Cold E-mailing a Potential Employer—Effectively!

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Whether you’ve just submitted a job application, are thinking about submitting a job application, or simply want to inquire about open positions at a company, sending a “cold” e-mail can often be advantageous. You may not really know the person you’re e-mailing, but it never hurts to be proactive and to try to establish some level of connection. Of course, there is no guarantee that your e-mail will get a response, or have any effect at all—but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

In fact, there are some steps that any jobseeker can take to enhance the effectiveness of a “cold” e-mail to a would-be employer. Here are a few tips that the Grammar Chic team recommends:

  • Do some research. You probably know by now that, before going in for a job interview, you should do a little bit of research, trying to figure out what the company culture is like, what its values are, what it actually does. The same is true for sending a cold e-mail. Get to know the company, but also get to know the person you’re e-mailing—what he or she does, what his or her job title is, and so on. LinkedIn is a great tool for this research.
  • Be specific with your subject line. You should always operate under the assumption that you’re e-mailing a busy person who gets lots of e-mails each day. If your subject line is something like “hello,” you’re less likely to get a response. Instead, offer detail: “Intro e-mail from Bobby Smith, from last week’s conference,” or “UNC senior hopeful for internship.”
  • Don’t ramble. Shoot for no more than two or three short paragraphs. Respect the person’s time. Get right to the point, and lay out exactly what you’re trying to accomplish.
  • Show some enthusiasm. Remember that you’re making a first impression, and the last thing you want is for that impression to be lackluster, unengaged, or blasé.
  • Send work samples. This won’t be possible in every field, of course—but if you have some sort of a digital portfolio to share, it doesn’t hurt to pass it along.
  • Proofread your e-mail. And if you need help with that, call the Grammar Chic, Inc. team!

In fact, you’re welcome to contact us with any job search, resume writing, or proofreading inquiries: www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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5 Non-Negotiables for Your Resume

Powerful word for winning a resume

Earlier in the year, the Grammar Chic team blogged about six elements that need to be removed from your resume right now. Today, we’re going to take the opposite approach, and list a few things that you should never, ever, under any circumstance take off your resume.

Let’s be clear: Your resume should be a fluid thing. You should revise it routinely, and you should amend it to reflect the specifics of whatever job you’re currently applying for. Even as your resume goes through changes, though, certain parts of it should remain consistent—including each of the following:

  1. Before your resume is ever seen by human eyes, there’s a good chance that it will pass through some computer scanning programs, which will scour it for necessary keywords. If you don’t have the right keywords, there’s a decent chance your resume will be tossed out before it’s even read. So how do you know which keywords to include? Look at the job posting itself, and include some words and phrases that stand out as important.
  2. Appropriate contact information. By appropriate, we mean a phone number, an e-mail address, and perhaps even a URL to your LinkedIn profile. Multiple phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not necessary, and in fact may be more frustrating and confusing than they are helpful.
  3. Specific accomplishments. We say this over and over, and in many ways it’s the cardinal rule of resume writing: Unless you’ve never really had a job before, you need to provide a career narrative that includes some actual achievements, including specific numbers or results. Don’t settle for a list of responsibilities; prove that you fulfilled those responsibilities well.
  4. An executive summary. Before you get down into the career narrative, make sure to include a paragraph or so that outlines exactly what you bring to the company. Simply put: Your recruiter or hiring manager may not have the time or the interest in reading your full resume, at least not at first. Make sure you have a summary that conveys your value.
  5. A cover letter. Perhaps this one is a cheat—it’s not really “on” your resume—but we’d recommend always having a cover letter ready to go out with your resume. Ensure that it’s tailored to the position in question; a generic one won’t do!

For help incorporating any of these resume elements, or drafting an effective cover letter, contact the Grammar Chic offices: www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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Assembling Your Content Marketing Dream Team

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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.

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SEO and Content Marketing: The Perfect Match?

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Some online marketing pundits lend the impressions that content marketing has effectively replaced search engine optimization (SEO)—that you can do one but not both, and that content marketing has basically killed SEO, or at least exhausted its usefulness.

