Posts Tagged ‘best practices’

Correct Word Choice Can Grammatically Improve Your Life

December 18th, 2014 by Jeff Mangels

Grammar Blog

We like to think that we have a solid grasp on the English language and that our writing is flawless. But with so many exceptions to rules and confusing homonyms, it’s not surprising that we get mixed up on occasion. Many word processing programs have features that can check for misspellings, grammatical miscues and even punctuation errors, but they are not fool-proof. How do we ensure that we are using proper spelling, punctuation and grammar? At the end of the day, it comes down to proofing your content and then proofing it again.

How many times have you received a piece of mail, read a brochure or perused a website and noticed improper word choice or poor grammar? Mistakes in your written communications can negatively impact your business message and the way your audience views your business, especially when it comes to word choice. Let’s take a look at how correct word choice can grammatically improve your life by reviewing some commonly misused words.

Farther vs. Further

Farther refers to a physical distance.

Further refers to figurative distance.

Examples: Your office is farther away than my office. Our time on this project can go no further.


Affect vs. Effect

In most situations, we use affect as a verb and effect as a noun, but there are exceptions.

As a verb, affect means to change something.

As a noun, an affect is an emotion or desire that influences one’s behavior

Examples: Our products can positively affect your life. When the writer noticed his spelling error, his affect was quick and unsettling.


As a verb, effect means to cause something to happen.

As a noun, an effect is a change that was caused as a result of something.

Examples: The actions taken have effected positive changes in their social media strategy. Proper word choice can have a profound effect.


Disburse vs. Disperse

Disburse means to distribute or give out.

Disperse means to break up or spread in all directions.

Examples: Shall we disburse our brochures during the event? We need to disperse the team on the trade show floor.


Allusion vs. Illusion

Allusion means an indirect reference.

Illusion means a misconception or false impression.

Examples: Did you catch my allusion to the benchmarking report? Mirrors give the room an illusion of depth.


Elicit vs. Illicit

Elicit is a verb meaning to bring out or coax.

Illicit is an adjective meaning unlawful.

Examples: Our email is designed to elicit responses. The firm is under investigation regarding illicit practices.


Capital vs. Capitol

Capital refers to a city or resources.

Capitol refers to a building where lawmakers meet.

Examples: Austin is the state capital of Texas. The Texas capitol was built in 1888.


Discreet vs. Discrete

Discreet means careful or cautious.

Discrete means separate or distinct

Examples: The reporter made discreet inquiries about the new product launch. Data from three discrete but important areas are presented in the first chart.


Adverse vs. Averse

Adverse means unfavorable or harmful.

Averse means a strong feeling of distaste or opposition.

Examples: The adverse effects of the hostile takeover still linger today. The company was not averse to taking on risk.


How many of these words have you been misusing? I hope this short but useful list finds itself properly attached to your desk, cubicle, or wall!


Looking for more tips on grammar, spelling and punctuation? Be sure to visit these two articles:

Back to Basics: Spotting Common Grammar and Punctuation Mistakes in Your Copy

Back to Basics: Spotting Common Grammar and Punctuation Mistakes in Your Copy – Part 2

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*Image: http://tomakeaprairie.wordpress.com/2014/05/11/on-rigor-grit-productive-struggle-and-what-our-word-choice-means/


What’s In Your Content Marketing Recipe?

December 11th, 2014 by Jeff Mangels

Content Marketing Blog

Content marketing, like food, attracts people to the table. The decisions that you make regarding your ingredients will determine how successful you are in capturing the attention and satisfying the craving of the audience you are targeting.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is the distinct technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and engage a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action. If you want to produce content that your audience can’t wait to consume, you need to pay close attention to your recipe and all of its ingredients.

Let’s get you started with four key ingredients needed for content marketing success:

1. Understand the profile of who you want to consume your content

First and foremost, segmenting your audience and delivering customized content is critical to engaging them. If you do not customize your content, you’ll miss opportunities to connect with people, raise brand awareness, and boost your business by building credibility as a thought leader. What is your audience interested in? Try to understand what is driving their hunger for more information.

2. Have a plan for publishing

You have spent the time and effort writing insightful content so make sure to publish it where it can be consumed. Be sure to take advantage of your website and social media profiles to share your expertise and continue to build on your online presence. For example, post your content to a blog and then tweet the link to your business’s twitter followers with the appropriate hashtags. Studies show that tweets with hashtags get two times more engagement than tweets without. It is also noted that engagement drops if you use more than two hashtags so use them in moderation.

3. Make your content meaningful, useful and interesting

All of your published content should be “shareworthy.” That means that it is so meaningful, useful and/or interesting to your target audience that they will want to share it with their own colleagues, peers and other connections.

Start by planning your content well in advance. Consider important events or trends within your target industry. For instance, October is Women’s Small Business Month. During that month, focus content on the advancements made by women in business and celebrate women business owners. For additional tips on creating useful content look here. Think of this as the flavors in your recipe. You want them to be memorable.

4. Continue building your brand

After you’ve created content, shared it with prospects and clients, and developed quite an impressive reputation (Oh the sweet taste of success!) — Then what?

You need to maintain your new level of engagement. Your content should continue to reflect the company’s philosophies and practices as well as be maintained consistently. Investing in your content marketing strategy allows your business to continue building your online presence and ultimately earn more exposure and business.

What other ingredients do you like to use to spice up your content marketing recipe? Share with us in the comments below.


