Tag Archives: professional content marketing

Why Your Company Should Move Beyond Content Marketing Freelancers

home-office-336373_1280

These days, there aren’t many business owners who seriously dispute the value of original, branded content. It can be proven, with graphs and charts, that YouTube videos increase brand engagement and boost website traffic; that blog posts can be invaluable for bolstering SEO; that e-books and white papers can be unparalleled tools for generating leads. The list goes on and on.

What business owners do question is how best to achieve their content goals. Some take on the tough job of content creation themselves, which is something we admire. Others choose to enlist freelancers. Certainly, the Internet is full of resources that make it easy to track down freelance writers and content creators, and in some cases this approach can work wonderfully.

There is another option that we would obviously recommend most highly, which is engaging the services of a content writing firm—like Grammar Chic, Inc. For companies that have grown past freelancers, this is the logical next step. Allow us to provide a few reasons why.

As your content needs grow, you’ll need to hit bigger volume goals. A freelancer can work well when you’re looking for a blog post each week, but what happens when you need 40 articles churned out, a full website content revamp, or something similarly ambitious? A lone freelancer won’t be able to keep up with that brisk production pace, but a full writing team, with a deep bench of content creators, will.

Freelancers may not have the breadth of experience you need. An integrated marketing campaign will require a wide range of content—not just blog posts but e-books, marketing emails, FAQ pages, how-tos, and more. Each of these content types calls for a different skillset—something you’ll find on a writing team, but not necessarily with a lone freelancer.

Proving ROI is something many freelancers will struggle with. It is inaccurate to say that content ROI cannot be proven; in fact, Grammar Chic routinely provides clients with reports and statistics that show just what kind of results our content is getting. This is a capability that freelance writers simply might not have.

Writing companies will have a wider network of resources to call on. Looking to get a blog post syndicated, or to have a press release distributed through a reputable PR newswire? Freelancers may not have these connections—but a company like Grammar Chic does.

A writing company will provide critical dependability. The worst-case scenario, content-wise, would be for a writer to quit on you in the middle of a big content push, leaving you to find and train someone new. Freelancers are much more likely to do this than a writing company is; a company like Grammar Chic puts its professional reputation on the line when it enters into a contract with a new client, and always sticks to the promises made.

There are some other key distinctions we could name, too—and we’d love to talk with you about them one-on-one. Start the conversation today. Contact Grammar Chic’s deep bench of writers by calling 803-831-7444, or by visiting www.grammarchic.net.

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

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

Facebook is Rolling Out Local Business Verification Badges. Here’s Why You Should Get One.

fbk-certified-702x336

Have you ever been on Twitter or Facebook and noticed an account with a little blue checkmark beside its name—say, the account for a celebrity, a musician, a professional athlete, or a politician?

These check marks show that the account is verified. All this means is that it’s the real deal. When you see Chris Rock on Twitter with a blue check mark beside his name, that means that it really is the Chris Rock—not a fan and not an imposter. By contrast, if you see a Chris Rock account without the checkmark, that’s probably a Chris Rock fan page—still funny, maybe, but not affiliated with the actual guy.

According to Marketing Land, Facebook has rolled out a new verification system—this time marked by gray badges, to distinguish from the blue ones. While blue is still the color for celebrities, gray is now used to verify and legitimize local businesses. The feature is being rolled out to businesses across several countries, including the United States and Great Britain.

For verified businesses, the gray checkmarks will now show up beside the business name in Facebook searches and on the account page itself. For companies looking to get verified, the process is fairly simple. All you’ll need is a couple minutes of time and a business phone number. Details are available here.

This is something we recommend local businesses do, and for a couple of reasons. One of the stated reasons from Facebook is to ensure that consumers are finding the authentic business listing. A lot of companies have duplicate pages on Facebook, perhaps created by former employees or perhaps generated through social media “check-ins.” The gray badge lets consumers know that they have found the real, official business listing.

And piggybacking off that point, verification badges provide consumer confidence. Your business has to be fairly legitimate to qualify for this—it needs a real phone number and a physical address—so opting to get verified is a sign that you’re running a real operation. It’s a sign that consumers can confidently do business with you.

For businesses not able to qualify for the gray checkmark—perhaps because they don’t have physical locations that consumers can visit—there are other ways to ensure credibility, such as using testimonials, sharing customer reviews, and showcasing thought leadership. But if you do qualify for the gray checkmark, there’s really no reason not to get one.

Leave a comment

Filed under Brand Management, Content Marketing, Social Media

The Ten Commandments of Content Marketing

iStock_000026784544XSmall

You may already do content marketing for your brand; perhaps it’s something you’ve been doing for a long time now. Still, it never hurts to be reminded of the fundamentals—the basic dos and don’ts that will keep your content marketing efficient, effective, and ever on track.

