Tag Archives: professional content marketing

Questions to Ask Before Scaling Up Your Content Marketing

iStock_000021284452XSmall

Content marketing is an ongoing commitment, one that gains traction and grows in its effect over time. As your company’s content marketing becomes more and more successful, you may decide that it’s time to scale it up—to invest more in branding your business on the Web and reaching out to customers through social media channels.

There are several ways in which you might go about this. You might spread to new social channels; if you’ve found great success on Facebook and Pinterest, you may feel like you can translate it into success on Twitter and Instagram. You may decide to simply produce more content—posting twice per day instead of just once, blogging weekly instead of twice per month. You may enlist creative professionals to assist you with original infographics, podcasts, videos, white papers, or e-books.

As with any aspect of growing a business, though, scaling up your content marketing needs to be handled judiciously and strategically. Here are a few questions the Grammar Chic team would recommend you consider, before you begin scaling up in earnest.

  1. What are your goals? You don’t want to scale up just for the sake of scaling up. You want to set some specific, measurable goals, so that you can properly measure ROI. What are you trying to accomplish with your content marketing? Who are you trying to reach? Think in terms of sales/referral traffic, but also in terms of buyer personas and meeting consumer needs.
  2. What’s worked in the past? If you’re thinking about scaling up, then you must have seen some success—but what exactly has made your content marketing so effective? Which posts and strategies have helped you reach your goals? Figure out what’s been successful and try to build on it.
  3. What’s working for your competitors? What are your peers and competitors doing that you’re not—and how might you work to fill in the gap?
  4. Do you know how to use the relevant social platforms? Don’t overlook this. If your aim is to branch out onto Pinterest but you’ve never used Pinterest before, you may need to view some tutorials!
  5. Is your team on board? Content marketing requires a full team buy-in. As you think about scaling up, make sure everyone understands what you’re doing and is excited to see the company’s social presence expand!

Our team can provide you with direction and content support as you look to expand your online presence. Reach out to us today: Call 803-831-7444, or visit www.grammarchic.net!

Leave a comment

Filed under Content Marketing

What Parks and Recreation Teaches Us About Content Marketing

Parks-and-Rec-S7-MAIN

As we’ve established before, the Grammar Chic team is all about pop culture—and there are few cultural touchstones we’re more passionate about than Parks and Recreation. The long-running NBC sitcom kicked off its seventh and final season last night, a victory lap for a show that’s uniquely beloved by audiences—so now is as good a time as any to reflect on what the show can teach us about content marketing.

Know Hope

Parks and Recreation is set in the world of small-town, local government, following the daily adventures of Pawnee, Indiana’s Parks and Recreation Department. It’s a show about politics, on some level, but you won’t find much in the way of Veep or House of Cards-style cynicism here. Like The West Wing before it, this is a show with a fundamentally optimistic view of government. Amy Poehler’s character, Leslie Knope, believes that government can and must work, and that it might even make people’s lives better.

That’s the attitude you have to have as you develop content. Cynicism and doubt will cause you to half-ass it. You have to really commit to the notion that, though it won’t always be easy and you may make some missteps, content marketing can ultimately work. It can enhance your business, and it can even make a difference in people’s lives, if only by entertaining and informing them. If you don’t actually believe these things, then what’s the point of doing content marketing at all?

It Takes a Village

Part of the show’s optimism stems from the fact that, unlike so many sitcoms, it doesn’t derive its humor from how hapless its characters are (except for Jerry), nor from how miserable they are at work (except for April and maybe Tom). By and large, it’s a show about people who enjoy one another’s company, and who like working together—whether they’d ever admit to it or not. And Leslie Knope is the exact opposite of, say, Homer Simpson or Michael Scott: She is great at what she does, and inspires confidence in her team.

Parks and Rec’s team approach is something small business owners can learn from. For content marketing to work, you need full team buy-in. You need everyone to pitch in ideas, to help share and distribute content, and ultimately to understand what makes content marketing so important.

Your Work Won’t Always Love You Back

Finally, one of the darker undercurrents in the show is that Leslie constantly works her butt off for the people of Pawnee, and they tend to respond with either indifference or, in some cases, flat-out ingratitude. She struggles, sometimes, with how much Pawnee seems to hate her, despite her great love for the town.

