Most people think they are good writers – that anyone can do it. The truth is that almost anyone can be a good writer, but it takes a lot of practice, and there is always room for improvement. Your first draft? It should be just that – a draft. Improving your writing skills can be as simple as taking the time to review what you’ve written and identifying simple ways to refine your work.
We write a lot of original content, and we edit a lot of content from subject matter experts. Based on our experience, here are some of the questions you should ask yourself to achieve a better final product.
1. Is my draft easy to understand?
Even when you’re writing about complex, nuanced topics, you should use simple, straightforward language. Famously, Ruth Bader Ginsburg tells her law students, “Don’t write sentences that people will have to re-read.” Make your writing as easy to understand as possible.
First, eliminate all jargon. There is a misconception that jargon can make you seem like an expert. In reality, it can alienate readers who aren’t “in” on your buzzwords, and it can make your point that much more difficult to follow.
Next, ditch flowery language. Always opt for the simplest version of the word. You may want to “utilize” fancier words, but your readers prefer that you “use” less pretentious language. Review your copy for unnecessary adjectives, filler descriptors, and lengthy explanations that only serve to complicate your point.
2. Is my draft the right length?
There are times when a lengthy piece of writing is necessary. A well-researched white paper, a thoughtful e-book, and long-form thought leadership articles have a time and a place. Often, however, a shorter piece will fit the bill. We live in a world where it’s hard to capture – and keep – people’s attention, even when it’s a topic they care about! State your case, get to your point, and share your conclusion in a page or two (or less!). If necessary, expand on your topic over a series to keep people interested. Before you spend too much time writing, editing, and packaging a longer piece, consider your platform and your audience, and ask yourself if a shorter piece will better achieve your goals.
3. Is my draft easy to skim?
As stated, readers don’t have the time. If your draft is on the longer side, make it easier for them to pick up on the highlights of what you’re trying to say. Insert subheads, use bullets, and break up the text into short paragraphs that they can easily skim to find the key points.
4. Did I go back to the beginning?
Oftentimes, as you write, you will tighten up your message, and maybe even come to a more thoughtful conclusion. As a result, your existing title and topic sentence(s) may no longer reflect what you’ve written. Go back and try again. These are the first things readers will see, so make sure your topic– and what they’ll get out of reading – is clear.
5. Am I obsessing over my work?
You could write and rewrite forever. It’s easy to get caught up in perfection, and it’s hard to know when you should walk away and hit publish. “Done” is often better than “perfect.” It can be scary to release your words into the world, but the feedback you get from real-world readers will only make you better in the future.
6. Did I read it again?
The biggest mistake you can make is not re-reading what you’ve written. We would argue that the best thing you can do is to read your piece aloud – even if it’s just to yourself! This can illuminate clunky language and highlight areas where more (or less) explanation is required. As you read it, ask yourself if your piece will make sense to your target audience. Have you provided all the information that they need to follow you? Did you provide information that they don’t need, and that may distract them? Do you have transitional phrases and sentences to thoughtfully guide the reader through your analysis? Take stock of where you can make your message stronger and adjust accordingly.
7. Did I ask someone else to read it?
Don’t publish something without a second set of eyes! Find someone who isn’t as entrenched in a topic as you are (this is key) and ask for their opinion on your writing. More importantly, ask them to summarize your main points. If they can’t, that’s a sure sign that you need to do some editing. Don’t be offended; this is valuable feedback! You want your writing to resonate, and external feedback is the only way to be sure you’re hitting the mark.
Many of these suggestions focus on your readers. You want people to be interested in and consume your content – that’s the point, right? So, make it easy for them to do so. Good writing is a process; it’s rarely quick. Take your time, seek feedback, and consider your audience. This will go a long way in improving what you write.
This time last year I was abroad in Italy taking classes and interning at the Vatican. I had finally begun to find my footing in this new country and, yet, I was still thinking forward to the next steps in my professional career. After my experience at the Vatican, I knew that I wanted a job with a lot of responsibility. I wanted to work hard with a team who would push me to succeed.
