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5 Ways to Prepare for the Holiday Marketing Season

For many businesses, the holidays are make-or-break. Retailers, in particular, depend on a brisk holiday shopping season to reach their annual revenue goals. To ensure a successful season, it’s vital to execute a sound marketing plan—and the time to start is now.

Remember that the holiday shopping season really begins on November 1—which isn’t that far away! You don’t want to be scrambling to get your affairs in order at the last minute, so take some time to prepare for the holiday marketing season today. Here are five steps we recommend.

Plan Your Promotions

Before you do anything else, get a good sense of what you’ll be promoting this year—and how. Make a list of any particular products you want to focus on, and decide what kinds of discounts or special offers you can afford. Also think about special promotions, whether that’s a Cyber Monday sale of a free-shipping offer that extends through the end of the year.

Decide when you’re going to schedule these promotions—when you’ll announce them, and how long they’ll last. Put it all on your calendar. This is a critical first step before you start producing any marketing collateral.

Build Marketing Emails

Once you decide what your seasonal promotions will be, you can start building marketing emails to announce them.

There’s a lot of work that goes into email marketing—choosing templates, uploading images, and writing body text. Again, you don’t want to be doing this at the last minute. Pick your promotions and start developing your marketing emails today. (Our content marketing team is happy to assist with this.)

Create Landing Pages

As you promote special offers—whether through email, PPC, or some other channel—you’ll want to provide your customers with an offer-specific, conversion-oriented landing page where they can complete their transaction.

In other words, if you send out an email promoting a certain product, you want to send traffic to a page that’s all about that product—not just to your company home page.

These landing pages require some build-out, so start today. Remember to keep landing page copy brief and value-focused. Again, the Grammar Chic team can help!

Spruce Up Your Website

Hopefully, this marketing activity will result in a big traffic spike—so make sure your website looks its best. Some quick tips:

  • Audit your site for accessibility issues, such as broken links, and make the necessary repairs.
  • Run some speed tests to be sure your site loads quickly across all platforms and devices.
  • Look for any content opportunities—for instance, product guides or tutorials, tied to the products you’re promoting this holiday season.

Create Marketing Collateral

One more thing you can start doing today to prepare for holiday shoppers: Develop the creative materials you’ll require for seasonal promotions. We mentioned marketing emails already, but also consider product- or offer-specific blog posts, video guides, Web content additions, graphics, banners, and more.

The time to start preparing for a successful holiday marketing campaign is now—and our team can help. Ask us more about our expertise in developing marketing emails, blog posts, landing pages, and beyond. Contact Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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How to Be Self-Confident in Your Job Search

The job search is really all about salesmanship. You’re selling yourself to potential employers, seeking to persuade them of the value you can offer in return for their investment.

This type of selling comes easy to some, but for most of us it’s rather tricky. In fact, the job search can represent a low ebb in self-confidence—a season in which we have the hardest time believing in our own value. The more rejections and dead ends you accumulate, the worse the problem gets; and, when you’re feeling a lack of self-confidence, it makes it much tougher to sell yourself.

You can see what a vicious cycle this can be. Yet, it’s a cycle that can be broken. We’ll show you how. In this post, we’ll detail a few practical ways to inject self-confidence into your job search.

Deal with Your Inner Critic

Our self-confidence erodes when we spend too much time listening to our “inner critic”—the voice in our heads that tells us we’re not good enough, delighting in showing us all our faults.

Unfortunately, the job search experience can bring that inner critic out in full force, emboldened by every rejection or every bad interview.

So how do you silence the inner critic? A few possibilities include:

  • Practice positive self-talk. Every day, devote a few minutes to simply speaking affirmations to yourself. Remind yourself that you are worthy, and that you do have talents to offer. Speak them out loud to yourself.
  • Keep a list of your past career achievements—all the things you’ve done or accomplished that you can feel proud of. Refer back to your list whenever the inner critic pops up.
  • Have people in your life who can encourage you and remind you often that they believe in you. Their encouragements can stifle the inner critic.

Practice Self-Care

Something that can really take the wind out of your sails, and cause your confidence to further plummet, is neglecting self-care. Allowing yourself to become lethargic, overtired, undernourished, stressed out—all of these things can make confidence gaps even wider.

