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Posts Tagged ‘content’

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.

 

Content is the present and future of marketing. It is the way we are learning to communicate, reach and build relationships with our potential customers and clients. It’s our way of selling ourselves and products without directly asking for the sale. We create a dialogue and potential ongoing relationship by empowering interested readers with shared knowledge, best practices, real-world case studies and other content that can help them learn something new, work smarter and be more productive. What makes content marketing so successful is the way the messaging is crafted; it  motivates people to want to read it, share it and ultimately buy or act through the digital relationship you have sprung. If you take a glance at successful businesses’ websites and social media pages, you will find a presence of blogs and conversations ignited around much more than products. Lowe’s is posting Vine videos of other uses for everyday objects, Grey Poupon has a “Members Only” club on Facebook that was defined by their reputation of finer taste and based on members’ grammar. These are just two examples of unique, creative content that has helped broaden messaging to reach new or untapped demographics and create engagement for our brands.

Content Marketing Tips

So what does content need in order to gain readership and create a buzz?

  • A strong headline. They won’t read it if you can’t grab their attention from the start.
  • How-To’s and Lists. People want to learn something and they want to learn it quickly with simple steps to follow.
  • Stats and Facts. Readers want facts and stats over opinions – if you have them, share them.
  • Make it easy to share. If you want your readers to share your content, apply a sharebar with social media buttons to the pages you want passed along.
  • Remember: Quality over quantity.  Be relevant, Be valuable.
  • Infographics. People absolutely love infographics. Our minds naturally remember graphics and images over text.
  • Tell stories. Tell the story of how your business began or the tale of the first company picnic when you burned the burgers because you were busy playing horseshoes.
  • Be unique, but buy into the trends. This is an ongoing struggle, but it can be done.
  • The power of humor. You’ve seen a viral cat video, admit it, and it was funny.
  • Be positive.
  • Be interesting.
  • All posts do NOT need to be about business. Your readers know you’re a person; don’t make them doubt it.
  • Timing is everything. When posting your content, do some research.  Check out when your competition is posting, use the free social media analytics tools available, compare similar content when posted at different times – see what works.  If you have a piece that you believe deserves extra attention, post it twice at different times, but promote it with a different headline.

Your readers want to know what you know. With the ever expanding use of digital communications, rich media, social media and interest in blogs, you can build relationships and share why your business beats the others with crafted content. Follow the tips above and watch the impact.

For more tips on creating content for social media look here.