Tag Archives: Content Writing

Why Content Marketing is Right for This Moment

What comes next?

That’s the question many of us are asking as the pandemic rages on. The year 2020 has been buffeted by disruption and uncertainty, and there’s really no telling what the next few months will bring. Understandably, most of us have our anxieties: Anxieties about our children’s education, about politics, about money, about the businesses we own.

For the most part, we don’t know any more than you do, and won’t venture a guess as to what 2021 has in store. But one thing we can say is that, as you consider your business plans for the coming year, it would be wise to consider making content marketing a part of it.

Content marketing is actually very well-suited for the current cultural moment. Allow us to tell you why.

Why Now’s the Time for Content Marketing

1) Because it’s never been more valuable to connect with your customers.

We know: It’s such a cliché. And you’ve no doubt been inundated with emails beginning with “in these unprecedented times…

But the reality is, we’re all craving some regularity, some sense of connectedness, some inkling that things may return to an approximation of normal. Content marketing can provide you with an excellent way of providing those things for your customers and clients. Maybe you’re looking for an email newsletter to keep clients apprised of new store policies or COVID safety measures. Maybe you need a social media campaign to inform folks that things will be business-as-usual during the holiday shopping center. Whatever your specific communication needs, content marketing can be an asset.

2) Because content marketing breeds trust.

By the time 2021 rolls around, there’s no telling what the economy’s going to look like… but right now, the projections are all showing fairly modest growth. What this means is that consumers and B2B clients are likely going to be more cautious than before about parting ways with their hard-earned-money.

So how can you convince your target audience to spend their dime on your product or service? Old-fashioned, ham-fisted advertising methods are proving themselves to be less and less effective. But earning the trust and goodwill of clients, by showcasing your expertise and thought leadership, can be just the thing. And again, that’s really what content marketing is all about.

3) Because content marketing is highly scalable.

A lot of companies are heading into 2021 with scaled-back marketing budgets. Here again, content marketing may be just what you need. Content marketing is made to scale, and it’s very easy to start with a modest scope and build into something more robust over time. Additionally, content marketing provides plenty of options for tracking and reporting, allowing you to see exactly what’s working and what’s not, then allocating marketing dollars accordingly.

Content marketing can also bring some flexibility to your team. Unable to hire a full-time marketing person? Outsourcing to a content marketing agency like Grammar Chic can be a cost-effective alternative. Or, if you have a marketing team that’s stretched a little thin, Grammar Chic can offer coverage on content creation and distribution, freeing your employees to invest in other forms of value-adding creative or technical work.

The bottom line: If your business is looking for something nimble and elastic, both from a budgetary standpoint and a workforce standpoint, content marketing may be the right way to proceed.

4) Because content marketing can help you build something new.

We understand that a lot of entrepreneurs are going to need to be flexible and creative in order to stay afloat in 2020; this might mean rebranding, launching a new line of products and services, or even creating a side hustle.

If you’re trying something new, you’ll want to promote it. Content marketing provides a great way to generate word-of-mouth buzz in an authentic, organic way. Start creating a community around your new venture via engaging social media content, blog posts, and beyond.

We can help you do it. Grammar Chic, Inc. is always over the moon to work with small business owners, and we’re especially passionate about showing how content marketing can be the perfect thing for this strange season of life.

If you’d like to chat with us about any of this, we welcome you to reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. today.

Connect with us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Communicating in the Time of Coronavirus

What are you even supposed to say to someone in a time of unprecedented challenge, uncertainty, and loss? It’s not a rhetorical question; it’s something all of us have struggled with in recent days, fumbling for the right words, sifting meaningful reassurances from clichés and platitudes.

The reality is that none of our words are quite sufficient for the magnitude of a global pandemic. Nevertheless, they’ve never been more essential. We need words now as much as ever as we seek to convey our empathy, our need, our solidarity, and our hope.

We need meaningful, heartfelt words for the people we love. And, businesses and brands need clear, precise language to let their customers and employees know that they, too, are doing everything they can to foster connection and weather this storm.

