Tag Archives: Content Writing Tips

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

5 Ways to Be Found by Local Consumers

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For any business to succeed, it needs to be discovered by local customers; it needs to bring in clients and consumers who are actually seeking the products or services in question, and willing to spend their money to get them. In today’s marketing ecosystem, that means a strong presence in local search queries.

After all, when you want to find a good local business, where do you turn for answers? More likely than not, you go to Google—and the businesses you find there are the ones most likely to win your patronage. If you want your business to thrive, then, you’ve got to position it to be embraced by local search engine users—but how?

Local SEO can sometimes be complicated and daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. There are some simple ways you can boost your visibility in local search rankings today.

Get Reviewed

Google reviews are critical to search engine success. Google takes any review to be a sign that people are engaging with your business, and gaining reviews will only help your search engine standings. Of course, it’s helpful if these are good reviews, bolstering your company’s authority and trustworthiness. If you’re not getting regular reviews, we recommend the following steps:

  • Make sure your Google review link is clearly displayed on your website
  • Actively ask your customers to leave you their feedback; include a request on invoices and receipts
  • Send an email to all your best, most loyal customers, and simply explain to them how meaningful a quick review would be
  • Include your Google review link on your email signature

Optimize for Mobile

Most local searches happen on mobile devices, so it’s critical that your website be optimized for users who are on phones or tablets; indeed, Google prioritizes sites with mobile-readiness. Check out your company website on various devices to make sure it looks good and flows smoothly. If it doesn’t, you’ll want to talk to your Web designer about switching to a mobile-friendly site ASAP.

Ensure Consistent NAP

NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone number, and you need to have this vital contact information displayed on every page of your website. Make sure you state it the exact same way every time, too. Inconsistencies—“Al’s Pancakes” on one page and “Al’s Pancake House” on another, or even listing your address as “Main Street” here but “Main St.” there—can drop your Google ranking.

Get Local Links

Reach out to local directories, business bureaus, and chambers of commerce to get a link to your website—along with NAP information, consistent with the way you list it on your site.

Write Valuable Content

Finally, a website that’s dense with valuable content—not just sales pitches, but information that addresses consumer questions—is going to get more love from Google, for the simple reason that it offers a better product to Google’s customers (i.e. search engine users). A good website with FAQs, how-tos, detailed product descriptions, and a regular blog can go a long way.

Grammar Chic can help with all of these content creation needs, of course. Learn more by reaching out to our team today at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Business Writing, Content Marketing

Big Changes to Google’s Star Systems (And What They Mean for You)

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Here’s a hypothetical for you: Say you’re looking to purchase a new product of some kind, but you don’t really know much about it, or where to get it. You need to gather some information. You need to do some research. So where do you head? The answer, of course, is Google. That’s where consumers do their research these days—and it’s where they make most of their decisions about which products to buy and which local businesses to visit.

One way in which consumers make their purchasing decisions is to consult with Google’s star system. If you see a local company with a one-star rating, you’d probably think twice before giving them your business, right? You’d at least look around for competitors. And on the flipside, if a business has a five-star Google score, you’d feel a lot more confident shopping there.

The implication for businesses is that Google star ratings matter—they matter for your bottom line. That’s why, when Google makes changes to its star system, small business owners need to sit up and take notice.

What’s Changed with Google’s Star System?

As it happens, Google has made changes to its star rating scale. Here’s the change: It used to be that Google only gave star ratings for businesses with at least five reviews. Now, Google has lowered the threshold—and some businesses are receiving Google ratings on the basis of a single review!

What this means is that, more than ever before, every single online review you get matters. A single one-star review could totally sink your Google score, especially if it’s the only review you have. Meanwhile, a single five-star review could be all it takes to send your company toward a perfect score.

How to Be Proactive About Your Google Reviews

Our advice to business owners: Don’t leave your Google stars to chance. Be proactive in getting your full five-star score! Here are some tips:

  • Make sure your Google review link is clearly displayed on your website and on social media profiles.
  • Actively ask your customers to leave you their feedback. Include a request on invoices and receipts.
  • Go as far as to send an email to all your best, most loyal customers, and simply explain to them how meaningful a quick review would be.
  • Sweeten the deal! Offer a $5 Starbucks gift card or a promo code to people who take the time to leave you a review.
  • Include your Google review link on your email signature.

There are a lot of strategies that can get results, and we’d love to help you execute a good one. Contact Grammar Chic today to learn more! Reach out to our team at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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

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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Filed under Business Writing, Email Writing

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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6 Factors That Help Your Website Rank Well

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Clients are always asking us: How can we get our website to rank as #1 in the Google search results?

And the answer is… it’s complicated. Google’s search algorithms are notoriously complicated, and they can change at any moment, which is why you won’t find reputable SEO companies that promise you a particular ranking. It’s just too complex an endeavor to make such an iron-clad guarantee.

What we can tell you with certainty is that there are numerous ranking factors that contribute to your site’s Google visibility. The specific recipe is something of a secret, but Google has made public many of the most significant ranking factors. Ensuring that you have each of these ranking factors in place can help you position your site for maximum SEO success.

A quick note: There are both positive ranking factors (which make your site increase in the rankings) and negative ones (which can cause your site to incur search engine penalties). For today, we’re only going to list some of the positive ones.

Remember: These are all elements that are confirmed by Google to be crucial for SEO—so make sure you have them in place!

6 Factors to Improve Your Google Rankings

No. 1. Keywords in your title and heading tags. While we encourage our clients to use keywords naturally, rather than cramming them into their content inorganically, a couple of places you always want to include a keyword or two are in the title tag and the heading tag. The former is the title you see at the top of your search browser while you are on the page; the latter is the H1 tag, the heading you place at the top of your Web page. Both are key areas for SEO enrichment, so make sure you max them out with strong keywords.

No. 2. Content substance. While there is no magic word count for Google, studies confirm that in-depth content, which fully addresses user needs and questions, is going to rank better than content that is short and skimpy. Make sure you take the time to really develop content that offers actionable value! (Of course, this is something the writers at Grammar Chic can help you with.)

No 3. A keyword in your URL. The URL slug you use for each page of content provides another way to enrich your content with keywords. Make sure you are strategic in naming your URLs!

No. 4. Fast loading speed. Nobody wants to sit and wait for your page to load, at least no more than two or three seconds. Having a page that loads quickly—not just on desktops, but on mobile devices, is critical for pleasing users and, therefore, pleasing Google. Experiment with your site on multiple devices, and if you find that it takes more than three seconds to load, you may want to pare it down and make it load faster.

No. 5. Website security. This is especially important for ecommerce sites. Having an https:// site is a trust signal, showing your users that the site has been built to protect their information; according to Google, that’s a potentially meaningful way to improve SEO, as well as user experience.

No. 6. Internal linking. A final way to boost your online authority is to ensure that each page of content has relevant links to other meaningful, related content—resources on other websites, but also resources found elsewhere on your own site.

Clearly, there are many components of strong SEO. To get started writing rankings-friendly content, contact Grammar Chic today. Reach out to us at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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