Tag Archives: Content Writing Advice

Help Your Employees Fall in Love with Content Marketing

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Here’s a little Valentine’s Day challenge for you: do something that makes your team members fall in love with content marketing. Instead of keeping your blog writing and social media posting in a silo, open it up for the entire company to own a stake in. Get the buy-in of key players in your organization, and start benefitting from their ideas, their inspiration, and their encouragement.

An impossible task, you say? Not at all. There are things you can start doing right now to make your content marketing more inclusive, and to bring non-marketing team members into the process.

It All Starts with Education

The first step is ensuring your colleagues and employees all know what content marketing actually is, and why it’s valuable. Have you ever hosted an employee in-service where you go over the content marketing basics? You can do it in a half an hour, probably, perhaps during a lunch meeting some day. Think of a way and a time when you can make the case for content marketing, and ensure everyone at your company has at least a basic idea of why it’s worth their support. Connect it to other departments, too; for example, make sure you explain how content marketing makes life easier for customer service reps, and how it brings in leads for the sales department.

Have a Vision

It’s important for people to know what content marketing is, but also how you want to portray the brand through content marketing. What are your values? What are the aspects of the company you want to emphasize? What are some of the buzzwords you use, the pieces of verbiage you employ when talking about your brand? Share all these things with the team. Provide them with a written reference/guide they can call upon, too.

Ask Team Members to Share Content

Most of the team members in your workplace will have personal Facebook and Twitter accounts—invaluable platforms for sharing the company’s blog posts and status updates. You can’t force them to do this, of course, and shouldn’t try—but it never hurts to ask. Express how meaningful it would be, and you may by surprised by how many employees rise to the challenge.

Seek Input

Once you’ve schooled your co-workers on what content marketing is and why it matters, you’re in a place where you can ask them for their feedback on current content endeavors. What’s working? What changes would they recommend? Take their feedback seriously. Also note that customer service and sales reps, who deal with customers directly, may have some great avenues for new topics—frequently asked questions from customers and leads.

Provide Tools for Collaboration

Finally, make it easy for team members to share images, memes, questions, articles, or anything else they think will be useful for the company’s content marketing endeavors. Something like a Dropbox or Google Drive folder can be just perfect. Simply offering a convenient, hassle-free way to submit content and ideas is a great way of involving others in the process.

The important thing is to open the doors of your content marketing mission; allow other team members to come alongside you. It can only make your efforts sharper, stronger, and more effective. Also, don’t hesitate to bring in the pros from Grammar Chic. Reach out to us at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net for a content marketing consultation.

 

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How to Keep Your Emails Out of the Spam Folder

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Email marketing is potentially quite rewarding, an effective way to stay in contact with clients and with leads. As with anything, though, it takes some strategy and foresight if you want to steer clear of major obstacles—and as far as email marketing goes, the most major obstacle of all is the spam filter.

Simply put: People won’t like receiving low-value, spammy emails, which is why most email programs have sophisticated algorithms to detect spam and send it directly into a separate folder—keeping inboxes clean and uncluttered. That’s good news for email users but bad news for marketers, whose well-intentioned emails may inadvertently run afoul of these spam filters.

So what can you do to keep your emails in inboxes, where they belong? Keep reading for a few practical tips.

How to Avoid Getting Your Emails Flagged as Spam

To keep out of the way of those spam filters, here’s what we recommend:

Don’t buy an email list. If you’re sending emails to people who didn’t ask for them, it’s likely that they’ll flag your messages as spam. Only send marketing emails to customers who actually opt in to your email list.

Avoid conventionally “salesy” language. Spam filters will weed out any emails that seem like they’re strictly selling something—so using subject lines with “sale” or “free” can get you in trouble. Likewise, “30% off” and all-caps subject lines are destined to get your emails discarded. Focus on providing real information and value, and describing the email contents in non-salesy terms.

Don’t send image-only emails. While some images are fine, you also want to include text. Why? Some spammers have tried to use image-only emails to outsmart spam filters, so messages that only contain images may be discarded automatically.

Provide options for unsubscribing or for receiving fewer emails. Again, if you want to avoid getting your emails flagged as spam, it’s smart to allow readers some say in the emails they receive.

Segment and personalize your emails. The more specifically you can target your message to a particular audience, the more likely it is that people will want to read it rather than mark it as spam.

Strategize Your Email Marketing

Of course, the best way to make sure your marketing emails hit their target is to consider a robust, integrated approach to content marketing—and that’s something Grammar Chic can help with. Ask us about it today. Contact the Grammar Chic team at www.grammarchic.net, or at 803-831-7444.

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10 Questions for Your Web Developer

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Your company’s website is sort of like its virtual storefront—so when your website gets a facelift, it can almost feel like you’re moving into new digs, or at the very least getting a major renovation. That’s something you obviously want to approach strategically, and doing so means communicating your vision to the designer, while also making sure you have the right expectations about the finished product.

If you don’t have much experience talking to Web designers, you may be unsure of what to ask. Allow us to recommend a few basic, important questions to get you started.

What Should You Ask Your Web Designer?