Sadly, this is an experience you may sometimes have in content marketing. Not every piece of content is going to engage people the way you want it to. Sometimes, you may get frustrated—and that’s natural. However, you can’t let that seep into the work. You can’t throw in the towel or start writing with a cynical edge. Be like Leslie Knope: Keep working hard even on the days when it feels like it’s not fully appreciated.

And don’t be afraid to ask for help. The Grammar Chic, Inc. team can offer it. Contact us at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

1 Comment

Filed under Content Marketing

Prepare Your Content Marketing for 2015

happy-new-year

As we cross the finish line and prepare to enter into a new year, it’s worth pausing to reflect on how far we’ve come, and where we’re all headed—particularly where content marketing is concerned.

For the small business owners out there, we hope that you’ve had a productive 2014, expanding your online marketing knowledge and efficacy; similarly, we hope you’re ready to step up your game and make even more of an impact in the months to come.

To ensure that you hit the ground running in 2015, it’s important to take some time now, in the waning days of December, to think strategically about what it is you’d like to accomplish—and how.

Setting the Right Goals

As the Grammar Chic team has noted before, content marketing works best when the goals are clearly defined.

Setting some specific goals for 2015 is helpful. It will provide your content marketing endeavors with some direction, and help you better measure your ROI. The question is, what sorts of goals should you be setting?

Some specific metrics will help. Perhaps you want to grow your e-mail subscription list by 2,500 names. Perhaps you want to increase website traffic by 30 percent. Perhaps you want to hit a certain number of Facebook likes. Such goals are helpful because they are actionable and measurable.

However, we would also recommend setting some goals more specific to the various facets of your company. Maybe you have a certain product or service you really want to push on Twitter, or members of your marketing team whose gifts you’d like to better utilize. These, too, are supremely helpful goals, even if they may be a bit harder to directly quantify.

Reflecting on the Past

Even as you look to the future, it might prove helpful to ponder the past. Have you been content marketing in 2014? If so, how has it gone? Which strategies should you hold on to, and which should you discard?

Did you have a particular post, blog entry, or promotion that did exceedingly well? Any content that just sort of flopped?

What would you say was your biggest content marketing success in 2014? What was your biggest challenge? What was the most important lesson you learned about your customers, fans, and followers?

And critically: What have your competitors been doing with their content marketing?

All of these are important considerations as you set the stage for a successful 2015.

Pulling it All Together

By reflecting on what you’ve accomplished and what you’d like to accomplish, you can clarify the tools and strategies you need to implement in 2015. You might also come to the conclusion that you need some help, either with strategy or with content creation—and if so, then the Grammar Chic, Inc. team can help.

Reach out to us today: www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

1 Comment

Filed under Content Marketing

Facebook is Changing the Rules—Again.

fb_icon_325x325

Small business owners, do you have your Facebook marketing down to a science? Do you routinely post promotional content that generates significant visibility—and website referral traffic? If so, then that’s something to be proud of, but also something to safeguard and protect. And doing so might become a bit harder in 2015: Facebook has announced some significant changes to its algorithms, and—to be completely blunt—they’re probably going to cause your organic reach to plummet.

About the Change

If you want to read Facebook’s full explanation of the algorithmic change, you can check out the full announcement here. The gist of it is this, though: Business pages will see their organic reach take a sharp decline, in particular for posts that are deemed “overly promotional.” In other words, if your posts are pushy and salesy, or if they come across more like ads than actual creative and engaging posts, then beware: They’re not going to appear in nearly as many newsfeeds, and thus they won’t have nearly the same kind of effect.

This may seem like fairly bleak news for business owners, but understand where Facebook is coming from. This move is said to be the direct result of user feedback, and it makes sense that users would want to see fewer ads and fewer brazenly promotional posts in their newsfeeds. Facebook, by turn, is trying to provide the best product possible—and unfortunately, small business owners are the ones who will pay the price for it.

Two Ways to Ensure Engagement

If you’re worried about your Facebook reach being limited, take heart: There are a couple of ways around this problem.

The first, of course, is to throw Facebook a bone. The algorithmic changes in question apply only to organic reach, not to paid promotion. If you’ve got a promotional post and you really want it to be seen, you can just pony up and throw some money behind it, and rest assured that it will be seen in newsfeeds.