No doubt you’ve already been flooded with emails from companies letting you know their COVID-19 policies, changes to normal operat

ion, perhaps even ways you can pitch in and help those who are truly struggling.

And if you are a business owner who hasn’t yet found the right words or the proper tone, there is still time. A simple newsletter, email blast, or Facebook post can go a long way toward letting your audience know you’re with them in this time of crisis.

Now’s the time to speak your heart, and what’s important isn’t eloquence so much as authenticity. With that said, we can offer just a few tips on wise, clear communication in the time of coronavirus.

Communicating Amidst Coronavirus

  • The most important thing is just showing that you care. If ever there was a time to just reach out to your customers and employees, without any underlying agenda, just to tell them you’re around and you’re feeling the confusion, too… well, now is that time.
  • Be proactive in articulating key information. Don’t leave your customers to guess about suspensions of your normal services, or abbreviations to your hours of operation. Keep in contact and let people know how your company is handling the coronavirus. Be proactive in communicating any changes as they arise.
  • Consider some options for sacrificial service. What can your company do to make your clients’ lives just a little easier? Whether it’s free shipping or flexible pricing, every gesture is welcome. Note, these gestures might also make it easier for your customers to support you and your business.
  • Inspire action. Something else you can do with your business communications: Provide links or suggestions for ways your clients can help those in need. Send out information about charities or causes that are making a positive impact during this scary season.
  • Audit your current content calendar. If you have any scheduled blog posts or tweets that might come across as glib or insensitive, now might be the time to pull them and hold them for better days.

And in all seriousness: We truly do believe better days are coming. Until then, the Grammar Chic team sends our encouragement and solidarity to all of you. Hang in there. Stay healthy. Take care of each other. And stay in touch.

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What the Coronavirus Teaches Us About Content Marketing

Kind of an odd headline, huh?  I know—I am well aware that it seemed like a stretch when I started pondering recent current events and their correlation to the topic of content marketing.  On the surface (no pun intended, and I have been wiping everything down with Clorox wipes around here, FYI) it might appear that this pandemic and the content marketing practice have nothing in common. However, as I have tried to digest the seemingly constant and ever evolving stream of information that we all have been inundated with, I started to realize something.  Ultimately, the overall handling of the Coronavirus is essentially a lesson in what not to do when it comes to content marketing.

The Handling of Coronavirus is a How-To Guide for Bad Content Marketing

Below, you will find a couple of themes I have noticed as it relates to the communication strategy (or lack thereof) and the “Corona Crud” as I have taken to calling it:

  1. Have you noticed that there doesn’t seem to be anyone actually in charge of the overall messaging? Have you realized that at any given point in time, varied streams of information (as well as misinformation) come at us faster than we can say “Wash Your Hands!”? Indeed, it’s been dizzying to keep up with and hard to essentially figure out what is true and trustworthy (and if it comes from a reputable source) and what is just plain nonsense.

The Lesson: When it comes to content marketing, having too many proverbial scientists handling the petri dish is a recipe for disaster.  It is necessary to put one person who is knowledgeable, confident, and focused in charge and discourage involvement from other people who want to interject their own messaging or create alternate information streams. There is too much room for error in this regard.

  1. Writing for the sake of writing is bad news. And this has definitely been true with regard to Coronavirus. Hearsay and speculation have run rampant; rumors about miracle treatments, secret labs, and even the CDC’s need for men to shave off their beards to prevent the virus from spreading have abounded. News outlets have worked overtime in producing “click bait” articles that provide little new information but attract the attention of anxious readers eager to learn more. At the end of the day, the agencies in charge have struggled to keep up and have even noted that it’s possible that we are facing an “infodemic.”

 

The Lesson: Producing content for the sake of producing content is a terrible approach. In content marketing, the content that is made public should have a purpose and you have to work to control the spread of information that hurts rather than helps. Admittedly, the WHO and CDC have a big job—they are trying to ensure the public has good information, but they have found themselves unable to control bad content leaking and multiplying from other sources (and some of those sources, frankly speaking, come from the very highest levels of our government).

