Tag Archives: content marketing for businesses

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

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

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

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

Mistake #1: Blogging Inconsistently

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

Mistake #2: Making Grade-School Grammar Mistakes

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

Mistake #3: Overlooking SEO Opportunities

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

Mistake #4: Missing Email Marketing Opportunities

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

Mistake #5: Misusing Social Media

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

Mistake #6: Poorly Formatting Your Content

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

Mistake #7: Not Offering Value Through Your Content

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

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

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

Make the Most of Your (Small) Content Marketing Budget

 

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Most business owners understand the potential of content marketing—at least in hypothetical terms. Sure, you could make a big impact on your audience, if you had the time and resources to develop new blog posts every day, produce blockbuster-quality videos, and engage your users on social media 24/7. The problem is, very few businesses can actually do that—and smaller companies are especially limited in their content marketing resource allocation.

That doesn’t mean you can’t employ content marketing effectively, though. You don’t have to choose between breaking the bank and neglecting content marketing altogether. You can make prudent, judicious decisions to develop and deploy content in a cost-effective manner.

Here’s how.

Start with Your Costs

A good place to begin is by evaluating how much money it actually costs you to produce a piece of content—a blog, a video, a white paper, or what have you. Either get a quote from your freelance writer, or calculate about how much time it will take you to develop the content yourself. Assign a rough cost estimate to each type of content you might produce.

Then get a baseline of which content is most effective. There are plenty of metrics you can use. Look at social sharing, website traffic analytics, the Facebook posts that tend to get likes and comments—any statistics you can look at to determine which types of content are effective for your brand and which are not.

Comparing costs to total efficacy can help you winnow the content types you might employ—and show you some direction you’re better off just forgetting. If it costs you a ton of money to make a video and nobody ever shares or responds to your videos, for instance, then that’s obviously a non-starter, at least for now.

Focus on Quality

A common misconception is that you have to produce a ton of new content every week or even every day for content marketing to be effective. While consistency is key, quality is ultimately more important than quantity. It is both more affordable and more effective to draft one really killer, engaging blog post each week than it is to bang out five or six suboptimal ones.

Schedule some time on your calendar to really focus on coming up with killer content—maybe two hours every Thursday morning, for instance. If you end up writing three killer posts in that timeframe, great! But if you only come up with one really good one, that’s fine too.

Curate and Recycle

Remember that not every piece of content you deploy has to be original work. Content curation is a hallmark of effective content marketing. Sharing relevant articles from other sources can help build your authority and enhance your thought leadership—just so long as you sprinkle in some original posts, too.

You can also save money by recycling and repurposing content. A great blog post can be broken down into a series of tweets or even used as a video script. If you have some really engaging content, don’t squander it. Use it more than once!

Think always in terms of your goals, your costs, and your content quality. Those are the key concerns for any small business looking to leverage content marketing effectively—without going over-budget in the process.

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4 Easy Ways to Get More Followers on Instagram

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If you still think Instagram is all about selfies, cat photos, and bad pictures of food, then it’s time to wake up. The picture-sharing mobile platform now has more than 400 million users, and is growing at a faster rate than any other social channel. In other words, it’s a channel far too significant for your brand to ignore it.

That’s not necessarily to say that Instagram is for everyone. Some companies are more photogenic than others, and it’s understandable that, say, an accounting firm might see less worth in Instagram than a florist, a baker, or a pet groomer.

Using Instagram for All It’s Worth

But if your branding has any visual component at all, you should at least think about using Instagram—and using it strategically. That means optimizing each pictorial post to not only get likes and comments, but ultimately grow your number of followers.

Some simple ways to do that include:

  1. Use popular hashtags. You don’t have to be an Instagram expert to know what hashtags are; they’re the cross-platform language of social media, and they provide a great way to connect your posts to broader conversations. And while there is merit in using custom hashtags, it’s at least as important to use Instagram’s Search icon to track down really hot hashtags and anchor your posts to them. (Just make sure to keep them relevant; don’t jump on an irrelevant hashtag just for the sake of being trendy.)
  1. Interact with other posts. Keep the social in social media. If your Instagram strategy is all about you, don’t be surprised when your follower list fails to grow. Rather than being insular and self-absorbed, take some time to find posts relevant to your niche—again, use search/hashtags—and like and comment.
  1. Always tag your posts with a location. Want people to come see you in your office? Make sure you let them know where it is—and also make it easier to connect with customers and clients who may also tag themselves at your location.
  1. Spread links to your Instagram. People like Instagram because they like looking at photos, so it doesn’t necessarily take much of a push for you to get people to look you up. Include links to your Instagram account on your blogs, your website, other social platforms—even your email signature.

Follow these tips to boost your Insta-following—and for help, don’t hesitate to contact Grammar Chic: 803-831-744 or www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Brand Management, Content Marketing, Social Media

Spring Clean Your Content Marketing

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Clean out your gutters, sweep the garage, sort through your closets—oh yeah: And while you’re at it, make sure your content marketing efforts are all working at tip-top shape. ‘Tis the season, we mean to say, for spring cleaning—and that includes not just your home and office, but the various online platforms you’re using to boost your company’s image.

