Job Search Success is a Matter of Attitude

Jobless man

Does looking for work fill you with dread, despair, and anxiety?

Or do you view it as something exciting, something hopeful, something inherently optimistic?

If we’re really being honest with ourselves, most of us would probably fall into the former category. The job search isn’t something that energizes us. It’s something that leaves us drained. But maybe that’s the problem. Maybe our attitude about the job search is precisely what keeps us from being more successful at it.

The Power of Positive Thinking

A recent article from Psych Central makes the case. According to the article, new research suggests that “those who can look at the process as a self-growth opportunity will have more success finding their dream jobs.” Those who go into the job search process not with pessimism or despair but with the eagerness to learn new things and seize new opportunities ultimately find satisfying career opportunities much sooner than those who do not.

Or, as one of the researchers summarizes it: “Attitude means a lot.”

Setting the Right Goals

This points back to something the Grammar Chic team has said before—that setting goals is a critical part of the job search process. Of course, all jobseekers have the one goal—to find employment—but if that’s all you’re aiming for, you may become dispirited when it does not happen as quickly as you’d like it to.

Alternatively, those who set more manageable benchmarks—to meet five new employers this week, to send out 20 targeted resumes, or simply to learn something every day—will be able to accomplish more, and ultimately feel more hopeful and energized by their progress. That attitude is what can carry jobseekers toward success in their ultimate goal of career progress.

Honing Your Skills

Something else to note: Seeking employment is a skill—and the more you practice it, the better at it you become. This is especially true if you’re actively invested in the learning process. By viewing each day as an opportunity to learn something new, you can actually grow more confident and more savvy in how you reach out to employers.

So make today the day you start thinking about the job search as an opportunity—not a fool’s errand, not a necessary evil, not a chore. Get a new resume to give you confidence, and then start reaching toward your goals.

Learn more by contacting the Grammar Chic, Inc. team at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

 

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5 SEO Myths That are Killing Your Content

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Think search engine optimization is a thing of the past?

Think again.

We recently wrote about SEO and its relation to content marketing—about how the two things, when done right, compliment each other. Here’s what we said: “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.”

True enough: Just because you’ve invested in content marketing, that doesn’t mean you can turn your back on SEO. As such, it’s to your advantage to put these five SEO myths to rest:

Myth #1: SEO is dead.

The first myth to put to bed is the idea that search engine optimization has been killed off by Google and its algorithms. Not true. While Google has started penalizing various disreputable SEO practices—“black hat” tactics, cheap content, keyword stuffing, and the like—smart, content-centered SEO is still very much a thing, and very much a winning strategy. If you want to write engaging content that also ranks well in search engine rankings, SEO is a non-negotiable.

Myth #2: SEO is a quick fix.

If your SEO guy promises you overnight results, odds are he’s either conning you or using some duplicitous practices that Google will punish, in time. Search engine optimization, like content marketing, is a process. It takes time and commitment.

Myth #3: SEO doesn’t matter.

If you want to see your content performing well in Google searches, then you need to do what you can to optimize it for search engine use. Remember, good SEO is about working with Google to make sure your content gets seen by the people who could benefit from it. Of course it matters.

Myth #4: SEO and content marketing are opposed to one another.

Nope! So long as your focus is on creating compelling, customer-centered content, there is no reason why you cannot also strive for search engine relevance. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Myth #5: SEO is magic!

There are many who regard SEO as some kind of voodoo, something inscrutable and elusive. It’s part art and part science, perhaps, but the basics are pretty concrete: Focus on providing valuable information—thus, a good product for Google to deliver to its customers—and you’re on the right track.

SEO and content marketing are a dynamic match—and potentially game-changing for your business. Learn more by contacting Grammar Chic, Inc. today: Call 803-831-7444, or visit www.grammarchic.net.

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Questions to Ask Before Scaling Up Your Content Marketing

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Content marketing is an ongoing commitment, one that gains traction and grows in its effect over time. As your company’s content marketing becomes more and more successful, you may decide that it’s time to scale it up—to invest more in branding your business on the Web and reaching out to customers through social media channels.

There are several ways in which you might go about this. You might spread to new social channels; if you’ve found great success on Facebook and Pinterest, you may feel like you can translate it into success on Twitter and Instagram. You may decide to simply produce more content—posting twice per day instead of just once, blogging weekly instead of twice per month. You may enlist creative professionals to assist you with original infographics, podcasts, videos, white papers, or e-books.

As with any aspect of growing a business, though, scaling up your content marketing needs to be handled judiciously and strategically. Here are a few questions the Grammar Chic team would recommend you consider, before you begin scaling up in earnest.