Be intentional about practicing self-care during your job search—and that means:

  • Getting enough sleep at night.
  • Eating three meals a day—actual nutrients, not just protein shakes or fast food!
  • Logging some physical activity each day, even if it’s just a brisk walk around the neighborhood.
  • Engaging in a stress-busting activity—yoga, meditation, drawing, journaling, etc.

Prepare Your Branding

One final thing you can do to inject some self-confidence in your job search: Make sure you have some personal branding materials you can feel proud of.

Remember, the job search is all about selling yourself—so make sure you have some sales materials that can do a lot of the heavy lifting for you.

Having a strong resume and cover letter can allow you to enter into interviews with confidence—and even the process of drafting those materials, in conjunction with a professional resume writer, can remind you of past achievements in a way that bolsters your enthusiasm and self-esteem.

Talk with a resume writing pro who can really help you embrace the job search process, feeling confident in your abilities to land a rewarding new position. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. to start the process: 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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5 Factors That Give Your Website Credibility

Your website provides customers with a peek into the kind of business you run—its reputation, its trustworthiness, and its basic value proposition. In other words, your website hints at how credible your company is, and whether or not customers should trust it with their time and money.

Just think for a minute: There are plenty of legitimate businesses on the Web, but also some sketchy ones. Potential customers aren’t going to bank on your business unless they see that it’s the real deal—not something shady or unscrupulous.

And customers aren’t the only ones who care about credibility. Search engine algorithms also work to assess the credibility level of your website. As you might imagine, a higher level of credibility will improve your SEO rankings.

But just because your business is credible doesn’t mean your website conveys it—which raises the question: How can you inject some credibility into your website design?

5 Ways to Develop a More Credible Website

Here are five factors that can make a world of difference.

Reviews and Testimonials

One of the quickest ways to establish your business’s legitimacy is to simply offer some social proof—direct reports from satisfied customers. Reviews and testimonials are both powerful ways to accomplish this. Just make sure you steer clear of any fake testimonials, which can come back to bite you. (And today’s savvy online consumers are better than you might imagine at detecting fakes.)

Advertisements

Some businesses host third-party ads on their site in order to generate extra revenues. This may seem tempting, but it can ultimately be counterproductive. Simply put, the presence of ads makes your business seem a little iffy.

Regular Updates

Have you ever stumbled upon a website that seemed as though it hadn’t been updated in years? That’s obviously not a good look for your business site, as an out-of-date website can make it seem like the business itself is dead. Build credibility by refreshing your website content annually, and by updating your blog often.

Clear Contact Information

Here’s an easy one: Make sure your company contact information is clearly listed on your website, and invite customers to call or email with any questions. If you don’t include this contact information, it can make it seem like you’re hiding from your own customer base

“About Us” Content

Finally, you can make your business seem more credible by offering some information about who you are. Ideally, you’ll have team member bios and photos on the website, emphasizing the real people behind the company.

Boost Your Website Credibility Today

Make it clear to search engines and to potential customers alike that your business is the real deal—and that it’s worthy of their time and money. To learn more about enhancing website credibility, reach out to the team at Grammar Chic, Inc. today. Connect at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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3 Ways to Get Your Resume Down to a Page

Some jobseekers—experienced professionals, C-suite executives, those who’ve had long and robust career histories—may need their resumes to span two or three full pages. That’s perfectly fine. Other jobseekers—the younger, the less experienced—can make do with just one. That’s fine, too.

The trouble comes when you find yourself in the middle ground—with a resume that doesn’t fill two pages, but also doesn’t quite fit into one.

The last thing you want is a resume with a lot of empty space on it. So that one-and-a-half-pager? It’s gotta get cut down.

The question is how. Making razor-thin margins or opting for a microscopic font aren’t good options, because then your resume isn’t readable. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to tighten up your resume and get it down to one action-packed page—helping you portray maximum value quickly and cleanly.

Get Rid of Old Jobs

For starters: How far back are you going in your career history? A good rule of thumb is that employers are most interested in what you’ve done recently—so jobs that are more than 10-15 years old usually don’t need to be included on a resume.

If you’re one of those more experienced workers, and if you have seven or eight different listings in your career history, there’s a good chance you can cut one or two of them to save space.

Eliminate Unnecessary Stuff

Are you including any of the following items on your resume?

  • Hobbies
  • Volunteer positions
  • References
  • “References available upon request”
  • Your high school or college GPA

If so, then just getting rid of these items may be the best approach.

