6 Types of Content That Always Tank

Brands and small businesses invest time and money into content creation because they know that it has myriad benefits—including increased brand awareness, boosted website traffic, and higher conversion rates.

But of course, not every piece of content has the intended effect.

In fact, some content can actually be counterproductive—turning off your readers and failing to move the sales needle in any meaningful way at all.

In this post, we’re going to list a few content archetypes that are guaranteed to fall flat—content FAILs to avoid at all cost.

Content That’s Guaranteed to FAIL

Boring Content

We’re not saying you have to turn every company blog post into the great American novel, but there should be some semblance of a story—a theme, hook, or angle to make readers interested. Here it’s important to remind you that you’re always creating content for human readers, not for search algorithms exclusively; if you wouldn’t find the content to be interesting and readable, no one else will, either.

Brand-centric Content

It’s not about you! It’s about your readers. Make sure your content focuses on what’s in it for thembenefits, value, actionable takeaways that they can draw from your content.

Content That’s Written to Nobody in Particular

When you write content, you should always have an audience in mind—a specific demographic you’re trying to target, based on internal data or buyer personas. The content should be tailored to address your audience’s needs, problems, and values; generic content, written with no specific audience in mind, will always fail to offer clear and specific benefits, and should be avoided.

Content That’s Written for Robots

Are SEO tricks and gimmicks making your content unreadable to actual human beings? If so, then you might as well not bother. People matter, and Google will see right through your tricks.

Salesy Content

Your content can obviously be written to build trust, to increase brand awareness, and ultimately to sell, but it shouldn’t just be straight-up advertising. On the contrary, content that is aggressively salesy and interruptive will peter out pretty fast, as readers just aren’t going to want to engage with it, share it, or link back to it.

Your Content is Hard to Read

Paragraph breaks, short sentences, bullet points, section subheadings—all of these things are important for making your content easy to skim and to digest. Poor formatting will leave your content basically useless and unread.

Write Content That Gets the Job Done

These are just a few examples of what not to do—but to take a more positive approach, and to write content that gets results, we encourage you to call the pros. Grammar Chic, Inc. is ready to offer our expertise, and to make your words and ideas shine. Reach out to us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

 

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6 Reasons Why Guest Blogging Still Matters

SEO and content marketing are in a constant state of flux—and some of the strategies that worked well three years ago (or even three months ago) are of dubious impact today.

Yet there are some strategies that are tried and true, and remain very much recommended. One of the best is guest blogging. Simply put, submitting authoritative posts to relevant blogs—other than your own—is one of the smartest ways you can build your online brand.

Allow us to explain why. Here are just a few of the top benefits you can expect from guest blogging.

What Do You Get Out of Guest Blogging?

Targeted Traffic

First and foremost, there’s traffic. Even if you don’t get a backlink, you will almost certainly arouse the audiences’ interest—and that can lead to curious readers flocking to your website. Not only do you get traffic, but—assuming the blog you write for is relevant to your own industry—that traffic will probably be well-matched to your own customer demographics.

Relationships

Something else that guest blogging provides you? Connections. Developing some common bonds with other bloggers and contributors can open the door to more possibilities down the road—more guest blogging opportunities, more social media shares, more collaborations.

Social Media Shares

Speaking of social media, when you write a blog for another publication, you can bet that the owners of that publication will promote it—meaning you can expect social shares and re-tweets from a lot of folks who aren’t otherwise aware of your brand or your content.

Authority

When a respected publication agrees to host your guest blog, it’s a vote of confidence—a vouch for your authority. This can increase your visibility and prestige within your industry, and also lead to more social media followers—people who determine that your brand must be legitimate, since your guest blog was accepted by their favorite publication.

Links

We’re burying this one deep down in our list because most everybody knows that this is a benefit of guest blogging, and if anything it’s overemphasized. Still, the point must be made: Guest blogging is the best way to build up your backlink profile, which is an SEO essential.

Brand Awareness

Finally, guest blogging simply gets your name and your writing out there in front of people who probably wouldn’t see it otherwise—and if even one of those people becomes a paying customer, the guest blog has served an important purpose.

Start Guest Blogging Today

The benefits to guest blogging are many—but how do you get started? We’d love to chat with you about mapping out a guest blog initiative for your brand. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. to begin that dialogue: www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Your Resume Should Be Personal—But Not Too Personal

Here’s a common question from jobseekers: How personal should a resume be?

Well, that depends on what you mean by personal.

Certainly a resume should reflect who you are as an individual job applicant and potential employee. It should be tailored to reflect your skills, your achievements, and the value you bring to an employer. The cookie-cutter, or one-size-fits-all approach, never really works in resume writing. Rather than writing an anonymous resume, you should aim to write a distinctive one—and that certainly involves some personalization.

At the same time, a resume is ultimately about the professional side of your life—and as such, there are some personal details that you should generally omit, not just from resumes but also from cover letters.