The ten rules we have compiled here are basic, but foundational: You won’t have a good content strategy without them, and you won’t get results. And because these rules are so basic, we can say that they really are rules, more or less etched into stone. We doubt you will find many exceptions to these ten precepts.

So, with no further adieu… our stone tablets of content marketing:

  1. Thou shalt esteem quality over all else. Don’t commit idolatry with SEO gimmicks or fall into the heresy of content marketing “short cuts.” Everything you do should be in service of quality, first and foremost—content that is well-written, polished, organized, and value-adding. Sacrificing quality is content marketing’s cardinal sin.
  2. Thou shalt serve thy customer, for all thy days. Selfishness is another unforgivable offense. If you want your content marketing to be effective, you have to develop it in service to your customers and your audience, first and foremost; help, provide value, or simply entertain. By putting your customers first you will be, in effect, putting your brand first, as well.
  3. Thou shalt sell without selling. There’s nothing wrong with casting your products and services in the best possible light, of course—but content marketing is not about the hard sell. It’s about building relationships and trust over time. Don’t exasperate your audience by going into “sell” mode all the time; instead, entice them to your brand by offering free guidance and value.
  4. Thou shalt not market without a strategy. Hopefully, you have a marketing plan that you’re working from, or at the very least a written expression of your company mission, values, and goals. Make these documents your marketing Bible, and use them to guide you forward at all times.
  5. Thou shalt post new content regularly. If you’re not there, your customers won’t be, either. Feed the content monster and ensure brand visibility. Post new stuff regularly and consistently.
  6. Thou shalt write like a human, not like a corporation. People like doing business with other people, not with faceless corporate entities—so make sure you humanize your brand with a unique voice, with humor, with compassion, and more.
  7.  Thou shalt not overdo it. Don’t spread yourself too think by attempting to post 10 times daily to a dozen different social platforms; be judicious and practical, and don’t bite off more than you can chew.
  8. Thou shalt not rush it. Content marketing is about building relationships—and that takes time. Don’t expect to see huge results overnight.
  9. Thou shalt review thy content marketing plan on a monthly basis. Audit your content and your strategy to make sure that you’re making an impact, and tweak/revise as needed.
  10. Thou shalt not forsake data. If you’re not tracking your results and measuring your profess, you have no idea whether you’re advancing toward your goals.

Follow these content marketing commandments and they will surely lead to some sublime reward; neglect them and there could be hell to pay.

For more guidance, contact Grammar Chic at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

1 Comment

Filed under Content Marketing, Social Media

Help! I’m Sending Out Marketing E-mails But Nobody’s Clicking Through!

email-marketing

E-mail marketing can be one of the most effective ways to grow your business and engage your customers—except when it isn’t.

For every e-mail marketing campaign that yields stellar results, there’s another e-mail marketing campaign that seems ultimately to be a waste of time. We talk to small business owners pretty regularly, and often we hear them say that they’re sending e-mails to their e-mail list but nobody’s actually clicking through on the call to action. The e-mails get read, maybe, but nothing good comes out of it.

That’s obviously frustrating, yet it’s not an insurmountable problem. There are plenty of ways to tweak and enhance your marketing e-mails to make them more compelling—more clickable. We’ve got several quick fixes in the list that follows.

How to Fix Ineffective Marketing E-mails

Include more calls to action. Readers may not have the time or attention span to read your entire message, even if it’s pretty brief; if you have a single call to action link, in the bottom of the e-mail, a lot of your customers will miss it. Try including multiple CTA links, in different places in the e-mail.

Fix your anchor text. Does your call to action anchor text just say click here? Because that’s not very compelling. Try something more forceful: Discover. Explore. Take action. Join us. Uncover.

Write a better subject line. This is the most important part of your marketing e-mails—period. Compose headlines that are grabbing, that address pain points, and that offer immediate value. Let readers know that the answers they are looking for are right there in the message of your e-mail. (We almost hate to say it, but if you want to see what clickable headlines look like, just go to BuzzFeed.)

Focus up! A good marketing e-mail is singular in its focus. You should have one central topic, one basic piece of information you’re trying to impart, one call to action. If your e-mail content is all over the place, you’re going to lose readers.

Optimize for mobile. A lot of your customers are going to be opening their e-mails on mobile devices, so double check that your template is one that iPhones and Androids will display properly.

Make it scannable. Keep your message to just a few short lines, keep sentences short, and use bullet points.

Get help. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the pros to help you fine-tune your e-mails and really capitalize on your e-mail marketing list. The Grammar Chic team is standing by; get solutions today by calling 803-831-7444, or visiting www.grammarchic.net.