  1. What are your goals? You don’t want to scale up just for the sake of scaling up. You want to set some specific, measurable goals, so that you can properly measure ROI. What are you trying to accomplish with your content marketing? Who are you trying to reach? Think in terms of sales/referral traffic, but also in terms of buyer personas and meeting consumer needs.
  2. What’s worked in the past? If you’re thinking about scaling up, then you must have seen some success—but what exactly has made your content marketing so effective? Which posts and strategies have helped you reach your goals? Figure out what’s been successful and try to build on it.
  3. What’s working for your competitors? What are your peers and competitors doing that you’re not—and how might you work to fill in the gap?
  4. Do you know how to use the relevant social platforms? Don’t overlook this. If your aim is to branch out onto Pinterest but you’ve never used Pinterest before, you may need to view some tutorials!
  5. Is your team on board? Content marketing requires a full team buy-in. As you think about scaling up, make sure everyone understands what you’re doing and is excited to see the company’s social presence expand!

Our team can provide you with direction and content support as you look to expand your online presence. Reach out to us today: Call 803-831-7444, or visit www.grammarchic.net!

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How to Make This Year’s Content Marketing Better than Last Year’s

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More than two weeks into 2015, most of us are starting to settle into a groove. We’re out of the holiday hangover. We’re back on our grind. We’re either steadfastly clinging to our New Year’s Resolutions, or else we’ve ditched them completely and are just trying our best to plow forward.

But hear us when we say this: It’s not too late to fine-tune your 2015 content marketing initiatives. It’s not too late to make this your best, most effective content marketing year yet.

At the very least, you can make it demonstrably more effective than last year. We’ll even tell you how.

Think in Terms of Goals

We’ve said it many times before, but setting goals is an essential part of content marketing. You need some benchmarks by which to measure your progress and determine your true ROI—likes, Web traffic, engagement, conversions, or whatever else.

It’s not only important to set goals, but to reflect on them. Think about last year’s goals. What were they, and how did you succeed in meeting them? Were they realistic? Too hard, or too easy? What do last year’s goals tell you about where you need to be, and where you can reasonably expect to be, at the end of 2015?

Audit Yourself

Another way to improve your content marketing performance is to conduct a content audit. Go back and read through as much of last year’s content as you can—Web pages, blogs, and on down the line. Be honest with yourself about how good it is, and how it could be improved. Remember: If your content doesn’t resonate with readers, you’re not going to get much of anything out of it.

Think not just in terms of quality, but also category. Are you covering all the bases of your business and niche—or are there topics you need to be hitting on more?

Organize Your Approach

Finally, you can get a leg up on your content marketing just by getting better organized. We recommend two tools, in particular. Start with an editorial calendar. At the bare minimum, spend some time brainstorming possible blog topics, and create a schedule of posts that will last you for a couple of months.

In addition, we recommend implementing buyer personas. If you haven’t created these, use our guide to help you. Getting to know who you’re marketing to can go a long way toward making your efforts more successful!

The Grammar Chic team can help you with any of these things, of course, and we can also assist with content development, distribution, and analysis. Contact us today for a free consultation: www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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What Parks and Recreation Teaches Us About Content Marketing

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As we’ve established before, the Grammar Chic team is all about pop culture—and there are few cultural touchstones we’re more passionate about than Parks and Recreation. The long-running NBC sitcom kicked off its seventh and final season last night, a victory lap for a show that’s uniquely beloved by audiences—so now is as good a time as any to reflect on what the show can teach us about content marketing.

Know Hope

Parks and Recreation is set in the world of small-town, local government, following the daily adventures of Pawnee, Indiana’s Parks and Recreation Department. It’s a show about politics, on some level, but you won’t find much in the way of Veep or House of Cards-style cynicism here. Like The West Wing before it, this is a show with a fundamentally optimistic view of government. Amy Poehler’s character, Leslie Knope, believes that government can and must work, and that it might even make people’s lives better.

That’s the attitude you have to have as you develop content. Cynicism and doubt will cause you to half-ass it. You have to really commit to the notion that, though it won’t always be easy and you may make some missteps, content marketing can ultimately work. It can enhance your business, and it can even make a difference in people’s lives, if only by entertaining and informing them. If you don’t actually believe these things, then what’s the point of doing content marketing at all?

It Takes a Village

Part of the show’s optimism stems from the fact that, unlike so many sitcoms, it doesn’t derive its humor from how hapless its characters are (except for Jerry), nor from how miserable they are at work (except for April and maybe Tom). By and large, it’s a show about people who enjoy one another’s company, and who like working together—whether they’d ever admit to it or not. And Leslie Knope is the exact opposite of, say, Homer Simpson or Michael Scott: She is great at what she does, and inspires confidence in her team.