It’s one of the toughest, but most important, truths of content marketing: The process is never really finished, and you’re never going to get things just perfect. There are always going to be tweaks you could make, ways to improve your processes. Now is as good a time as any to go through your entire content marketing plan and make sure things are neat, clean, and organized.

There are plenty of ways to spruce up your content marketing, and our list is by no means meant to be exhaustive—yet we’d say the following items will give you a strong starting point for your content marketing spring cleaning:

  • Read over your buyer personas. Hopefully, you have some personas sketched out, indicting the audience you’re trying to appeal to. If you don’t, now is the time to make them! If you have them but haven’t looked at them in a while, take some time to read through them, make sure they are still in line with your vision, and make whatever changes you might think are necessary.
  • Whip your editorial calendar into shape. Do you have an editorial calendar that you’ve long fallen out of sync with? Or does your editorial calendar only take you a couple of days into the future? Now may be a good time to start with a clean slate, planning your blogging and social media activity at least two weeks in advance—and really sticking with it!
  • Generate some press. When’s the last time you sent out a press release, announcing company news? If it’s been more than six months, start brainstorming some recent or upcoming events that you could publicize.
  • Makeover your social media profiles. If your Facebook cover photo and Google+ graphics have been stagnant for the last year, you may wish to give your social media platforms a makeover, switching out the images for some newer ones.
  • Connect on LinkedIn. Do you tend to be pretty lazy on LinkedIn? Many of us do, but if you haven’t formed any professional connections in a while, take the time to make some today.
  • Send out an e-mail blast. If you’ve got a list of client e-mail addresses—and surely you do—then you should be taking advantage of that, sending out e-mail newsletters or promotions every month or so. If you have not done this in a while, sign up for Constant Contact and do so today!
  • Update your blog. And plan topics for the next two or three updates, at least. The blog is the cornerstone of your content marketing campaign, and you can’t afford to let it languish!

Again, there is plenty that can be done, and these steps are merely suggestions—but by following them, you can ensure that your content marketing campaign is pointed in the right direction as the busy spring and summer seasons begin. For more tips, contact the Grammar Chic, Inc. team: Visit www.grammarchic.net, or call 803-831-7444803-831-7444.

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4 Reasons to Outsource Your Content Marketing Endeavors

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For small and medium-sized business owners, it is sometimes helpful to pause and reflect on this question: Why did you get into business ownership in the first place? The answer, of course, will vary from one entrepreneur to the next. No doubt there are many who got into business ownership out of their zeal to deliver specific services or products, or to work in a field they feel is important or undervalued. For some, the answer may simply be the independence that comes from running a company.

Few business owners are likely to say that they got into the line of work they are in simply so that they could mount a strong content marketing campaign. Indeed, many of today’s business owners have embraced the notion that maintaining a robust social media presence is key for keeping customers and clients interested. They just don’t care to do this work themselves—and thankfully, they don’t have to.

Formulating a Plan

There are plenty of reasons why companies are smart to outsource their content marketing campaigns, and some of them may surprise you. For example, ask yourself this question: Is it important to have a specific plan for your content marketing endeavors? Most of us would surely answer in the affirmative, and yet, according to research from the Content Marketing Institute, only about 5 percent of all small business actually have plans, in writing.

In a way, that makes sense. For small business owners with no formal training in content marketing, strategizing and codifying a plan is probably somewhat foreign. By outsourcing to professionals, you can ensure that your objectives are formally laid out, and a plan is put into place to meet those objectives, as efficiently as possible.

Cost-Effective Content Marketing

Consider, for a moment, the alternatives to outsourcing your company’s content marketing. You can hire someone to do it in-house—which will be relatively expensive, especially if it’s a full-time position with benefits—or you can give content marketing responsibilities to someone who is currently on your team, and likely has plenty to do already. It is easy to see how outsourcing is really the least expensive option, as well as the option that allows your staff to focus on its core competencies.

Freshening Your Ideas

One reason why many companies begin content marketing campaigns but then see them fizzle out is that, at the end of the day, they simply run out of things to talk about. Rather than surrender your social capital to a case of writer’s block, you can enlist the help of someone whose job is to think of new, exciting, and fresh ways to talk about your business and your industry. This has the added bonus of expanding your own understanding of your niche, and adding new perspective to how you perceive your own brand.

You Need to Measure

Still another reason to think about outsourcing your content marketing campaign: A professional firm will have tools and resources that you either don’t have, or don’t particularly care to invest in. And this doesn’t just mean social media management tools like Hootsuite, but also key reporting and analytic tools, which are crucial for showing you that your content marketing endeavors really are working, and that your brand really is marching toward the meeting of its goals.

When you get right down to it, though, brands outsource their content marketing endeavors for the same reasons that individuals seek out reputable plumbers, trusted medical caregivers, and professional auto mechanics—because when it comes to something this important, you want to entrust it to someone who does it all day, every day, and has a proven track record of success.

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

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