Personal Details to Omit from Your Resume

Here are just a few examples:

Headshots. There is simply no need to include a photo of yourself with your resume; it goes against established job search decorum, and anyway, the recruiter or hiring manager will see what you look like in your interview. Exceptions to this rule: Resumes for models or actors, and for certain overseas jobs that specifically request you include a photo.

Hobbies. Generally speaking, your hobbies are not relevant to the job, or to the value you offer your employer—though by all means list any relevant volunteer experience.

Personal email addresses. You should have an email address that looks professional—your name and a recognizable email platform, such as Gmail or mac.com. An email handle like RunnerDude or YogaChick has no business on your resume. If you need to sign up for a new email account, just for your job search, by all means do so.

Personal details. Some additional information that’s not needed on your resume: Age, religion, political affiliation, race, marital status. Not only is this none of the employer’s business, but it could potentially make you the target of discrimination. An exception here: It is wise to note whether you need visa sponsorship from your next employer. This actually is relevant to the hiring process.

A Matter of Balance

So how personal should your resume be? Well, it should always be individualized—but not unprofessional. That’s a tricky balance, but our resume writing team can help you strike it. We’d love to talk with you about how we can polish and personalize your resume. Reach out to us today at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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Why Recruiters Throw Resumes in the Trash

These days, there’s a lot of competition for any given job opening. When you send in your resume, you’re likely one of dozens, maybe even hundreds of people vying for the same gig. Obviously, the recruiter’s got a pretty fully plate—an awful lot of resumes to sift through before setting up interviews.

What this means is that, unfortunately, most recruiters don’t need much reason to throw a resume in the trash can; it makes their job that much easier. So, if there’s anything that’s off about your document, well, a recruiter might very well seize the excuse to make their workload a little bit lighter—which means, alas, that your own prospects are cast aside.

As such, it’s important to know the main reasons why resumes get tossed out before they’re even read. Here are some of the most common culprits. Avoid them—and if you’re not sure how, reach out to the Grammar Chic, Inc. resume writing team.

The Resume is Too Long

Keep in mind what we just said about recruiters and hiring managers having a lot on their plate, and don’t subject them to a resume that rambles on for five or 10 pages. Nobody has time for an epic-length resume, and with very limited exceptions there is no reason for your resume to exceed a couple pages. Keeping it to one is even better, especially if you’re a relatively young jobseeker with less experience to convey.

The Resume is Over-Stylized

Multiple fonts? An array of colors? Tables? Pictures? Broken links? Any of these design elements can be distracting, and cause a recruiter to fear that your resume is more trouble than it’s worth.

Side note: Your resume should be easy to read—and if one look at it overwhelms the recruiter, that may get it tossed aside. White space is your friend, and bullet points are imperative.

There Are No Keywords

A good resume will include some choice keywords, particularly related to core competencies, that help it to register with resume-scanning software programs. If your resume doesn’t pass the software test, it may not be seen by a human reader at all. Keywords are critical.

Your Resume Feels Like Hype

A strong resume will list specific accomplishments and measurable achievements, while a poor one will resort to empty superlatives. If all your resume does is declare you to be the BEST salesperson or a hard-working and driven professional, well, that can seem rather vague—and it can end up getting your resume tossed.

Will Your Resume Get Read?

Even a small tactical error can get your resume disqualified—but the Grammar Chic team knows how to construct resumes that get read, and then get interviews. We’d love to help you out. Reach out at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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5 Ways to Develop Content with Long-Term Value

Online content is ephemeral by its very nature—and not just Snapchat stories! Whether you’re talking about blog posts, press releases, or tweets, so much of the content that companies develop has a remarkably short shelf life.

This is just the nature of the beast, but it can be discouraging. For companies that invest a lot of time and money into their website content, for instance, knowing that the lifespan of said content is brief can make the whole process seem frivolous.

There are ways you can inject more life and longevity into your website content, though, and ensure that it provides you with SEO and branding clout long after that first week, that first month, or that first year. Here are five tips from the Grammar Chic team.

Focus on Evergreen Content

A blog post detailing your brand new product has an inherently short-lived relevance, because of course that product won’t be brand new forever! Such content is necessary, but you should counterbalance it with evergreen content—Web pages written on timeless topics with enduring relevance. Something like an FAQ page or a how-to guide can provide you with a content angle that will still be fresh and relevant in a few years’ time. One recommendation: Schedule time once a year or so to review this content and make any tweaks or additions that are needed.

Optimize Your Content

Your content will offer you more bang over a longer span of time if it continues to get discovered by search engine users. Be sure that you optimize content for long-tail keyword phrases, and that you pay attention to critical on-page elements such as the title tag and meta description. Investing in some SEO basics is a great way to future-proof your content.

Link to Your Content

Internal linking is a great way to keep your content alive; even a blog post or a Web page you wrote three years ago may prove a relevant appendix to a more current page. Linking to it, when appropriate, can send readers to different parts of your site, including older content that might otherwise be neglected. Of course, it also increases the SEO value of those older pages.

