Tag Archives: Professional Content Marketers

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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Filed under Business Writing, Content Marketing, Social Media

Do These Four Things to Land More Eyeballs on Your Content

If a tree falls in the woods and nobody hears it, did it really happen? And if your brand produces the world’s greatest content but nobody reads it, will it make any impact?

We can tell you with certainty that the answer to this last question is no. Content creation is innately limited by content promotion; if you can’t get eyeballs on your blog posts and other written content, you’re not going to reap any of the benefits of improved brand recognition, consumer trust, etc.

Yet getting people to read your content is one of the true challenges of content marketing. It’s something small businesses especially struggle with. Sure, it’s easy for Fortune 500 companies to generate interest in what they do—but what can the little guy do to build buzz?

Actually, there are four practical steps you can take today to boost your content’s reach and its readership. These aren’t flashy or gimmicky strategies, but they do really work, and Grammar Chic uses each of them on our own content.

Here are those four recommendations.

Tag Industry Influencers

First and foremost, you should always be sharing your content on Twitter—but don’t stop there. Start a conversation around it. Bring in the movers and shakers within your field, inviting them to be part of the dialogue.

There are different ways to do this. If you can, cite their work in your own content—then tag them on Twitter, giving them due credit and encouraging them to share the content. Or, you could simply ping their Twitter handles and ask them to weigh in with their feedback. Whatever attention you can bring to your content is good, especially when it’s attention from industry stalwarts.

Use Facebook Ads

There’s a time and a place for Promoted Posts, but what’s even more effective is going into Ads Manager, where you can actually target the people you want to reach with your content—by demographics, by relationship to your brand, etc.

Yes, this will involve some financial investment on your part—but did you know that solid content is one of the keys to ad success? If you have a good content offer, paired with some ad dollars, that can really make waves.

Include Content in Your Newsletter

A periodic email, including links and summaries of your best content, is a great way to win a few clicks from people who might not otherwise be following along with your blog. Plus, it allows you to repurpose your content; not only does it show up on your blog, but it’s fodder for your email list, too—killing two birds with one stone.

Publish to Medium or LinkedIn Pulse

Finally, remember that you can publish on many different channels—and we’ve had great success sharing some of our best posts on Medium and Pulse. Both publishing platforms have good, built-in SEO traction that makes it so much easier for your content to be discovered, even by people who aren’t otherwise familiar with your brand.

The bottom line? There are small steps you can take to make sure your content isn’t invisible. To learn more about bringing in traffic, reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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

How to Write Killer Meta Descriptions

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If your aim is to write engaging content, it’s important to pay attention to every single written component, from the headline down through your call to action. Of course, this also includes the meta description.

The meta description is sometimes an afterthought—in fact, some content writers don’t author one at all, leaving Google to create one automatically. Actually, the meta description is nearly as important as your headline in terms of getting eyeballs onto the page. If you’re not sure what a meta description is, go to Google and conduct a search; it doesn’t matter what you search for. Once the Search Engine Results Page comes up, look at each individual result. You will see a blue link, and underneath it a line or two of descriptive/summarizing text.

That is the meta description—basically, the summary of your content that all search engine users will see. This can obviously play a huge role in convincing people to click the link and read your content—or, you know, convincing them to do the opposite. As such, writing engaging content requires you to write an engaging meta description, and then to add it to your page. (If you are working with a CMS like WordPress, you will see a field for entering a custom meta description; if you have a professional webmaster, you can get the webmaster to do it for you.)

But what do you need to know in order to make a really killer meta description?

Tips for Writing Compelling Meta Descriptions

A few pointers:

Make it brief, but not too brief. Your meta description should be somewhere between 130 and 150 characters. If you go over that limit, you run the risk of Google clipping it, leaving you with an incomplete sentence at the end of your meta description. But if you just use 60 characters or so, you’re not really making full use of this important online real estate. Try to avail yourself of that space by hitting 130 characters or so, then wrapping things up.

Make it active. Don’t use the passive voice, but instead use strong, compelling verbs. You can basically phrase your summary like a call to action, perhaps even leading with a strong invitation to discover, explore, encounter, or something similar.

Make it accurate. Your meta description should actually summarize the content itself; don’t try anything tricky or misleading. Google doles out harsh penalties for this kind of manipulation.

Make it keyword rich. Don’t stuff it with a dozen keywords, and don’t make it sound forced or inorganic, but do include whatever keyword you are focusing on in your content—ideally toward the beginning of your meta description.

Make it unique. Don’t recycle the same old meta description for every blog you post; Google hates redundancy!

