Tag Archives: Content Writing

Can Outsourced Content Writing Maintain a High Level of Quality?

Whether because they lack the time, the ability, or some combination of the two, more and more businesses are outsourcing their content writing; when it comes time for a new company blog post or press release, they farm it out to an agency or a freelancer, where the work is done relatively hassle-free.

This method obviously has its advantages, but there can also be compromises—especially when it comes to quality.

It doesn’t have to be that way. You can get high-quality work through outsourced content writing, but to do so, you’ve got to hire the right people—and manage the process wisely.

Why Content Quality Matters

First, a quick word about quality. It can be tempting to approve of any half-decent writing that’s sent your way, but business owners can and should be pickier about what they accept. There are a couple of reasons for this, and the first is branding. The writing on your website or blog reflects your brand, and as such you want it to be authoritative, clean, and helpful; you want to provide value to your customers, without errors or typos. Sloppy writing makes you look like a sloppy company.

In addition, you need quality because Google demands it—and if you want your blog or website to rank well within Google searches, keeping the algorithms happy is a necessity. Google wants its search engine users to have relevant answers to all their quandaries, so to ensure high visibility, you have to be helpful and solutions-oriented.

Hiring Quality Writers

That’s a high threshold for your writer to meet—so how can you ensure that they rise to the challenge?

  • First, make sure you hire the right people. A writing company, as opposed to an individual freelancer, can offer a real business track record, including reviews and testimonials. Always ask for work samples, too. Of course, checking out the company’s own blog helps you see what they are capable of.
  • Always make sure you’re getting your writing done by native American English speakers.
  • Do your part to provide clear directions. Be ready to offer topics, a sense of your voice/desired tone, and any SEO keywords you’d like the writers to employ.
  • Also be prepared to educate the writer about who your audience is, and what you wish to accomplish with your writing. Clear goals are vitally important.
  • Provide constructive feedback whenever you can, which will help your writers better understand your voice.
  • Finally, make sure you know quality work when you see it. This goes beyond just checking for typos and grammatical errors. Also make sure the writing that’s submitted to you is tailored to your audience and advances the goals or agenda you’ve set forward.

At the end of the day, good writing is something you can offer to customers and potential customers—and optimally, it will offer both value and professionalism. Or, to put it more succinctly, it will offer quality­—and yes: That is something you can get through outsourcing, so long as you approach the process shrewdly.

To learn more, reach out to the writers at Grammar Chic, Inc. Be sure to ask us about our own standards of quality. Contact us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Infographics: Your Content Marketing Secret Weapon?

A strong visual content strategy can take your online presence to the next level, and help you cut through a lot of the social media noise. And one type of visual content that’s especially useful is the infographic.

People like infographics because they provide data in a way that’s quick, engaging, and easy to understand; a good infographic can be educational and paradigm-shifting without being too demanding of the reader’s mental capacity. On social media, this last point is critically important!

To get the most out of your infographics, it’s important to develop and promote them properly. Here are a few guidelines for doing just that.

Best Practices for Creating and Sharing Infographics

Pick a Topic People Care About

This is foundational. Your infographic should provide information that will actually be useful, or at the very least interesting, to your audience. Don’t just pick any old topic; pick something that’s relevant to your brand, has practical implications for your audience, and speaks to either the pain points you address or the solutions you provide. Bonus points if it’s something that challenges preconceived ideas—i.e. data with a surprising conclusion.

Write a Compelling Headline

As always, headlines are everything. There are a lot of things you can do to get eyeballs for your infographic: reference the surprising conclusions; note the expert source of your data; promise something unexpected, or simply point to the practical value that your information provides.

Write a Strong Introduction

Both for the purposes of SEO and simply for providing some context, a brief introduction is recommended. Three or four sentences is usually fine; include an SEO keyword or two if applicable, as well as related links and a call to action.

