Tag Archives: Content Writing

How to Boost Your Content Quality

Quality is one of those content marketing buzzwords that everyone likes to throw around, but very few people can really define. We all agree that writing quality content is important, but how exactly do we measure it? What does it even mean, in the context of content marketing?

Here’s our simple definition: Quality content encourages readers to consume more of it. A good blog post will make the reader want to read other posts. Similarly, intriguing Facebook posts will make the reader want to follow you. Effective YouTube videos will earn you subscribers. And not only that, but strong content encourages social sharing, as well—spreading the word to friends and neighbors.

But if that’s what quality means, how can it be attained? How can you improve the quality level on your written content today?

Create Content That People Will Consume—and Share

We’ve got a few ideas for you.

Always write with your readers in mind. So simple, so often overlooked. Your content shouldn’t just be repurposed ad copy. It should be something that entertains and/or informs the reader. Think about your audience. Think about their pain points. Think about how you can help, by offering actionable insights. That’s what content quality hinges on.

Do research. It’s alright for your content to be opinion-based, but you should also have facts and figures to support your arguments—and even links to external blogs, articles, or studies, when appropriate. Make it clear that you’re not just pontificating. You’re providing trustworthy information.

Write so that people can understand. Good writing is characterized by clarity—so if you’re stuffing your posts with technical terms and industry jargon, they may not be getting their point across. Make sure you write in a way that even novices to your field can understand.

Spend time writing compelling headlines. The headline is arguably the most important component of your content, as it’s what creates the first impression and encourages people to read the content. Make sure you’re writing headlines that are catchy, concise, and enriched with real value.

Get an editor. Your content needs to be proofread thoroughly to avoid errors with grammar and spelling—and also just to make sure you’re really getting your point across. A professional editor, like the ones here at Grammar Chic, can help with these things.

Create Quality Content Today

In fact, we can also take over your content writing for you—and ensure that you’re regularly producing high-quality blogs and website content, without any hassle. Learn more by reaching out to the quality-minded pros at Grammar Chic today. Connect at 803-831-7444 or by visiting www.grammarchic.net.

Leave a comment

Filed under Brand Management, Content Marketing, Social Media

How to Survive a Google Algorithmic Update

Do you know Fred?

No, we’re not talking about a person. We’re talking about the latest update to Google’s algorithm, which appeared like a thief in the night to steal traffic and website state. Seemingly without warning, completely out of the blue, Fred caused some website to lose a full half of their organic traffic; for a handful of sites, there were drops of more than 90 percent.

But Fred’s not the only such offender. Google rolls out these algorithmic updates every so often; you may have heard of Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, Mobilegeddon, or some of the others. Generally, they cause a fair amount of panic in the SEO community, who rightly fear that they could lose their hard-earned Google rankings.

More updates will come. Always. You can count on it. So the question is, is your website prepared for them?

Why Does Google Update its Algorithms?

To understand how you can prepare for algorithmic updates, it’s important to understand why they happen in the first place. Google doesn’t change things just to keep SEO folks on their toes. No, Google changes things to provide a better product to its consumers. That is, Google changes things to provide high-quality content that is relevant to search engine queries.

If you look closely at some of the changes made by these past Google updates, from Fred on back, you’ll notice that they are essentially quality control measures. For example, Mobilegeddon penalized websites that didn’t have mobile-optimized settings—websites that were difficult to read or to navigate on mobile devices. That may sound mean or it may sound harsh, but Google was only trying to ensure that, when a mobile search engine user tries to find information, he or she is able to do so without any problem or hindrance.

Other updates have penalized pages that have bad content, repetitive content, keyword-stuffed content, duplicitous backlinks—basically, lazy SEO tricks that make the actual website content less valuable or less readable.

Protect Against Google Updates

For small business owners who want to avoid their own websites being penalized, then, the solution is actually fairly simple: Focus on providing useful and easy to read content for your readers—plain and simple. Help Google do its job of providing really first-rate and relevant content to search engine users.

Some specific tips:

  • Make sure your page is mobile optimized. Verify it on multiple types of device. If you need help making it mobile-friendly, talk to your website developer.
  • Beef up flimsy content—pages of fewer than 400 words are especially in danger of algorithmic penalties.
  • Avoid keyword stuffing; use key search phrases naturally and organically.
  • Provide easy-to-read and value-adding content with actionable takeaways.
  • Focus on informing the reader—not merely pleasing the search bots.

It all comes down to excellent content—and of course, that’s something we can help you with. Reach out to the content writing team at Grammar Chic for a consultation about your Web writing needs. Reach us at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

Leave a comment

Filed under Content Marketing, Web Content

4 Ways to Make Your Call to Action More Compelling

Around here, we recommend to our clients that basically every piece of marketing collateral they write include a call to action. The call to action helps direct the reader, helps show them what step they need to take next—whether that means buying a product, signing up for an email newsletter, or simply clicking to your business website.