The other approach is a bit subtler, but also more sustainable: Start doing some true content marketing. Give the promotional posts a rest and get creative, offering your users some content that’s simply helpful, entertaining, and value-adding. If Facebook doesn’t see the content as overly promotional, you won’t be penalized.

Ultimately, of course, you’re going to need to implement both strategies in tandem. The Grammar Chic, Inc. team can help on both fronts. We offer superlative content creation as well as general social media strategy; we can help you come up with tremendously engaging, non-promotional posts, and also make the best use of your paid post allocation.

To learn more, contact us today: 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

3 Comments

Filed under Content Marketing

Assembling Your Content Marketing Dream Team

establishing a chain of command

Looking to assemble your own content marketing dream team? The social media equivalent of The Avengers? You’re going to need talented folks who wear a number of hats—including each of the following key players:

  • A good listener. Content marketing is, by its very nature, a social endeavor. It’s not something you do in isolation, and it’s not just about broadcasting your own platform or message. Content marketing begins with actually hearing your followers and fans; learning what matters to them, and how that plays into your brand; tracking feedback and measuring online reputation; and joining followers and fans in conversation.
  • A good conversationalist. Speaking of which: As you use social media platforms to dialogue with your followers and fans, you’re going to need someone who can hold up your brand’s side of the conversation. You’re going to need someone adept at responding to comments and questions, and facilitating a meaningful relationship while always putting your company’s best foot forward.
  • A killer copywriter. Even in the era of online video and images—increasingly important to content marketing and social sharing—written content is still paramount. You need someone who can develop copious amounts of engaging, entertaining, value-adding content—all of it consistent with your brand’s message, all of it creative and compelling.
  • A multimedia specialist. With the above said, you’re going to need—at a bare minimum—some original, brand-enhancing images and infographics. Some original video will certainly help, too.
  • An analyst. You can have all of the other players on your team but still effectively be flying blind, with no real idea of which content is working and which isn’t. That’s why your content marketing Avengers need someone who can run analytics, measure social impact, and translate the facts and figures into a powerful, actionable strategy.
  • A crisis management expert. What happens when you have a product that backfires, a public statement that blows up in your face, or simply a litany of loud consumer complaints? You’ll need someone who can take to social media to mitigate the damage and prevent you from having a true PR crisis on your hands.
  • A social media expert. This one might sound obvious, but: In addition to content and analytics, you’re also going to need a team member who knows Facebook inside and out; who keeps up with all the changes that come to Twitter and LinkedIn; and who knows how to tap into an audience on Instagram or Pinterest.
  • A marketing and messaging guru. Finally, you need the team leader who can bring all of these other skillsets together: Someone who understands your brand’s message, values, and goals, and ensures that everything else is in service of the big picture.

That’s a lot of cooks in the kitchen, and a lot of hands on deck—yet all are necessary to make your content marketing campaign work. The good news is, you don’t have to hire for all of those positions. That’s the beauty of outsourcing your content marketing needs to a company like Grammar Chic, Inc. We have all of these players represented in house—and eager to put their unique skills to use in your brand’s service.

Contact us to learn more: www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

Leave a comment

Filed under Content Marketing

Content Marketing Like the Pros Do It

content_marketing_01

Small business owners, are you using content marketing tools as effectively as you could be?

Consider the following two points. One, more and more small businesses are embracing the merits of social media and content marketing; in fact, more than 90 percent of all businesses now use social channels for marketing purposes, and nearly as many say that these channels are important to their marketing success. And two, the majority of small business owners say that, while they believe content marketing is important, they’re not necessarily confident about how they’re doing it; they’re not necessarily sure about the best practices for savvy content marketing.

It might be helpful, then, to consider it from another angle. You may feel like you’re a bit of a content marketing amateur—but how do the pros handle things? And what lessons might we learn from them?

Survey Says…

A social CRM evaluation company called Software Advice recently conducted a survey of some of the country’s leading professional marketers. The survey questions are wide-ranging and revealing. In particular, some of the key findings include:

  • 84 percent of professional marketers routinely post on three or more social networks; 70 percent say that they post daily.
  • Visual content and hashtags are cited as particularly effective ways to optimize social media content.
  • A little over half of all the pros use software to help manage their postings.

