Tag Archives: Content Writing Advice

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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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

7 Reasons to Hire an Editor for Your Business

We live in a golden era of outsourcing. (Thanks, Internet!) It’s never been easier for small business owners to connect with subject matter experts and vendors who can provide their services on a limited, cost-effective basis. For example, if you have a graphic design project, it’s pretty simple to find a talented designer with a robust portfolio, commissioning the work you need without having to hire someone on a full-time basis.

Our premise for today: Editors, like graphic designers or PPC consultants or Web gurus or SEO experts, are professionals whose services may be invaluable to your business, whether as a one-time thing or as a long-term relationship.

Whether you’re putting together a business blog, a press release, or a whole new suite of written website content, it may be in your best interests to engage the services of an editor, like those at Grammar Chic, Inc.

Here’s why.

Why Hire an Editor?

  1. You need a fresh set of eyes. How many times have you read that blog? How many hours have you spent staring at the words of your new company home page? Sooner or later, it all becomes a bit of a blur, and it may be impossible for you to truly see what’s right in front of you. You need an outsider’s vision, and that’s what a professional editor can offer.
  2. You also need objectivity. Your document may be a true labor of love for you, which can be a blessing and a curse: It’s good to feel passionate, but not at the expense of objectivity. An editor, who has no emotional attachment to the document, will be in a better position to accurately assess it and propose changes.
  3. Editors can save you time and frustration. Nothing is more maddening than reading the same document over and over and feeling like you’re still not quite there. An editor’s job isn’t just to make your document shine, but to streamline the revision process, quickly fixing spelling and grammar errors and providing straightforward guidance regarding any conceptual issues. All of this allows you to finish the project and pour your attention into other things!
  4. An editor will help you with clarity. Sometimes, there’s a distance between what you think you’re saying and what you’re actually saying. It happens to all of us, but when it comes to your business communications, clarity and precision are key. A professional editor knows how to articulate ideas in a way that’s unambiguous.
  5. Working with an editor can be a boon to your project development. Trying to figure out the best way to implement your white paper? Unsure of whether your new blog should be one long post or a couple of smaller ones? Part of the editor’s job is helping you develop each project in a way that’s efficient and intuitive.
  6. An editor will enhance your professionalism. Anything you publish or send to your clients is going to be a reflection on your brand… on your standards of quality, accuracy, and professionalism. As such, you naturally want each document to be superlative. An editor will help ensure that you’re always putting the best foot forward!
  7. Professional editors are versatile. Just take it from the Grammar Chic team: We’ve worked on everything from books to resumes, from blog posts to brochures; our clients span a full spectrum of industries, including HOA management and used car sales, manufacturing and personal fitness. We have the skills needed to furnish you with a sterling document, no matter the line of work or the nature of your project.

Enlist an Editor Today

Whatever the specifics of your editing project, Grammar Chic, Inc. is here to lend professionalism, precision, and clarity. Contact us directly to learn more: Call 803-831-7444 or visit www.grammarchic.net.

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

5 Types of Content That Can Wreck Your Rankings

By now it’s hardly controversial, nor even surprising, to note the close ties between content marketing and SEO. As we noted in one recent blog, Google has come right out and said that the best way to achieve impressive SERP rankings is to provide the end user with valuable, relevant content.

But if the right content can make your SEO, it can also break it… and there are a few types of content that are especially toxic to your ranking efforts.

Here are just a few examples of content you’ll want to avoid.

5 Types of Content That Can Ruin Your SEO

  1. Content that’s unoriginal. This is largely a problem with ecommerce stores, or with websites that have a lot of individual product pages. It’s tempting to employ standard, boilerplate copy on each product page, rather than writing new product descriptions from scratch… except, Google really doesn’t like that. The more duplicate content you produce, the more it dilutes your SEO efforts. Work with a professional content writing team to come up with sharp, wholly original text for each of your products and services.
  2. Thin content. There’s no magic word count for achieving Google success, and sometimes it’s wise to opt for short and sweet. Remember, though, that the end goal should always be to say something valuable and substantive… and for most topics, 50 words probably isn’t going to cut it. If your content is short, rote, and lacking in real substance, Google may not give it much credit.
  3. Content that misleads. This goes back to our recent post on relevance, where we warned that the bait-and-switch technique never works. Simply put, your content needs to make good on the promises of its title. If your post is titled 5 Ways to Save Money on Your Next Used Car, that’s exactly what it should offer the reader.
  4. Fluff. You probably know what we mean by this. We said before that you didn’t want thin content, but if you’re just repeating the same thing over and over again because you think your blog needs to have 700 words in it, well, that hardly offers value to the reader, and it hardly aligns with Google’s algorithmic interests.
  5. Content that’s hard to read. Finally, remember a little thing called user experience, or UX. Your content needs to be valuable, but also easy to digest, and that means using section subheadings, lists, bullet points, and small paragraphs. Leave plenty of white space and make it easy on the eye.

Content That Does the Job

You need content that works on every level… appealing to readers and also winning over the algorithms. And we can help you develop it. Talk with a professional content writer today. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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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.

 

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Has AI Made Content Writers Obsolete?

Do you remember the old joke about monkeys? How if you put enough of them in front of typewriters and allowed them to bang away, one of them might eventually bash out the Great American Novel?

Well, we’re currently seeing a similar premise play out in real time. It’s not with chimps, but with robots. AI is rapidly overtaking the content marketing industry, helping to automate some of those simple, repetitive functions that take so much time. The idea is that, when AI is able to handle things like scheduling and reporting, it frees marketers to focus more of their efforts on real, creative work.

But what happens when the robots take over the creative work, as well?

Maybe it sounds farfetched to think that AI could actually produce written content… but the truth is, it’s happening already. There are programs out there that can automatically generate simple, factual stories (think stock reports or sports updates) with little or no input from human writers.

Great news for anyone who needs basic Web copy quickly, and without a lot of hassle. Bad news for, well, writers, the latest professionals to see their livelihoods encroached on by faceless tech.

What AI Can’t Do

Actually, though, the situation is not that dire. While AI can and should be used in certain content marketing functions, it will never be able to put writers out of work.

Why? Because AI is great for many things: Learning, mastering basic patterns, even mimicking human speech. Indeed, it’s no great surprise that simple reporting can now be automated; for AI to take sports scores and plug them into a formula doesn’t require much in the way of out-of-the-box thinking.

And that’s the one thing AI doesn’t possess: The ability to engage in lateral thinking or creative brainstorming. Robotic “writers” may be able to mimic some narrative archetypes, but they can’t build worlds or capture emotion like a human writer can.

To put it one way, AI can absolutely report the basic stats of a soccer game… but it could never invent Quidditch, or develop the story beats for a Rocky movie.

The functionality of AI rests on what’s repeatable… on tasks that can be boiled down to a formula or algorithm. But there’s no algorithm for human creativity; no way you can automate out-of-the-box thinking, storytelling, human interest, or reader engagement.

And what that means is that, while AI can be a helpful tool for generating boilerplate copy, it can’t produce the kind of original, emotionally-charged, and value-adding content that’s required for effective content marketing.

Still a Role for Writers

Writers can rest easy. And companies that have invested in automated programs to assist with their content marketing can pat themselves on the back: They’ve taken meaningful steps toward streamlining their processes and maximizing efficiency.

But they still need human beings who are skilled in using words to facilitate connection. That’s where we come in. To speak with a Grammar Chic writer about any of the things your AI can’t do, reach out today: 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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