 

  1. Negative associations can hurt your brand. This isn’t so much about Coronavirus as it is about Corona—the beer. There is a lot in a name. And what’s worse than loose associations centered around a name? Ill-timed marketing campaigns that promise “coming ashore soon” at the exact same moment as when the first cases of Coronavirus started popping up on the U.S. Pacific coast.  Yes, Corona (the beer) actually released a campaign like this—just recently—for its hard seltzer.  The company has tried to reinforce that there is no correlation between their beer and the virus, but bad messaging and misinformation, coupled with consumer fear has the ability to hurt the brand.

The Lesson: Believing that an audience will form logical conclusions without your help, guidance, and reassurance isn’t the best strategy.  If something damaging could be associated with your brand—no matter how far-fetched—work to stop the issue proactively and ensure that your own marketing efforts aren’t being used to reinforce an already ridiculous theory or belief. Again, it’s necessary to remain constantly aware of what is being communicated—no matter if it’s coming from you or another source.

A Good Content Strategy Promotes Real Information

At the end of the day, Coronavirus is a serious situation—and people deserve to trust the information that is being published about this virus. The people and agencies who have microphones, global platforms, and Twitter accounts have a responsibility to share truthful and reliable information. There is a great responsibility placed upon the people in charge of a communication strategy to be transparent and knowledgeable about the content they share.  The conveying of misinformation or messages that negates expert advice is not only a disservice to the public, it is unethical—and this is true no matter what your content strategy is looking to communicate or promote.

At Grammar Chic, we fully subscribe to the idea of creating content that goes viral (no pun intended). However, that content must be based on facts, clear messaging, and benefit the end user. For more information, contact us today by visiting www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444.

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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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4 Powerful Ways to Reuse Your Blog Content

A good blog post represents a significant investment of your time and resources; and, a major depository of your subject matter expertise. So, what happens when you polish off a post, publish it to your website, and spread the word on social media? Hopefully, you’ll see a big spike in hits, likes, comments, and shares… but eventually, all that activity tends to taper off. That can be a deflating feeling.

But what if there was a way to extend the usefulness of your blog post? To really mine it for all its worth? As it turns out, there are a few ways to get the highest possible ROI from your content investment.

Here are our favorite strategies for truly maximizing the usefulness of each blog post.

Turn it into a “Pillar” Article

A pillar article tends to be a longer, evergreen piece of content that takes a comprehensive look at a particular topic. Once you write a pillar article, the next step is to break it down into individual sub-sections, ensuring that you include plenty of hyperlinks from the pillar to the sub-sections and vice versa. This strategy can enhance the user experience and lead to robust SEO results.

So take a look at some of your most popular blog posts. Could any of them qualify as pillar posts? For instance, maybe you have a lengthy Top 10 list posted to your blog. Consider breaking down each individual point into a smaller post of its own, using the pillar page as a jumping off point for more narrowly focused, supportive posts.

Make a Video

If you have a popular blog post that eventually loses some steam, one way to reinvigorate it is to use the blog as fodder for a video. In other words, once you’ve made a splash on Google, turn your attention to YouTube!

This doesn’t have to be an elaborate video, either. Simply use the blog post as an outline, talking through some key points, perhaps putting together some bulleted slides. It’s a great way to extend the life of a blog post and take your subject matter expertise to a new venue.

Make it into a Guest Post

You’ve shared your insights on your own blog, but there are still plenty of people who remain unreached. But if you know the topic has some juice, you can always write a second edition, ensuring to keep the same points intact but change all the wording, then submit it as a guest post to an industry blog or publication.

Not only does this help you get a little extra mileage from your original post, but it also gives you a way to generate some backlinks to your website, a major SEO win.

Update the Original

Finally, note that many topics will warrant regular updates. If you have popular posts from a year or two back, there may be some merit to reading back through them and seeing if anything’s changed. Are there new developments, trends, or technologies worth mentioning? Some supplemental materials you could include as links? Has your own thinking or perspective evolved in some way? Updating an older post with some new text can sometimes breathe new life into it, and possibly even trigger some new SEO benefits.

