Tag Archives: professional content marketing

The Ten Commandments of Content Marketing

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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.

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

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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.

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Facebook 101: Boosting Your Business Posts

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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.

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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.

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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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When is it Time to Hire a Content Team?

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The launch of your small business might go hand-in-hand with the development of a business Facebook page, or perhaps a corporate Twitter account. Some entrepreneurs really start their new business right by implementing a blog and a full-fledged content strategy. As your business grows, however, so do the demands on your content marketing—and on your time. As such, many business owners eventually reach a point where they realize they cannot go the DIY content marketing route any longer; they need to outsource it to a content marketing professional.

But when do you know that you’ve reached that point? What are some of the telltale signs that it’s time to call someone like Grammar Chic?

Here are some dead giveaways:

You simply don’t have time for content marketing any more.

Remember that content marketing isn’t a one-time thing but the cultivation of ongoing relationships with your clients—and as with any relationships, your content marketing relationships require time. It’s imperative that you have new content posted daily, and that you plan well in advance with an editorial calendar. If you don’t have the time to invest in content development any longer, it may be time to call in the A-Team.

But it’s not just content development that can eat into your time. Actually posting content takes time, even if you’re automating it with something like Hootsuite. And nurturing relationships, interacting with followers and fans through social media, can be a full-time job in itself. If these responsibilities are distracting you from things like sales and business development—or, more likely, they’re simply falling through the cracks—then you may need to outsource.

You’re running out of ideas.

You know your business better than anyone else, and you’re certainly an expert in your niche—but we’re experts in obtaining blog topics for any company and in any field. When inspiration is hard to come by and you feel like you’re just repeating yourself, call in the professionals.

You’re losing sight of results.

Early in your business, when you just have 50 Facebook followers or so, it’s easy enough to tell when you’re growing your fan base and generating some social interactions. The deeper into content marketing you go, however, the harder it can be to track ROI. That’s when you call a team like Grammar Chic.

You’re losing sight of content marketing’s many changes.

Content marketing changes daily—and if you’re not able to keep up with reputable content marketing blogs, then you simply can’t stay abreast of significant trends.

You realize you’re not the world’s greatest writer.

We don’t want to sound harsh about it, but: A lot of entrepreneurs will happily admit that writing is not their primary gift. When you reach a point where you feel like you need a full-time, fully-committed writer on your account, that’s when to call Grammar Chic.

And you can reach us at 803-831-7444, or via www.grammarchic.net.

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When You Don’t Have Time for Content Marketing

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Content marketing is more widespread and more accepted with each passing day. Even so, many small business owners remain resistant. Some hold out because they feel like they can’t afford it, and some because they’re not yet convinced of its merit. In our experience, though, the single most common objection to content marketing is this: I don’t have time.

For those small business owners who believe they lack the time for content marketing, we have a few points of rebuttal:

  1. To begin with, nobody ever said your content had to be epically long. There is a movement among content marketers toward “long form” content—content that tops 1500 words—but written content absolutely doesn’t have to be so lengthy, and in fact pithy and straight-to-the-point blogs and social media posts tend to be best for engaging consumers.
  2. Quality is more important than quantity. Don’t feel like you have to write ten blog posts every day. One per week can be highly effective, assuming you take the time to really nail it and make that blog post count.
  3. There are many forms of content that can be relatively easy to put together—quick lists, crowdsourced content, answers to questions from your inbox, and so on.
  4. Content curating is always an option, and in fact we believe it to be essential. Don’t have time to draft an original blog post today? You probably can find a minute to link to a relevant blog from a colleague, or a pertinent article from Forbes or The New York Times, or simply a YouTube video that correlates to your industry.
  5. If you habitually find yourself scrambling to put content together at the last minute, your problem may not be a lack of time so much as a lack of preparation. Putting together an editorial calendar can help!
  6. You can also enlist the help of guest bloggers, whose authority and perspective will enrich your own content platforms.
  7. For that matter, those small business owners who truly do not have the time to spare on content marketing can always simply outsource it. In fact, this is one of the very best reasons to contract a content professional: You get better results, and don’t have to invest all the time in it yourself!

To learn more about working with a content marketing strategist, and how it can free up your time for other tasks and competencies, contact the Grammar Chic team right away. We’re available at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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