Tag Archives: Content Writing Tips

Write Content That Improves Dwell Time. Here’s How.

Is your website successful?

There are a number of different metrics you could use to answer this question—and in truth, there’s no one factor that determines website success. As you consider different ways to evaluate your online presence, though, one you should consider is dwell time.

What is Dwell Time? And Why Does It Matter?

What is dwell time, exactly? Simply put, it’s the amount of time readers spend on your website. In a sense, it’s almost the opposite of bounce rate—that is, the rate at which website visitors navigate away from your site. If you have high dwell time, it means your readers have found some reason to stay on your site for longer chunks of time—probably because you’ve produced some sort of content that’s engaged them.

Dwell time is by no means a vanity metric; it has real impact on your marketing efforts. For one thing, it’s an SEO ranking signal. If your dwell time is high, that tells the Google algorithms that your website is providing readers with something valuable—and that’s something Google loves.

It can also be good news for conversion rates. If someone’s staying on your site for long periods of time, that person is obviously interested in something you’re doing.

The question is, how can you improve the dwell time on your website?

How Can Your Content Improve Dwell Time?

Here are just a few tips to keep in mind:

Write a compelling headline, with content that matches. The first step to keeping people on the page is attracting them to the page—and that means writing a headline that promises real value. Don’t do clickbait, and don’t do bait-and-switch; make sure your headline offers something substantive, and your content delivers on that promise.

Go deep. While there’s no magic word count you need to hit, it is important to always do your subject justice; a quick and surface-deep post isn’t going to hold anyone’s attention for long. Take the time to go into real depth, offer some concrete illustrations, etc.

Make your content digestible. It’s also important for your website to be easy to read—and that means plenty of white space, section sub-headings, bulleted lists where applicable, and some images to break up the text.

Do some internal linking. One good way to keep users on your site is to provide a trail of crumbs that leads them from one topic to another—specifically through internal linking, providing a clear path between relevant topics.

Update your content as needed. A blog post about Google algorithms circa 2014 (for example) is hardly relevant in 2018—and thus, there’s little reason for readers to spend any kind of time with it. Make sure you freshen up your content as needed to ensure it maintains some value and resonance.

Get the Content You Need to Keep Readers on the Page

As you seek to keep your readers engaged, consider hiring a content partner with ample experience in SEO-driven copywriting. Grammar Chic, Inc. can provide you with the words you need to improve dwell time, Google search rankings, and customer engagement.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation: Visit www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444.

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Brand Storytelling: Where to Start?

Present someone with a list of facts and figures and they’re likely to forget everything you told them; tell someone a story, meanwhile, and it just might linger with them.

That’s the basic concept behind brand storytelling, which is closely interwoven with content marketing. Basically, and very much unlike traditional advertising—which focuses on a laundry list of products or services—brand storytelling allows you to craft a narrative about your company. Who are you? What do you stand for? What are your values? And where does the customer enter the scene?

If that sounds like an ambitious undertaking, it is; your brand storytelling unfolds across many different platforms, from social media to your company’s About page, and it encompasses every piece of content you create plus every interaction you have with our customers.

So where do you get started? What are the opening pages of your brand’s story?

Getting Started with Brand Storytelling

  • Before you publish any content, take the time to write down your actual brand story—how long your company has been around; who it serves; the benefits it offers; the advantages you offer over your competition; and the reasons a customer might choose to do business with you. Keep this brand story handy as a kind of reference, ensuring that all your future content creation aligns with it.
  • Remember that good storytelling usually has some sense of conflict. For your brand, the conflict is this: Your customers have needs, or pain points, and your brand can provide the solution. That’s the central action of all your brand storytelling.
  • Know who you’re telling the story to; awareness of your audience is key. Know who they are and what they care about; what problems they face, and what solutions they are seeking. Creating buyer personas is often helpful here.
  • Also be aware that good storytelling isn’t just about the details you include, but also the details you omit. In particular, you can skip over those details that won’t hold the interest of your audience; keep the focus on them, and the benefits you provide them—not all the finer points of your company history, which may not be as interesting or as relevant to outsiders.
  • Choose the right media to tell your story. Some brands lend themselves very well to Facebook; others, to LinkedIn. Some brands benefit from video, and others really don’t. It’s all just a matter of where your audience is, and which formats make the most sense for the story you’re telling.
  • Along the same lines, always adapt your story to the platform you’re telling it on. For Snapchat, you can be informal; for LinkedIn, it’s usually better to be straight-laced and professional.
  • Good storytelling elicits emotion—and that’s certainly what you should aim for with your content. Always ask yourself how you want your audience to feel about the content you create and the story you’re telling. And, be strategic about how those feelings might prompt action.
  • Use natural language to tell your story. Your vocabulary and your diction should mirror the way your customers actually speak and actually search for information. This is more important than ever, here in the age of Voice Search.
  • Always provide your audience with a clear sense of how the story continues—specifically with a strong call to action in each piece of content.

