Tag Archives: professional content marketing

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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How to Make Your Boring Industry Really Interesting

At Grammar Chic, Inc., we truly believe that content marketing can deliver meaningful results for any company, in any industry.

But some may have to work a little bit harder for it than others.

Simply put, some industries more naturally lend themselves to fresh, exciting, compelling content. But what happens if you sell annuities?  What happens if you prepare tax returns? What happens if you’re an estate planning lawyer? We’re not saying these things are unimportant! We’re just saying they may not seem as flashy or as exciting to the average reader.

It may cause you to wonder what can be done to turn your “boring” line of work into really rich, persuasive content—content that people will actually want to read.

Here’s our advice.

Always Be Helpful

A good rule of thumb: If your content is helpful, someone out there’s going to find it interesting.

Take our example of an estate planning attorney. You may write a blog post about how to draft a will; when a living trust is necessary; or how to choose guardians for your children.

Those topics may not jump off the page, and sure, some may say they’re unglamorous. But people want to know those things. They need to know those things. And if you can provide that information in a clear and actionable way, there will be readers who find great value in it—

period.

Maybe the best advice here is to change your way of thinking: If you can’t make your content exciting, just make sure that it helps someone.

Write Without Jargon

One thing that can stand between you and an engaged readership is reliance on industry jargon.

We see this a lot when working with insurance companies, who trot out a bunch of words and phrases that may be foreign to the layperson. Of course, that’s the quickest way to get eyes to glaze over!

Don’t think (or write) in terms of industry buzzwords. Instead, come at it from the customer’s point of view. What are their pain points? What answers do they seek? And how can your company benefit from them? Focus on those things, with as much clarity as you can.

Inject Some Personality

Your business may be boring—or at least, that may be how people perceive it.

But you’re not boring!

Feel free to inject some personality, even humor, into your content. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to make your content come alive.

This might mean throwing in some personal anecdotes, some gentle self-deprecation, or even some specific examples from past clients (ensuring you keep things anonymous, of course).

Another strategy is to draw connections to shows, movies, or other pop culture reference points that might mean something to you. Remember our posts invoking Mad Men and The Walking Dead?

Get Help from the Pros

It’s frustrating to feel like your industry is just a dead space for compelling content—but we honestly believe that any field can be made enticing, or at the very least valuable, to the reader.

We’d love to show you how. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. to schedule a content consultation today. You can reach us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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

6 Ways You Can Clean Up Your Content Marketing

Is it too late for spring cleaning?

Not where your content marketing is concerned.

In fact, there’s no time like the present to sort through your social media profiles, your website, and your blog, refreshing your content and removing clutter.

The goal? A content marketing enterprise that’s streamlined and effective, providing a more satisfying experience for your audience.

We recommend doing a quick content clean up at least once a year, and in this post, we’ll provide a few steps you can follow to make that clean up effective.

6 Ways to Clean Up Your Content Marketing

  1. Rewrite your social media profiles. When’s the last time your Facebook “About” section was revised or your Twitter bio got an overhaul? Do they still reflect the core value proposition of your business and the kind of language you like to use to describe your products and services? It’s a good habit to review and revise this content annually.
  2. Prune your email list. The goal for any email marketing effort is to have an active and engaged subscriber list. Do you have people who haven’t opened or engaged with your messages in two or three years? If so, you’re probably safe removing them from the database. You might also check for any email addresses that bounce messages back to you; sometimes it’s a simple typo that’s causing your messages to go unread, so verify that you’ve entered the email address correctly.
  3. Audit your links. Nothing frustrates your website users like links that lead to nowhere. It’s worth taking a few minutes to scour your Web content for any links that may be broken, either repairing or removing them as necessary.
  4. Organize your blogging efforts. Has your company blog fallen into an irregular, inconsistent schedule? Develop a new editorial calendar, clarifying when new posts will be written and published. Also note who’s responsible for what—i.e. which team members will do the writing, the image sourcing, the posting, and the social media promotion.
  5. Check your online reputation. Do you have customer reviews you’ve never responded to or online listings that are less than flattering? If you haven’t Googled your company name in a while, do so now, and get a better sense of what’s out there. You might also set up a Google Alert to stay in the know.
  6. Clean up your Google My Business page. Does your GMB account have up-to-date hours and contact information, as well as fresh images? Is it time to rewrite the content to better reflect your current business and SEO objectives? Review your GMB page and make whatever adjustments are necessary.

