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5 Rules to Improve Your Email Marketing

Tired of sending emails to your subscriber list and getting nothing in return? There are some simple steps you can take to transform your email marketing campaign into a powerful, results-getting arm of your broader content marketing strategy. In this post, we’re going to break it down for you, with some foolproof tips and strategies.

Rule #1: You MUST Write Compelling Subject Lines

You’ve got a short window of time in which to make a strong first impression and to persuade your recipient to actually open and read your email. Your email subject line is where you do that, so it’s got to pop. Put some time into this. Force yourself to keep it to seven words or less. Convey value in your subject line. And make it sound personal, without including a specific recipient name. You’ll also want to keep playing around with new subject lines, A/B testing them and finding what works and what doesn’t work for your audience.

Rule #2: You MUST Segment Your Email List

Your emails need to convey value that is specific to each recipient—and while you can’t afford to write a personal email to everyone on your list, you can at least break down your list into some sub-groupings. Here at Grammar Chic, we have clients who come to us for marketing and clients who come to us for resume services, and it wouldn’t make much sense to send marketing-related emails to resume clients. That’s where segmentation becomes invaluable.

Rule #3: Your Emails MUST Offer Value

What’s in it for me? That’s what your recipients will be asking as they read your email. They need to walk away from it with something of value, whether that means news on an upcoming product, a discount, a promotion, or an actionable tip. Make sure your emails have substance. Make sure they convey value.

Rule #4: Your Email Campaign MUST Have a Clear Goal

To tell whether or not your email marketing is succeeding, you’ll need to define success. Are you looking to get phone calls? Website traffic? Buys for a specific product or service? Your email marketing objective will impact your metrics as well as your actual CTA.

Rule #5: Your Emails MUST Be Brief

Nobody has time to read a 500-word email. Get to the point. Be light and engaging. And be fun to read. Really, those are invaluable traits for any successful marketing email.

Transform Your Email Marketing

These rules will help you turn your email marketing list into a true asset. To really take things to the next level, we’d invite you to consult with our writers and email marketing pros. We can help you craft email messages that get results.

Learn more by reaching out to Grammar Chic, Inc. today, either at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Brand Management, Business Writing, Email Writing

How to Write a Resume That Recruiters Will Read

Recruiters spend a lot of their time reading resumes. It’s just part of the job—and a fairly big part of the job, at that. Because recruiters have so many resumes to read each day, they can’t afford to linger long on any one of them. In fact, the average recruiter spends mere seconds on a resume before deciding whether to investigate further, or toss it in the trash. Not minutes. Seconds.

What this means for you as a jobseeker is that you’ve got to make a huge first impression. You’ve got to grab attention. And the only way to do that is with a well-formatted and engaging resume document.

So how can you ensure that your resume lands a punch within that brief window of time your recruiter gives it? Here are five tried and true methods.

Make a Strong First Impression with Your Resume

Make it Skimmable

Remember that, with just a few seconds to spare, your recruiter isn’t going to read every word of your resume. Rather, he or she will skim through it, trying to catch on to the basic progression of your career. Make your resume one that’s easy to navigate at a glance. Divide it into three or four main sections—a professional summary, a list of core competencies, a professional history, and an education section, perhaps. Make sure each section is clearly delineated.

Top-Load It

The first section of your resume should be an executive summary—not a career objective—that clearly lays out your brand and the value you bring to employers. Following that, include a list of core skills—a bulleted list of keywords and key phrases that correspond with what you’re proficient in.

Get Straight to It

Don’t beat around the bush! Every word and every second count. Rather than open your sentences with florid prose or with fluff, lead off with strong verbs—action words that convey immediate impact.

Use Numbers

Nothing grabs a recruiter’s attention like the presence of numbers, which quantify your achievements. Not all professions lend themselves to clear metrics, but any numbers you can share are helpful, and should be included.

Format Consistently

Make sure your font, format, and style choices don’t fluctuate across your resume; if you bold company names in one section, bold them everywhere else. If you capitalize job titles here, capitalize them there. This is another way in which you can make your resume easy to skim, easier to make sense of at a glance.