Time to Start Your Story

Start telling the story of your brand today; allow your customers to see where they fit into it, and how you can help them resolve conflict and find solutions. In short: Tell them a story they won’t soon forget.

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Does Your Content Marketing Team Play Well with Others?

Effective marketing requires a multi-channel approach. Content creation can be one channel—in fact, we’d argue that it’s the cornerstone of any effective marketing endeavor—but even high-quality content won’t do you much good if it’s never discovered, consumed, and acted upon.

So how do you deploy content effectively? Again, there are multiple channels available, and the best approach unites several of them—social media, video marketing, PPC, and beyond. Search engine optimization is critical as well, helping your quality content get found by your targeted audience, all organically.

Different Disciplines, Different Experts

Uniting these different disciplines—SEO and content marketing, let’s say—may require the guidance of different experts. Grammar Chic, Inc. is living proof of this. We are not an SEO firm, strictly speaking—but we work with a number of SEO firms, who entrust us to build engaging and highly optimized content for them. Likewise, we do not do Web design, but we have partnerships with a number of Web design shops that hire us to add verbiage to their great designs.

These companies lean on us because we’re good writers, but also because we’re good at communicating with them, working within the frameworks they provide, and understanding how our content aligns with their more technical marketing goals. This kind of synergy isn’t just a nice bonus; for more and more companies that outsource their marketing, it’s absolutely critical.

Again: Digital marketing isn’t just one thing. It’s many different channels, brought together to be used in tandem. So when you seek a marketing provider, it’s important to make sure it’s someone who has key partnerships with other experts, and the ability to work well with those partners.

Primed for Partnership

To that end, Grammar Chic, Inc.’s content writing team delivers a few key benefits:

  • We can create quality content that is engaging and SEO-optimized (length, format, keywords, etc.) laid out by an SEO or Web design team.
  • We can create content designed to meet various marketing goals—whether it’s conversion-generation PPC ads or an educational Web page.
  • We can communicate directly with an SEO or Web design expert, speaking the same language to ensure we’re all on the same page.
  • We can advise SEO or Web design firms on the best ways to engage readers, stir emotions, generate shares, or accomplish other creative goals.

We’d love to talk with you more about Grammar Chic, Inc. and our role as a go-to content creator for top SEO and Web design shops. Reach out to us today to learn more, either at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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10 Calls to Action That Will Get People Clicking

Every page of your website should have a call to action on it—whether it’s the home page, a blog post, or a product landing page.

There are a few different reasons for this. One, it helps with the user experience; you can effectively guide your site visitors through the sales funnel and help them reach their destination. Two, it helps boost conversions. You can’t simply assume people will know to call you and schedule an appointment or click a link to buy your product; you’ve got to ask them to do it. That’s what the call to action is all about.

The Elements of a Strong Call to Action

It’s important to note, however, that not all calls to action are created equal. In most cases, a good CTA will have each of these components in place:

  • Brevity; most calls to action are just a sentence or two.
  • Strong action words; generally speaking, you’ll want your CTA to begin with a forceful verb.
  • Value proposition; explain the reasons why your reader should take the desired action. What’s in it for them?
  • Contact information; assuming you’re asking someone to call you, make sure your CTA gives them the phone number!

With that said, what are some examples of good, compelling, persuasive calls to action that you can use as models? Here are some tried and true CTAs that are worthy of emulation.

Steal These Calls to Action

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Master the Art of the CTA

A strong call to action is the perfect capstone to your online content—and when done right, it can help you move the needle and generate more and more conversions. And if you’re still not sure how a CTA fits into your content equation, don’t fret. Get the help you need writing CTAs that convert; contact Grammar Chic, Inc. at www.grammarchic.net.

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How to Brainstorm Content Ideas for Your Small Business

Often, the most challenging part of content marketing is simply coming up with good ideas. Perhaps you’ve had this experience: You set aside an hour of your day to write a post for your small business blog, then stare at your computer for a good 45 minutes trying to think of a topic. By that point, of course, you hardly have enough time left to write a solid introduction, much less a full post.