2 Comments

Filed under Content Marketing, Email Writing

Facebook 101: Boosting Your Business Posts

fb_icon_325x325

Here is another question that our entrepreneurial friends ask from time to time: How can we generate more traction, more heat for our best Facebook posts? How can we get more eyes on the content that we’re most proud of?

The quickest way to get more attention on your best posts is to boost them, which is the term Facebook uses for its paid post promotion. In fact, small business owners really need to boost some of their posts, though certainly not all of them. Facebook’s algorithms are such that, if you don’t boost some posts from time to time—if you don’t put money into the system—none of your posts are going to fare very well at all.

Preparing to Boost Your Posts

A couple of preliminary points to make here: First, you can only boost posts to your Business page, not your personal Facebook account. To boost posts, make sure you are logged into an account that is attached to your Facebook business page. (If you either created the page or have been given administrative powers by the page creator, you should be fine.)

Also note that, since you’re not going to be boosting every single post, you should make sure the ones you do boost are chosen methodically. To some extent, there might be merit in playing around with different kinds of posts to see which ones get the biggest love. Certainly, if you have a post that got a lot more likes or shares than is typical for your page, that one is a good candidate for boosting. Additionally, posts that have links back to your company website, or that note current promotions or sales, are often good ones to boost.

How to Boost Your Posts

Now: As for the mechanics of it all…

  1. Start by going to your Facebook business page and finding the post you want to boost. In the bottom right corner of the post, you should see an option that says Boost Post. Click it!
  2. A screen will pop up that allows you to choose your Audience. You can display the post either just to your page’s followers, to followers and their friends, or to an audience of “strangers” you choose through demographic targeting. Choose who you want to boost the post to, then move down to the next section.
  3. The next section will ask you to select the dollar amount and duration of your paid promotion. If you’re new to this or are still trying to experiment, we recommend starting with a low dollar amount—but just remember that doing so means your paid promotion won’t necessarily generate as much buzz as a higher-spending campaign.
  4. Once you have everything set up, hit Boost in the lower right corner and you should be good to go!

All of this requires strategy, of course—you need to pick your promotions carefully—but also some compelling content… content that’s worth boosting. The Grammar Chic team can help you with both. Learn more by reaching out to 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

Leave a comment

Filed under Content Marketing, Social Media

6 Social Sharing Techniques You’ve Probably Forgotten

content_marketing_01The great bloggers and SEO professionals at Search Engine People recently published an article with an eye-catching headline: “37 Ways to Promote Your Blog Posts.” Of course this post drew our attention, for the same reason that it’s probably drawn yours: 37 seems like an awful lot! After all, we’re all aware of the need to share company blog posts on Facebook and Twitter, on LinkedIn Pulse and in e-mail newsletters… but can there really be 37 avenues for content sharing?

As it turns out, there are—but what really impressed us about the post is the sheer number of practical, common-sense solutions that we all know about but most of us have forgotten. In our zeal to implement all the most complex and sophisticated content sharing techniques, it seems that we may be forgetting about some of the basics.

Consider some of the following techniques. None of them are new or revolutionary—but we fully admit to forgetting about them from time to time! Perhaps we’re not alone…

Content Sharing Methods We All Tend to Forget

Friends and family. Do you have people in your life who are interested in you, who support you, and who love you no matter what? Likely so—and Search Engine People wisely points out that these people will probably be more than happy to read your latest post and maybe even offer some helpful feedback. Why not send it to them directly?

Colleagues. “Does your company have a blog?” Search Engine People asks. “Do you contribute to it? If you answered ‘Yes’ to both questions, then go ahead send your coworkers a link to your recently published post.” Make sure your coworkers know what’s going on with the company blog, and encourage them to share the post on their own social channels.

Twitter. Yes, you probably share all your blog posts on Twitter as is—but do you do so more than once? An automatic update isn’t sufficient; share each post several times over the span of a couple weeks. (But don’t overdo it: Three or four total shares is probably a good target.)

Presentations. Giving a talk or a pitch to clients or colleagues? Why not work in a mention of your company blog? Position it as a value-adding professional resource.

E-mail signature. Promote recent posts within your e-mail signature. Says Search Engine People: “Most email signatures contain just a general link to the blog or company’s website. Make it more interesting by including a link to a specific piece of content. You don’t have to update your signature every time a new blog post goes out, but maybe every time you launch a major content campaign.”

Instagram bio. You can’t actually post links in Instagram posts, but you can remind users to check out the blog link in your profile.

Of course, there are plenty of other ways to share content—but if you’re not using these foundational techniques, add them to your arsenal starting today! And for more tips, hit up the Grammar Chic crew at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

Leave a comment

Filed under Brand Management, Content Marketing, Social Media

10 Questions to Ask Your Content Marketing Firm

iStock_000023616857Small

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Content Marketing