Tag Archives: Content Writing

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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Filed under Blog Writing, Content Marketing, Content Writing, Web Content

6 Reasons Why Guest Blogging Still Matters

SEO and content marketing are in a constant state of flux—and some of the strategies that worked well three years ago (or even three months ago) are of dubious impact today.

Yet there are some strategies that are tried and true, and remain very much recommended. One of the best is guest blogging. Simply put, submitting authoritative posts to relevant blogs—other than your own—is one of the smartest ways you can build your online brand.

Allow us to explain why. Here are just a few of the top benefits you can expect from guest blogging.

What Do You Get Out of Guest Blogging?

Targeted Traffic

First and foremost, there’s traffic. Even if you don’t get a backlink, you will almost certainly arouse the audiences’ interest—and that can lead to curious readers flocking to your website. Not only do you get traffic, but—assuming the blog you write for is relevant to your own industry—that traffic will probably be well-matched to your own customer demographics.

Relationships

Something else that guest blogging provides you? Connections. Developing some common bonds with other bloggers and contributors can open the door to more possibilities down the road—more guest blogging opportunities, more social media shares, more collaborations.

Social Media Shares

Speaking of social media, when you write a blog for another publication, you can bet that the owners of that publication will promote it—meaning you can expect social shares and re-tweets from a lot of folks who aren’t otherwise aware of your brand or your content.

Authority

When a respected publication agrees to host your guest blog, it’s a vote of confidence—a vouch for your authority. This can increase your visibility and prestige within your industry, and also lead to more social media followers—people who determine that your brand must be legitimate, since your guest blog was accepted by their favorite publication.

Links

We’re burying this one deep down in our list because most everybody knows that this is a benefit of guest blogging, and if anything it’s overemphasized. Still, the point must be made: Guest blogging is the best way to build up your backlink profile, which is an SEO essential.

Brand Awareness

Finally, guest blogging simply gets your name and your writing out there in front of people who probably wouldn’t see it otherwise—and if even one of those people becomes a paying customer, the guest blog has served an important purpose.

Start Guest Blogging Today

The benefits to guest blogging are many—but how do you get started? We’d love to chat with you about mapping out a guest blog initiative for your brand. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. to begin that dialogue: www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Blog Writing, Brand Management, Content Marketing, Content Writing

5 Ways to Develop Content with Long-Term Value

Online content is ephemeral by its very nature—and not just Snapchat stories! Whether you’re talking about blog posts, press releases, or tweets, so much of the content that companies develop has a remarkably short shelf life.

This is just the nature of the beast, but it can be discouraging. For companies that invest a lot of time and money into their website content, for instance, knowing that the lifespan of said content is brief can make the whole process seem frivolous.

There are ways you can inject more life and longevity into your website content, though, and ensure that it provides you with SEO and branding clout long after that first week, that first month, or that first year. Here are five tips from the Grammar Chic team.

Focus on Evergreen Content

A blog post detailing your brand new product has an inherently short-lived relevance, because of course that product won’t be brand new forever! Such content is necessary, but you should counterbalance it with evergreen content—Web pages written on timeless topics with enduring relevance. Something like an FAQ page or a how-to guide can provide you with a content angle that will still be fresh and relevant in a few years’ time. One recommendation: Schedule time once a year or so to review this content and make any tweaks or additions that are needed.

Optimize Your Content

Your content will offer you more bang over a longer span of time if it continues to get discovered by search engine users. Be sure that you optimize content for long-tail keyword phrases, and that you pay attention to critical on-page elements such as the title tag and meta description. Investing in some SEO basics is a great way to future-proof your content.

Link to Your Content

Internal linking is a great way to keep your content alive; even a blog post or a Web page you wrote three years ago may prove a relevant appendix to a more current page. Linking to it, when appropriate, can send readers to different parts of your site, including older content that might otherwise be neglected. Of course, it also increases the SEO value of those older pages.

Repurpose Older Content

Even if you feel like a particular page or an older blog post is losing its SEO value, or simply not generating much traffic, the concepts on that page can still be worthwhile. That’s when you take that content and repackage it as a brand new page, as an email newsletter, or as a series of social media posts.

Refresh Your Content Regularly

One more thing: Your website shouldn’t remain static for years at a time. Grammar Chic’s team recommends routine content refreshes; whether a full re-write or a subtler re-shaping, content updates can keep your entire site feeling fresh and new. Work this into your annual marketing rhythm. And for help polishing your content to perfection, reach out to our team at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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

Match Your Content to Your Sales Funnel

We’d all like to believe that the consumer journey is simple and straightforward—that a buyer sees your product advertised somewhere, visits your website, and places and order, all within a span of mere minutes.