Content marketing clean up isn’t the flashiest topic, but it can be an important way to keep your efforts aligned with your goals. Reach out to us if you’d like to discuss further ways to enhance your content marketing efforts. Connect with Grammar Chic, Inc. at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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4 Ways the Right Content Can Fuel Business Growth

To achieve consistent growth at your company, everything needs to be firing on all cylinders—your sales team, your marketing department, your business development crew, you name it. Everyone needs to be doing their part, leveraging resources and expertise to move the ball forward.

Content marketing is very much a part of that equation. When wielded strategically, content can actually be fuel for your business growth—helping turn leads into conversions and one-time customers into repeat clients.

A few types of content can be especially helpful in this regard. Here are our recommendations.

4 Types of Content That Can Help Your Business Grow

  1. Product and service descriptions.

Whether you have an e-commerce clothing boutique or an all-purpose plumbing company, it’s important to devote some website real estate to describing what it is you do—and how your customers stand to benefit. Remember, online shoppers can’t pick up, examine, or try on your products and services, so you need Web copy that makes them feel like they have. Be descriptive enough to help customers feel confident that they know what they’re getting into, and focus on the benefit to the end user—what’s in it for them when they buy.

  1. Landing pages.

Imagine this scenario. A potential customer sees a PPC ad for your law firm’s estate planning services. They click it, and it takes them to your firm’s home page—where there’s no explicit mention of estate planning. That may be frustrating, and your lead may decide it’s not worth their trouble to poke around your site to find what they’re looking for. The long and short of it is, it’s valuable to have dedicated landing pages for each service/product you have, ensuring that you can always send leads to somewhere that specifically addresses what they’re looking for.

  1. Emails.

Don’t ignore the power of email marketingstill the most effective way to directly connect with your customers past and present. Whether you put together a monthly newsletter or a weekly e-blast, take the time to think through your content (including subject lines) to make sure you’re offering value. When leveraged correctly, email marketing can build brand awareness and loyalty, and turn some of those one-time customers into follow-up buyers.

  1. Google My Business listing.

Has your company signed up for a free Google My Business listing? It’s worth doing, as it can help you achieve greater visibility among local search engine users. And that positive SEO impact is compounded when you take the time to write compelling, keyword-optimized descriptions of your business. All of this is just to say that GMB is an invaluable but oft-overlooked content deployment opportunity, and it can play a big role in helping you connect with local customers.

Do You Have the Content You Need?

Chances abound for you to use content in a way that leads to business growth—and the Grammar Chic, Inc. team is standing ready to help you make the most of them. Reach out today and let’s talk together about a sound content strategy for your company! Connect with us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Blog Writing, Business Writing, Content Marketing, Content Writing, Email Writing, Social Media, Web Content

6 Reasons Your Small Business Should Invest in Content Marketing

A question we get asked all the time by small business owners: Is content marketing really worth the cost? Does the payoff ultimately redeem the time and effort put into writing, publishing, and monitoring blog and social media content—or the money spent outsourcing it to a content marketing company?

We obviously think that it does, and we encourage our clients to think not in terms of cost but investment. Yes, content marketing has a threshold for entry, and trying to cut corners ultimately just means you end up with bad content and wasted resources. But when you actually invest in doing content marketing well, the dividends can be manifold.

Here are just a few examples.

Why Invest in Content Marketing?

  1. It proves your thought leadership.

Say you’re a financial planner. Why should a potential client choose you over any of the other financial planners in your area? Why should they assume that you know what you’re talking about and have the expertise to provide wise investment advice? One answer is that you show them you know what you’re talking about by producing content—content that shows a real fluency with your chosen niche or subject matter. The result? Prestige for your brand; trust from your potential customers and clients.

  1. It feeds the content monster.

The content monster is our little nickname for Google’s search algorithms, which always want more, more, more fresh content to gobble up. All else being equal, the site that has new blog updates twice monthly is going to have better search engine visibility than the site that lays dormant for years at a time. In other words, an investment in content marketing is an investment in SEO.

  1. It allows you to connect with customers and clients.

Content marketing isn’t just about blog posts. It’s also about social media, and a well-maintained social media presence can bring lots of little interactions and touch points with your clients. Google refers to these as “micro moments,” and they’re important for building brand loyalty and boosting your transactions/conversions.

