Tag Archives: social media marketing

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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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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What is Episodic Content Marketing?

You’re probably familiar with the old show business adage: Leave the audience wanting more.

That simple piece of advice has recently become popular in content marketing circles, as well. One of this year’s big trends is episodic content marketing, which is all about providing your audience with just enough value to be satisfied, but also to make them want to come back for seconds.

At its most basic, episodic content marketing is simply about taking a big piece of content and doling it out as individual installments. For instance, maybe instead of writing a 10-point, 3,000-word blog, you create a series of ten 300-word blogs—each one devoted to a single point, all of them adding up into a more comprehensive argument or narrative.

The Benefits of Episodic Content Marketing

As you can tell, this isn’t a complete retooling of the content ecosystem so much as a simple paradigm shift: Maybe instead of long and meaty content, it’s more logical to have bite-sized morsels. And there are some clear benefits. For example:

  • Episodic content marketing gives your audience a reason to come back for more, just like when a TV show (or an Avengers movie!) ends on a big cliffhanger.
  • It also provides an incentive for people to subscribe to your email list or to follow you on social media—after all, they don’t want to miss the next episode!
  • Finally, episodic content allows you to develop a grand narrative or arc, which can lend to your brand’s thought leadership and authority.

What Does Episodic Content Marketing Require?

Another upshot of episodic content marketing is that, if you already have a strong content development structure in place, it’s a pretty easy shift into the episodic realm. Some guidelines to consider:

  • Make sure you have a good sense of the big picture. A 10-part blog series needs a unifying theme or idea, and that’s something you have to figure out in advance.
  • It’s also important that each piece of content creates anticipation for the next. At the end of a blog post, tease the upcoming topic. Again, this requires advance planning.
  • Encourage interaction when you can. Share each episode on social media and in your company emails and ask for feedback. Pose some specific questions to get people to engage with you.

If you’ve been in a content rut and are looking for a way to reinvigorate audience interest, this is an approach that could pay off. And we’d love to help however we can! Connect with Grammar Chic, Inc. to discuss content strategy or creation. You can find us 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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How to Spot Online Propaganda

You can’t believe everything you read—especially online.

As content marketing professionals, this is something we’re uniquely sensitive to. We believe strongly that there’s value in companies providing good, substantive, valuable information as a way to build their brand and establish thought leadership.

And yes, the content marketing model does blur the line between information and advertisement—but it’s only effective if it’s ultimately truthful.

By contrast, a lot of the content out there is outright propaganda—designed to misinform, to mislead, and to obscure the truth.

To be a responsible online citizen, it’s important to know the difference. That’s what we’re going to look at today.

Where You’ll Spot Propaganda

The first thing to be aware of is that propaganda can come from almost any source. Some common examples:

  • Brand/company pages on Facebook. Note that Facebook doesn’t regulate these pages and doesn’t have any standard of transparency or veracity in place. Maybe one day that will change—but for now, public pages are all potential breeding grounds for propaganda.
  • Twitter accounts. We’re mostly thinking of bots here—fake accounts that usually have a highly political slant. Be careful; not every social media user is a real person!
  • A lot of the memes that come across as good-natured and funny are actually made by marketing companies and have an insidious agenda—which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is something to be aware of!
  • News items. A lot of the links that look like real news could in fact be—we hate to say it—fake news. You can usually tell by looking at the URL; anything lacking a good, clean URL (like nytimes.com, washingtonpost.com, bbc.com, reuters.com, economist.com etc.) could potentially be a propaganda site.
  • Photo editing tools have become truly advanced and sophisticated—and sadly, you just can’t take every online photo you see seriously.

Steer Clear of Propaganda

That’s just a cross-section of some of the places you’ll find propaganda—and our point really is that you can find it anywhere. So the question is, how can you protect yourself?

Some tips:

  • Be a skeptic. Simply having a discerning mindset, and realizing that what you’re reading could be propaganda, is a good first step.
  • Google around. If you find a news story that seems hard to believe, use Google to look for other sources. If you can’t find them, it may very well be phony. One of the first things taught in journalism school is that all facts in any story should be confirmed by two reliable sources. In today’s day and age, finding two or more sources that share a story’s detail is not overly taxing. Real news stories are picked up by multiple outlets—even if a single platform breaks the story.
  • Avoid interacting with unvetted sources. Liking and commenting on a public page can suck you into the web of propaganda—unless you know the brand in question and trust them.
  • Take reviews with a grain of salt. Online reviews are sometimes fake—and you can usually tell which ones lack credibility. Fake ones won’t be very long or specific.
  • Read widely. Don’t rely on a single platform or website for your news. Try to be a curious and voracious reader.
  • Learn what fake ads look like. It’s helpful to know how you can identify paid content—and there are usually some giveaways. On social networks, as well as on Google, these ads will be labeled as “sponsored.” On Instagram specifically, sponsored posts must carry the hashtag #ad.

The bottom line: it takes some effort and some deliberation to tell which online content you can trust—but it’s worth it to not get snookered by the propaganda machine.

We’d love to tell you more about honest and authentic content creation. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. to learn more! Call 803-831-7444 or visit www.grammarchic.net.

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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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How to Connect with Baby Boomers through Content Marketing

It seems like every day there’s a new think piece about millennials. (We recently contributed to this phenomenon ourselves.) It’s worth taking a step back, however, to remember that there are other people in the world buying products and consuming content. The success of your company may largely depend on how well you can connect with these demographics.

Take the Baby Boomers, for instance—still very much a commercial force to be reckoned with. But unlike millennials, Boomers came to content marketing and social media later in life, which means their responses can be a little different. Today, we’re going to offer just a few practical considerations for connecting with Boomers through digital content.

Using Content Marketing to Reach Baby Boomers

  1. Use the right formatting.

It’s always important to format content in a way that’s easy to read, from any browser or device type. That’s doubly important when you’re marketing to Boomers. We don’t mean to be insensitive in the least, but candidly, Boomers may not quite have the same ocular health as you younger readers, so short paragraphs, large fonts, and plenty of white space can all help with clarity.

  1. Don’t go hog wild with abbreviations.

The tl;dr version: Your Boomer customers know an awful lot, but they may not know all the latest Internet short-hands. Use full words.

  1. Develop catchy headlines.

By catchy, we don’t mean clickbait. What we mean is headlines that convey an immediate value: 7 tips for better estate planning, or 5 foods to increase digestive health, or 4 home renovations that enhance your home’s worth. Make it clear to the reader how your content will benefit them; show them that it’s worth their time to consume it.

  1. Don’t make Boomers feel old.

By all means, talk about the issues that are close to Boomer hearts, but do so in a way that makes it clear they are still spry and they still have plenty left to give. Avoid the one-foot-in-the-grave attitude that mars so much Boomer-centric content.

  1. Choose the right platforms.

Studies show that some Boomers are active on Twitter and Instagram, but these are relatively small populations. Facebook remains the platform of choice among Boomers.

  1. Focus on blogs and video content.

Finally, make sure you’re focused on the kinds of content that Boomers tend to like—and, according to most studies, that means concise, to-the-point blog posts and brief, informative videos.

Right Content, Right Audience

It takes a thoughtful approach to deploy content that will ultimately connect with your Boomer customers—and Grammar Chic’s team can help you develop it. Contact us today to discuss any of your content strategy needs, either at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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