Maybe it happens like that sometimes—but usually, the buyer’s journey is quite a bit more complicated. Maybe the consumer makes a general inquiry on Google, and happens to see one of your products in an AdWords placement. He digs around for more information, reading your company blog or checking out some tweets. He forgets about your company, but a week later sees a retargeted ad on Facebook. Weeks or even months after that initial discovery, the consumer finally places an order.

The point is, there are many steps and stages to the buying process—and that’s something that has a direct impact on content marketing.

Simply put, you can’t assume that everyone who encounters your content is going to be at the same point in their journey. Some might be discovering your brand for the very first time; what they need is some general information. Others may be very familiar with your brand, and on the brink of making a purchase decision. What these consumers need is something that will persuade them to make that conversion.

In creating content, it’s important to think in terms of that consumer journey—and to develop content to fit each stage along the way.

Top of the Funnel Content

For starters, you need some content to greet those consumers who are just discovering your brand—the people who aren’t ready to commit to a particular product, but may find your company through a broad, generalized search. Here the goal is to educate them about who you are and what you do, developing brand visibility. Some content types you might consider here include:

  • Blog posts
  • Web content
  • Press releases
  • Explainer videos
  • Infographics

Middle of the Funnel Content

At the same time, it’s important to develop content for people who know your brand and are trying to do their due diligence, figuring out why they should trust your company over the competition. Some recommended content types here include:

  • Newsletters
  • White papers
  • Product demos
  • Reviews
  • Retargeting

Bottom of the Funnel Content

Finally, it’s vital to have content designed to inform the consumer at that moment of decision—to lead to a conversion. Here, establishing trust and speaking directly to value are both key. Recommended content types include:

  • Webinars
  • Reviews
  • Testimonials
  • Direct, personal sales presentations
  • Offers and discounts

Content for the Whole Journey

The bottom line: Content marketing should be mapped out and in sync with the buyer’s journey, which means different pieces of content may serve different functions. Do you have content for each stage of the buying process? If not, get help in strategic, results-oriented content development. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Content Marketing, Content Writing

What Will Google Stamp Mean for Content Marketing?

Over the summer, news leaked out about a curious new product development from Google. According to tech insiders, the search giant is hard at work on a new platform that will rival Discover—one of the more popular features on Snapchat. It’s called Google Stamp, and it’s likely to become one of Google’s core products.

But what do we know about Stamp—and perhaps more to the point, what can we speculate with regard to its impact on content marketing?

Everything We Know About Google Stamp

Start with the name. Stamp is a portmanteau of the words story and AMP, the latter referring to the accelerated mobile pages technology that has turned online publishing on its head. And there you have, basically, the whole point of Stamp: It’s conceived as a publishing platform, intended to catch fire with mobile users.

The development of Google Stamp began shortly after Google’s failed 2016 bid to purchase Snapchat outright, so it’s no big stretch to assume that it’s intentionally imitating some of Snapchat’s more popular features.

The intended launch date for Google Stamp hasn’t yet been revealed—but we do know a few things about what it will do. Essentially, it will work like Snapchat Discover, allowing mobile users to swipe between various pieces of content—content that might include written text, video, and still images.

But if the technology functions in a similar fashion to Snapchat, there is a major difference—and that’s user intent. Most people don’t view Google as a social network. (Remember Google+?) Those who come to Google are searching for products, services, or answers to their questions—which begs the question of how this new platform will really be used, if at all.

The most likely scenario is that Stamp will be seen as a way to discover products or services—basically, a way to engage consumers who are at the top of the sales funnel. And that brings us to the question of content marketing.

What Will Google Stamp Mean?

Right now, it seems like Stamp will be open only to very large enterprises—at least at first. Don’t be surprised if it’s ultimately opened up to lower-tier content creators, though, and provides new avenues for companies looking to publish consumer-centric content.

In essence, all this shows that the line between search, advertising, and content creation is getting increasingly blurry—and that engaging customers might mean straddling the line between all three. Google Stamp might well become a significant new avenue for companies looking to position their products and services as solutions to consumer problems—in the most engaging manner possible.