  1. What’s my role in the process? Your designer will need to solicit your opinion or obtain information from you at various points, and if there is any delay in your response, it could stall the whole project. Make sure you have a good sense of what’s expected of you.
  2. What are the most common hold-ups in the process? Along the same lines, you might ask your designer where projects usually stall, and how you can avoid that happening.
  3. What resources can I provide up front? Most designers will be happy to receive marketing materials, brochures, links to old websites, etc. to get some sense of your style and your branding choices.
  4. What’s the process for adding new content to the site? What do you do when you have another part of the page that you need to add, and how much will it cost you?
  5. Will the site be hard-coded? What you’re asking here, basically, is whether the site will be done in old-school HTML format. Be warned: If the answer is yes, you will have to depend on the designer to make site updates for you!
  6. How can I update the site? Make sure the designer shows you around the CMS dashboard, allowing you to easily make small tweaks or additions to the site as needed.
  7. Will the website be responsive? A responsive website is vital for mobile friendliness. Make sure you confirm this with your designer.
  8. What are all of the costs associated with this site? You’ll want to know up-front the costs associated with the domain, hosting, etc., all of which may be in addition to the fee charged by the designer.
  9. How will we discuss revisions? You may have some tweaks you want to make to the designer’s initial mock-up, so clarify how that will go down—how you’ll communicate, how promptly you can expect those changes to be implemented, etc.
  10. What are the content needs? Your designer will probably need you to provide written content for each page—but how much? And are there any SEO requirements for your content to meet?

Have Your Content Handled by the Pros

Speaking of content creation, that happens to be our forte—and we would love to help you develop the written collateral for your new site. Ask us about our process today. Contact Grammar Chic at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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How to Prepare Your Business for Cyber Monday

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Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas, New Year’s—for most of us, these and perhaps a few others are the main holidays to focus on at year’s end. If you’re a business owner, though—and an ecommerce merchant in particular—then there’s one other day you should mark on your calendar: Cyber Monday. The Monday following Thanksgiving is one of the biggest shopping days of the year, a day on which many of your regular customers and clients are going to be in a holiday shopping state of mind. You ignore this day at your own detriment; hosting some Cyber Monday specials and promotions is a great way to seize some of this traffic and generate some real business.

But there’s not that much time until Cyber Monday gets here—so if you haven’t planned your promotions, the time to do so is now!

Allow us to offer a few pointers.

Getting Ready for Cyber Monday

You need to start building buzz now. Trust us: Your audience is already thinking about the holiday season, and many brick and mortar stores have had their holiday promotions and displays running for several weeks already. You’ve got to compete with that, so set the details of your Cyber Monday promotions and start hyping them on social media and on your website soon.

Make sure customers can browse your features products/services now. Long before Cyber Monday arrives, many shoppers will be doing online research to scout out the best deals. Whatever items you are going to promote, make sure your website showcases them well, including a note about any Cyber Monday discounts or specials.

Begin the process of creating content. You’ll want to promote your Cyber Monday offerings with images, ads, blog posts, and more—and you don’t want to have to create all of that content at the very last minute. Start compiling some of it today.

Be meticulous and thoughtful in creating ad copy. On Cyber Monday (and really for the entire holiday season), your audience is going to be inundated with sales copy. Yours must stand out. Brainstorm email marketing subject lines, blog headings, and effective tweets now. Engage a writing team, like Grammar Chic, to help make your words memorable.

Tap into your existing customer base. Cyber Monday can be a good season for new customer acquisition, but it can frankly be an even better time to re-engage with previous customers. Make sure your Cyber Monday marketing efforts include some emails targeted to the folks who are already on your mailing list.

It won’t be long before the big day is here—so are you prepared? If not, get with Grammar Chic today to find out how we can help you. Reach out at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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5 Hallmarks of Great Evergreen Content

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A great content strategy hinges on regular content updates—fresh new videos, blog posts, and social media entries that engage users while capitalizing on current trends. But if that’s all you’ve got fuelling your content strategy, you’re missing out on one of the key components of any digital marketing strategy—and that’s evergreen content.

We’ve written about the need for evergreen content before. Basically, this refers to the written, value-adding content that never goes out of style—timeless posts that can bolster your content strategy by offering endless revisitability. We’re talking about the in-depth tutorials, FAQs, and essays that you can refer your clients and readers to time and time again.

What Makes Evergreen Content Great

But how can you tell if you’ve got an instance of really great evergreen content on your hands? What does great evergreen content really look like?

Well, not all content is created equal, of course, but some of the essential traits of great evergreen content include:

Great evergreen content is timeless. This is really the defining trait of evergreen content, right? You can write it today and know that all of it will still more or less hold true in a year’s time; that even five years down the road you can direct readers to this resource and know that it will all hold up.

Great evergreen content adds value. The ultimate point of evergreen content is that you can use it to draw traffic and educate consumers for a long time to come. So, it needs to be interesting. It needs to add value. It needs to inform. It needs to provide a direct benefit to the people who read it. This is why so much of the best evergreen content comes in the form of how-tos, tutorials, and FAQ pages.