Something we recommend is keeping a list of topics ready to go—so that when you have those moments of scheduled content creation, you don’t have to waste time fumbling for inspiration. Still, the question remains: How do you come up with good ideas to populate your list?

Start with Content Categories

A good place to begin the brainstorming process is not with specific topics, but simply with categories.

Think about your areas of expertise—the services your company provides, the niche it serves. Try to think of five to seven big “buckets” into which content can be placed. For example, say you own a plumbing company. Your buckets might be Commercial Plumbing, Plumbing Repair, Drain Cleaning, Bathroom Remodeling, Household Plumbing Tips and Tricks, and HVAC.

Now, for each of these content buckets, try to come up with some subcategories—further ways to classify content. For each bucket, aim for a good five subcategories. For example, under Plumbing Repair, your sub-categories might include:

  • Fixing leaks
  • Water heater maintenance
  • Removing clogs
  • Preventative maintenance
  • When to call a plumber

Once you’ve written down those big buckets and their related sub-categories, you’ve got a pretty good blueprint to work from.

Brainstorming Content Ideas

Now we come to the part of the process where you actually jot down some content ideas.

Start with any of those subcategories you wrote down, and approach it from a couple of different angles:

  • First, there is the expertise angle—wherein you’re simply trying to impart some knowledge to your customers, sharing your expertise on the topic in question. What are some things you’d like your customers to know, as relates to this topic? What are some of the most common questions you get?
  • Second, there is the offering What are you trying to sell, as relates to this topic? Generating posts with an offering angle might mean listing the perks, benefits, or pros/cons of a specific service—for example, under the Preventative Maintenance category, your topic might be The Benefits of Preventative Plumbing Maintenance, underlining the value of homeowners having routine inspections from a certified plumber.

Even if you only come up with a couple of topics for each of your subcategories—an expertise angle and an offering angle—you’ll still have a fairly large list of topics at your ready.

And there are ways to take those topics and spin them into additional ideas. For example, if you land on the perfect angle for a blog post, type your working title into the Google search bar and just see what comes up. You may find that competitors or industry experts have written related or thematically-adjacent posts that can inspire your own work.

Outsource Your Content Creation

Having a list of pre-determined topics—and periodically spending some time expanding and revising it—can make content creation much more fluid, and much less frustrating.

And if you’re serious about generating quality content, you can take the next step—outsourcing your content creation to the writers at Grammar Chic, Inc. We can provide a full spectrum of services, from topic generation to writing, proofing, editing, and formatting. To talk content strategy, reach out to our writers at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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

Writing Content for Position Zero

Google introduced “featured snippets” in 2017—and marketers have been chasing them ever since.

If you’re not familiar with featured snippets, they represent one of the most significant elements on the Google SERP. A featured snippet provides users with a quick answer to their query, without requiring them to actually click on a hyperlink. For example, if you do a Google search for 33rd President of the U.S., Google will present you with an informational box with Harry S. Truman’s name and picture within it. You don’t have to scroll through any actual search results for your question to be answered.

It’s obvious why these quick-reference listings are helpful for search engine users—but why are they of such interest to marketers? Simple: They rank in position zero on the SERP. That is, featured snippets are displayed before the search results themselves—making this prime online real estate.

And yes, there are ways you can write content that gets your brand into position zero. It won’t be easy—but with the right strategy and the correct type of content, it’s an achievable goal.

Content That Ranks for Position Zero

Here are a few strategies for writing content that will land you in those featured snippets.

Answer Simple, Factual Questions

Featured snippets are most often used to present simple answers to factual questions. Of course, some questions are going to be way too nebulous, subjective, or complicated for any answer to fit within a small Google search box. But if you can identify those basic questions your audience is asking—something as simple as, well, who was the 33rd President of the United States?—you’re on the right track.

Of course, your users probably aren’t looking for information about former Presidents, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t basic questions you’re qualified to answer. For example, if you run an accounting firm, you might answer questions like:

  • Where do I get my income tax return forms?
  • When will my employer send my W-2?
  • What is the maximum home mortgage deduction?

Identify the questions your audience is asking, then write content that both asks and answers them—as clearly as possible.

Offer Instructions

Featured snippers don’t just answer questions. They explain how to do things. For example, recipes and step-by-step guides often find their way into position zero.