Provide Trustworthy Data

Your infographic needs credibility, so if you’re drawing from a third-party data source, make sure to include a proper citation. If it’s your own internal research, just say as much in your introduction. Proper proofreading and fact-checking are essential, too!

Get Social

Always promote your infographics on social media—using hashtags as appropriate. If you can, enable social sharing buttons on your infographic, too. Remember that this is a content type that lends itself to sharing, but it’s always smart to make it easy and convenient for your readers to pass it along.

Optimize the File Name

Google’s algorithms will crawl the file name of your infographic, so by all means make it something that conveys your specific topic. A generic file name, like untitled.jpg or infogaraphic.png, is a wasted opportunity. Optimize your alt-text, too, using a relevant keyword or two when you can.

Write an Accompanying Blog Post

To boost your SEO and back-linking potential, write a keyword-rich blog post to contextualize and explain your infographic. Make sure to share and promote the blog post, too!

Need Help Writing or Promoting Your Infographic?

Whether you’re looking for someone to script your infographic or to work it into a robust social media marketing campaign, Grammar Chic, Inc. can help. Reach out to us today at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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‘Tis the Season for PPC Advertising

Increasingly, marketers and brands must merge their organic content effort with paid advertising offers. Whether you’re looking to get Facebook views or dominate the search engine results page, combining a natural content effort with PPC ads is imperative; picking one over the other simply won’t get you optimal results.

PPC ads can be especially important during the holiday shopping season. With more consumers doing their shopping online than ever before, your brand has a lot of big opportunities to be discovered by those who are making their Christmas lists or seeking the perfect gift for a loved one. Paid ads allow your brand to be visible to these shoppers at every stage of their consumer journey.

To capitalize on these opportunities, we recommend these seasonal strategies.

Start with Last Year’s Data

If you didn’t do any holiday ads last year, you can skip this section. But if you did, know that your previous data can be a helpful road map for where you might go this year. Were there certain types of ads, certain keywords, or certain calls to action that gave you big results? That doesn’t guarantee they’ll work again this year, but it’s certainly a reasonable indicator.

Use Seasonal Keywords

Research confirms that seasonal keyword phrases can make a big difference in the success of your ads. Specifically, words that help your ads get seen by shoppers—terms like “perfect gift,” “gift for children,” “stocking stuffer,” etc.—can work well when they are inserted into your copy. You might experiment with some really finely-honed phrases, like “affordable kids gifts” or “creative gift for boys.”

Rewrite Your Ad Copy

It can be a pain to rewrite all your existing ad copy, but it might also prove really effective—especially if you can generate new copy that speaks directly to holiday shoppers. Try using your copy to urge end-of-the-year decisions, or to simply encourage consumers to join you in your festive spirit!

Create Holiday-Specific Landing Pages

An effective PPC ad always links to a landing page—not just your generic home page—and that’s especially important if you’re advertising special holiday deals or discounts. Ensure that the ad copy takes the reader directly to a page that specifically addresses that deal. Make it easy for shoppers to find what they’re looking for.

The holiday season offers many marketing opportunities, and PPC shouldn’t be overlooked. To learn more, reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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5 Tips for Email Marketing Success This Holiday Season

During the holiday season, many companies kick their email marketing efforts into overdrive, seeking to capitalize on the frenzy of end-of-the-year shopping.

This is certainly a season in which email marketing can get results—but it’s not the volume of emails you send that matters. What matters is your strategy. In this post, we’ll offer five best practices for sending holiday season emails that truly move the sales needle.

Make Things Easy for Your Customers

First and foremost, make sure that your marketing emails make the sales process easier—not harder. If your email simply functions as another cumbersome step on the consumer’s journey, it’s only going to aggravate, not entice.

Your emails should provide a clear incentive to buy one of your products or services. This means including a high-quality, appealing image, if at all possible. It means listing benefits the consumer can expect—speaking directly to their pain points and your value proposition. (Always ask: what’s in it for them?)  Include links to your products and services, rendering it as easy as possible for your readers to click through and complete their purchase.

