Tag Archives: Content Marketing Advice

Communicating in the Time of Coronavirus

What are you even supposed to say to someone in a time of unprecedented challenge, uncertainty, and loss? It’s not a rhetorical question; it’s something all of us have struggled with in recent days, fumbling for the right words, sifting meaningful reassurances from clichés and platitudes.

The reality is that none of our words are quite sufficient for the magnitude of a global pandemic. Nevertheless, they’ve never been more essential. We need words now as much as ever as we seek to convey our empathy, our need, our solidarity, and our hope.

We need meaningful, heartfelt words for the people we love. And, businesses and brands need clear, precise language to let their customers and employees know that they, too, are doing everything they can to foster connection and weather this storm.

No doubt you’ve already been flooded with emails from companies letting you know their COVID-19 policies, changes to normal operat

ion, perhaps even ways you can pitch in and help those who are truly struggling.

And if you are a business owner who hasn’t yet found the right words or the proper tone, there is still time. A simple newsletter, email blast, or Facebook post can go a long way toward letting your audience know you’re with them in this time of crisis.

Now’s the time to speak your heart, and what’s important isn’t eloquence so much as authenticity. With that said, we can offer just a few tips on wise, clear communication in the time of coronavirus.

Communicating Amidst Coronavirus

  • The most important thing is just showing that you care. If ever there was a time to just reach out to your customers and employees, without any underlying agenda, just to tell them you’re around and you’re feeling the confusion, too… well, now is that time.
  • Be proactive in articulating key information. Don’t leave your customers to guess about suspensions of your normal services, or abbreviations to your hours of operation. Keep in contact and let people know how your company is handling the coronavirus. Be proactive in communicating any changes as they arise.
  • Consider some options for sacrificial service. What can your company do to make your clients’ lives just a little easier? Whether it’s free shipping or flexible pricing, every gesture is welcome. Note, these gestures might also make it easier for your customers to support you and your business.
  • Inspire action. Something else you can do with your business communications: Provide links or suggestions for ways your clients can help those in need. Send out information about charities or causes that are making a positive impact during this scary season.
  • Audit your current content calendar. If you have any scheduled blog posts or tweets that might come across as glib or insensitive, now might be the time to pull them and hold them for better days.

And in all seriousness: We truly do believe better days are coming. Until then, the Grammar Chic team sends our encouragement and solidarity to all of you. Hang in there. Stay healthy. Take care of each other. And stay in touch.

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What the Coronavirus Teaches Us About Content Marketing

Kind of an odd headline, huh?  I know—I am well aware that it seemed like a stretch when I started pondering recent current events and their correlation to the topic of content marketing.  On the surface (no pun intended, and I have been wiping everything down with Clorox wipes around here, FYI) it might appear that this pandemic and the content marketing practice have nothing in common. However, as I have tried to digest the seemingly constant and ever evolving stream of information that we all have been inundated with, I started to realize something.  Ultimately, the overall handling of the Coronavirus is essentially a lesson in what not to do when it comes to content marketing.

The Handling of Coronavirus is a How-To Guide for Bad Content Marketing

Below, you will find a couple of themes I have noticed as it relates to the communication strategy (or lack thereof) and the “Corona Crud” as I have taken to calling it:

  1. Have you noticed that there doesn’t seem to be anyone actually in charge of the overall messaging? Have you realized that at any given point in time, varied streams of information (as well as misinformation) come at us faster than we can say “Wash Your Hands!”? Indeed, it’s been dizzying to keep up with and hard to essentially figure out what is true and trustworthy (and if it comes from a reputable source) and what is just plain nonsense.

The Lesson: When it comes to content marketing, having too many proverbial scientists handling the petri dish is a recipe for disaster.  It is necessary to put one person who is knowledgeable, confident, and focused in charge and discourage involvement from other people who want to interject their own messaging or create alternate information streams. There is too much room for error in this regard.

  1. Writing for the sake of writing is bad news. And this has definitely been true with regard to Coronavirus. Hearsay and speculation have run rampant; rumors about miracle treatments, secret labs, and even the CDC’s need for men to shave off their beards to prevent the virus from spreading have abounded. News outlets have worked overtime in producing “click bait” articles that provide little new information but attract the attention of anxious readers eager to learn more. At the end of the day, the agencies in charge have struggled to keep up and have even noted that it’s possible that we are facing an “infodemic.”

 

The Lesson: Producing content for the sake of producing content is a terrible approach. In content marketing, the content that is made public should have a purpose and you have to work to control the spread of information that hurts rather than helps. Admittedly, the WHO and CDC have a big job—they are trying to ensure the public has good information, but they have found themselves unable to control bad content leaking and multiplying from other sources (and some of those sources, frankly speaking, come from the very highest levels of our government).