We’re not saying these items never have a place on your resume—but if you’re looking to save space, they can definitely be axed without any great loss.

Keep Your Bullet Points Short

Your career history should take up the bulk of the space on your resume—so that’s ultimately where you need to look as you try to keep things brief.

The best resumes list job accomplishments and responsibilities in bullet points—and most of the time, you should be able to keep each bullet point to a single line. If yours are longer, trim them down, focusing each one on strong action words, numbers, and statistics, while removing any “fluff” or filler.

Also remember to remove any redundancies. If you “provided exemplary customer service” in your last four jobs, you don’t necessarily need to list it under each one; saying it just once is usually sufficient.

Bring Focus to Your Resume

At the end of the day, a good resume is a focused resume—and if you’re having a hard time finding focus, that’s something we can help you with. Schedule a call with one of our resume writing professionals today. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. by visiting www.grammarchic.net or calling 803-831-7444.

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How to Avoid Keyword Stuffing

Proper keyword use is essential for content marketing—and for SEO. The keywords help reflect those search terms you’re trying to rank for; in many cases, they will also align with your chosen PPC terms. Keywords can even be valuable on a creative level, helping guide and structure your content writing.

With that said, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. Keyword stuffing—the act of including so many keywords that your content is stiff, robotic, nonsensical, or simply very hard to read—can result in SEO penalties, which makes the entire endeavor moot.

So how can you avoid keyword stuffing, without flat-out avoiding keywords? Where’s the balance?

Tips to Avoid Keyword Stuffing

A few tips:

  • Know who you’re writing for. One of the most common causes of keyword stuffing is the belief that you’re writing, first and foremost, for search algorithms. Scrap that idea right now, and instead remind yourself that you’re writing for human beings. Nine times out of 10, if you simply write in a way that’s natural and that makes sense to human readers, everything else will fall into place.
  • Identify the prime spots for keywords. There are a few places where you really want to insert keywords, for maximum SEO value—heading, title tags, meta descriptions, and in the first paragraph of your body content. Once you ensure keywords in these locales, you can ease up, and just focus on writing good, natural content.
  • Use long-tail variations. You can break up your keyword monotony, and avoid any signs of keyword stuffing, by throwing in some long-tail alternates. For example, if your main keyword is Charlotte plumbers, you might mix in some references to Charlotte plumbing companies, plumbers in Charlotte, etc., all of which can help your content read more gracefully.
  • Remember: Synonyms are your friends! Along the same lines, trust in Google’s increasingly-intelligent bots to put two and two together, and to register synonyms for your main keywords. If you’re looking to rank for the term HVAC, it’s fine to also use air conditioning or heating system. Google knows what you mean, and you’re not going to lose any SEO mojo by varying things up.

It can’t be stressed enough: 90 percent of the battle is just writing good, natural, value-adding content for human readers—and if you need help with that, you’ve come to the right place. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. to set up a consultation with one of our SEO-trained content writing professionals. Contact us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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5 Reasons Your Business Should Have a Content Marketing Strategy

Content creation. Content distribution. Data and analytics. These are all important components of any content marketing campaign. And yet, they can all be fairly meaningless if they’re not united by a broader sense of strategy.

Your content marketing strategy provides you guidance on what you’re trying to achieve; how you’ll achieve it; and how you’ll define success. It clarifies the kind of content you need to create, and the channels you need and don’t need as you distribute that content.  A good strategy can help you use all your content marketing resources effectively, and it also ensures that the content you create is consistently on-message.

Before you do anything else, then—before you write a blog, make a video, or post to social media—it’s important to have a documented strategy. In creating this content marketing strategy, you’ll reap a number of big benefits.

You’ll have clearly defined goals.

The first benefit is that you’ll have some sense of what you’re trying to achieve. Are you producing content to educate and inform potential customers, making things easier on your sales team? Is it purely for SEO? Are you trying to develop industry-wide thought leadership and authority?

All of these are noble and attainable goals, but you need to clarify them so you know what kind of content to write.

You’ll have metrics in place.

Not only does a content marketing strategy help you set goals, but it also forces you to define success. How will you know when your content marketing efforts are doing what they’re supposed to? Which metrics will you look toward? What kind of reporting do you need to measure your content’s effectiveness?