Don’t Forget Content!

Your emails should always be selling your products, your services, and your brand—yet it is also important to educate and inform. Build trust, and show your authority.

There are different ways to do this, of course. You can send out holiday shopping guides, include videos for product demos, or repurpose blog content that you think will offer value to your readers. The important thing is to make your emails more than just sales pitches. Give away some free value even to those who don’t purchase from you right away.

Send Coupons

During the holiday season, promos, sales, and discounts are everywhere—and if you want to remain competitive, it’s important that you sweeten the deal for your customers, however you can. Coupon codes are great for ensuring your emails are read, not flat-out discarded.

Target Your Emails

It’s always important to match your emails to your audience. Segmenting your contact list and sending emails to different groups—those who have bought products before, hot leads, different demographic groups—allows you to be precise in your messaging and specific in your value proposition.

Consider Your Timing

We said before that you don’t necessarily want to barrage your audience with one email after another. As such, it’s important to get your timing right, as you’ll have limited opportunities to engage your readers. Waiting too late into the season risks that your recipients are burned out on the holidays, while emailing too early might mean your emails get discarded by buyers not yet ready to consider the shopping season.

You’ve got to thread the needle—and Grammar Chic, Inc. can help. We’re seasoned marketing professionals with ample experience writing emails as well as developing effective email strategy. We’d love to help you get your holiday email campaign on track. Contact us today at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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The Time to Start Your Holiday Marketing Campaign is Now

You may be the sort of person who grimaces at the sight of early-display Christmas candy and other holiday goods, so often pushed onto store shelves before Halloween even arrives. For consumers, it can certainly be annoying how much earlier the holidays tend to arrive. For marketers, though, these are giant opportunities to snatch—but to do so, you’ve got to act quickly.

The Data on Holiday Marketing Prep

How quickly? Quicker than ever. According to a new report published in Marketing Land, 37.5 percent of businesses say they’re going to be launching their holiday season marketing preparations earlier than they did last year.

And that’s not all. “Overall, online retailers are feeling good about their preparations, with 88 percent expecting an increase in holiday revenue,” the article states. “Forty percent of the survey respondents are forecasting a more than 25 percent increase in holiday sales over last year’s earnings.”

Finally, the Marketing Land report finds that 64 percent of businesses expect the majority of their holiday sales to come through their company website. Brick and mortar stores come in second, trailed by Amazon and Facebook sales.

Is Your Holiday Marketing Ready to Roll Out?

The implications of this data are twofold. One, the holiday season can potentially be a very big deal for online sales. Two, it’s only going to happen if you prepare—and the sooner you do so, the better.

So the question is, what can your company start doing to prepare its holiday marketing efforts right now?

Here are some of our tips:

  • Start planning holiday sales, including Black Friday or Cyber Monday promos. Know what discounts you’ll be offering, but also how you’ll market them. Start preparing some sales copy, ad text, etc.
  • Set up landing pages for any holiday-specific products, discounts, or deals you want to offer. Have them ready to launch a bit later in the year.
  • Start segmenting your email list into different groups or demographics, and write compelling emails you can send out later in the year.
  • Start bidding on Facebook or AdWords ads to build brand recognition and lead consumers down the sales funnel.
  • Create content—blogs, white papers, etc.—that you can use to boost your authority and educate your holiday shoppers.

It’s not too early to start thinking about holiday marketing. There’s much at stake, so do it right. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. for help. Contact us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Your Brand Can Now Post a Facebook Story—But Is There Any Point?

You’re probably familiar with the social media “Stories” that have been popular over the last couple of years—an idea pioneered by Snapchat, the Story has also found great success on Instagram. Basically, the Story is a temporary post where users can briefly share photos and videos from their day, along with captions, emoji, graphics, and more. These ephemeral posts disappear after a short span of time, yet their impact is sizable; Stories have been wildly popular among users of all kinds, including individuals, celebrities, and brands.

