Simple Steps to Delivering a Killer Webinar

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We’ll let you in on a secret: Here at Grammar Chic, we’re big believers in the power of a good webinar. We host them fairly often—usually on resume writing topics, but occasionally on content marketing as well—and we find that the bang for buck is incredible. It takes a couple hours to prepare and then an hour or so for the webinar itself, but we almost always get some referrals and new clients out of it. So: Totally worth it.

And it makes sense, right? For as powerful as Facebook and other channels can be, webinars allow you to speak directly to people who have actively sought out your expertise and want to hear your solutions. In a way, it’s content marketing at its finest.

Maybe you’re interested in hosting a webinar on behalf of your own business. We recommend it—but only if you’re going to take the time to really do it right.

How to Nail Your Next Webinar

Some tips for doing just that:

Invest in good equipment. The last thing you want is for your webinar to be derailed by a perceived lack of professionalism on your part. Be prepared by investing in a good microphone and blazing-fast Internet. Also get some good, high-quality webinar software; we really like GoToWebinar.

Deliver great, focused content. The content, of course, is the main point of the webinar. Make sure you hone in on a specific pain point that your attendees may be facing, and provide some robust solutions. Be specific in what you’re saying: Webinar attendees need more than just “visit my website for more.”

Have an outline. Different people have different ways of delivering a presentation, and you should do whatever you feel comfortable with—but what we recommend is an outline. Without any notes at all, you may get lost; with a full script, though, you may sound too forced. An outline lets you stay focused while remaining loose and conversational.

Be human. People want a webinar host who is energetic and engaging, not robotic. One way to humanize yourself is to spend just a minute at the top with an introduction, maybe sharing where you’re from, what kind of experience you have, and so forth. Above all, don’t be afraid to be passionate. Make it clear that you love what you do and are happy to talk about it!

Promote the hell out of it. Facebook, LinkedIn, e-mail… make sure you’re letting people know about the webinar. Promote the specific problem you’ll be tackling, and promise solutions and suggestions. Promote the event with several reminder e-mails for those who sign up for it, including at least one reminder on the day of the event.

End with a sale. There’s nothing wrong with plugging your services at the end of the webinar. Get more juice out of your sell by offering a time-sensitive discount—say, 10 percent off for any webinar attendee who places an order within the week.

Think about hosting a webinar today—and for tips on how to promote it, don’t hesitate to call us at 803-831-7444, or hit us up at www.grammarchic.net.

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How to Become a LinkedIn Superstar

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Tell us if this has ever happened to you: You write a new blog post and are really proud of it, so you share the link as a status update on LinkedIn. You’re hopeful that people will see it, click through, and behold your thought leadership. But then, after a couple of weeks, your link has been buried under more recent status updates; on LinkedIn, unlike on Facebook, older posts disappear rather than remain visible, so your status updates may make little impact, if any at all.

That’s clearly no way to build LinkedIn visibility, authority, or thought leadership—but what can you do instead?

Boosting Your Visibility on LinkedIn

Some tips:

Publish with Pulse. LinkedIn differs from Facebook in many ways—and not just in what we’ve already said, that older status updates eventually evaporate rather than remain archived. LinkedIn has also distinguished itself as a true publishing platform, not just a social network; if you want to post something that will make a high impact, skip the “Share an update” link in favor of “Publish a post,” which will take you to LinkedIn’s “Pulse” blogging platform. These posts will have permanent links and prove much less ephemeral.

Join some groups—and participate. Fun fact: If you engage with LinkedIn groups, you’ll get, on average, four times as many profile views as those who do not.

Optimize your profile. Even if you’re not looking for a new job per se, a profile update can empower you to connect with other professionals and gain the status of a true industry leader.

Get a professional headshot. There is no reason to use anything less than a decent-quality, professional-grade photo as your LinkedIn profile picture.

Make yourself available. Ensure that your privacy settings allow for others to contact you through LinkedIn.

To optimize your LinkedIn presence may require the help of a professional ghostblogger, or else a resume expert; at Grammar Chic, we can offer both. Contact us today at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Blog Writing, Brand Management, Business Writing, Content Marketing, Job Search, Social Media

How Many Keywords Do I Need in My Company Blog Posts?

image1We’re approached by a lot of small business owners who are looking to hire us as ghostbloggers—and we’ll be honest with you: While many of these entrepreneurs are mostly concerned with decent, brand-enhancing content, there are also plenty of them who are keyword-obsessed. And we don’t blame them. If you spend much time reading SEO blogs, you’re going to come away with the notion that it’s keywords, more than anything else, that determine the search engine rankings for any given piece of content.

The keyword question we get asked most frequently, of course, is how many do I need? Or, to be more accurate, what’s the ideal keyword density? Should three percent of the words in my blog entries be keywords? 13 percent? 30 percent?