As I was searching for a summer internship, I came across GMP. The opportunity seemed perfect and, soon enough, I had acquired an interview with the team. Within the first few seconds of the call, Lisa and Sarah reaffirmed my intuitions about the internship. From the minute I answered the call I felt comfortable, supported, and knew that this would be an opportunity that would give me the experiences I needed to enter the professional realm.
My time as a Client Engagement Associate has immersed me into the world of marketing. I am actively creating content, collecting insights, and building strategies based on those insights. I originally had intended to simply find an internship for the summer, but it has now become a year-long transformative journey with an amazing team. I don’t think I could have found a better opportunity and I am grateful for the relationships I built, the mentorship I acquired, and the content I was able to produce.
As I prepare for graduation, I am confident that I am ready for a full-time job, equipped with the knowledge and support I received at GMP.
Every college student goes through a phase of panic as they try to figure out what career path they want to follow and how they should spend their summer to help find the answer. For me, this panic came as the spring semester of my junior year was coming to an end. I was struggling between wanting to enroll in Villanova’s Summer Business Institute or pursue an internship. Within the same week, I landed an interview with both GMP and the Summer Business Institute, and the choice I needed to make became glaringly clear.
After meeting with Sarah, Lisa, and Steve at GMP, I knew that this company was special and offered an opportunity to learn from the best while handling real responsibilities, not just going for coffee runs. Throughout the year, I was lucky to be a part of this growing company alongside new members of the team and another intern from Villanova. My biggest fear in accepting this internship was the knowledge that I had an impending hip surgery and a prior commitment to the Villanova softball team. Everyone in the office was extremely understanding and even let me work from my apartment when I was bedridden for a couple of months after my surgery, while constantly checking in on me to see how I was feeling.
Besides the friendly environment, working at GMP has provided me with extensive knowledge of the marketing industry that I would not have gotten anywhere else. From sitting in on meetings to managing my own small accounts, I truly believe this internship has educated me more so than any summer program at the university would have done.
Since my softball season is about to be in full swing and graduation is quickly approaching, my wonderful experience at this firm is unfortunately coming to an end. I can’t wait to see this team continue to flourish and become one of the best outsourced marketing agencies in the industry.
I would like to say thank you to everyone on the team, as well as everyone who has read the blogs I have written over the last year. This has been one amazing and unforgettable experience and I wouldn’t want to have spent my last year in Pennsylvania any other way!
There is a misconception that business blogging is a waste of time and effort, especially when it is difficult to see results right away. In fact, 80 percent of B2B marketers have incorporated blogging into their content marketing strategy because it is one of the most efficient and inexpensive ways to enhance your inbound marketing efforts and drive traffic to your site. Not only that, showcasing your knowledge of complex subject matter can help build trust with readers, making them more likely to work with you in the future.
It all starts with identifying a topic that will engage your audience. Provide content that they will want to read, not just what you want to write about. Not sure where to start? If your clients often ask you the same questions, answer them in a series of blog posts. Look at the keywords that drive traffic to your site and form posts around those. For example, if you sell lightbulbs, you could write about the differences between halogen and fluorescent bulbs and explain which would be better for lighting a warehouse versus a restaurant.
The writing process forces you to sit down and think about your target audience, their needs, and your messaging. Then, as you write, it enables you to put together a clear point of view that you can use in sales pitches, speaking opportunities, and more.
Beyond displaying your team’s expertise, a blog can also be a great vehicle to highlight your company culture and your team. You can recap community service events, share details about company retreats, and interview team members. At GMP, we recently shared a post where our team members discussed their careers in the marketing industry. It’s definitely more lighthearted, but it adds a personal touch to our website that helps our clients get to know more about us.