That’s definitely something you can use to your advantage. Make sure the content you create includes how-to guides and tutorials. Ensure that you format with bullet points or numbered lists. Offer your expertise to readers—because remember: Google is trying to offer its users helpful, substantive information. If you can assist with that, you may get a position zero ranking.

Define Terms

A lot of people use Google as a dictionary—and one way you can get a position zero listing is to define some complex terms, in particular terms that relate to your industry.

For example, a content marketing firm might develop an online glossary, where they define such terms as:

  • Pay-per-click ads
  • Enterprise SEO
  • Google Analytics
  • Buyer persona

This is closely related to our first tip, about answering questions—and again, the point is simply to provide users with clear, quick answers to their questions.

Make Recommendations

Many search engine users are seeking a particular product—and they want to ensure that the product they select is the best of its kind. So, offering top 10 lists and best-of recommendations can be another good way to make it into those featured snippets.

Are you a used car dealer? Write a blog post where you list your top 10 small sedans. That’s just one example of how best-of lists can help you rank for position zero.

Writing Content with SEO in Mind

Your content writing efforts should always be done with SEO in mind—and that includes ranking for position zero. That’s something our marketing pros can help with. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. for a consultation. Call 803-831-7444, or visit us at www.grammarchic.net.

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3 Ways Google’s SERP Changed Last Year—And What It Means for Your Business

Google is constantly tweaking its search engine algorithms—and often, those changes are plainly evident from the search engine results page (SERP) itself.

Why is the SERP such a work in progress? Simple: Google wants to provide its users with the best product possible—that is, quick, relevant, practical answers to their search queries. And it’s constantly devising new ways to make that product just a little bit more appealing.

The downside for business owners is that there’s a lot of fluctuation to keep up with. The SEO efforts that worked in years past may not work as well today. In fact, 2017 saw a few significant changes to the SERP—and those changes all have some implications for small business marketing efforts.

PPC ads take up more of the SERP than ever before.

There was a time when the SERP was occupied mostly by organic search listings—the kind of listings you could attain through the right mix of content marketing and SEO. But today, paid ads are placed more prominently than ever before. Users have to scroll further down the SERP before they even arrive at organic listings; meanwhile, PPC ads have infiltrated parts of the SERP they never appeared previously, such as the Google Map Pack.

Does this mean SEO and content marketing are dead? Far from it. It just means that a comprehensive approach is needed. If you want to blanket as much of the SERP as possible, you can’t rely solely on organic listings or on paid ads. You really need a strategy that encompasses both, and balances them appropriately.

If you’re not already augmenting your content marketing efforts with PPC, make 2018 the year you really get a handle on ad bidding, targeting, and copywriting.

Featured snippets occupy prime SERP real estate.

Another important change? Google wants to empower users to get the answers they seek from the SERP itself—without actually having to click through to a link. One way this is evident is in the rise of featured snippets.

You’ve probably seen these before, even if you didn’t realize what they were called. Have you ever done a Google search, and had the SERP give you a direct answer, in the form of a little “answer box” appearing just above the organic search listings?

These are featured snippets, and they occupy the “zero position” on the SERP—coveted online real estate. Getting your content to rank in the zero position can be a major boost to your brand visibility.

This is a tough thing to attain, but not impossible. The best bet is to format your content in the form of a bulleted list, a table, or a Q&A—especially when it comes to more fact-based and objective subject matter. Remember, Google wants to provide quick, clear, authoritative answers to its users, and it’s in your best interests to help it do so.

More people are arriving at the SERP through voice search.

We’ve blogged before about voice search, which is quickly becoming the most popular way to search for content on Google. But as more and more search engine users arrive at the SERP via Siri or Alexa, it’s important for your content to accommodate them.

Again, a lot of it comes down to formatting—with bulleted lists and Q&A formats being especially useful. Also remember to write your content in a conversational style that reflects the way real voice searches are done. A traditional Google search might be phrased like this: Jimmy Kimmel age. But with voice search, you’re more likely to ask: How old is Jimmy Kimmel? For content to rank well for these voice-based queries, it’s important to emulate that casual style.

Making Sense of the New SERP

As you seek to get your content ranked on this new and ever-changing SERP, don’t hesitate to seek guidance. Grammar Chic, Inc. has diverse experience in content marketing, and we always have the latest SEO strategies in mind. We’d love to consult with you about your content marketing and Google search needs. Reach out at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

 

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