We’ll keep you posted. For now, remember that content creation remains vital to all digital marketing channels. It’s never a bad time to invest in it—and for help, you can always reach out to us directly. Get content marketing expertise from Grammar Chic, Inc. today: www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Brand Management, Content Marketing, Social Media

5 Things You Should Know Before Meeting with a Content Marketing Company

For companies that want to reap the many benefits of content marketing, but lack either the time or the expertise to launch an effective campaign, there’s something to be said for outsourcing to the pros. A professional content marketing company can handle all aspects of content planning, creation, distribution, tracking, and reporting—helping you build your brand and engage your customers, with minimal hassle.

To get the most out of your content marketing partner, though, you’ll want to have all your ducks in a row before that initial consultation. Here are five pieces of information you should have before you begin working with a content marketing firm.

Your Goals

How will you define success? What will it take for you to feel like your content marketing efforts have been effective? Are you interested in increasing social media followers, website traffic, conversions, or all of the above? Have some goals in mind—no matter how small or how far-fetched—before you speak with your content marketing company, so they know what you want them to deliver.

Your Audience

Who are your customers? Who are the people you’re trying to reach? That’s something that only you can know for sure, and any information you can provide to your marketing company will be helpful to them as they tailor the content plan. Ideally, you’ll have a buyer persona you can offer.

Your Assets

Which social media accounts do you have active—and do any of them have decent follower numbers already? What about a company blog? An email list? Be prepared to talk about any specific marketing channels or resources you already have.

Your Expertise

Your content marketing can provide you with some blog topics to consider, but if you have specific areas you’d like to touch on, it’s always helpful to bring that up early in the process. The more input you can provide, the more the content marketing company will be able to capture your voice and your point of view.

Your Budget

Content marketing is scalable; it can be customized to meet your needs, including budgetary ones. Having a basic sense of your content commitment can help set the parameters for your campaign.

Taking just a few minutes to think through the specifics of your campaign will make your agency relationship that much more productive and efficient. Once you get all these things squared away—or if you have any questions about this list—reach out to the team at Grammar Chic, Inc. Contact us for a free content marketing consultation, either at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Content Marketing, Content Writing

5 Ways You’re Botching Your Blog’s SEO

Blogging is one of the things we’re most proficient in here at Grammar Chic, Inc., and it’s a true honor to have so many small and medium-sized businesses entrust us with their blogging needs.

When new companies come to us wanting help on the blog front, they tend to have a couple of different emphases. First, they want something that will be compelling to their customers—compelling enough to elicit social media shares and perhaps even light up their phone lines. Second, they want something that will rank well on Google. After all, what’s the point of a business blog if no one can see it?

And here’s the tricky thing about blogging: It can be an absolutely critical tool for improving search engine visibility, but only if careful attention is paid to a few technical dimensions of the blog itself. Far too often, we see business blogs that have been written well, but not necessarily optimized well. Simply put, there are some key blunders that make otherwise-good blog posts less than SEO-friendly.

Naturally, you’ll want to avoid these blunders. Allow us to point out some of the most common ones.

Forgetting Keywords

There’s been a curious shift in the way people perceive keywords; where they used to be overemphasized, now they’re all too often overlooked. So let us clear this up: You definitely don’t want to force a bunch of ill-fitting keywords into your content, but you do want to have a couple of target keywords to guide your content creation. Use them as organically as you can, and try to smoothly work them into the following places:

  • Your title
  • Your meta description
  • Section sub-headings
  • Body content—not excessively, but wherever they naturally fit

Not Creating a Meta Description

Speaking of the meta description, each individual blog post should have one—roughly 150 characters to summarize your content, lay out your value proposition to readers, work in a keyword or two, and end with a call to action.

Not Formatting for Readability

Keep in mind just how many of your blogs will be read by people on their mobile devices, waiting in doctor’s officers, stuck in traffic, or taking a quick break from work. Making for fast, easy readability is key. Think:

  • Bullet points
  • Lists
  • Section sub-headings
  • Short paragraphs
  • Images and/or embedded video

Not Including a Call to Action

Every blog should have a strong call to action, inviting the reader to take the next step. Include your company contact information here for best results, especially in terms of local search.

Not Offering Value

A good blog post should be substantive and value-adding—which means providing take-away points for your readers; enough length to do your topic justice; and some external and/or internal links to related resources. Remember that by writing for the end user, you’re ultimately making your blog more appealing to Google.

Blog Better. Avoid SEO Blunders.

These are all potentially serious errors, yet they can also be very easily avoided. One way to steer clear of them: Trust your blogging to the pros. Learn more by contacting Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Blog Writing, Business Writing, Content Marketing, Content Writing