Parks and Rec’s team approach is something small business owners can learn from. For content marketing to work, you need full team buy-in. You need everyone to pitch in ideas, to help share and distribute content, and ultimately to understand what makes content marketing so important.

Your Work Won’t Always Love You Back

Finally, one of the darker undercurrents in the show is that Leslie constantly works her butt off for the people of Pawnee, and they tend to respond with either indifference or, in some cases, flat-out ingratitude. She struggles, sometimes, with how much Pawnee seems to hate her, despite her great love for the town.

Sadly, this is an experience you may sometimes have in content marketing. Not every piece of content is going to engage people the way you want it to. Sometimes, you may get frustrated—and that’s natural. However, you can’t let that seep into the work. You can’t throw in the towel or start writing with a cynical edge. Be like Leslie Knope: Keep working hard even on the days when it feels like it’s not fully appreciated.

And don’t be afraid to ask for help. The Grammar Chic, Inc. team can offer it. Contact us at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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Assemble Your Job Search Avengers

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What’s the most common misconception about job searching? Maybe it’s the idea that you have to do it on your own. Sure: Eventually, you’re going to land a job, and at that point it’s going to be up to you to perform your duties satisfactorily. While you’re out there hitting the pavement and distributing your resume, though, you shouldn’t assume that you have to do it alone. Actually, you’re better off if you’ve got a full support system in place—your own personal job search dream team.

But who should you enlist for your job search team? We recommend filling the following positions:

  1. First, you need a cheerleader. This is someone you can have in your corner who will offer you pure, straight encouragement—no matter what. Searching for a job is hard on many levels, but the toughest part of it may be dealing with the emotional fallout, which might lead you to beat yourself up or to start doubting yourself. Self-doubt can kill your job search. Protect against it with a parent, sibling, or close friend—someone who will tell you that they’re proud of you, no matter what.
  2. Working in tandem with the cheerleader, you also need a realist. This is someone whose job is almost the opposite—not someone to discourage you, by any means, but someone whose encouragement comes in the form of practical critiques and guidance. Your cheerleader should always applaud your efforts, but your realist needs to be someone who will point out mistakes in your job search process. The realist will tell you when your resume is rusty, when you’re not getting out there and networking enough, when you’re succumbing to self-pity, or when you simply need to keep pushing forward.
  3. You also need a networker. This will ideally be someone who works in your industry, or a related one, but really it could be anyone with a huge number of LinkedIn connections and a ton of phone contacts. Have you ever met someone who heard that you were seeking a job, and immediately said, “Do you know who you should call? My friend so-and-so. He just might have an opening for you!” That’s the kind of person to seek out, and to stay in contact with—working those contacts as best you can.
  4. Finally, you need a writer—someone who can put your brand into words and tell your story as effectively as possible. To get a job, you need a compelling resume, and that requires more than just listing your achievements. It takes a real sense of narrative, of structure, and of formatting. It requires a skilled resume writer.

As it happens, the Grammar Chic, Inc. team can assist here, especially with the last part of the roster. To learn more, contact us today at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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5 Things to Remove from Your Facebook Posts Today

FBPost

Not so long ago, the Grammar Chic blog broke down the anatomy of the perfect Facebook post—listing a few things no Facebook post should be without.

For some small business owners, though, it may be just as helpful to address it from the opposite angle, mentioning a few elements that you might want to leave out of your Facebook posts.

And some of them may surprise you.

Consider these elements, which may be slowing down your Facebook progress rather than advancing it:

  1. Ten-dollar words and industry jargon. With your Facebook posts, you’re ultimately trying to reach everyday consumers as much as you are members of your industry. You want your posts to be engaged with, shared, and—first and foremost—actually read. As such, it’s important that you keep them brief and breezy. There’s no need to pack them with long-winded expressions or convoluted vernacular.
  2. Hashtags in excess of two or three. As you might imagine, there have been countless studies and analyses done regarding the question of how many hashtags is too many. The short answer: Once you get past three, you’re doing more harm than good. Cluttering your post with too many hashtags actually lowers engagement, rather than boosting it.
  3. Multiple links. It can be tempting to try to cram as much info and as many links as possible into a Facebook post, but that’s counterproductive; a good post will be singularly focused on directing users to a single destination. Introducing multiple links reduces the chances of any of those links actually getting clicked on.
  4. Superfluous words. We mentioned it before but it’s critical to understand just how brief a good Facebook post should be: Somewhere in the vicinity of 40 characters or so!
  5. Overly promotional language. Here’s something else we mentioned before: Facebook is seriously cracking down on promotional posts. Use “salesy” language at your own peril!

To learn more about what should and shouldn’t be in your Facebook updates, contact the Grammar Chic, Inc. team today: www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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