And then there’s Facebook.

Facebook is Floundering

In an effort to keep pace with this popular new social media feature, Facebook introduced its own version of Stories earlier this year. It hasn’t gone over well. Just open your Instagram or Snapchat apps and see how many Stories you see; then open Facebook and count the Stories you find there. Chances are, you’ll find the Facebook number to be pretty lame, comparatively.

But Facebook isn’t giving up on Stories. In fact, it’s expanding them. Now, it’s not just individual users who can share Stories. You can share Stories from a branded page, too—even from your small business page.

Expanded Stories

Obviously, Facebook hopes this will kick up the popularity of its Stories feature—but whether this gamble is successful remains to be seen.

It’s worth noting that, according to Facebook’s own product managers, this push for expanded stories has been met with some demand. A lot of people in the community want pages to have their own Stories, it seems—so perhaps a new wave of branded storytelling is coming.

Then again, Stories are closely associated with Instagram and Snapchat, and it could be argued that they simply don’t align with the Facebook experience; most of us don’t sign into Facebook to check out the latest Stories, and seeing a bunch of brand storytelling isn’t likely to change that—especially not when our real-life friends aren’t also posting Stories for us to consume.

Should Your Brand Share Stories?

If you’re interested in using the Stories feature on social media, you might have better luck starting out on Instagram or Snapchat—at least until Facebook’s feature proves its mettle and its staying power.

By contrast, to use Facebook effectively, you don’t necessarily have to jump on this new trend. There are plenty of ways to find success using organic posts and Facebook Ads. We’d love to show you how.

For now, we’ll take a wait-and-see approach to Facebook Stories. Know that the option is there for you, but also know that there are plenty of ways to promote your brand on Facebook.

Any questions? Contact Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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6 Types of Content That Always Tank

Brands and small businesses invest time and money into content creation because they know that it has myriad benefits—including increased brand awareness, boosted website traffic, and higher conversion rates.

But of course, not every piece of content has the intended effect.

In fact, some content can actually be counterproductive—turning off your readers and failing to move the sales needle in any meaningful way at all.

In this post, we’re going to list a few content archetypes that are guaranteed to fall flat—content FAILs to avoid at all cost.

Content That’s Guaranteed to FAIL

Boring Content

We’re not saying you have to turn every company blog post into the great American novel, but there should be some semblance of a story—a theme, hook, or angle to make readers interested. Here it’s important to remind you that you’re always creating content for human readers, not for search algorithms exclusively; if you wouldn’t find the content to be interesting and readable, no one else will, either.

Brand-centric Content

It’s not about you! It’s about your readers. Make sure your content focuses on what’s in it for thembenefits, value, actionable takeaways that they can draw from your content.

Content That’s Written to Nobody in Particular

When you write content, you should always have an audience in mind—a specific demographic you’re trying to target, based on internal data or buyer personas. The content should be tailored to address your audience’s needs, problems, and values; generic content, written with no specific audience in mind, will always fail to offer clear and specific benefits, and should be avoided.

Content That’s Written for Robots

Are SEO tricks and gimmicks making your content unreadable to actual human beings? If so, then you might as well not bother. People matter, and Google will see right through your tricks.

Salesy Content

Your content can obviously be written to build trust, to increase brand awareness, and ultimately to sell, but it shouldn’t just be straight-up advertising. On the contrary, content that is aggressively salesy and interruptive will peter out pretty fast, as readers just aren’t going to want to engage with it, share it, or link back to it.

Your Content is Hard to Read

Paragraph breaks, short sentences, bullet points, section subheadings—all of these things are important for making your content easy to skim and to digest. Poor formatting will leave your content basically useless and unread.

Write Content That Gets the Job Done

These are just a few examples of what not to do—but to take a more positive approach, and to write content that gets results, we encourage you to call the pros. Grammar Chic, Inc. is ready to offer our expertise, and to make your words and ideas shine. Reach out to us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

 

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