Reading the Results

For small business owners who just want to make sure they’re on the right track with their content marketing, these results offer a few simple takeaways.

  • For one, diversifying your social media presence is a must. Where are your clients? It’s important to meet them where they are, and chances are, they’re not exclusively on Facebook or on Pinterest. Spreading your message across multiple platforms only amplifies it.
  • Consistent posting is key. Use an editorial calendar to ensure that, even on a “slow news day,” you’ve got something to share with your followers and fans.
  • Optimizing your posts is key. This is especially true of ones you pay to promote: Make sure you’re using images and hashtags to make them as compelling and as striking as possible.
  • Software can indeed make social media management easier—but then, of course, so can outsourcing your content marketing needs to a firm like Grammar Chic, Inc.

To learn more about any of this, we invite you to contact our team today: Visit www.grammarchic.net, or call us at 803-831-7444.

Leave a comment

Filed under Content Marketing

Preparing for Your Content Marketing Consultation

iStock_000021284452XSmall

Last week, the Grammar Chic blog outlined five reasons to outsource your content marketing in 2015. Among them: Outsourcing can save you time; it can give you better bang for your buck; and it can provide both the perspective and the expertise needed to make your marketing endeavors effective.

Frankly, we feel like it’s a pretty sound argument—so we hope some of you will take us up on it! This will bring with it a whole new set of questions, though. Many small business owners have never worked with a content marketing professional before, and you may have some questions about what the process entails.

Generally speaking, content marketing professionals want to make the process as low-intensity as possible for you. One of the reasons to outsource, after all, is to free up some of your own time. Working with a company like Grammar Chic, then, you can expect the process to be fairly hands-off, while still offering you control over the process whenever and wherever you’d like it.

With that said, you should plan on spending some time on an initial consultation call—likely no more than an hour or so—to provide the content marketer with some insights into your brand. This is an important call, setting the stage for your content marketing strategy as well as for your working relationship with the marketer. As such, it is worthwhile to take some time to prepare for it.

Here’s how:

  • Think about what your brand really stands for. What are the values, vision, and mission of your brand? Spend some time pulling together any sales copy you have—in particular About Us pages, Mission Statements, and the like—that reflect your brand.
  • Consider your brand distinctive. What sets your company apart from its competition? Jot down some ideas.
  • Consider your customer base. Who are the people who do business with you? Do you have buyer personas, or any demographic information? If so, compile it to provide to the marketer. If not, simply brainstorm some basics about who buys from you. Use our buyer persona guides to help you.
  • Define your goals. Hopefully, your content marketing vendor has provided you with some insights as to what goals are and are not reasonable for you to pursue; think through what matters most to you in terms of increased website traffic, online authority, and so on.
  • Think about your own involvement. How much control do you want to have over the process? Do you want to arrange weekly calls with your content marketer? Do you want to ask for approval of all materials before they are published? Do you want to provide the content marketer with more flexibility than that? Think about how much time you really want to invest in the process.
  • Think about your budget. Finally, make sure you have a good sense of how much you are able to invest in content marketing at this juncture. It is always best to think about this in advance.

These bullet points should provide you with some direction—and a high level of preparedness as you think about your content marketing consultation call.

To learn more, or to set up a call with the Grammar Chic team, contact us today: 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

4 Comments

Filed under Content Marketing

What Our Content Marketing Team is Thankful for This Year

Thankful

Content marketing moves at such a breakneck pace sometimes that it’s hard to find the time to just stop, relax, and reflect—but then again, isn’t that what this season of the year is all about? We know that many of our readers are travelling and spending some much-deserved time with family and friends, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t take some time to reflect on the things that our content marketing team is thankful for this year.