A Complex Relationship

There is a grain of truth in this, of course. Changes to search engine algorithms have made content quality the key metric for search engine success, whereas many of the older, exploitative SEO strategies have been heavily penalized. If you want to boost your search rankings, then, writing compelling content works way better than keyword-stuffing or other questionable SEO tricks.

But even this statement points to the complex relationship that content marketing and SEO have: They are not as easy to separate or to consider on their own merits as some would have us believe. Ultimately, content marketing and SEO can be used together, working toward the same end. So long as your focus is on content quality—on delivering value to the user—there is no reason why you cannot also incorporate some thoughtful, well-balanced elements of SEO strategy, including some judicious SEO keywords.

How Keywords Help with Content Marketing

Not only do keywords have SEO value, but, when used properly, they can actually make your content even better—of even higher quality, that is. Consider:

  • A keyword will help to focus each blog post or article on a single idea; it will provide you with your topic and your central thrust, and ensure that you’re not veering too far into tangents. Keywords help you stay organized.
  • A keyword can also make the blog or article more helpful and readable for the user, providing a clear sense of what it’s about.
  • Using keywords means researching keywords, which will help you develop a better understanding of your topic and your audience’s needs.
  • Keyword research can also be invaluable for prompting new thoughts and fresh ideas.

In addition to all of the above, of course, SEO keywords can increase the chances that your content actually gets found and read. That’ not to say that all keyword use is helpful, and there is certainly such a thing as being inelegant and clumsy with the way you shoehorn keywords into a piece. When done properly, though, keywords can enhance the quality of your content.

To learn more about content marketing, please don’t hesitate to contact the Grammar Chic, Inc. team today. Learn more by visiting www.grammarchic.net, or call 803-831-7444.

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Content Marketing Like the Pros Do It

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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.

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Preparing for Your Content Marketing Consultation

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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.

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5 Reasons to Outsource Your Content Marketing in 2015

Hand Drawing Content Flow Chart

What will your 2015 content marketing resolution be?

For some of you, it may be to get a content marketing strategy in place—at long last! For others, it may be to expand onto other social platforms; to be more prolific in your blogging and posting; or simply to do a better, more disciplined job of engaging with fans.

Allow us to suggest that, for some small businesses, the best step to take in 2015 is to outsource your content marketing efforts to the pros—specifically to a firm like Grammar Chic, Inc.

There are five good reasons why outsourcing is the way to go:

  1. You don’t have time for content marketing. If you’ve ever tried to do your own company’s content marketing, then you know how time-consuming it is to get everything done. You have to think up topics, write copious amounts of content, launch and maintain social platforms, respond to comments and questions, run reports—to really do it right, it takes a lot out of you. As a small business owner, you’ve got plenty of other things you could be doing—but we don’t. This is what we do. All day, everyday.
  2. Outsourcing can be cost- Because doing your own content marketing can take so much time, it ends up being less cost-effective than you might think. When you’re constantly focused on Facebook and Twitter, you’re not doing the other things that add value to your brand. While outsourcing your content marketing will certainly require a financial investment, you may well make up for it with what you gain in productivity.
  3. You know your business, but you don’t necessarily know content marketing. We don’t mean any disrespect, of course. We hope you’ve learned a lot about content marketing simply by reading the Grammar Chic blog. At the end of the day, though, your expertise probably lies somewhere other than Google algorithms, Facebook ad structures, and how to write a compelling headline. To get the best quality work, then, it’s always best to find a consummate professional.
  4. You could use a different perspective. Sometimes small business owners are just a little too close to their work, to their business baby, to consider it from a new angle, or to develop content with consumers in mind. Content marketing professionals can help.
  5. Content marketing is changing all the time. 2015 is sure to be another year filled with trends, fads, and game-changing strategies. Will you be able to keep up with everything—or could you use some assistance?

The bottom line is that every content marketing campaign reaches a point where it’s time to hand it over to the pros. For you, that point may be right around the corner. Keep us in mind when you get to it, and feel free to call today at 803-831-7444, or visit www.grammarchic.net.

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