Last, but definitely not least, don’t forget to share your blogs through social media platforms and email campaigns. Don’t wait for people to find your content, put it out there to drive traffic back to your website. By linking to other content on your site within a post, you can also help to ensure that visitors stay on your site, taking them down a path towards a sale.
If you think your company is ready to enter the world of blogging, or if you want take your current business blogging to the next level, contact us today. We can help you develop a content strategy that will reach your target audience and support your sales.
Each team member at GMP plays a unique role in providing the best possible service to our clients. To get a sense of how we all got to where we are today, we asked everyone to share how they first got into the industry and what they love about it.
During an internship in high school, a marketing and public relations agency came in for a pitch. Hearing their ideas on how to brand and market the company’s new product was fascinating to me. My father is an entrepreneur, and I grew up with the dream of running my own company, so mixing marketing with entrepreneurship was a natural fit for me. I love the freedom of being independent and being able to choose the clients we work with – working directly with business owners and other leaders who are passionate about reaching their goals is exciting. And, the combination of the ever-changing field with unique clients means that I’m always learning.
During my freshman year at Bucknell, I took a business course where my classmates and I were tasked with creating a company, branding a product, marketing it, and then selling it for a profit. I held a marketing role within the “company” and greatly enjoyed the entrepreneurial challenges it presented. From that point on, I decided to enroll in the business major, where I could direct my focus on marketing. After completing various marketing internships, including one while abroad in Italy, my desire to enter the industry was further strengthened. I love that every day is different and comes with its own challenges. I’m always learning something new, from both my coworkers and my clients.
I majored in communications in college and loved writing but wasn’t sure what to pursue professionally. After considering PhD programs, I instead decided to get my master’s degree, focused on public communication. This was where I really became aware of the broad scope of jobs within the communications industry and the valuable role that marketing plays within all organizations, whether public, private, non-profit, political, etc. At the end of the day, I think this career plays to my strengths in organization, writing, research, and strategy, and I enjoy the challenge of staying relevant with an industry that evolves at a rapid pace. Marketing is never boring, especially at an agency. No day or project is ever alike, and it’s exciting to help companies express their mission and value through strong messaging and supporting materials that support their goals and enable their growth – and mine.
I love writing and was a professional writing major in college. When I was weighing my options for career paths, I was drawn to the marketing agency world for the fast-paced, interesting projects, and (honestly) the livable salary, which can be tough in some writing professions. Marketing can often be self-driven, while a marketer has a TON of work thrown at them on any given day, it is up to me to decide how to best manage my time and how to attack any given task or project. I tend to enjoy work where I can be at least partially in the driver’s seat.
I have been designing since I was nine years old, masterfully Photoshopping my head onto celebrities’ bodies. When I realized I could do this for a living, my mind was blown. Graphic design is a great fit for me because while I enjoy being artistic, pairing art with problem-solving is what makes working in the design field so exciting. It’s more than making things beautiful, it’s about finding the right solution to the problem and every day brings a new challenge.
I decided I wanted to become a graphic designer early on in high school. I have always loved being creative and took as many art classes as possible growing up and then continued my education at Tyler School of Art, Temple University. But I also like to be practical and a lot of art is not useful in everyday life; that is what lead to working at a marking company. I get to be creative but my art is used for practical applications. It’s also is nice to work at a marketing company because we have many clients which leads to all different types of projects vs working at a singular company and being pigeonholed into one style or one application.
I decided to pursue a career in marketing because I love the partnering of creativity and strategy. The industry is fast-paced, always changing, and is evergreen to society. I love how self-driven this profession is. You will always be working with other people; yet, your success will be dictated by the amount of time you dedicate to your work.
I decided to try out an internship at Graham Media Partners after seeing a job opening posted through Villanova University. I previously had no experience in the marketing industry and the opportunity came at a time where I was at a crossroads and didn’t know where I wanted my professional career to take me. I immediately fell in love with the type of work we do here for clients, ranging from publishing blog posts to designing an email newsletter template. No two days have ever been the same for me while working here, and I am so thankful to have learned so much from the experience!
