Tag Archives: Content Writing

3 Things Lil Nas X Can Teach Us About Content Marketing

What do Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Post Malone, Ed Sheeran, and Justin Bieber all have in common?

Over the last several weeks, all of them have been blocked from the #1 spot on the Billboard Top 100, their ascendency stopped by a little song called “Old Town Road.”

Whether you herald it as the cutting edge of rap/country hybridization or you hear it as a musical meme gone horribly wrong, there’s no question that it’s the most talked-about, most argued-about, and most historically significant song of the year.

You probably know the backstory: A rapper named Lil Nas X assembled the song from trap beats and country instrumentation, initially uploading it to YouTube where it became a viral sensation. It rose to the top of the country charts; country radio disavowed it, essentially saying it wasn’t “authentic” enough. The incident sparked an online debate about the fluid nature of genre and country music’s vexing history of racism, among other things.

Also, somewhere along the way, Billy Ray Cyrus got involved.

Of course, the song eventually made it back to the charts, and stands as one of the defining pop culture moments of the year. And, it got us thinking about the nature of content marketing—

something Lil Nas X obviously has a pretty good handle on.

Viral Still Matters

One takeaway: Creating something that connects with people, even on a small scale, still matters… and those little connections can quickly build into huge movements.

Nobody had ever heard of Lil Nas X before “Old Town Road,” and he released the song without much in the way of industry support. It was just a goof that he uploaded to the Web—but people liked it. The song is strange, funky, extremely catchy, and a joy to listen to. It caught on. It went viral, even without much in the way of supportive infrastructure. And in much the same way, a really well-honed piece of content, with the right audience and the right moment, can catch serious fire… with or without the help of big publishers or influencers.

Categories are Innately Limiting

Even if you don’t care much for the song, you have to admit that it’s spawned some compelling meta-narratives and critical conversations… including dialogue about what it actually is. Country? Trap? A novelty? A new frontier?

Maybe that’s a big part of why it’s connected with people: It exists outside of our pre-set boxes and categories. Similarly, there’s room for content marketing that doesn’t fit in with expectation.

You don’t have to blog about the same topics as everyone else in your industry. You don’t have to create Instagram videos that follow a formula. You can allow your own personality to sparkle and shine through, and trust that your unclassifiable authenticity will resonate.

When in Doubt, Remix

We made a joke about Billy Ray Cyrus, but in all seriousness: His remix of “Old Town Road” is an important part of why the song has stayed in the public consciousness for so long.

Remixing your content marketing can have a similar impact; if you have a blog that’s performed well, why not break it down into some tweets? Reshape it into a press release? Or if nothing else, use it as a jumping off point for some ancillary blog posts?

Recognize when you have a good thing… and look for ways to spin it in a fresh direction.

These are just a few of the takeaways we’ve gathered from “Old Town Road” and Lil Nas X… and if you want to know how these lessons can impact your content marketing efforts, we invite you to reach out.

Let’s chat: Contact Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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How to Make Your Boring Industry Really Interesting

At Grammar Chic, Inc., we truly believe that content marketing can deliver meaningful results for any company, in any industry.

But some may have to work a little bit harder for it than others.

Simply put, some industries more naturally lend themselves to fresh, exciting, compelling content. But what happens if you sell annuities?  What happens if you prepare tax returns? What happens if you’re an estate planning lawyer? We’re not saying these things are unimportant! We’re just saying they may not seem as flashy or as exciting to the average reader.

It may cause you to wonder what can be done to turn your “boring” line of work into really rich, persuasive content—content that people will actually want to read.

Here’s our advice.

Always Be Helpful

A good rule of thumb: If your content is helpful, someone out there’s going to find it interesting.

Take our example of an estate planning attorney. You may write a blog post about how to draft a will; when a living trust is necessary; or how to choose guardians for your children.

Those topics may not jump off the page, and sure, some may say they’re unglamorous. But people want to know those things. They need to know those things. And if you can provide that information in a clear and actionable way, there will be readers who find great value in it—

period.

Maybe the best advice here is to change your way of thinking: If you can’t make your content exciting, just make sure that it helps someone.

Write Without Jargon

One thing that can stand between you and an engaged readership is reliance on industry jargon.

We see this a lot when working with insurance companies, who trot out a bunch of words and phrases that may be foreign to the layperson. Of course, that’s the quickest way to get eyes to glaze over!