  1. It educates your customers.

These days, the consumer experience never actually starts in a physical retail location. It starts online with the customer doing ample research to ensure a wise purchasing decision. You need to guide that research toward you and your brand, and content marketing is how you accomplish that. Content marketing provides the means for elucidating all the reasons why a customer might pick you over the competition.

  1. It can be a form of customer service.

One way to use content marketing is to provide product tutorials, troubleshooting guides, and FAQs—showing potential customers that, if they ever have questions about how to use your product, all they have to do is head to Facebook or YouTube and they can have their questions answered.

  1. It proves that you’re listening.

Good content is always tailored to address the specific needs, interests, and pain points of the end user—which in turn shows that end user that you’ve taken the time to get to know and understand them, and that you listen to what they say. Again, the upshot here is trust and rapport-building.

We could go on—but rather than do so on our blog, we’d love to do it on the phone with you. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. and we’ll tell you how we think content marketing could make a world of difference for your small business. Contact us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Online Marketing for Real Estate Agents – Tips & Tricks

Editor’s Note: There are numerous books, websites, and other mediums devoted to assisting real estate agents who want to grow their business. Few of these mediums, however, provide substance when it comes to leveraging the possibilities of online marketing. Mary Beth Downing is a Dayton, Ohio real estate agent who has gotten off to a fast start in her career by leveraging the web. In the article below, she shares how she has achieved early success.

Breaking in as a real estate agent is incredibly difficult. This difficulty is the reason why so many agents quit within their first few years, out of frustration. I’ve seen realtor discussion boards in which many agents say that one should only expect to sell three to four homes in their first year. As of this writing, I’ve had my license for slightly over five months and I’ve put eight homes under contract. The most exciting part is that each month has been better than the previous. I’m excited to use this article to share how I’m going about growing my business.

The biggest thing that has surprised me, early on, is the extent to which many new agents entirely devote their time to trying to meet people face to face as opposed to leveraging online resources. These online resources can include paid ads as well as things which you own outright (more on this below). It’s understandable that many new agents don’t want to put money into building a website or into online listings. In my opinion, however, there’s a flaw in refusing to do so. If you take the approach that “I’m not spending any money and I’ll spend my time networking and trying to meet people” then you’re only saving money if you value your time at $0. Given that time is valuable, and can’t be replaced, I find online marketing to be highly effective.

In my first five months I’ve focused on three main areas: my website, my blog, and video. I’ll discuss each of these in turn.

Real estate agents can use their website to attract and capture leads

Most agents don’t invest the time or money to create a website for themselves. This is the first mistake as having a web presence helps to validate you in the eyes of potential clients. Simply, having a website, however, isn’t enough; too many agents build a basic page for the sake of having one, but don’t truly leverage their site. You can use your website to attract clients who would have never heard of you otherwise. You can then use it to capture more of those leads and turn them into signed contracts.

I didn’t want a website that simply said “Hi, this is me. I’m a real estate agent.” I wanted something that would actually provide value to potential clients. This is why I had my webmaster integrate the MLS (through third-party software) into my site. This allows people to search listings of homes for sale through my site instead of through a service such as Zillow. One of the big benefits of this has been that individual home listings tend to show up well in organic search results on Google and Bing. So when people see a for sale sign, and search for the specific address to get more information, my site’s listing of the property shows up. People then land on my website and call me from there. This results in leads with no additional time or meaningful financial investment on my part.

Another big benefit is that the MLS integration into my website allows me to automate the follow-up process. The software I use, to integrate the MLS, allows me to add a lead’s email and other information to a database. That lead will then receive automated emails whenever a new listing, which meets their desired criteria, comes on the market. This means that, instead of me having to call someone about a new listing, they receive it automatically. This helps people to be informed of listings they may be interested in and, importantly, ensures that the information is coming from me. I could spend hours, every day, researching listings and calling people or I could have an automated system which handles this task. I prefer the latter.

My blog is crucial to my strategy of driving seller listings

As I mentioned above, most realtors don’t create a website. Of the ones who do, very few create a blog and maintain it. Blogging is crucial to my strategy going forward. The thing about a blog post is that it can be the gift that keeps on giving. Say, for example, that I write an article on “how to price your home for sale” and it gets clicked on just five times a month in search. That’s five clicks every month that I pay no money for and spend no time on after I’ve written the article. In other words, investing a little bit of time provides me with web content, which I own outright, that will continue to give me indefinite exposure to potential

clients. This is why I wrote a comprehensive series on the subject of “selling your home.” I see my blog as a crucial component to obtaining listings without expending extensive time or money.