We’re going to address the question, but here’s a quick spoiler: There’s not necessarily a specific, target number that you all need to hit. Sorry to disappoint, but we’re not going to be giving away any such easy answers. However, we will make a few general comments that we hope can be meaningful:

  1. First of all, SEO does matter, and keywords can be quite helpful. If you don’t have the phrase “custom bird calls” anywhere in your blog, then it’s just not going to rank very well for people who search for “custom bird calls”—plain and simple. Plus, picking one focus keyword for your blog helps give it some shape, and it helps you keep your writing on track.
  2. Keyword placement can yield diminishing returns. This video from Google’s chief search bigwig Matt Cutts is several years old now, but the information in it is still true. Using one keyword will flag the search engine’s attention; a couple more will reinforce that your blog is indeed about that topic; eventually, you start to see diminishing returns; and finally, you get into a place where you’re keyword stuffing or just writing gibberish, and that will likely land you with a search engine penalty.
  3. You want to avoid keyword stuffing. We cannot emphasize that point enough. You can’t cheat your way to search engine success by typing “custom bird calls” 35 times in a 400 word article. Google is way too smart to fall for that!
  4. Keyword placement matters. Small business owners can sometimes be so obsessed with keyword density that they forget about keyword placement—but instead of focusing on how many keywords you have, you might want to think about ensuring you’ve got one in your title, perhaps somewhere in the meta description, in whatever big header you have on the page, and so on. Think about positions of prominence to optimize keyword use.
  5. You really just want to write organically. Think of a keyword and use it to bring focus to your writing—but from there, you really don’t need to waste a lot of time counting, or worrying about the benefits of five as opposed to four keyword placements. Just write naturally, and in most cases that’ll turn out just fine.

So to recap: We don’t have a specific number for you. (And you should be skeptical of those who say they do!) What we recommend is picking a good keyword to hang your blog post on, making sure you have it in strategic locations, but beyond that just focusing on writing a good, helpful, natural-sounding article—and if you need help, just hit up Grammar Chic at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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5 Ways to Improve Your B2B Content Marketing

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Marketing to other businesses is not quite the same as marketing directly to consumers, and requires a unique set of strategies. Even those who have mastered B2C content marketing, then, may find that success in B2B relationships eludes them.

Here’s what we can tell you about B2B content marketing: Doing it well requires time and commitment; you’re not going to generate big results overnight, but rather you have the lay the foundation for a relationship of trust. B2B content marketing requires an authoritative approach; if other companies are going to choose you as a vendor, you really have to prove that you know what you’re talking about. And, more than ever, proving value is imperative for all your marketing materials. Don’t get too hung up on processes; focus on the benefits you can deliver.

How to Make Your B2B Content Marketing More Effective

If your current B2B efforts are not paying off like you want them to, consider some of these process improvements:

Write longer content. A 300-word blog entry can be a great way to quickly connect with a consumer. For B2B marketing, though, you really have your work cut out for you in proving the extent of your authority and the depth of your thought. Don’t ramble just to ramble, but do write long, analytical, data-rich content that provides your readers with the proper context and the right solutions.

Recycle your content. Once you get a killer, long-form post written, turn it into an FAQ page for your company website; narrate it for a YouTube video; make it into a SlideShare presentation. Leverage it in as many ways as you can, and try to connect with your audience across a variety of channels.

Curate content. Don’t underestimate the power in sharing meaningful, third-party content—industry news reports, studies, and blogs. Prove your knowledge and passion by immersing yourself in the industry, and make your company social media channels true hubs of pertinent information.

Look to your inbox. One of the toughest aspects of B2B content marketing is thinking up topics—so here’s a hint: Just scan your inbox. Find questions that your clients have posed, and turn those into blog topics. This is a great way to ensure that your content is addressing actual consumer needs.

Don’t waste space. Thank-you pages, 404 pages, e-mail signatures—there is no piece of online real estate that’s too insignificant for you to share your most recent or most popular blog posts.

Discover more ways to connect with your B2B clients by contacting the Grammar Chic team today at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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Jobseeker, What’s Your Greatest Weakness?

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We recently shared a few tips on answering some of the most common—and most tricky—job interview questions. One of those questions is sufficiently slippery that it deserves some blog space all its own. You probably know the question already: So tell us… what’s your biggest weakness?

This question is a staple of the job interview process, and if an interviewer asks you to identify your biggest strengths, you can rest assured that a question about weakness is coming next. This question is designed to do a few different things. It evaluates how well you think under pressure. It evaluates your level of self-awareness and candor. And it allows the interviewer to see if you handle a treacherous scenario with aplomb, or if you deteriorate into a flop sweat.

Answering the Question

With that said, how can jobseekers prepare for this question—and when it comes, how can they answer it gracefully and satisfactorily?

Make sure you have an answer ready in advance. You’re probably going to be asked this question, so come up with your answer in advance; on-the-fly responses tend to come across like BS.

Give an answer that is related to your work. This is not the time to address a “weakness” in your marriage or in your out-of-the-office relationships. Don’t drag emotional baggage into the interview.

