Tag Archives: Content Writing

3 Reasons to Marry Content Marketing with PPC

One of the oldest debates in digital marketing is the ongoing clash of organic versus paid reach. Should you focus your marketing efforts on earned users (i.e., through compelling content and organic SEO) or paid users (i.e., through online ad placement)?

The answer, of course, is that there is no reason why you can’t do both, and in fact, we believe it is increasingly vital for content marketers to pair their organic approach with pay per click (PPC) ads, which might include paid Facebook ads, sponsored tweets, and Google AdWords placement.

Paid ads and content marketing work best when they work together—and in this post, we’ll offer you three reasons why.

Dominate the SERP

One reason to consider content marketing and paid search as two sides of the same coin: When you do so, you can expand your reach over the search engine results page (SERP). Through content and SEO efforts, you can earn listings within the organic search results themselves—but what about the rest of the page? What about the paid ad spaces at the top and along the column of Google? You can only claim that real estate through AdWords.

In other words, you need both PPC and organic reach to blanket the SERP—and when you do so, you not only increase your brand’s visibility, but you earn trust. Any company that’s present in both paid product ads and organic search listings can’t help but be seen as a primary contender within its industry.

Get More Eyeballs on Your Content

Your content is only meaningful when people have a chance to see it and engage with it—and paid ads can help with that. Consider Facebook. You can use paid ads to get more likes for your company page, and then, once people engage your page, you can keep them there with regular, organic content updates. This is a perfect example of how these two disciplines can work harmoniously.

Span the Entire Customer Journey

One of the big pushes in marketing these days is the search experience—that is, using all the tools at your disposal to address the needs of customers at each stage of their journey. In other words, you need to be working to build awareness for your brand, then to educate your leads, and ultimately to lead them through the conversion process. Even after the conversion, you need to stay in touch with clients to earn repeat business and referrals.

PPC and content marketing both speak to different stages of the customer journey. For instance, content marketing can be a great way to build brand awareness, to educate, and to earn trust. Paid ads, meanwhile, can encourage conversions during searches with commercial intent, while paid remarketing can help you to stay close to former customers.

It All Starts with a Plan

How can you integrate paid and organic marketing on your brand’s behalf? The first step is to develop an integrated marketing plan. That’s something we can help with. Reach out to Grammar Chic to start a conversation. Connect at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Content Marketing, Content Writing, Social Media

How Your Blog Can Sell Without Selling

Content marketing is sometimes described as the art of selling without selling. That is, content marketing is meant to facilitate conversions in a way that is decidedly non-salesy; the focus is always supposed to be on providing real value (not hard sales pitches) to the consumer, but doing so in a way that ultimately helps your bottom line.

This is not an easy balance to strike. Take your company blog, for instance. You can probably understand why it’s not a good idea to make each post a straightforward advertisement for one of your products or services: Simply put, it wouldn’t be very engaging, and not many people would read it. On the flipside, if you write blog posts without ever even mentioning your products and services, you may fear that the blog won’t have any practical effect on your sales.

So how can you write company blog posts that sell without coming across as too confrontational, too over-the-top, or too aggressive? We have some tips for you.

Write Blogs That Sell (Without Being Salesy)

Always focus on your audience. The guiding question of each post should be, “What’s in it for my audience?” Write to provide value not just to your brand but to your readers. Make sure your topics and your takeaway points are relevant to the people you’re targeting with your blog.

Give away valuable information. In keeping with the point above, make your blog a place where you give away expertise that your customers can use. Don’t hesitate to give away your “secret weapons” and your tried-and-true practices. This is how you build trust in your own expertise—by being confident enough to give it away.

Don’t write about yourself. Your posts don’t actually need to be about your brand. In fact, to keep them relevant to your readers, it’s probably smarter to write about your industry more broadly, or about the way your trade/profession brings value to consumers.

Don’t mention your brand in every sentence. Your blog can absolutely mention your company name—in fact, we recommend it—but a couple of mentions is probably fine, perhaps in the call to action at the article’s end. Too many mentions of your brand will definitely cause the post to read as “salesy.”

Maintain a conversational tone. Read your blog post out loud, and simply ask yourself: Does it sound like something you’d say in real life? If not, you may want to modify it a bit so that it’s less formal.

Include a CTA. By writing blog posts that earn credibility through giving away free and valuable information, you create the opportunity to end your post with a strong sales pitch—just a sentence or two inviting your reader to contact you for further value.

We Can Help

Writing blogs that are credible, value-adding, and effective is a big part of what we do here at Grammar Chic, Inc. We’d love to handle blogging for your brand. Reach out to us today to learn more: www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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

Give Google Exactly What it Wants

Here at Grammar Chic, our pet nickname for Google is the Content Monster. You see, the world’s most powerful search engine is like a beast that’s constantly hungry; if you want to stay in its good graces—that is, maintain online visibility and SEO prominence—you’ve got to throw it some chow on a pretty consistent basis.

And it helps to know exactly what kinds of grub this Content Monster likes to devour.

Regular content publication is certainly crucial, but it’s especially beneficial to post content that fits within the Content Monster’s regular diet; in other words, you don’t want to feed it just anything. There is such a thing as bad content—stuff Google just spits back out. No, you want to make sure the Content Monster is enjoying all of its favorite delicacies.

So what does that mean, exactly?

Allow us to show you, with a quick rundown of Google’s favorite kinds of content.

This is the Content That Google Loves

Long Form Articles

We’ve blogged before about word count, and noted that in some cases, a shorter article just makes more sense. With that said, Google is in the business of providing substantive answers and thorough solutions to its users—so if you’re able to put together a really rigorous and in-depth article that spans 1,500-2,000 words, that’s certainly something the Content Monster will eat up.

Evergreen Posts

If you’re writing about a topic that will be old-hat or out-of-date by tomorrow morning, you can’t really expect to score long-time search engine prominence. While flashy, hot topic posts have their place, those timeless topics are the ones that will more likely win you the Content Monster’s favor.

Lists and Galleries

The human brain seeks organization, and tends to like information that’s laid out in a clear, easy-to-follow format—like a top 10 list. Google knows this, and lends priority to articles that are structured in this way.

Resource Banks

What we mean by resource bank is, any article that will lead search engine users to still more good content. For example, a used car dealership could post its list of the top 10 best family cars, and under each entry on the list it could have a link to a separate, in-depth review of the vehicle. Google likes its users to be able to keep clicking, keep searching, and keep discovering more—so use that to your advantage with inter-connected posts.

Videos

You don’t want to post a video without some kind of caption or written synopsis, but you can make video a focal point of your content marketing campaign. The Content Monster isn’t going to object.

A final note: What Google ultimately wants is anything that provides good, relevant, and actionable information to users—period. Make that your guiding concern in content creation.

Feed the Content Monster

Keeping up with the constant demands of the Content Monster is tough—but we can help. Let’s talk about Grammar Chic’s content marketing services and how they can benefit your business. Reach out to us at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Brand Management, Business Writing, Content Marketing, Content Writing, Social Media, Web Content

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Filed under Content Marketing, Content Writing, Social Media