Paid Search: The Basics for Beginners

September 11th, 2014 by Somer Klepper

Paid search will always be a critical component of the success of any integrated marketing campaign but only if it’s developed, monitored and managed properly. There are multiple variables to consider from the beginning and throughout the campaign that can affect budget, visibility and the desired end result. It’s important to frequently assess your analytics to make sure the campaign is on track and make ongoing changes to improve performance. But where does a beginner get started? Lisa Raehsler delivers A Beginner’s Guide to Paid Search that offers some initial thoughts on paid search success.PPC Blog

Get Started with Goals: Define from the beginning what you are trying to achieve when obtaining clicks to a website. Is it to generate a lead? Close a sale? Drive engagement? Build awareness of the latest product? Draw donations? A clearly stated and measurable objective is important so that you will be able to properly analyze the results daily and make revisions to your paid search campaign when needed along the way.

Determine your Keywords: Pay-per-click (PPC) is popular because you’re paying for the clicks that drive traffic directly to your website – so there is the idea of only paying for results, right? Right, but it’s first imperative to choose the right keywords, meaning they are specific, relevant and commonly searched. The wrong keywords can generate clicks but deter viewers on your website from completing the desired call to action (CTA) that will ultimately help you achieve your stated campaign objectives.

Example: A boot company would choose a variety of keywords such as: Boots, leather, cowboy and several combinations of those and similar words. Then they might choose to exclude negative words such as: sandals, sneakers, high-heels.
That’s a very basic example, but it demonstrates the avoided loss by removing keywords that would generate paid clicks that are completely irrelevant to what the company offers and, therefore, what is featured on the given website or landing page. The negative keywords are just as important as the selected keywords. Review historical metrics reports to discover popular words that have driven traffic to the site and have either positively or negatively affected performance depending on the desired action (or objective)  Always keep your goals and strategy in mind when choosing the keywords because remember – each click will cost you.

Budget: This can get tricky and again confirms that paid search campaigns should be monitored daily. To start a PPC campaign, confirm the monthly budget and divide it by the number of campaigns you have. You’ll want to divide that by 30 for the number of days in a month. This will keep you on track when monitoring a daily allotment to make sure you don’t go over budget if clicks spike unusually high on a day. Allocate an equal dollar amount per campaign at the beginning and as the campaign continues, you can make adjustments as needed based on click traffic and performance.

Optimization Required: After the PPC campaigns are up and running and you’ve been monitoring the analytics, it’s necessary to optimize your efforts and reach. Confirm that the ads are up and what the Click-thru-Rates (CTR) look like – a good place to look is within the Google Ads Diagnostic Tool. As you grow in your knowledge of conversions and analytics, strategic keyword, campaign copy and landing page changes that could improve performance will become more apparent.

Analyze the Last 30 Days: You allotted a budget for the 30-day campaign. Really look through the data presented for spikes, dips, and/or steady numbers. Decide what changed for any fluctuations. Did you add keywords? Change your campaign copy? Change your landing page URL? In looking at the numbers, what were the impressions? What was the CTR? And, most importantly, what were the conversion rates and did you hit the initial goals you set to get viewers to buy, engage, gain knowledge or donate? Those initial goals need to be measured from the beginning to end, otherwise a paid search campaign can feel like money flying out of a window.

As said before, PPC campaigns can be extremely successful and are widely used for their reach and analytical data offered. The above basics are the first steps to understanding PPC and the importance of keeping a daily watch on the metrics to stay in line with budget and goals.

AdWords Sitelinks Setup and Best Practices

August 27th, 2014 by Kathryn Drake

According to Google AdWords data, sitelinks have been shown to increase the average click-through rate (CTR) on ads by as much as 20%. We have also seen a jump in CTR when we have implemented them in our clients’ accounts and recommend it for all pay per click campaigns.

Below, you will find step-by-step instructions for adding sitelinks to your AdWords account as well as a few best practices to use in order to improve the effectiveness of this feature.

Sitelinks Setup

1. Log in to AdWords and go to either a campaign or an ad group (depending on the level of sitelinks you are adding).

2. Click on the “Ad Extensions” tab.

Sitelinks Setup Step 2

3. If you are not sent to the Sitelinks Extensions page, select the dropdown with the various extension types and select “Sitelinks Extensions”.

Sitelinks Setup Step 3

4. You will then see any sitelinks that are currently being used.

5. To add new sitelinks, click on the “+ Extension” Button. To add new sitelinks to a campaign or ad group that already has them, scroll down to the “Edit sitelink extension” box and click on “New Sitelink”.

Sitelinks Setup Step 5

Sitelinks Setup Step 5

6. A box will pop up where you can add each of the fields.

Sitelinks Setup Step 6

7. Once you have created the sitelink, select the arrow next to it to add it to the campaign or ad group. Repeat this process for each sitelink and click the “Save” button.

Sitelinks Setup Step 7

Now that you know how to set up sitelinks, here are a few best practices to follow to get the most out of this feature:

1. Be Targeted

When sitelinks were first introduced, the only option was to create a set that applied to an entire campaign. However, AdWords recently introduced the ability to set up separate sets for each ad group. Much like it is a best practice to create multiple targeted ad groups containing related keywords, creating sitelinks that are as targeted as possible will help to grab searchers’ attention (and clicks).

2. Add Details

In addition to a headline, Google also allows advertisers to include a short description that can appear in search results. Since one of the advantages of sitelinks is the fact that they take up more real estate on the search result page, adding descriptions for each sitelink will only help since these descriptions extend the amount of space the ad takes up on the page.

Sitelinks DetailsPhoto via Inside AdWords Blog

By following these best practices, you can increase the effectiveness of your sitelinks and give your account a further boost. Have you used sitelinks in your AdWords accounts? Let us know about your experience in the comments below.

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