Don’t think (or write) in terms of industry buzzwords. Instead, come at it from the customer’s point of view. What are their pain points? What answers do they seek? And how can your company benefit from them? Focus on those things, with as much clarity as you can.

Inject Some Personality

Your business may be boring—or at least, that may be how people perceive it.

But you’re not boring!

Feel free to inject some personality, even humor, into your content. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to make your content come alive.

This might mean throwing in some personal anecdotes, some gentle self-deprecation, or even some specific examples from past clients (ensuring you keep things anonymous, of course).

Another strategy is to draw connections to shows, movies, or other pop culture reference points that might mean something to you. Remember our posts invoking Mad Men and The Walking Dead?

Get Help from the Pros

It’s frustrating to feel like your industry is just a dead space for compelling content—but we honestly believe that any field can be made enticing, or at the very least valuable, to the reader.

We’d love to show you how. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. to schedule a content consultation today. You can reach us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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How to Prepare for Your Content Call

Nobody knows your business better than you do—but that doesn’t mean you should be the person to write all your company blogs, press releases, and social media posts.

Actually, your intimate knowledge of the business can be as much a liability as a boon. Simply put, you may be too close to it to be able to sort through what’s really important, and what’s discursive.

A professional content writer, meanwhile, can provide a helpful level of remove—helping you see the business from an outsider’s point of view and more precisely hone your marketing message.

Of course, there’s still a lot riding on your ability to explain what your business does, who your business serves, and what makes your business unique. Here at Grammar Chic, Inc., our content writers will want to jump on the phone with you for a content call, where we get to hear your story, in your words, allowing us to capture your voice.

Getting Ready for Your Content Call

As you prepare to speak with a Grammar Chic writer, here are a few questions you can start to ponder.

  1. Who are your clients? To write effective content, step one is knowing the audience. We’ll want to know who your clients are, basically. Do you serve just women? Mostly seniors? Professionals within a certain field? How would you describe your typical client?
  2. What’s your reach? Where are you located—and from how far away do your customers come? Help your content writer get a sense of your geographic spread.
  3. What’s your elevator pitch? What makes your business unique? Why would a customer pick you over the competition? How would you articulate your value proposition if you only had 30 seconds to do it?
  4. What’s in it for the end user? To come at it differently, what are the benefits customers and clients can anticipate? What pain points do you address? How are people better off having worked with your business?
  5. Who’s your competition? Can you point your writer to a few competitors, just to get a sense of how similar companies present themselves?
  6. What are your keywords? If you had to summarize your products or services in just a few quick SEO keywords, what would some of those keywords be?
  7. Do you have any existing content? Do you have some company blog posts already published? What about some social media posts? Do you like the current content on your website, or does it need some work?
  8. What are your goals? What are you hoping to achieve through content writing? How will you define success?

Getting ready for a content call may feel a little daunting: What should you say? Where do you begin? However, if you can take some time to answer these questions, you’ll really be prepared for a constructive meeting, and a terrific launch to your content writing partnership!

We’d love to set up a call with you today to discuss your content writing needs. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444 or via www.grammarchic.net.

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6 Ways You Can Clean Up Your Content Marketing

Is it too late for spring cleaning?

Not where your content marketing is concerned.

In fact, there’s no time like the present to sort through your social media profiles, your website, and your blog, refreshing your content and removing clutter.

The goal? A content marketing enterprise that’s streamlined and effective, providing a more satisfying experience for your audience.

We recommend doing a quick content clean up at least once a year, and in this post, we’ll provide a few steps you can follow to make that clean up effective.