 

  1. Negative associations can hurt your brand. This isn’t so much about Coronavirus as it is about Corona—the beer. There is a lot in a name. And what’s worse than loose associations centered around a name? Ill-timed marketing campaigns that promise “coming ashore soon” at the exact same moment as when the first cases of Coronavirus started popping up on the U.S. Pacific coast.  Yes, Corona (the beer) actually released a campaign like this—just recently—for its hard seltzer.  The company has tried to reinforce that there is no correlation between their beer and the virus, but bad messaging and misinformation, coupled with consumer fear has the ability to hurt the brand.

The Lesson: Believing that an audience will form logical conclusions without your help, guidance, and reassurance isn’t the best strategy.  If something damaging could be associated with your brand—no matter how far-fetched—work to stop the issue proactively and ensure that your own marketing efforts aren’t being used to reinforce an already ridiculous theory or belief. Again, it’s necessary to remain constantly aware of what is being communicated—no matter if it’s coming from you or another source.

A Good Content Strategy Promotes Real Information

At the end of the day, Coronavirus is a serious situation—and people deserve to trust the information that is being published about this virus. The people and agencies who have microphones, global platforms, and Twitter accounts have a responsibility to share truthful and reliable information. There is a great responsibility placed upon the people in charge of a communication strategy to be transparent and knowledgeable about the content they share.  The conveying of misinformation or messages that negates expert advice is not only a disservice to the public, it is unethical—and this is true no matter what your content strategy is looking to communicate or promote.

At Grammar Chic, we fully subscribe to the idea of creating content that goes viral (no pun intended). However, that content must be based on facts, clear messaging, and benefit the end user. For more information, contact us today by visiting www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444.

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What is a Ghostblogger? And Should I Hire One?

Have you ever had something you really wanted to say, but felt unsure of how to put it into words?

It’s a common feeling in life, whether in the field of relationships, parenting, or business. It’s precisely when you feel strongly about something, when you know in your heart that it matters, that you begin to feel inarticulate; as if, in trying to communicate what’s on your mind, you just wind up tripping over your own words.

For example, business owners often have a particular set of points they’d like to convey about their product, service, or industry; but, whether rightly or wrongly, they fret that they aren’t natural-born writers, and are daunted by the blank page. And it’s not a phenomenon that’s unique to business owners; even authors and in-demand thought leaders sometimes need a hand in shaping their original ideas into legible packages.

A ghostblogger can provide just that kind of help. But what is a ghostblogger, exactly? Our simple definition is that a ghostblogger is someone who’s there to listen to your ideas, to help you shape them into coherent narratives, and to provide whatever wordsmithing assistance you need in turning your thoughts or ideas into compelling digital content.

Why Hire a Ghostblogger?

There are a number of reasons why you might consider hiring a ghostblogger, including the one we’ve mentioned already: You may have much you want to say, but be unsure of how best to say it. The ghostblogger’s primary skill set is taking what seems nebulous or “unsayable” and distilling it into something sharp, persuasive, and valuable.

But there are other reasons why you might benefit from working with a ghostblogger. One reason why a lot of entrepreneurs struggle in content creation is not that they don’t know their field well enough, but that they know it too well; that they are too close to their subject matter, and have a hard time separating the peripheral details from the real crux of the matter. A good ghostblogger can be invaluable in translating something very technical into accessible language or taking all the minutiae of your business and sorting out the big picture.

A ghostblogger is first and foremost a writer, but in some cases working with a ghostblogger may feel like interacting with a confessor, a therapist, or a sparring partner; it all depends on the kind of relationship you’re looking to have. Certainly, a ghostblogger is someone with whom you can talk things through, working together to shape and sculpt fuzzy or half-baked ideas until they become totally clear. Along the same lines, ghostbloggers can be invaluable in helping you identify when a topic may work well as a full content series, or when one really big idea would be better split into a few separate blog entries.

Ghostblogging Offers Clear Copy and a Convenient Process

Indeed, one important thing to note about working with a ghostblogger is that the relationship can be as hands-on or as hands-off as you want it to be. At Grammar Chic, we have ghostblogging clients with whom we spend a lot of time on the phone hashing out ideas together. We have others who simply send us a topic and perhaps a bullet point or two and then give us space to do our thing. It’s really up to the client, and our goal is not only to provide you with excellent copy, but to make the process as convenient and efficient as can be.

As you think about articulating your ideas into a blog format, consider the benefits of hiring a skilled writer to provide your concepts with form, purpose, and shape. Consider hiring a ghostblogger. Learn more by reaching out to Grammar Chic, Inc. today, either at www.grammarchic.net or at 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Blog Writing, Business Writing, Content Marketing, Content Writing, Ghostwriting, Social Media

How Can You Optimize Content for Voice Search Queries?

