-party ads on their site in order to generate extra revenues. This may seem tempting, but it can ultimately be counterproductive. Simply put, the presence of ads makes your business seem a little iffy.

Regular Updates

Have you ever stumbled upon a website that seemed as though it hadn’t been updated in years? That’s obviously not a good look for your business site, as an out-of-date website can make it seem like the business itself is dead. Build credibility by refreshing your website content annually, and by updating your blog often.

Clear Contact Information

Here’s an easy one: Make sure your company contact information is clearly listed on your website, and invite customers to call or email with any questions. If you don’t include this contact information, it can make it seem like you’re hiding from your own customer base

“About Us” Content

Finally, you can make your business seem more credible by offering some information about who you are. Ideally, you’ll have team member bios and photos on the website, emphasizing the real people behind the company.

Boost Your Website Credibility Today

Make it clear to search engines and to potential customers alike that your business is the real deal—and that it’s worthy of their time and money. To learn more about enhancing website credibility, reach out to the team at Grammar Chic, Inc. today. Connect at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

Leave a comment

Filed under Brand Management, Business Writing, Web Content

Meta Descriptions are Longer—and More Important—Than Ever

Mere weeks ago, Google announced a fairly major shake-up to the status quo. Meta descriptions, which have long been limited to 160 characters, can now be up to 320 characters—effectively doubling the size of this crucial online real estate.

What are Meta Descriptions, and Why Do They Matter?

If you’re not sure what a meta description is, conduct a Google search right now. In the search results page, you’ll see a list of 10 (or so) blue links—i.e. your search results. Beneath each link you’ll see a brief blurb, summarizing what the content is about. That, basically, is the meta description.

Your meta descriptions matter because they provide Google with a sense of what your content is about—and, they offer search engine users with a sneak peek, helping them decide whether or not they want to click on your link.

“Meta descriptions play a big role in search results,” HubSpot notes. “The end goal is to convince and persuade the searcher to click through to your website. Any words that match the search term are bolded in the description.”

What to Do with Longer Meta Descriptions

Hopefully you can see why meta descriptions are so meaningful—but the question remains: What are marketers supposed to do with all this extra space at their disposal?

Your first instinct might be to say that this is a boon for content writers and SEOs, who now have twice as much space to insert keywords, to offer a content synopsis, and to entice users to click through to their page. And that’s true, but it can also be a double-edged sword.

Consider it this way: Meta descriptions were initially developed to provide a short, snappy summary of your content, aimed at search engine users. That hasn’t changed. And while having 320 characters may help you develop a more compelling summary in some cases, there are just as many instances where less is more.

In fact, there’s an argument to be made that longer meta descriptions do more harm than good. Given that most searches now happen on mobile devices, where users aren’t as keen to do a lot of reading, brevity is generally best. Getting right to the point, with a pithy meta description, may actually be more beneficial than testing your reader’s patience with the full 320.

Meta Descriptions: A Case Study

Imagine this scenario: You’ve conducted a Google search for content writing services, and you’ve found Grammar Chic’s content writing services page. Which of the following two meta descriptions would make you more likely to click the link?

Discover the value of outsourcing your content writing needs to a company like Grammar Chic! Arrange a consultation with a content writing professional today!

OR…

Content writing services can help you keep up with the demands of regular content creation, while also freeing your time to focus on other areas of your business. Learn more about the content writing services of Grammar Chic, which include social media, blogging, press releases, website content, and more!

Now, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with either of these meta descriptions—but it’s hard to deny that the first one is a little punchier, a little more straight-to-the-point, a little more likely to command your attention and result in a click.

Let that be a lesson: In writing meta descriptions, you’ve now got more room to maneuver than ever before—but that doesn’t always mean you should take it.

We’d love to talk with you more about your content writing strategy—from headlines to body content to meta descriptions and beyond! For meta description writing strategies, contact Grammar Chic, Inc. at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

Leave a comment

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

3 Ways Google’s SERP Changed Last Year—And What It Means for Your Business

Google is constantly tweaking its search engine algorithms—and often, those changes are plainly evident from the search engine results page (SERP) itself.

Why is the SERP such a work in progress? Simple: Google wants to provide its users with the best product possible—that is, quick, relevant, practical answers to their search queries. And it’s constantly devising new ways to make that product just a little bit more appealing.

The downside for business owners is that there’s a lot of fluctuation to keep up with. The SEO efforts that worked in years past may not work as well today. In fact, 2017 saw a few significant changes to the SERP—and those changes all have some implications for small business marketing efforts.

PPC ads take up more of the SERP than ever before.

There was a time when the SERP was occupied mostly by organic search listings—the kind of listings you could attain through the right mix of content marketing and SEO. But today, paid ads are placed more prominently than ever before. Users have to scroll further down the SERP before they even arrive at organic listings; meanwhile, PPC ads have infiltrated parts of the SERP they never appeared previously, such as the Google Map Pack.

Does this mean SEO and content marketing are dead? Far from it. It just means that a comprehensive approach is needed. If you want to blanket as much of the SERP as possible, you can’t rely solely on organic listings or on paid ads. You really need a strategy that encompasses both, and balances them appropriately.

If you’re not already augmenting your content marketing efforts with PPC, make 2018 the year you really get a handle on ad bidding, targeting, and copywriting.