Be willing to laugh at yourself. If you can think of a humorous example of the weakness you’re discussing, that’s all the better, because it shows real confidence when you’re willing to be the butt of your own joke.

Make it something teachable. The best weaknesses to identify are the ones that you can be coached and trained on—because of course, your new employer can always coach and train!

Explain how you’ve worked on it. Emphasize that your weakness is something you recognize and are invested in improving on.

Don’t do a “humble brag.” Saying your biggest problem is that you work too hard or care too much is lame, and won’t fool anyone.

Arrive in your interview expecting this question—and knowing how you’re going to respond. For more job search tips, hit us up at www.grammarchic.net or 804-831-7444.

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What Your Job Search Needs is an Elevator Pitch

iStock_000020173836XSmallIf you’re in the market for a new job, you need to have a strong, hooky elevator pitch. You need it for a couple of reasons. One, you may actually find yourself in the proverbial elevator with someone—or, you know, having a drink with someone after a conference or seminar—and have an opportunity to do a quick sell for yourself. Of course, you want to be prepared!

You also need an elevator pitch for the job interview itself. Odds are, the interviewer will ask you some version of this tried-and-true job interview question: Why are you the best fit for this position? Or maybe you’ll just get a simple, So tell me about yourself. In either case, the correct response is to offer a succinct summary of your value as an employee. In short: An elevator pitch!

Crafting the Perfect Elevator Pitch

But what does a good elevator pitch entail? Here are a few tips for honing yours:

Remember what an elevator pitch is, and what it isn’t. A good elevator pitch is a 15-to-30-second synopsis of who you are as an employee. It is not a full walk through your resume. As such, you should be focused on high points and the general overview, not on hitting every single job you’ve ever had or every single skill in your toolbox.

Think in terms of value. You don’t want your elevator pitch to be a laundry list of skills. Rather, you want it to be a quick appraisal of the value you can offer an employer. Maybe you work as a Human Resources professional. Don’t list all of your skills in payroll, compliance, or whatever else; instead, say something like, “I can make your team members more motivated, engaged, and productive, and I can do it with a very small budget.”

Start with a full resume. One way to get your elevator pitch perfected is to start with a full page that includes all the things you want to say to a potential employer. Then, cut it down to half a page; then, to a quarter page; and finally, to just a few precious lines.

Rehearse your elevator pitch. The pitch isn’t just about the words, but how they are delivered. You should be able to give your pitch with total confidence. It should be as easy to you as giving your own name.

You need an elevator pitch, just as surely as you need a good resume. We can help with both. Reach out to Grammar Chic at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Job Search, Resume Writing, Resumes

How to Write Killer Meta Descriptions

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If your aim is to write engaging content, it’s important to pay attention to every single written component, from the headline down through your call to action. Of course, this also includes the meta description.

The meta description is sometimes an afterthought—in fact, some content writers don’t author one at all, leaving Google to create one automatically. Actually, the meta description is nearly as important as your headline in terms of getting eyeballs onto the page. If you’re not sure what a meta description is, go to Google and conduct a search; it doesn’t matter what you search for. Once the Search Engine Results Page comes up, look at each individual result. You will see a blue link, and underneath it a line or two of descriptive/summarizing text.

That is the meta description—basically, the summary of your content that all search engine users will see. This can obviously play a huge role in convincing people to click the link and read your content—or, you know, convincing them to do the opposite. As such, writing engaging content requires you to write an engaging meta description, and then to add it to your page. (If you are working with a CMS like WordPress, you will see a field for entering a custom meta description; if you have a professional webmaster, you can get the webmaster to do it for you.)

But what do you need to know in order to make a really killer meta description?

Tips for Writing Compelling Meta Descriptions

A few pointers:

Make it brief, but not too brief. Your meta description should be somewhere between 130 and 150 characters. If you go over that limit, you run the risk of Google clipping it, leaving you with an incomplete sentence at the end of your meta description. But if you just use 60 characters or so, you’re not really making full use of this important online real estate. Try to avail yourself of that space by hitting 130 characters or so, then wrapping things up.

Make it active. Don’t use the passive voice, but instead use strong, compelling verbs. You can basically phrase your summary like a call to action, perhaps even leading with a strong invitation to discover, explore, encounter, or something similar.

Make it accurate. Your meta description should actually summarize the content itself; don’t try anything tricky or misleading. Google doles out harsh penalties for this kind of manipulation.

Make it keyword rich. Don’t stuff it with a dozen keywords, and don’t make it sound forced or inorganic, but do include whatever keyword you are focusing on in your content—ideally toward the beginning of your meta description.

Make it unique. Don’t recycle the same old meta description for every blog you post; Google hates redundancy!

Those are the basics. Writing meta descriptions doesn’t have to be complicated: Just summarize the value you’re offering to readers, in as action-oriented a way as you can. For assistance, contact the Grammar Chic team at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Blog Writing, Content Marketing, Content Writing