Video is important to helping me convert leads into clients

One of the first things I did after starting my business is hire a videographer to make the following “intro” video:

This has been vital in terms of helping me convert leads into clients. This has happened in two ways.

First, the client with the highest dollar contract I’ve signed so far explicitly mentioned my video when they first contacted me. In other words, these clients found me on the web and were considering calling me. They watched my video and it helped clinch their decision. Second, and interestingly, is another call I received. I market heavily on Zillow for a given zip code. My video appears on my Zillow profile as well as on my website. I received a call from a homeowner in the zip code I market to. She stated that she had been receiving letters from realtors offering to assist with selling her home (a common tactic for obtaining listings). She went onto Zillow to get an idea of what her home may be worth as part of deciding whether or not she wanted to sell it. Since I market to her zip code, she came across my Zillow profile and watched my video. She then contacted me regarding the listing of her home and, again, explicitly mentioned my video.

The foregoing are two examples of how my video introduces me to clients and helps me to convert more leads into signed contracts. I own this video outright. That means it’s another gift that keeps on giving. It’s another way that I’m getting clients, on an ongoing basis, without having to expend large amounts of time or pay ongoing amounts of money.

I strongly believe that many real estate agents are missing out on their opportunity to leverage the web. This is actually good news. The fact that agents aren’t leveraging the web means that it’s not as competitive as one may think. In my humble opinion, this is the best way to leverage one’s time and money when growing their business.

I owe a big thanks to Amanda Clark and the team at Grammar Chic for inviting me to write on this topic.

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Don’t Let Bad Content Ruin Your SEO Rankings

You’re probably familiar with the old SEO axiom: Content is king. That’s a little bit of an oversimplification, but there’s a lot of truth to it. If you’re trying to enact a savvy SEO campaign and achieve higher Google rankings for your business website, strong content is crucial. It’s job #1. It’s an absolute deal-breaker.

And why is that? Think about it from Google’s point of view. Like any business, Google wants to provide its customers (search engine users) with the best product possible (relevant search results). That means content that adequately answers their questions. If you want to rank well, that’s the kind of content you need to create.

But if good content can boost rankings, bad content can sink them. Unfortunately, bad content is all too plentiful. Here are a few ways in which bad content can disrupt your SEO undertaking—and not in a good way.

Bad Content Means Bad SEO

Content that’s too flimsy. While we are adamant that there’s no magic word count you need to hit, it is wise to be as thorough as you can be, completely addressing the topic at hand. Just ask yourself: Would this be satisfactory to a search engine user who wants to learn more about this topic or issue—or would a search engine user come away with more questions than answers?

Content that lacks the right keywords. When it comes to keywords, moderation is key. If you jam in so many keywords that your content feels stilted or robotic, your rankings will slip. Do include a few target keywords in strategic locations, however—titles, section subheadings, meta descriptions, and sprinkled throughout your body content.

Content that’s not localized. For retail companies or brick-and-mortar businesses, some geographically specific keywords are vital. Some examples include keywords like [City] plumbing company, [City] accountants, [City] pizza restaurant, etc.

Content that doesn’t offer a good UX. User experience is a key SEO ranking factor, so make sure that any visitor to your page feels totally welcome, and that it’s easy for users to find the content they’re after. We recommend plenty of white space; bullet points whenever appropriate; section subheadings; and, of course, a mobile-friendly layout.

Content that doesn’t offer value. There’s nothing wrong with developing content to sell your products, but remember that any content you create is meant to be informative and educational; if all you write is marketing fluff, you’re not helping Google provide its customers with a strong product.

Content that lacks internal linking. One more hallmark of strong content? It makes it easy for users to navigate to related resources. Make sure to include links to relevant resource pages or blog posts whenever you can.

Get the Help You Need Creating Strong Content

SEO can get really technical, and those technicalities are important—but they don’t mean anything if you don’t have good content to offer. That’s where we come in. Grammar Chic, Inc. is adept at content creation that delights readers while also pleasing the search algorithms. And we’d love to talk with you about your company’s content writing and SEO needs.

Schedule a consultation today: Reach out at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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