Take a Second Look at Your Best Blogs

There are plenty of ways to stretch out the usefulness of a good blog post. And whether you need help brainstorming some content refreshers or drafting a post in the first place, Grammar Chic, Inc. is here to help. Reach out to us when you want to chat: 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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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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Workflow and Content Automation Defined: How to Get Started

Managing content for your website and social media accounts takes a lot of time and expertise. Like everything else these days, companies are looking for ways to get technology involved to help reduce time and costs when it comes to their content generation. Workflow and Content Automation (WCA) has been a rapidly growing industry for the past few years. Experts estimate that this industry will grow to be a $6B market by the year 2023. But what is it exactly and how can you utilize it?

When we say, “content automation,” we don’t necessarily mean hiring a robot or computer to write your company’s blog and social media posts. While such technology exists, what we mean is applying tools to help you create the most impactful content possible. Continue reading to find out the ways WCA can help you and how to integrate it into your daily routines.

Basics

You have a few options when it comes to automating your content marketing, which can be done at several different points in the content marketing pipeline:

  • Curation

Content curation tools are not there to create content for you, but rather they rely on algorithms to mine content from across the Web, and to then recommend content that would be most relevant to your audience.

An example of an automated content curation tool is DrumUp, which makes quick work of sorting through the billions of pieces of content that are online. Other tools like Google trends are great if you have access to those accounts. Tools like these take the guesswork out of content ideation and allow creators to rely on data to make better decisions.

  • Distribution

Content distribution tools help to ensure that the most relevant pieces of content appear in front of the right people. Email marketing software, which sends out messages to customers based on their past behavior or purchases, is one example of automated content distribution.

What we’re really talking about here are ads. Getting your tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram stories and more, out in front of targeted audiences is key to social media marketing. Using paid advertising tools takes advantage of these platforms’ user data, to make sure the content you’re trying to promote is ending up in front of the right people.

Best Practices

  • Define your problem

The first step in implementing an automated content generation process is to think of your goals or an area of content marketing where you’re struggling. Maybe your content sinks like a stone once you publish it, or maybe you need to find ways to get it in front of the right audience. You might have an internal resource issue where you just don’t have enough people who can produce the right content. Whatever the problem is, make sure it is properly identified.

You also want to define your audience, so that you know what tools will best reach them. Email marketing might not work so well if your customers largely hang out on social media, for example. Make sure you know who you want to talk to and where they are spending their time online.

  • Find a product

Once you’ve determined what your internal struggles with content are, determine the best tools available to fix those issues for you. There are plenty of options out there that specialize on the generation, scheduling, and distribution of your content. We’ve mentioned some here in this article, but make sure to do plenty of research.

Talk to the salespeople at any company you are considering. Make sure they understand your unique situation. No two organizations are the same so ensure they aren’t treating you like everyone else. Does their program offer specific solutions to the problems you’ve identified? If not, continue the search until you’ve found something that does.

  • Iterate the process

Once you’ve chosen a tool or tool set to use for your content automation, the job isn’t over. It’s imperative to continue to monitor and adjust the process until you are seeing positive results.

Also, do not forget to benchmark current content performance. How much traffic do your blog posts typically receive? What is the average number of engagement events on your social platforms by channel? Without this data, it will be impossible to tell if you’re making progress.

Compare your success metrics with the automated content generation in place to your benchmark data. Continue when things are improving and adjust when metrics dip.

Workflow and Content Automation is an industry on the rise and can be a huge help for a growing organization looking to streamline their blog and social channels. Be sure to figure out where you need help and find the tools to correct course. It’s not as scary as it looks, so get out there and create!

Author Bio: Amanda Peterson is a software engineer and regular contributor at Enlightened Digital. Based in New York City, she enjoys Netflix bingeing with her Puggle, Hendrix, and shopping in record stores.

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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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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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