As you can tell, we have all had a positive experience in the marketing industry and would recommend this line of work if you love to express your creativity! If you have any further questions about working in marketing or you are interested in pursuing a career in marketing yourself, contact us today!
People today are often overwhelmed with marketing and advertising messaging, making it difficult to break through the noise. Influencer marketing, using key advocates to promote your product or service, can greatly expand your target market. You have likely seen this tactic with famous actors in TV commercials or fitness models on Instagram, who naturally talk about a product they can’t live without.
Essentially, you are paying to reach that influencer’s audience. And, because the audience typically already likes and trusts the influencer, they are more open to their recommendations. In fact, 71 percent of consumers are more likely to purchase something based on a social media reference.
Needless to say, when it comes time to choose an influencer you want to make sure your company chooses one who will be ideal for your brand. Choosing the right influencer can be tricky, but the key is to choose someone who accurately represents what you are marketing or is a well-known face in your industry because their audience will likely have a predisposed interest in that industry. For example, a company advertising tennis shoes would be better off choosing Serena Williams as their influencer rather than Bill Gates.
If you are still debating whether or not investing in an influencer relevant to your brand is a good idea, keep in mind that studies show that influencer marketing has the highest return on investment compared to other strategies such as paid search. In fact, for every $1 spent on influencer marketing, companies tend to generate $6.50 in revenue.
If you have any further questions regarding influencer marketing, you are more than welcome to contact us. We would love to have a conversation about how we can help you get started today!
At GMP, we want to make a difference in the community beyond the daily work that we do for our clients (we also like to follow our own advice when it comes to choosing a good cause to support). Because we are a team of mostly women, we strongly believe in the mission of the Women’s Resource Center (WRC) to help women and girls successfully navigate life’s transitions by providing resources, tools, and support.
Founded in 1975, the WRC began with five women calling a meeting to discuss the issues that women face. The original group established three goals that remain in place to this day:
1) To provide information and referral services to women & families
2) To offer supportive programming workshops
3) To maintain a physical location from which to serve the Greater Philadelphia community
Last year, the GMP team created a marketing plan for the WRC at no charge. On top of that, we provided the volunteers with training on how to prepare and execute a marketing strategy for the future!
This year GMP donated $1,500 to the WRC, which will be put to good use funding their helpline. Their phone service is staffed by 20 volunteers who each work a 3-hour shift every week and answer over 1,400 calls per year. The volunteers help women who have lost their jobs, have gotten divorced and need to figure out how to earn more, who are dealing with children under difficult circumstances, and so much more. You can read a touching client example here.
Visit their website to learn more about the 4,500 annual services that the WRC provides. As a non-profit organization, this amazing team relies on the generosity of people to stay in business. You can donate here to keep their mission alive!
If you read our previous blog, you know all about the tools we use at work every day to do our jobs effectively and efficiently. But, we rely on a lot of tools outside of the office as well – to keep us organized, get in a good laugh, or entertain our kids! Check out our list below and see if you find anything new worth trying!
I use Google Keep every day. It’s basically an app to make lists or write down notes. You can share the lists with other people, and then you can both update them in real time – like any Google document. I keep track of a variety of information in the app, but my boyfriend and I use it for our general shopping and grocery lists. We both have access to the lists at all times, and we can easily pull them up when we’re at the store – whether we’re together or not.
– Sarah Weddle, Vice President
Crazy toddler screaming during dinner? Check out YouTube Kids. It is safe and simple for kids to find their favorite shows and music, and they love it! They generally have very wholesome and educational content, and you can block the weird stuff like Zool Babies … creepy.
– Steve Graham, Co-Founder and COO
I use this app to schedule workouts at a local studio, Tribe. By going into the app and reserving classes, it makes me more likely to go. Once it’s on my calendar and booked, I can arrange other things in my schedule around it. By the way, if you’re local and haven’t heard of Tribe, it’s in Devon and they have great 30-minute classes. You can do anything for 30 minutes, right?