The idea is that you can’t just assume people will do what you want them to do, any more than you might assume your teenage son will take out the trash for you. Generally speaking, if you want it to happen, you need to say so. That’s what makes the call to action so valuable. It’s a prompt for your reader to do the thing you want them to do.

Not every call to action is effective, though. You might ask the reader to do something, and the reader might effectively say thanks but no thanks. The good news is, you can make your call to action more persuasive, more effective, more compelling—and we’ll show you how.

Write with Repetition

The human brain naturally looks for patterns, and for repeated words and phrases. It seeks out concepts or ideas that are important. That’s a psychological feature you can exploit in your calls to action.

Here’s how. Say you want your reader to save money on their auto maintenance needs by choosing your oil change and lube shop over a dealership. You should write a marketing email or blog that uses that key phrase—save money—several times over. Then, when you get to the call to action, frame it similarly. Save money by scheduling your oil change with us now!

By that point, your reader’s brain has been trained to really hone in on that phrase, save money—and ultimately to associate it with your call to action. By clicking the link or calling you on the phone, they assume, they’ll be able to save money, as promised throughout your content.

Make it Urgent

Are you familiar with the concept of FOMO? The fear of missing out? It’s a marketing principle that hinges on this basic idea: People don’t like to feel like they’re being excluded, or that they’re somehow not getting the same perks that other people are getting.

Along similar lines, people don’t like to think that there’s a really great offer that could pass them by. Your call to action can be more effective when it connects to this sense of urgency, then. Include phrases like limited time offer in your call to action, and motivate readers to follow through before they miss their window!

Focus on Benefits

This may be the most foundational, more important call to action rule of them all. If you want people to do something, you’ve got to show what’s in it for them. You’ve got to tell them that they will be better off for having done the thing you want them to do. You have to convey benefit to them.

That’s why your call to action won’t work as well if all it says is contact us today. Why should people contact you today? What value will it provide them? How will the experience enrich them? Those are the questions any good call to action must address.

Take Away Risk

One final way to make your call to action more compelling: Eliminate fear and risk. Let the reader know that they have nothing to worry about. Call today for a free consultation—with no obligation. Order today, and we guarantee you’ll love our product—or your money back. Those are the kinds of reassurances your customers are ultimately looking for.

And speaking of which: There’s no risk and no obligation when you call the Grammar Chic team to ask about our content writing services. We’d love to chat with you about how we can transform your calls to action into real money-makers for your business. Contact us to begin the process: 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

Leave a comment

Filed under Business Writing, Social Media

6 User Experience Errors That Will Sink Your Content Marketing

We’re often asked about the best strategies to marry content marketing with effective SEO. The basic premise is really simple: If you want to find favor with search engine algorithms, it’s important to first find favor with human readers. Making your content easy to discover, to read, and to digest—that’s all Google really wants you to do.

An implication of this is that, if you sacrifice the user experience—if you create content that doesn’t provide value to the reader, or that makes that value difficult to excavate—it’s inevitable that you’ll see a drop-off in Google traction.

This introduces a question. Is your content user-friendly? Or, to come at it from a different angle, are you doing anything in your company blog posts and in your Web content that’s compromising the user experience—and, thus, sinking your SEO?

Allow us to point out just a few common user experience errors that can make your content difficult to digest—and thus, less likely to find favor with Google’s algorithms.

Where Content Marketing Goes Wrong

Insufficient Substance/Length

We’ve blogged recently about word count, and about how there’s no simple answer to the question of how long your content should be. With that said, the basic principle to keep in mind is that you need to offer value without fluff—and a blog post that’s just 200 words probably isn’t fully addressing your readers’ questions. Aim for posts that really tackle your topic thoroughly and substantively; skimpy posts do not provide for a satisfying user experience any more than overly long, rambling ones do.

Bland and Boring Layouts

What’s the old saying about pictures and words? Well, we’d say you need both. A boring, black-and-white layout isn’t going to capture the reader’s attention. Make sure you embed pictures, videos, and other rich and colorful content into your blog posts and throughout your website.

Misspellings or Bad Grammar

If your content is laden with typos, it’s not going to come across as trustworthy or authoritative—so you can’t expect to see much in the way of backlinks. Readers won’t put up with poorly proofed content for long.

Unbroken Content

You need content breaks to make your posts easier to maneuver—and to skim. Make sure you break things down with section subheadings, bullet points, lists, etc.

Rambling Paragraphs

Similarly, avoid unbroken streams of text that just run on and on forever. Short paragraphs are key!