The way people search for online information is fundamentally changing… and that has some seismic implications for content marketing professionals. Arguably the most significant shift of all has been the rise in voice search. These days, it’s as likely as not that a Google or Bing search query will come through a voice assistant (think Siri or Alexa) as opposed to physical typing. Indeed, some studies have speculated that, by the end of this year, more than 50 percent of all search queries will be voice searches.

So how can you ensure that your content shows up in these Siri and Alexa searches? How can you fully optimize to address new search engine user behaviors? Here are a few quick tips from the Grammar Chic team.

How Has Voice Changed the Way People Search?

The first thing to consider is how voice search queries differ from text ones.

Here’s an example. Say you wanted to see some movie showtimes for your favorite Charlotte movie theaters. If you were typing your query into a Google search bar, you’d probably keep it short and sweet: Charlotte movie times, or something similar.

But if you were using a voice search assistant, you’d probably phrase it more like a question, e.g., What are today’s Charlotte movie show times, or what movies are playing in Charlotte?

When developing content, it’s critical to accommodate these long-tail keywords, which can be as simple as writing conversationally; avoiding the “keyword stuffing” practices of the past; avoiding stiff, unnatural-sounding keywords; and, when possible, framing your content in question-and-answer form.

Something else to consider is the reality that many voice search queries are finely-honed and specific in nature. Simply put, most search users don’t ramble on to their voice assistant. They know what kind of information they’re seeking, and phrase their query accordingly. Some examples: Where is the nearest tire store? Or, find a Mexican restaurant near me.

Again, savvy content will address these more specific queries. An FAQ page is invaluable here. We’d also recommend blog posts that are designed to provide authoritative answers to these very particular questions.

Finally, be aware that most voice search queries are localized in nature. If you’re using a voice assistant, it’s likely because you want to find the closest coffee shop, the nearest oil change service, etc., specifically in relation to your current location.

Good content should be localized as much as possible. Include your business name, address, and phone number on each page of your website. Make note of the specific shopping center you’re in or a major intersection that’s nearby. (“Find us at the corner of…,” “we’re conveniently located behind the mall,” etc.) Also include information like your hours of operation, holiday closings, and so on.

Content That’s Made with Voice Search in Mind

The way people search is changing. It’s important for your content creation to adapt accordingly. That’s something the Grammar Chic, Inc. team can help with. Reach out today and set up a content marketing consultation with us. Connect at www.grammarchic.net or by calling 803-831-7444.

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4 Ways to Delight First-Time Visitors to Your Website

You’re probably familiar with the old saying about first impressions.

Well, it certainly holds true in the world of online marketing. So many of our marketing efforts, from emails to PPC ads to social media posts, are designed to generate website traffic. But that’s just half the battle. Once you get people to your website, you’ve got to win them over with a strong, positive first impression. You’ve got to dazzle and delight them. And if you don’t, they probably won’t stick around, nor return to the website. Why would they?

Dazzle and delight aren’t necessarily easy to come by, but there are a few steps that can point you in the right direction.

Create Relevant Landing Pages

A common misconception is that anybody who comes to your website is going to come in through the front door, accessing the home page. This isn’t necessarily the case… nor should it be.

Say someone clicks on an ad you’ve placed on Facebook, Twitter, or the Google Display network. They’re going to want to see information on the product or service that snagged their interest. As such, you’ll always want to send people to a landing page with relevant, targeted, obvious information. Precision-honed landing pages are a great way to capture and maintain interest right out of the gate.

Offer Readable Content

Our writers obviously care a great deal about content that is well-conceived and properly worded. But something else we care about is content that’s well-formatted.

You tell us: What happens if you visit a website and see a huuuuuuuuge block of unbroken text, without any spaces or bullet points or room to breathe?

If you’re like us, you navigate away pretty quickly. Let that be a lesson to you. Format your website content so that it’s easy for your visitors to skim it and locate the information they’re after, without feeling overwhelmed.

Calls to Action and Content Information

We are on record saying that every page of your website should include a clear call to action. Today, we’ll add something else to that list: Every page should include contact information, too.

No matter how people access your site, and no matter when they decide to reach out to you for more information, you want to make it easy for them. It’s never a good thing when a website visitor asks, how do I get in contact with them?

Be Reassuring

Have you ever had the experience of clicking on a link, and then realizing it wasn’t quite what you wanted or had in mind?

Most of us have. You want to help your visitors avoid that fate, and one way to keep them on the page is to offer reassurance right out of the gate. Make sure each page of your website provides a clear heading, making it evident what the page is about. Always convey the relevance to your end user.

Develop Web Content that Dazzles and Delights

These are just a few approaches you can take to developing website content that creates a powerful first impression.