– Lisa Graham, Co-Founder and CEO
I pretty much use Waze every day. I travel often and commute frequently on 76, 202, and 476. Waze provides me with real-time traffic updates and finds the route with the shortest travel time. Traffic is a pet peeve of mine, so I would rather drive a little further out of the way than be stuck in a pile up on the highway. Plus—I like to explore new places and Waze will often take me on back roads that I never knew existed.
– Susan Venema, Senior Account Executive
I use Twitter on a daily basis. One of the most relevant features of the app are the “trends” and “What’s Happening” tabs. Besides viewing jokes, reactions, and updates from the people I follow on my homepage; the trends/moments tab keeps me up to date on current events. Although factual information on these news events are slim, it is filled with hundreds of reactions from the public, which are interesting to read.
– Tara Lally, Client Engagement Associate
I use Pinterest almost every day. I use it for a lot of things, including work. For work I use it as inspiration for design ideas. Personally, I use it for recipes, illustration inspiration, home design and improvements, crafts, and finding new clothes. I also just love to scroll through and find new and interesting things.
– Addison Ingraham, Graphic Designer
I probably open my Spotify app 4-6x times a day. It is amazing to have so much music at my fingertips. Our daughters (2 and 4) know they can ask to hear almost anything and I can pull it up for them, so music has become a really big part of our lives, which is important to me. We’ve also discovered a wealth of kid’s audiobooks, so it is also helping with our love of reading and is a great tool for quiet time.
– Rachel Colello, Director
I use Venmo more than I would like to admit. It seems like no one wants to carry around cash anymore, so when my friends text me and ask if I want anything from Chipotle, I can just send them the money to pay for it right away. The best update they made to the app was allowing for an instant deposit in your bank account. You previously had to wait approximately three or four business days for the app to make the transfer. Even if you don’t transfer to your bank, you can keep the money someone sends to you in Venmo and have an available balance that you can use to buy Chipotle without pulling money out of your bank!
– Lauren Hanna, Client Engagement Associate
As always, we would love to hear your feedback or recommendations for new platforms we could use, whether it be marketing related or something to keep us entertained! Contact us today and let us know what applications we should try out!
It’s no secret that marketing is a fast-paced environment, where you are often working on several projects within a day, each requiring a totally different skillset. It’s also no secret that marketing has undergone a significant digital transformation, meaning that there are a lot of cloud-based tools and platforms available to help us do our jobs more efficiently and effectively and to help us expand our clients’ reach and awareness.
Our team uses a variety of tools every day, and we thought it would be fun to share some of our favorites.
Other than my email, my calendar is one of the first things I open every day. Our team has access to each other’s calendars, so it’s easy to see what everyone is up to that day and when they’ll be available – or not. I actually have two calendars to help me keep track of my work day. The first shows things I actually have scheduled – blog interviews, meetings, personal appointments, etc. The second shows how I use my time to work on specific tasks, and it also means that I can be available for a meeting if I need to be. This is helpful for the team because if I am not replying to them, it’s pretty easy to see what I’m working on and why I might not be looking at my email or chat. It’s helpful for me because I can clearly see what I can realistically accomplish in a day, and I am able to provide better deadlines for clients (and myself).
– Sarah Weddle, Vice President
I use Quickbooks to manage all of our accounting and payroll. It makes it super easy to record expenses, invoice clients, receive payments and pay employees and employment taxes. It also connects to your bank and credit cards and imports all of your expenses automatically.
–Steve Graham, Co-Founder and COO
This app is crucial for keeping the team informed and allowing everyone to collaborate. At GMP we have a few days per week where team members can work from home, so we need tools that allow us to work together seamlessly. Version control is also a big concern, since many of us are working off of the same documents. This app has helped us work together, reduce redundant work, and enables us to always have access to the latest versions of documents.