Just a few noteworthy items, then, and in no particular order:

  • We’re thankful for your engagement. If you’ve ever read our blog, shared our Facebook posts, or answered our questions on Twitter, then you’re a part of what we’re doing—and we really, sincerely appreciate it.
  • We’re thankful for social media. Though it’s maligned as often as it’s celebrated, social media is such a wondrous thing for connecting people, and for helping businesses grow and develop.
  • We’re thankful for Hootsuite. We use Hootsuite’s automation features pretty devotedly, and pretty frequently, and can’t even begin to express how much easier our lives are because of it.
  • We’re thankful for editorial calendars. We pretty much always have our social media campaigns planned weeks in advance—and we have our handy editorial calendars to thank for this level of preparedness.
  • We’re thankful for pop culture. We really can’t help the fact that we see content marketing lessons in Netflix and in Prince, in The Walking Dead and The Good Wife. And we’ll be the first to admit: We write those posts, first and foremost, because they’re just a lot of fun.
  • We’re thankful that content is still king. Search engine algorithms and social media trends change more or less daily, but one thing remains the same: Good, original, value-adding content always proves effective. There’s something very honest and very comforting in that—and since our job is to develop content, we’re obviously thankful that it still reigns supreme!
  • We’re thankful for our clients. We don’t mean to get too sappy here, but really: To be perfectly blunt, there are a lot of content marketing firms out there that have to deal with difficult clients or with boring businesses to write about. We feel fortunate to have so many legitimately interesting verticals to cover, and clients who tend to make it as easy as possible for us. Thanks to you all!

What are you thankful for this year? Leave a comment and let us know. And should any content marketing needs arise over the next few days, know that we’re always around: Visit www.grammarchic.net, or call 803-831-7444 for more information.

Leave a comment

Filed under Content Marketing

From the Grammar Chic Mailbag

mailbag

And now for something a little different.

Here at Grammar Chic, we blog, tweet, and opine fairly regularly on topics related to content marketing, online copywriting, and social media management—so as you might imagine, we receive some interesting questions and provocative inquiries from time to time. Many of these questions are weirdly specific—like when you should use further versus farther, or what’s the plural for hypothesis—but many are more broadly interesting questions about the best strategies for digital marketing success.

Some of these questions come via Facebook or blog comments; others, by email or even directly from some of our clients. We hope these answers are informative. If so, we may even dip into the ol’ mailbag again, sooner or later…

With that said… on to our first question:

Hi, Grammar Chick! (Is that how you pronounce it?) You guys talk all the time about content marketing, and how social media is an important component of it—but do your content marketing strategies ever encompass paid posts, sponsored tweets, etc? Sincerely, Jason

Thanks for the letter, Jason—and actually, it’s pronounced like sheik. But as for your main question: We’re big believers in organic content development—meaning that you need to grow your number of social media followers not simply by writing big checks to Facebook and to Twitter, but rather by providing them with content that keeps them engaged. Paid ads are not without their place, and can be great for jacking up those numbers and boosting your visibility on key social platforms—but if you’re not coupling them with really engaging content, the kind that turns social media followers into true brand advocates, then you’re not really getting your money’s worth.

The short answer: We’d be lying if we said we never considered paid posts, but it’s by no means a major component in our content marketing strategy.

On to another…

Hi, Grammar Chic team. I get what you guys are saying about the need for regular social media updates—but so long as I’m posting interesting articles or cute photos, I don’t really need to have my own blog, do I? I mean, isn’t that a little much? Yours truly, Sylvia

We get this question all the time, Sylvia, from blogging skeptics—and in fact, it was basically the impetus for our popular Netflix-themed blog from a couple months ago. Truthfully, though, we recommend blogging to virtually all our content marketing clients. The blog is your avenue for posting truly original, distinct content; without it, you’re not a content creator so much as a curator. While curating content has its place, users will eventually realize that you’re not offering them anything they can’t get elsewhere, making a blog necessary for sustaining long-term interest and loyalty.

Another reach into the mailbag:

Thank you, Grammar Chic, for handling my content marketing needs. I look forward to seeing the results—probably by first thing tomorrow morning, right? Respectfully, Jim

Well, not exactly, Jim. While our content marketing team does move pretty fast, and will likely start work on your campaign within 24-48 hours, if not sooner, we urge you to remember that content marketing is all about building relationships—and that doesn’t happen over night. Content marketing requires an investment over the long haul; you need to have the right expectations, rather than assuming this process will work overnight magic.

That about does it for today’s Grammar Chic mailbag. If you’d like us to address any particular question or issue in a future post, we invite you to contact us today: Call 803-831-7444, or visit http://www.grammarchic.net.

2 Comments

Filed under Content Marketing