Great evergreen content is well-formatted. Again, what you’re going for is utility. You want your content to be useful to readers, which means structuring it in a way that’s easy to read, skim, and consult. Lists and step-by-step guides work well, as does long-form content that’s well-organized with subheadings and section titles.

Great evergreen content is usually long. Remember, you’re aiming for something resembling a treasure trove of information—and chances are, that’s going to be lengthier, not shorter.

Great evergreen content is understandable. If your content is full of technical terms and jargon, it’s probably not going to appeal to a broad reader base—and with evergreen content, breadth is usually key.

Evergreen content is critical for any content strategy—so how are your evergreen posts coming along? For help writing timeless and value-adding content, contact Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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5 Tips for Acing an E-Commerce CTA

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When you’re running an e-commerce brand, your website really has one central purpose: Yes, you want to bring new clients into your sales funnel and provide them with the education they need to make informed purchasing decisions, but at the end of the day your goal is to close the sale. You want people to click on a button in your online store and purchase one of the items you’re selling—period. You want your website to be an around-the-clock sales machine.

That’s what makes it so essential to have a good, strong call to action in place. All business websites need CTAs, which guide your leads through the sales funnel and increase the likelihood of them taking the desired action. For e-commerce sites, though, the CTA should be especially pointed and impactful: Click this button to buy our product NOW!

5 Tips for Killer CTAs

But of course, there are good CTAs and bad ones—and a feeble or unpersuasive CTA will hobble your sales and render your website impotent. So how do you ensure that your e-commerce site is working with high-impact CTAs? Consider these tips:

Make it stand out! The whole point of the call to action is to grab your reader’s attention and make it clear what step you want the reader to take next—so you can’t afford to have a CTA that blends in with the rest of the page, or that gets buried under the rest of your content. While it is possible to be too over-the-top, you do want to use larger fonts, bolds, italics, bright colors, compelling graphics, and/or attention-grabbing verbiage to draw the reader’s attention. The language of the CTA should spell out, in no uncertain terms, what you want the reader to do next.

Keep it short. Your readers want to see what you want them to do, and don’t necessarily want to wade through ten paragraphs of text to get to the point. Do you want them to click a button and buy your product? Tell them so—in a sentence or two at the very most.

Offer specifics and convey value. Just because you keep it short, that doesn’t mean you cannot offer some specifics. Adding specific offers and numbers is especially effective. Try something like: Save 30% by ordering NOW! Or, Claim your free gift card; buy today!

Place your CTAs strategically. You should have one on every page of the website—but beyond that, your placement may vary. Generally it is best to have a CTA visible on the page without the reader having to scroll—placing it either above the fold or in a sidebar can work well. Also, there’s no law against having multiple CTAs on one page, especially if the page is longer or more content-heavy.

Don’t forget to say thanks. The CTA/order page should ultimately take the reader to a Thank You page, which is an essential way for building brand loyalty. Never forget it!

For help crafting killer CTAs, of course, the Grammar Chic team is always on hand. Give us a call today at 803-831-7444, or visit http://www.grammarchic.net.

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5 Ways to Make Your Blog Readers Stick Around

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Are you familiar with the term bounce rate? It’s an SEO/Web analytics term that basically denotes the people who come to your website or blog, take one look at it, and immediately navigate to another page. Imagine these readers saying: “Nope! Not what I was looking for!”

Bounce rate is an important concept to think about, even beyond looking at your actual numbers. From an SEO standpoint, a high bounce rate can drag down your Google clout. More generally and more obviously, though, if people are finding your site and then leaving it immediately, your content obviously isn’t working. It’s not even having a chance to work.

The Blogger’s Dilemma

This has long been the blogger’s dilemma: How do you get people to not only click on your blog post, but actually read it? There’s no magic solution here. To a large extent it requires you to find an interesting topic and connect with curious readers—no small feat!

More basically and more generally, though, there are a few simple steps you can take to make your blogs more engaging—more readable. Consider the following:

  1. Keep your posts short. It’s simple math, right? The shorter your post, the more likely it is people will take the time to read it. Now, don’t go too short; much below 400 words could be a problem for your SEO. But somewhere in the 400-500 range is usually good for simpler topics, 800 words or so for complex topics.
  1. Keep your posts focused. Don’t have a blog post that addresses two distinct topics. Focus on one topic, and save the other for a second blog post. Maintain your reader’s attention by being thematically consistent and coherent.
  1. Use formatting that lends itself to readability. You should have plenty of white space surrounding your text, and each line of text should be fairly brief—maybe 75-80 words or so. Don’t pick a blog format that detracts from readability.
  1. Keep paragraphs short. As far as readability goes, short, 3-4 sentence paragraphs are always better than epic chunks of text. This is also why lists and bullet points can be useful.
  1. Don’t let SEO get in the way. Have you ever come across a blog post that used a phrase like “best North Carolina oral surgeon” 15 times in the span of 500 words? That’s SEO keyword stuffing, and in addition to being a poor technical strategy, it’s also a great way to make your posts completely unreadable.

It really goes without saying, but: You need people to read your posts—not just click on the headlines and then immediately click away. Without actual readers, your content isn’t doing you much good. For help constructing really gripping, readable posts, contact Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

 

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Filed under Blog Writing, Content Marketing