Interested in learning more? We’d love to chat. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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4 Powerful Ways to Reuse Your Blog Content

A good blog post represents a significant investment of your time and resources; and, a major depository of your subject matter expertise. So, what happens when you polish off a post, publish it to your website, and spread the word on social media? Hopefully, you’ll see a big spike in hits, likes, comments, and shares… but eventually, all that activity tends to taper off. That can be a deflating feeling.

But what if there was a way to extend the usefulness of your blog post? To really mine it for all its worth? As it turns out, there are a few ways to get the highest possible ROI from your content investment.

Here are our favorite strategies for truly maximizing the usefulness of each blog post.

Turn it into a “Pillar” Article

A pillar article tends to be a longer, evergreen piece of content that takes a comprehensive look at a particular topic. Once you write a pillar article, the next step is to break it down into individual sub-sections, ensuring that you include plenty of hyperlinks from the pillar to the sub-sections and vice versa. This strategy can enhance the user experience and lead to robust SEO results.

So take a look at some of your most popular blog posts. Could any of them qualify as pillar posts? For instance, maybe you have a lengthy Top 10 list posted to your blog. Consider breaking down each individual point into a smaller post of its own, using the pillar page as a jumping off point for more narrowly focused, supportive posts.

Make a Video

If you have a popular blog post that eventually loses some steam, one way to reinvigorate it is to use the blog as fodder for a video. In other words, once you’ve made a splash on Google, turn your attention to YouTube!

This doesn’t have to be an elaborate video, either. Simply use the blog post as an outline, talking through some key points, perhaps putting together some bulleted slides. It’s a great way to extend the life of a blog post and take your subject matter expertise to a new venue.

Make it into a Guest Post

You’ve shared your insights on your own blog, but there are still plenty of people who remain unreached. But if you know the topic has some juice, you can always write a second edition, ensuring to keep the same points intact but change all the wording, then submit it as a guest post to an industry blog or publication.

Not only does this help you get a little extra mileage from your original post, but it also gives you a way to generate some backlinks to your website, a major SEO win.

Update the Original

Finally, note that many topics will warrant regular updates. If you have popular posts from a year or two back, there may be some merit to reading back through them and seeing if anything’s changed. Are there new developments, trends, or technologies worth mentioning? Some supplemental materials you could include as links? Has your own thinking or perspective evolved in some way? Updating an older post with some new text can sometimes breathe new life into it, and possibly even trigger some new SEO benefits.

Take a Second Look at Your Best Blogs

There are plenty of ways to stretch out the usefulness of a good blog post. And whether you need help brainstorming some content refreshers or drafting a post in the first place, Grammar Chic, Inc. is here to help. Reach out to us when you want to chat: 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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6 Content Marketing Metrics to Keep an Eye On

Are your content marketing efforts really working? It’s not a rhetorical question. Content marketing requires a real investment, both of time, money, and brand capital. It’s only appropriate to assess the return on that investment using real, hard metrics.

There are a variety of statistics and numbers you can look at to get a sense of how your content marketing efforts are trending, including metrics available in your email marketing platform, your Google Analytics, and the social media dashboard of your choosing.

Amidst all the possible data and reporting options, here are six metrics we think are especially noteworthy, often quite revealing as to the true merits of your content initiatives.

Email Clickthrough Rates

Start with your email marketing. When you send out your weekly, monthly, or quarterly newsletter, how many of your recipients not only read the content but also click through to your business website? One of the main purposes of email marketing is to encourage more website traffic, and if your emails are actually accomplishing that goal, it’s a pretty clear indicator that your content is doing its job.

Email Subscription Rate

You can also look at the rate at which your website visitors are subscribing to your newsletter. If the subscriber base is steadily growing, it shows that somehow or another you’re enticing them… and that can’t help but involve some strong, persuasive copy.

Dwell Time

Dwell time references the amount of time visitors spend on your website before they head elsewhere. If most people reach your site, stick around for two seconds, then leave, that’s obviously not a great sign. But if your website users can spend a good long while on the site, that means your content game is solid.

New Leads

Content marketing can serve many purposes, but one thing that’s always nice is when your content actually yields new leads. There are a number of ways you can measure this: Email subscriptions, sign-ups for a white paper or other downloadable offer, basically anything that provides you with the name and contact information of an interested customer or client.

Social Shares

This one’s obvious: If your content is getting shared on social media, it means that the content is valuable, and it also means you’re growing your audience size. Note that likes and comments are great, but shares/retweets are especially helpful. Email forwards are also beneficial!

Anecdotal Evidence

For all this talk of hard numbers, we’ll close with something that’s not as easy to measure, but is still worth noting: If you have new clients/customers who actually reference your content (“I saw your latest blog post and it made me interested…”), that may be the best indicator of all that your content marketing is connecting with people

Content That Works

Ready for a content marketing effort that really works, and helps you see those metrics surge? We’d love to chat. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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