Tag Archives: Content Marketing Advice

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

6 Things to Ask When Brainstorming for Content Ideas

One of the challenges facing any business owner who invests in content marketing is coming up with new ideas. For a content marketing campaign to last, you have to sustain it with fresh content ideas—and generating new ideas on a regular basis might require some intense brainstorming.

As you pause to reflect on potential new content ideas, we recommend a few simple questions to guide the process.

Questions to Guide Your Content Brainstorming

Are you repeating yourself? There’s nothing wrong with recycling old ideas and putting new twists on them. In fact, it’s something we recommend. You don’t want to just keep saying the same thing over and over again, though, so always stop to consider whether you’ve crossed the line into redundancy.

Do you have enough information for this topic? Do a quick Google search to ensure that you’ll actually be able to find some good resources to help you write. There’s no use in committing to an idea that you simply can’t support.

Can you bring unique perspective to this topic? You don’t just want to rehash the same points that your competitors are making in their content. Make sure you have a way to add real, original value to your content idea. Make sure you can provide your take on things.

Does your idea address the needs and interests of your target audience? Make sure your topic isn’t too “inside baseball.” It may be interesting to you, but what really matters is that it is valuable to your audience.

How does the content reflect on your brand, products, and/or services? Your content doesn’t need to be straightforwardly promotional, and in fact we recommend keeping the selling to a minimum. You should make sure it relates to your brand in some way, though. What you want is compelling content that leads naturally into a strong call to action.

What’s the headline going to be? How will you frame your content? How will you structure it—as a top 10 list, bullet points, or just a straightforward essay? And how will you generate interest from readers? What will your hook be? These are important considerations as you brainstorm.

Get the Best Content Ideas

Another consideration: Our content marketing specialists can help you not only develop ideas, but implement them effectively. Learn more about our content marketing services by reaching out to Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Brand Management, Content Marketing, Social Media

4 Ways to Do Content Marketing Throughout Your Work Day

We tend to think of content marketing in terms of content creation—that is, actually sitting down to make a blog post, a YouTube video, or a series of tweets. Content creation is definitely important, though it can also be time-consuming, which is precisely why many small business owners are daunted by it.

In addition to creation, though, there is also a role for documentation. Throughout your day, you can simply document what you are doing on different social media platforms, providing a behind-the-scenes glimpse into how your company works.

There are two advantages to this. One is that it humanizes your company. It makes it more approachable and relatable. Additionally, it’s something you can easily fold into your day, without it ever becoming too terribly time-consuming.

We’d encourage small business owners to look for little ways to document when they can, as part of their content marketing approach. We’ll offer four suggestions to help you get started.

Quick and Easy Content Ideas

Just take some behind-the-scenes photos. Whether it’s a photo of your employees, of a new product, or of some process that clients seldom get to see, a little casual and candid photography can help your social media followers relate to your business better. Post your photos to Instagram and Facebook.

Use Instagram and Snapchat Stories. We’d also recommend taking advantage of the Story functions on these two social platforms to provide spur-of-the-moment insights into what your company does. Again, the idea is just to be human and relatable. If you’re having a special employee lunch or starting a big new project, make that the focus for your story. Tell a narrative about your brand, even if it’s just the narrative of what’s going on at the office on a particular day.

Let people get to know your employees. Pick a different team member to spotlight each day, and let them take pictures on Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat. Make it into a day-in-the-life series, showing the different ways in which each team member contributes.

Do an impromptu live stream. Take just a minute to address your Facebook followers directly, using Live Stream to simply stop, say hi, or announce something special going on at the company that day. (You can and should be casual and informal here, but do pause long enough to plan what you’re going to say before you get started.)

Take it Further

We recommend some quick social media documentation as you’re able to do it, but only in conjunction with—not as a replacement for—a robust content marketing strategy.

We can help you assemble and implement one. Contact the Grammar Chic team today to schedule a consultation: www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Content Marketing, Content Writing, Social Media

Getting Started with Integrated Marketing

There is no shortage of digital marketing tools you can use to build your brand—but which ones are most effective? And how do you use them well? These are the questions that integrated digital marketing concerns itself with. Essentially, integrated marketing is about not putting all your eggs in one basket; rather than spend all your marketing dollars on SEO, an integrated marketing approach might pull together SEO, content marketing, PPC, and more.

The key to integrated marketing is harmony. You want each arm of your marketing endeavor to be working toward the same goal. In other words, your content marketing should complement your SEO, and your SEO should in turn work in tandem with your PPC. Everything should be oriented toward the same goal.

Pulling these disparate digital marketing threads together may seem daunting. For business owners looking to get started with an integrated approach, these general tips and strategies may be useful.

Getting Started with Integrated Digital Marketing

Start by Identifying Your Target Audience

Your integrated marketing approach needs to speak to a particular user demographic—to the people you’re trying to reach, to convert into customers. Before you do anything else, identify that audience. Consider crafting buyer personas to spell out their interests, values, and pain points. Make sure that, throughout your marketing endeavors, you know exactly who you are talking to.

Choose the Right Marketing Channels

An integrated approach does not require you to use every single marketing channel that’s out there; your budget may leave room for just two social networks, for example, so be prudent about picking which two you’ll use. This is where a data-driven approach becomes invaluable; if you have metrics from past marketing campaigns, you can use them to determine which channels get the best results with your target audience.

Know Your Message

What are you trying to accomplish through your integrated marketing strategy? How will you define success? And what message are you going to tell in order to achieve that goal? These are the questions you need to address as you put together marketing content. Ensure that your messaging is consistent across each channel.

Be Cohesive

It’s not just your message that needs to be consistent across all platforms, but also your visual style, the kind of verbiage you use, and more. Think ahead about color schemes, font choices, logos, graphic design decision, and the kinds of buzzwords and phrases you use to promote your brand.

Make Content Creation a Priority

Content feeds all your other marketing endeavors. It provides you with SEO value, with social media fodder, and more. Creating original content—whether landing pages or blogs—should be a central activity in your integrated marketing strategy.

Track Everything

It’s often said that marketing without data is akin to flying blind. Don’t fly blind through your integrated marketing endeavors, but rather set up tracking and analytics for everything. You can really never have too much information.

Review and Revise as Needed

Using the data you collect, determine what’s working and what’s not. Test new ideas, and see how they work. Make tweaks and adjustments as needed, always relying on that information you’ve gathered along the way.

Take a Big Leap Forward with Integrated Marketing

You’re not going to be able to launch an integrated marketing campaign over night, but you can start making your plans and laying your foundation. These tips should help. Start thinking about your goals, your audience, and how you can move your brand forward, using all the digital marketing tools at your disposal.

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

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