6 Ways to Clean Up Your Content Marketing

  1. Rewrite your social media profiles. When’s the last time your Facebook “About” section was revised or your Twitter bio got an overhaul? Do they still reflect the core value proposition of your business and the kind of language you like to use to describe your products and services? It’s a good habit to review and revise this content annually.
  2. Prune your email list. The goal for any email marketing effort is to have an active and engaged subscriber list. Do you have people who haven’t opened or engaged with your messages in two or three years? If so, you’re probably safe removing them from the database. You might also check for any email addresses that bounce messages back to you; sometimes it’s a simple typo that’s causing your messages to go unread, so verify that you’ve entered the email address correctly.
  3. Audit your links. Nothing frustrates your website users like links that lead to nowhere. It’s worth taking a few minutes to scour your Web content for any links that may be broken, either repairing or removing them as necessary.
  4. Organize your blogging efforts. Has your company blog fallen into an irregular, inconsistent schedule? Develop a new editorial calendar, clarifying when new posts will be written and published. Also note who’s responsible for what—i.e. which team members will do the writing, the image sourcing, the posting, and the social media promotion.
  5. Check your online reputation. Do you have customer reviews you’ve never responded to or online listings that are less than flattering? If you haven’t Googled your company name in a while, do so now, and get a better sense of what’s out there. You might also set up a Google Alert to stay in the know.
  6. Clean up your Google My Business page. Does your GMB account have up-to-date hours and contact information, as well as fresh images? Is it time to rewrite the content to better reflect your current business and SEO objectives? Review your GMB page and make whatever adjustments are necessary.

Content marketing clean up isn’t the flashiest topic, but it can be an important way to keep your efforts aligned with your goals. Reach out to us if you’d like to discuss further ways to enhance your content marketing efforts. Connect with Grammar Chic, Inc. at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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What is Episodic Content Marketing?

You’re probably familiar with the old show business adage: Leave the audience wanting more.

That simple piece of advice has recently become popular in content marketing circles, as well. One of this year’s big trends is episodic content marketing, which is all about providing your audience with just enough value to be satisfied, but also to make them want to come back for seconds.

At its most basic, episodic content marketing is simply about taking a big piece of content and doling it out as individual installments. For instance, maybe instead of writing a 10-point, 3,000-word blog, you create a series of ten 300-word blogs—each one devoted to a single point, all of them adding up into a more comprehensive argument or narrative.

The Benefits of Episodic Content Marketing

As you can tell, this isn’t a complete retooling of the content ecosystem so much as a simple paradigm shift: Maybe instead of long and meaty content, it’s more logical to have bite-sized morsels. And there are some clear benefits. For example:

  • Episodic content marketing gives your audience a reason to come back for more, just like when a TV show (or an Avengers movie!) ends on a big cliffhanger.
  • It also provides an incentive for people to subscribe to your email list or to follow you on social media—after all, they don’t want to miss the next episode!
  • Finally, episodic content allows you to develop a grand narrative or arc, which can lend to your brand’s thought leadership and authority.

What Does Episodic Content Marketing Require?

Another upshot of episodic content marketing is that, if you already have a strong content development structure in place, it’s a pretty easy shift into the episodic realm. Some guidelines to consider:

  • Make sure you have a good sense of the big picture. A 10-part blog series needs a unifying theme or idea, and that’s something you have to figure out in advance.
  • It’s also important that each piece of content creates anticipation for the next. At the end of a blog post, tease the upcoming topic. Again, this requires advance planning.
  • Encourage interaction when you can. Share each episode on social media and in your company emails and ask for feedback. Pose some specific questions to get people to engage with you.

If you’ve been in a content rut and are looking for a way to reinvigorate audience interest, this is an approach that could pay off. And we’d love to help however we can! Connect with Grammar Chic, Inc. to discuss content strategy or creation. You can find us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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4 Ways the Right Content Can Fuel Business Growth

To achieve consistent growth at your company, everything needs to be firing on all cylinders—your sales team, your marketing department, your business development crew, you name it. Everyone needs to be doing their part, leveraging resources and expertise to move the ball forward.

Content marketing is very much a part of that equation. When wielded strategically, content can actually be fuel for your business growth—helping turn leads into conversions and one-time customers into repeat clients.

A few types of content can be especially helpful in this regard. Here are our recommendations.

4 Types of Content That Can Help Your Business Grow

  1. Product and service descriptions.

Whether you have an e-commerce clothing boutique or an all-purpose plumbing company, it’s important to devote some website real estate to describing what it is you do—and how your customers stand to benefit. Remember, online shoppers can’t pick up, examine, or try on your products and services, so you need Web copy that makes them feel like they have. Be descriptive enough to help customers feel confident that they know what they’re getting into, and focus on the benefit to the end user—what’s in it for them when they buy.