Those are the basics. Writing meta descriptions doesn’t have to be complicated: Just summarize the value you’re offering to readers, in as action-oriented a way as you can. For assistance, contact the Grammar Chic team at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Why Do Facebook Users Share Content?

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What happens when you post new content to your company Facebook page? Do you see it redirected five, ten, 20 times over, shared by user after user, spreading like wildfire across different newsfeeds?

Or does your own company Facebook page feel an awful lot like a graveyard—posts that were all dead on arrival, receiving few likes and no real shares?

Sadly, a lot of small business owners fall into this second category. That’s not their fault, either. Getting shares on Facebook is tough, and getting tougher all the time. Algorithmic changes within Facebook have made it difficult even to get your content seen, much less shared. Meanwhile, as more and more companies produce content, it’s a challenge to make yours stand out.

The Psychology of Sharing

To complicate matters further, you can’t trick your readers into sharing content. Bribery seldom works, either; sure, you’ll get some shares if you offer a $100 giftcard to your top brand ambassadors, but who has the budget for that?

Ultimately, the reader must make the decision to share your content—and the reader will make that decision based on one thing and one thing only: How the content reflects the reader’s personality, and how it will be perceived among the reader’s friends.

Think of your Facebook followers as content curators. Everything they share on their own Facebook newsfeed is a reflection of who they are, and what they’re trying to do is cultivate an accurate and compelling mosaic of who they are, or who they want their friends to think they are. Each piece of content they share has to fit into that mosaic.

Sharing for Different Reasons

Of course, Facebook users share content for different reasons. Sometimes, they are simply trying to entertain others. Sometimes they are looking to grow relationships, or else to define themselves in terms of a particular brand, style, or cause.

The first step toward getting more shares is to understand exactly what motivates people to share—the psychological factors that might compel a reader to make your company’s content a piece of his/her mosaic. Some of the big reasons why people share content include:

  1. It makes them look smart. Studies, high-quality blogs from industry publications, professional how-tos, glossy “think pieces”—some content just has an air of intelligence to it, and your readers may well want to be associated with that air.
  2. It lets them be useful. Some of the most successful Facebook pages we’ve seen have been—for lack of a better term—pages attached to mom blogs. Why? Because the content offered is 100 percent practical—tips, recipes, parenting strategies… stuff that you can share and know that it will be actionable to the people reading it.
  3. It makes them seem cool. Sometimes, people just want to post something with a provocative headline or an “inside info” vibe to it, because it makes them appear hip. There’s nothing wrong with that!

So how do you get social shares? There isn’t a trick to it. It all comes down to how well you understand these psychological motivations—and write content that plays right into them.

That’s where we come in. Reach out to Grammar Chic’s ace content writers today: Call 803-831-7444, or visit www.grammarchic.net.

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Your Guide to Hiring a Content Marketing Agency

 

Business sketchAt Grammar Chic, we are obviously big believers in the content marketing process, and strong proponents of content marketing outsourcing. Even so, we understand that it can be a little bit daunting. If you have never worked with a content marketing agency before, you may have serious questions about price; about the kinds of results you can expect to see; and about what working with a content marketing agency is actually like.

One of our goals is to demystify the process, and to make it as inviting and as appealing as possible. We want to answer as many of your questions as we can, and hope some of the following resources will be of use to you as you think about making the leap to outsourced content marketing!

Understanding the Benefits

A good place to begin is with understanding the benefits of outsourced content marketing—benefits that might include a higher level of marketing acumen, a greater ability to capture the voice of your brand, and more.

Plus, as we noted in one previous blog entry, outsourcing your content marketing can actually help you save money! The reason is that “doing your own content marketing can take so much time, it ends up being less cost-effective than you might think. When you’re constantly focused on Facebook and Twitter, you’re not doing the other things that add value to your brand. While outsourcing your content marketing will certainly require a financial investment, you may well make up for it with what you gain in productivity.”

Finding the Right Match

Once you make the decision to hire a content marketing agency—for whatever reason—you have to start thinking about the kind of content marketing agency you want. They come in all different shapes and sizes, and it is important to think about fit: Not just the biggest or flashiest firm, but the one that is best positioned to meet your needs.

This means finding a firm with the right personnel and adequate technology, as well as browsing reviews and recommendations. Here is our full take on finding a content marketing firm that meets your needs. Something else to note: You also want to find an agency that is dedicated to ongoing improvement.

Interviewing Your Agency

Once you find a content marketing firm that you think might fit, it’s best to have an interview to make sure everything clicks. “Like any relationship,” we once wrote, “this one is going to take some work if you really want it to succeed over the long haul. In particular, it’s going to require some communication—and we recommend that you begin that communication on day one.” Make sure you ask about communication standards, results, reporting, experience, and whatever else will enable you to feel comfortable and make an informed decision.