Featured snippets occupy prime SERP real estate.

Another important change? Google wants to empower users to get the answers they seek from the SERP itself—without actually having to click through to a link. One way this is evident is in the rise of featured snippets.

You’ve probably seen these before, even if you didn’t realize what they were called. Have you ever done a Google search, and had the SERP give you a direct answer, in the form of a little “answer box” appearing just above the organic search listings?

These are featured snippets, and they occupy the “zero position” on the SERP—coveted online real estate. Getting your content to rank in the zero position can be a major boost to your brand visibility.

This is a tough thing to attain, but not impossible. The best bet is to format your content in the form of a bulleted list, a table, or a Q&A—especially when it comes to more fact-based and objective subject matter. Remember, Google wants to provide quick, clear, authoritative answers to its users, and it’s in your best interests to help it do so.

More people are arriving at the SERP through voice search.

We’ve blogged before about voice search, which is quickly becoming the most popular way to search for content on Google. But as more and more search engine users arrive at the SERP via Siri or Alexa, it’s important for your content to accommodate them.

Again, a lot of it comes down to formatting—with bulleted lists and Q&A formats being especially useful. Also remember to write your content in a conversational style that reflects the way real voice searches are done. A traditional Google search might be phrased like this: Jimmy Kimmel age. But with voice search, you’re more likely to ask: How old is Jimmy Kimmel? For content to rank well for these voice-based queries, it’s important to emulate that casual style.

Making Sense of the New SERP

As you seek to get your content ranked on this new and ever-changing SERP, don’t hesitate to seek guidance. Grammar Chic, Inc. has diverse experience in content marketing, and we always have the latest SEO strategies in mind. We’d love to consult with you about your content marketing and Google search needs. Reach out at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Content Marketing, Content Writing, Social Media, Web Content, Writing

How to Write Emails That Move the Sales Needle

It’s easy to send an email—and it can cost you basically nothing. Your company can send a limitless number of marketing emails, hoping for the best—but if that’s the approach you take, you’ll find that your emails fall on deaf ears. In fact, you’ll probably find that they never get opened at all.

Just because emails are perceived as cheap and mundane doesn’t mean you should be careless in how you send them. With the right approach, marketing emails can be more than just inbox filler. They can actually move your sales needle and improve your bottom line.

How? By accomplishing a few things:

  1. First, your emails actually have to be opened and read.
  2. Your emails need to go to the right people.
  3. Your emails need to offer something of value.
  4. Finally, your emails need to earn the trust of each recipient.

Maybe that sounds like a tall order, but with the right email marketing strategy, these goals are totally attainable. Here’s how.

Get Your Subject Line Right

Remember, your marketing emails won’t accomplish anything if they don’t get read. And that largely comes down to the subject line. Your subject line sets the tone and establishes the first impression for each email you send—and a good subject line will entice the recipient to explore your message. That’s how you get your emails to be opened and read.

So what does a good subject line look like? For one thing, it’s succinct. According to one study, the best length for an email subject line is four words. Does that mean every email you send needs to have a four-word subject line? No—but you should definitely shoot for brevity.

As for the substance of your subject lines, make sure you avoid clichés. Emoji and overtly salesy language tend not to grab anyone’s attention. Instead, convey the value of your message. What does it say, or what kind of offer does it include? How will the recipient be better off for opening your message?

That’s what you should convey in your subject line—in as brief and punchy a way as you can.

Send Your Emails to the Right People

Another key to getting your emails opened and read is to make sure they go to the right people. Before you hit send, know who you’re sending to.

Accomplish this by keeping a well-curated email list. There are different ways to do this. Maybe you have lists for low-quality and high-quality leads; for returning customers and new leads. At Grammar Chic, Inc., we have distinct aspects of our business—resume writing and content marketing, for example—where the subject matter overlap is pretty minimal. Thus, we maintain separate email lists, only sending resume-related stuff to jobseekers, not to our friends who work in marketing.

Well-curated email lists are key for ensuring that, when someone receives your message, it contains something that speaks to them.

Make Your Emails Valuable

Finally, your emails must earn the trust of each recipient. To put it another way, you need to show that you respect your recipient’s time. Remember that the people who receive your emails probably receive a ton of messages over the course of the day. They have little patience for something that simply hogs space in their inbox. Rather than sending them a bunch of cursory messages day in and day out, send messages judiciously—and make sure each one really counts.

And to make a message count, you need to make sure it offers something of value. Value, of course, can come in many different forms—among them:

  • An offer for a white paper, guide, or other downloadable offer
  • A discount code or coupon
  • A first look at a new product or service, before it’s been unveiled anywhere else
  • Carefully curated, value-adding clips from your company blog

The bottom line? Don’t waste anyone’s time. Give them something that speaks to their needs and shows that you’re looking out for them—not just trying to hock your wares.

Write Emails That Improve Your Bottom Line

Good emails don’t just get read; they convert, in one way or another. As such, they can actually move your sales needle. We’d love to show you more about how that’s done. Reach out to Grammar Chic’s email marketing experts for a consultation. Call us at 803-831-7444, or visit our website at www.grammarchic.net.

Leave a comment

Filed under Content Marketing, Content Writing, Email Writing, Writing