  1. Landing pages.

Imagine this scenario. A potential customer sees a PPC ad for your law firm’s estate planning services. They click it, and it takes them to your firm’s home page—where there’s no explicit mention of estate planning. That may be frustrating, and your lead may decide it’s not worth their trouble to poke around your site to find what they’re looking for. The long and short of it is, it’s valuable to have dedicated landing pages for each service/product you have, ensuring that you can always send leads to somewhere that specifically addresses what they’re looking for.

  1. Emails.

Don’t ignore the power of email marketingstill the most effective way to directly connect with your customers past and present. Whether you put together a monthly newsletter or a weekly e-blast, take the time to think through your content (including subject lines) to make sure you’re offering value. When leveraged correctly, email marketing can build brand awareness and loyalty, and turn some of those one-time customers into follow-up buyers.

  1. Google My Business listing.

Has your company signed up for a free Google My Business listing? It’s worth doing, as it can help you achieve greater visibility among local search engine users. And that positive SEO impact is compounded when you take the time to write compelling, keyword-optimized descriptions of your business. All of this is just to say that GMB is an invaluable but oft-overlooked content deployment opportunity, and it can play a big role in helping you connect with local customers.

Do You Have the Content You Need?

Chances abound for you to use content in a way that leads to business growth—and the Grammar Chic, Inc. team is standing ready to help you make the most of them. Reach out today and let’s talk together about a sound content strategy for your company! Connect with us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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How to Spot Online Propaganda

You can’t believe everything you read—especially online.

As content marketing professionals, this is something we’re uniquely sensitive to. We believe strongly that there’s value in companies providing good, substantive, valuable information as a way to build their brand and establish thought leadership.

And yes, the content marketing model does blur the line between information and advertisement—but it’s only effective if it’s ultimately truthful.

By contrast, a lot of the content out there is outright propaganda—designed to misinform, to mislead, and to obscure the truth.

To be a responsible online citizen, it’s important to know the difference. That’s what we’re going to look at today.

Where You’ll Spot Propaganda

The first thing to be aware of is that propaganda can come from almost any source. Some common examples:

  • Brand/company pages on Facebook. Note that Facebook doesn’t regulate these pages and doesn’t have any standard of transparency or veracity in place. Maybe one day that will change—but for now, public pages are all potential breeding grounds for propaganda.
  • Twitter accounts. We’re mostly thinking of bots here—fake accounts that usually have a highly political slant. Be careful; not every social media user is a real person!
  • A lot of the memes that come across as good-natured and funny are actually made by marketing companies and have an insidious agenda—which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is something to be aware of!
  • News items. A lot of the links that look like real news could in fact be—we hate to say it—fake news. You can usually tell by looking at the URL; anything lacking a good, clean URL (like nytimes.com, washingtonpost.com, bbc.com, reuters.com, economist.com etc.) could potentially be a propaganda site.
  • Photo editing tools have become truly advanced and sophisticated—and sadly, you just can’t take every online photo you see seriously.

Steer Clear of Propaganda

That’s just a cross-section of some of the places you’ll find propaganda—and our point really is that you can find it anywhere. So the question is, how can you protect yourself?

Some tips:

  • Be a skeptic. Simply having a discerning mindset, and realizing that what you’re reading could be propaganda, is a good first step.
  • Google around. If you find a news story that seems hard to believe, use Google to look for other sources. If you can’t find them, it may very well be phony. One of the first things taught in journalism school is that all facts in any story should be confirmed by two reliable sources. In today’s day and age, finding two or more sources that share a story’s detail is not overly taxing. Real news stories are picked up by multiple outlets—even if a single platform breaks the story.
  • Avoid interacting with unvetted sources. Liking and commenting on a public page can suck you into the web of propaganda—unless you know the brand in question and trust them.
  • Take reviews with a grain of salt. Online reviews are sometimes fake—and you can usually tell which ones lack credibility. Fake ones won’t be very long or specific.
  • Read widely. Don’t rely on a single platform or website for your news. Try to be a curious and voracious reader.
  • Learn what fake ads look like. It’s helpful to know how you can identify paid content—and there are usually some giveaways. On social networks, as well as on Google, these ads will be labeled as “sponsored.” On Instagram specifically, sponsored posts must carry the hashtag #ad.

The bottom line: it takes some effort and some deliberation to tell which online content you can trust—but it’s worth it to not get snookered by the propaganda machine.

We’d love to tell you more about honest and authentic content creation. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. to learn more! Call 803-831-7444 or visit www.grammarchic.net.

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