Of course, our own team is always around to answer questions or help guide you through this process: Reach out to us today at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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10 Questions to Ask Your Content Marketing Firm

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Hopefully, the relationship you form with your content marketing agency will be a long and fruitful one. Like any relationship, though, this one is going to take some work if you really want it to succeed over the long haul. In particular, it’s going to require some communication—and we recommend that you begin that communication on day one.

In fact, we recommend that you start it even before you put pen to paper and sign a contract. During your initial consultation with the content marketing firm, be engaged enough to ask questions; use the answers you’re given to evaluate how well the firm might meet your needs, and how comfortable you will ultimately feel working with these people.

What questions should you be asking? We’ve got 10 questions that we love hearing from our own potential clients—ones that we feel establish a good foundation of mutual understanding.

  1. How long have you been doing this? Content marketing hasn’t exactly been around forever, and you’re not going to find a 100-year-old agency, but you still want to get a feel for the experience level you’re working with.
  2. What does your clientele look like? What kinds of businesses or verticals does the firm typically work with? Is it a firm that specializes in healthcare marketing, or in marketing for real estate professionals?
  3. How do you continue learning? The best content marketing companies will be dedicated to ongoing self-improvement. Ask about their standards of training and professional enrichment.
  4. What about reporting? How often will you receive updates on your campaign’s progress—and in what format?
  5. Who is my contact person? Learn the names of all the people you’ll be working with directly; get a feel for who you should address questions to; learn something of the chain of command.
  6. What will a successful campaign look like? What are the company’s standards for a job well done—and do they match up with your own?
  7. What about technology? What platforms and tools does the company use? Some of this may be proprietary, but hopefully the firm can fill you in on some basics.
  8. What will my involvement be? Will the firm expect you to approve blog topics and content? Find out about the level of commitment and oversight you’ll have.
  9. How often will we talk? Will members of your content marketing team be available when you need them?
  10. When will we review the campaign? At what point will you have a chance to evaluate progress and make course-corrections, if needed?

Ask the right questions of your potential content marketing firm—and ensure a foundation of clear communication. To ask us these or any other questions, visit the Grammar Chic website at www.grammarchic.net, or call 803-831-7444.

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4 Content Marketing Tips You’re Probably Not Expecting

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Small business owners who regularly read up on content marketing strategy probably feel like they know the script by now: Post consistently. Make sure the quality level is high. Use hashtags and calls to action. Offer value, and always put yourself in the reader’s shoes before posting.

These are good, if conventional, content marketing tips. We’ve regularly championed each of these practices, and stand by them. But for today, we want to offer a few quick tips that you may not be expecting from a content marketing firm. These tips are, for the small business owner, just as essential.

  1. Cut some of your social media accounts.

We’re all for spreading your brand across as many platforms as possible—unless you’re spreading yourself too thin. Some small business owners may lack the time needed to really invest in each platform, meaning they’re either half-assing it or else repeating themselves too much. If you only update each platform once a fortnight, you’re not getting much value; if you automate your tweets to populate all your other social channels, there is no reason for anyone to follow you on more than one platform.

So cut some things—strategically. You probably need Facebook; if you’re a B2B company, you can’t do without LinkedIn. But maybe your Google+ page or your Pinterest account can be cut out without your brand taking too great a loss.

  1. Post less frequently.

Note that we’re not telling you to post less consistently. You should probably be posting to each social platform once a day, give or take, or else you may find that your presence there just isn’t reaching anyone. If you’re posting a dozen Facebook posts every day, though, we can all but guarantee that the Facebook algorithms are hiding some of them, and you’re diluting your brand’s message regardless. Better to focus on one or two killer posts than take the scattershot, everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach.

  1. Sell more.

We’re constantly telling our content marketing clients that social media shouldn’t be all about sales; if you’re just promoting all the time then you’re going to turn off your users. At the same time, though… well, promoting your company is kind of the point. Even when you’re not directly selling, you should have your company’s basic value proposition in mind—and if 90 percent of your posts are non-promotional, you can and should make sure the other 10 are a little more direct.

  1. Ask for help.

Content marketing is meant to be persuasive, but there is something to be said for taking a straightforward and earnest approach. Sometimes what you really need is for your followers to share your page, invite their friends, or leave positive reviews; and sometimes the best way to make it happen is just to ask them, candidly expressing your need.

For small business owners, these tips may seem a little bit off the reservation, but make no mistake: They’re all essential to a robust content marketing strategy. To learn more, we invite you to contact the Grammar Chic team today at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

 

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