Repurpose Older Content

Even if you feel like a particular page or an older blog post is losing its SEO value, or simply not generating much traffic, the concepts on that page can still be worthwhile. That’s when you take that content and repackage it as a brand new page, as an email newsletter, or as a series of social media posts.

Refresh Your Content Regularly

One more thing: Your website shouldn’t remain static for years at a time. Grammar Chic’s team recommends routine content refreshes; whether a full re-write or a subtler re-shaping, content updates can keep your entire site feeling fresh and new. Work this into your annual marketing rhythm. And for help polishing your content to perfection, reach out to our team at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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5 Ways to Make Your Fall Job Search Count

January and February are generally recognized as the best months for launching a new career, as many companies need to fill vacancies from employees who departed at year’s end. According to the experts, though, September and October run a close second place, presenting a fruitful time for jobseekers to reach for the next rung on their career ladder.

If you’re planning to seek new employment over the autumn months, there are a few steps you can take to maximize your odds of success. Here are a few best practices from the Grammar Chic resumes team.

Get Your Family’s Support

The fall season can be busy for everyone, yet it’s important for you to set aside some dedicated time for the job search—for fine-tuning your resume, building your network, and applying for jobs. Take the initiative to talk with your family members and explain to them your job search goals. Let them know that you covet their support, even if that means giving you a few uninterrupted hours each week to focus on advancing your career.

Do Your Research

The best way to make those job search hours count isn’t to lunge at every open opportunity you see. It’s to be steady and intentional. Create a list of targeted companies and opportunities, then do some research into those workplace cultures and values. Put your effort into really optimizing your chances for those jobs you really want and are really qualified for. Set a patient, deliberate pace for your job search.

Curate Your Online Presence

Have you invested some time in LinkedIn optimization? How about removing any old blogs that still pop up on Google, and maybe don’t convey your professionalism as well as you might like? Should you set your Facebook account to private? Do you have the time to publish some good, informative articles on LinkedIn Pulse, showcasing your industry know-how? These are all critical considerations. Above all, know this: Potential hiring managers and recruiters will look you up on Google. Plan accordingly.

Make Connections

It’s wise to reach out to old contacts, but also to try forging some new ones. Any opportunities you have to attend professional networking events or industry-specific seminars can be invaluable—especially if you go in with the mindset of expanding your network and advancing your job search. Even an event with your local Chamber of Commerce or other nearby professional organizations can have potential.

Update Your Marketing Documents

As the season changes, perhaps your resume and cover letter should change, too. Revitalize them, ensuring they convey your value as an employee vividly, specifically, and succinctly. For help, reach out to the experts at Grammar Chic, Inc.

We’re here to help you land your dream job, via marketing documents that get results. For a resume or cover letter consultation, reach out to our team at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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Match Your Content to Your Sales Funnel

We’d all like to believe that the consumer journey is simple and straightforward—that a buyer sees your product advertised somewhere, visits your website, and places and order, all within a span of mere minutes.

Maybe it happens like that sometimes—but usually, the buyer’s journey is quite a bit more complicated. Maybe the consumer makes a general inquiry on Google, and happens to see one of your products in an AdWords placement. He digs around for more information, reading your company blog or checking out some tweets. He forgets about your company, but a week later sees a retargeted ad on Facebook. Weeks or even months after that initial discovery, the consumer finally places an order.

The point is, there are many steps and stages to the buying process—and that’s something that has a direct impact on content marketing.

Simply put, you can’t assume that everyone who encounters your content is going to be at the same point in their journey. Some might be discovering your brand for the very first time; what they need is some general information. Others may be very familiar with your brand, and on the brink of making a purchase decision. What these consumers need is something that will persuade them to make that conversion.

In creating content, it’s important to think in terms of that consumer journey—and to develop content to fit each stage along the way.

Top of the Funnel Content

For starters, you need some content to greet those consumers who are just discovering your brand—the people who aren’t ready to commit to a particular product, but may find your company through a broad, generalized search. Here the goal is to educate them about who you are and what you do, developing brand visibility. Some content types you might consider here include:

  • Blog posts
  • Web content
  • Press releases
  • Explainer videos
  • Infographics

Middle of the Funnel Content

At the same time, it’s important to develop content for people who know your brand and are trying to do their due diligence, figuring out why they should trust your company over the competition. Some recommended content types here include:

  • Newsletters
  • White papers
  • Product demos
  • Reviews
  • Retargeting

Bottom of the Funnel Content

Finally, it’s vital to have content designed to inform the consumer at that moment of decision—to lead to a conversion. Here, establishing trust and speaking directly to value are both key. Recommended content types include:

  • Webinars
  • Reviews
  • Testimonials
  • Direct, personal sales presentations
  • Offers and discounts

Content for the Whole Journey

The bottom line: Content marketing should be mapped out and in sync with the buyer’s journey, which means different pieces of content may serve different functions. Do you have content for each stage of the buying process? If not, get help in strategic, results-oriented content development. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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