A content marketing strategy provides you with the answers to these questions—and helps you to say for certain whether or not you’re achieving the right results with your content efforts.

You’ll define your audience.

Your content won’t be effective unless you tailor it to your audience—which means, of course, that you have to know who that audience is.

A content marketing strategy should lead you to think critically about who you’re trying to reach, and ideally to create buyer personas to ensure that you address your audience with as much precision as possible.

You’ll discover the right channels.

Regular content creation on YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and Twitter—to say nothing of blogs and emails—may prove both costly and time-consuming. But what if you don’t actually need all those channels? What if, to meet your goals and address your audience, you really just need two or three of them?

That could prove tremendously advantageous to the bottom line—and with a content marketing strategy in place, you’ll have a much more accurate sense of which channels you really need and which you can do without.

You’ll understand your content creation needs.

Content marketing always involves a question of how much. How much content do you need? How often should you be blogging, posting to social media, and sending out emails? It’s important to get the right frequency, and in some cases this might require you to outsource some of your content development tasks to a company like Grammar Chic.

When you thoughtfully craft a content marketing strategy, it helps illuminate your content needs, and give you some sense of whether or not you need that extra hand in content creation.

Are you ready to create a content marketing strategy?

Without a strategy to guide you, your content marketing efforts will really just be guesswork. Get more out of your efforts—clearer goals, better results, more judicious spending—by getting a strategy in place.

We’d love to help you brainstorm one. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. to set up a consultation. Reach us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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How to Tell if Your Content Ideas Are Any Good

It’s often said that quality is the most important component in content marketing. What does this mean, exactly? Among other things, it implies that some content ideas are better than others, and that part of the content marketer’s job is deciding which content ideas have potential and which are better discarded.

Sometimes, you’ll have a new content idea that just seems so obvious, it’s almost too good to be true. In other cases, seeds of uncertainty will be there throughout the content development process. In all cases, it’s wise to do a quick inventory, asking some key questions to properly vet your content idea.

Is This Relevant to My Core Business Offerings?

Content marketing depends on you displaying real thought leadership, providing your readers with something valuable—not simply advertising your brand all the time.

But even when your content isn’t directly “salesy,” it should be relevant to your core business offerings, underscoring your knowledge of the field.

For example, if your business is a used car dealership, good content ideas might encompass vehicle ownership, vehicle buying guides, even vehicle financing. But you wouldn’t want to branch out to topics that don’t directly impact either vehicle buyers or vehicle owners.

Does This Topic Offer Value?

Another way to phrase this question: What’s in it for my reader?

Your content should always provide an actionable insight; there should be a clear sense in which readers are better off having consumed your content. In short, they should learn something that’s actually helpful to them.

Vet your content ideas by asking: What are the benefits? If you can’t list them, it’s probably not a very strong topic.

What’s the Hook?

Another way to phrase this question: Why will anyone care about this topic?

Sometimes, the hook is closely tied to the value proposition. If your article is 5 Ways to Save Money on Your Next Used Car Purchase, the hook is self-explanatory; everyone wants to save money, and your content offers five ways to do it.

In other cases, though, you might look for a seasonal hook—e.g., 5 Reasons to Buy a New Car in December, or Why Summer is the Best Time to Shop for New Trucks. You could also tie in your topic to hot topics, current headlines, holidays, celebrity announcements, or even sporting events; for example, an alcohol rehab company we work with recently posted a great blog about how to stay sober at Super Bowl parties.

What’s the Pitch?

Take a minute and try to summarize or explain your content angle in two or three sentences.

If you can’t give a fairly succinct elevator pitch, it may mean that the topic is still too broad or unrefined. This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad topic; just that you need to polish it a bit more, and zero in on exactly what you’re trying to say in your content.

What’s the Call to Action?

Or: What do you want readers to do once they finish your content?

Does your blog lend itself to a CTA for a free consultation? Should it link to a particular product or service page? Or should you simply invite readers to contact you directly for more information?

Can I Write This?

A final consideration: Just because you have the technical faculty to understand your topic, that doesn’t always mean you have the time or the writing craft to develop your content fully.

If that’s the case, it may be wise to enlist the services of a content writing company, like Grammar Chic, Inc. Our writers can help you at each stage of content development—brainstorming, content creation, content distribution, and more.

Learn more about our comprehensive content creation services. Contact Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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