– Lisa Graham, Co-Founder and CEO
While Photoshop is mainly used for photo editing and illustration, Illustrator is used for creating vector images, which are high quality and can be scaled up or down without losing quality. I use Illustrator to create logos, charts, diagrams, illustrations, or graphs. This program is a designer’s best friend and an industry standard. It makes anything possible and gives you freedom to create. No other programs have as many editing and creating options and tools as the Adobe programs.
– Addison Ingraham, Graphic Designer
I anticipate that clients will ask “why” – why I structured something a specific way, why I put a call to action there, why I worded a headline like that, etc. HubSpot’s content is a great reference. They almost always have data to back up their recommendations so I feel good about trusting what I read.
– Rachel Colello, Director
Google Drive is essential in my daily work routine. It allows me to update marketing plans in real time, simultaneously alongside my coworkers and clients. I can rest assured that my team is always on the “same page.” This is invaluable since marketing plans change and continue to develop over time.
– Susan Venema, Senior Account Executive
Hootsuite is the primary website we use to manage our clients’ Twitter accounts. The platform gives you a layout of: your tweets, your scheduled tweets, mentions, and any accounts you are following/watching. From here we can schedule, retweet, and favorite with ease – and keep up with news and articles relevant to our clients. Hootsuite simplifies the Twitter platform for anyone who uses it.
–Tara Lally, Client Engagement Associate
I use WordPress as a backend editor for all of my clients in order to post blogs or edit website design. In fact, I used WordPress to post this very blog! WordPress has a very intuitive layout, and it was easy for me to learn the ropes when I first joined the GMP team. I am able to copy and paste blogs written by our clients in Word and it automatically formats the blog to fit a client’s website design. Hyperlinks, graphics, and featured images can all be added to spice up the post. There are also many added features and widgets you can add to customize it to meet your needs.
– Lauren Hanna, Client Engagement Associate
We use Mailchimp as the mass email program for almost all of our clients. It allows us to create customized newsletters that incorporate each company’s branding, messaging, and unique content in a relatively brief period of time. We can make some really great-looking newsletters that can be sent to thousands of people at once and can include graphics and links!
– Nicole Boscia, Director
At GMP, we are always looking for new tools to use in order make our jobs easier. If you have any recommendations for us, or any questions regarding the platforms we use, contact us today!
Today’s consumers care about more than just your products and services – they care about what you stand for. As they view your advertisements or scroll through your website, they’re often paying attention to how you contribute, beyond the walls of your office, in making the world a better place. In fact, 91 percent of consumers in a global study said they would likely switch to a brand that supports a good cause, given similar price and quality.
To that end, many companies today are engaging in cause marketing, working directly with a non-profit organization to support their efforts and give back to the community. The benefits of this are vast. Not only does a non-profit receive much-needed support, but it also helps to elevate your brand and makes your team feel engaged and involved outside of their day-to-day responsibilities.
It may seem difficult at first to choose a non-profit that fits with your company, but finding the right fit might be easier than you think. For example, Coca-Cola has always used the polar bear as their mascot, so when the bears’ home began shrinking, they teamed up with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to raise money for habitat conservation efforts. Through codes placed on cans and packages, Coca-Cola customers were able to send in text donations of $1 each. Reebok teamed up with Avon 39 in order to sponsor a 39-mile walk – in line with their passion for fitness – to raise over $500 million for breast cancer research.
Cause marketing doesn’t necessarily mean that your company has to donate large amounts of money to the non-profit; instead, consider hosting an event, providing free services, or running internal donation campaigns to help.
At GMP, we have supported the Women’s Resource Center, a non-profit located in Wayne, right around the corner from our building. Their mission to help women of all ages successfully navigate life’s transitions while inspiring others to do the same strongly resonates with our predominantly female team. We happily donate to their annual campaign and have provided marketing strategy and support at no cost.
This type of marketing strategy is a win-win situation for both your company and the non-profit you selected. Contact us today to take your first steps into cause marketing and grow your business by making the world a better place.