No Call to Action

A good blog post or website will direct the reader to what they need to do next; it will crystalize their action steps. That’s what a CTA is all about—so don’t neglect them!

Write Content That Gets Read

Our suggestion for you? Talk with Grammar Chic about improving the user experience in your content. We know how to write content that gets read—and content that gets ranked. Reach out to us at 803-831-7444, or at www.grammarchic.net, to start a conversation.

Leave a comment

Filed under Content Marketing, Content Writing, Social Media

How to Get Better Engagement on Your Blog Posts

If a blog gets posted to your company website, but nobody reads it, does that blog really exist? The answer, for all practical purposes, is no. For your business blogging to be meaningful, you need to get engagement—and that means people not only reading your post, but commenting on it, sharing it, liking it on Facebook, retweeting it, and more.

You can’t buy this kind of engagement, and neither can you force it—but there are ways you can make your blog posts more engaging. There are steps you can take to entice people to not only read your posts, but interact with them on various levels.

Here are some of the basic principles our team recommends for writing truly engaging blog posts.

Steps for Better Blog Engagement

Know Your Audience

If you want to engage people, you first need to know who you are engaging—and that means writing a blog post that speaks directly to their needs and their values. Ensure that you are using a buyer persona or a similar tool to help you write to a specific audience, taking into account their pain points, their interests, the problems they are trying to solve, etc.

Create a Seamless User Experience

Also ensure that your posts are easy to read. Don’t make your reader scroll incessantly, or read long blocks of unbroken test. Write in short sentences and brief paragraphs. Include section subheadings and bulleted lists where appropriate. Provide graphics when you can. And always ensure that the content is relevant to the needs of your audience (see our first point).

Ensure a Compelling Headline

We’ve blogged many times before about the importance of headlines, which draw readers into your content. Your headline should make a clear promise of value: What will the reader learn from your post? How will he or she be better off having read it.

Start Strong

Your opening paragraph is also quite important, as most readers never make it past the introduction of an online article. Begin with a statement of value, with a question, with a fascinating statistic… something to draw the reader to keep going.

Make it Actionable

Ensure that your blog post provides some real takeaways for your readers—some things they can actually do with the information you’ve given them; some steps for putting the blog post to use. Before you even begin writing, consider what your actionable takeaways will be.

Ask for Feedback

Finally, don’t be afraid to actually ask for feedback. Invite readers to leave comments. Encourage them to share photos or personal stories that might relate to your blog. Open the floor to suggestions for your next blog topic. Be approachable. Be open to interaction with your readers.

Write Posts That Get Engagement

If you’re not getting engagement on your company blog posts, it’s time for you to make a change. Consider outsourcing your blog writing to the Grammar Chic team. We have ample experience writing blog posts that get read—and that generate engagement. Contact us to learn more at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

Leave a comment

Filed under Blog Writing, Content Marketing, Social Media

6 Things to Ask When Brainstorming for Content Ideas

One of the challenges facing any business owner who invests in content marketing is coming up with new ideas. For a content marketing campaign to last, you have to sustain it with fresh content ideas—and generating new ideas on a regular basis might require some intense brainstorming.

As you pause to reflect on potential new content ideas, we recommend a few simple questions to guide the process.

Questions to Guide Your Content Brainstorming

Are you repeating yourself? There’s nothing wrong with recycling old ideas and putting new twists on them. In fact, it’s something we recommend. You don’t want to just keep saying the same thing over and over again, though, so always stop to consider whether you’ve crossed the line into redundancy.

Do you have enough information for this topic? Do a quick Google search to ensure that you’ll actually be able to find some good resources to help you write. There’s no use in committing to an idea that you simply can’t support.

Can you bring unique perspective to this topic? You don’t just want to rehash the same points that your competitors are making in their content. Make sure you have a way to add real, original value to your content idea. Make sure you can provide your take on things.

Does your idea address the needs and interests of your target audience? Make sure your topic isn’t too “inside baseball.” It may be interesting to you, but what really matters is that it is valuable to your audience.

How does the content reflect on your brand, products, and/or services? Your content doesn’t need to be straightforwardly promotional, and in fact we recommend keeping the selling to a minimum. You should make sure it relates to your brand in some way, though. What you want is compelling content that leads naturally into a strong call to action.

What’s the headline going to be? How will you frame your content? How will you structure it—as a top 10 list, bullet points, or just a straightforward essay? And how will you generate interest from readers? What will your hook be? These are important considerations as you brainstorm.

Get the Best Content Ideas

Another consideration: Our content marketing specialists can help you not only develop ideas, but implement them effectively. Learn more about our content marketing services by reaching out to Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

Leave a comment

Filed under Brand Management, Content Marketing, Social Media

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Content Marketing, Content Writing, Social Media