Write for Recruiters

The bottom line: As you construct your resume, you’ve got to remember that a recruiter might read it—and that recruiters need something that will make an immediate impact. To make sure your resume packs a punch, we welcome you to work with our resume writing team. Schedule a resume consultation by connecting with us at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Resume Writing, Resumes

6 User Experience Errors That Will Sink Your Content Marketing

We’re often asked about the best strategies to marry content marketing with effective SEO. The basic premise is really simple: If you want to find favor with search engine algorithms, it’s important to first find favor with human readers. Making your content easy to discover, to read, and to digest—that’s all Google really wants you to do.

An implication of this is that, if you sacrifice the user experience—if you create content that doesn’t provide value to the reader, or that makes that value difficult to excavate—it’s inevitable that you’ll see a drop-off in Google traction.

This introduces a question. Is your content user-friendly? Or, to come at it from a different angle, are you doing anything in your company blog posts and in your Web content that’s compromising the user experience—and, thus, sinking your SEO?

Allow us to point out just a few common user experience errors that can make your content difficult to digest—and thus, less likely to find favor with Google’s algorithms.

Where Content Marketing Goes Wrong

Insufficient Substance/Length

We’ve blogged recently about word count, and about how there’s no simple answer to the question of how long your content should be. With that said, the basic principle to keep in mind is that you need to offer value without fluff—and a blog post that’s just 200 words probably isn’t fully addressing your readers’ questions. Aim for posts that really tackle your topic thoroughly and substantively; skimpy posts do not provide for a satisfying user experience any more than overly long, rambling ones do.

Bland and Boring Layouts

What’s the old saying about pictures and words? Well, we’d say you need both. A boring, black-and-white layout isn’t going to capture the reader’s attention. Make sure you embed pictures, videos, and other rich and colorful content into your blog posts and throughout your website.

Misspellings or Bad Grammar

If your content is laden with typos, it’s not going to come across as trustworthy or authoritative—so you can’t expect to see much in the way of backlinks. Readers won’t put up with poorly proofed content for long.

Unbroken Content

You need content breaks to make your posts easier to maneuver—and to skim. Make sure you break things down with section subheadings, bullet points, lists, etc.

Rambling Paragraphs

Similarly, avoid unbroken streams of text that just run on and on forever. Short paragraphs are key!

No Call to Action

A good blog post or website will direct the reader to what they need to do next; it will crystalize their action steps. That’s what a CTA is all about—so don’t neglect them!

Write Content That Gets Read

Our suggestion for you? Talk with Grammar Chic about improving the user experience in your content. We know how to write content that gets read—and content that gets ranked. Reach out to us at 803-831-7444, or at www.grammarchic.net, to start a conversation.

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Filed under Content Marketing, Content Writing, Social Media

How to Write Copy for Facebook Ads

We’re big believers in using Facebook as a channel for good, engaging content—but as we’ve noted in the past, content marketing isn’t necessarily sufficient all on its own. Facebook increasingly forces marketers to pair their organic content with paid ads; if you don’t play ball, don’t be surprised when your organic posts start slipping out of newsfeeds, and your overall engagement starts to tank.

In other words, Facebook basically makes you pony up for paid ads—if you really want your Facebook marketing efforts to bear fruit, anyway. But there are other reasons to use the Facebook Ads platform, as well. Simply put, Facebook Ads is a really good advertising platform. It allows all manner of advanced targeting and audience segmentation, which means that, if you know how to use it, you can really get a lot of bang for your buck, without wasting a lot of ad dollars.

We’re not going to get into all of that today, but we are going to highlight one especially important part of the Facebook Ads process—and that’s copywriting. Facebook will allow you to include an image, headline, and body text with each ad, and it’s imperative that all three components are firing on all cylinders. The engagement you get from your ads hinges on the harmonious functioning of these three items.

Tips for Writing Compelling Facebook Ads Copy

So, to begin with, you should have an image in mind. Starting with the image is the best way to go. If you’re working with a graphic designer, commission the image before you finalize your text; if you’re doing it by yourself, find the image you want to use first, then write copy to match it. Remember to let the image do a lot of the talking; you don’t need to use your limited copy space to explain or describe the image. People can see it for themselves.

Speaking of which, remember your character limits. You only get 25 characters for your headline, and 90 for your body text. Brevity is key!

Lead with value. You want the reader of your ad to do something—click through to your website, LIKE your company Facebook page, or something similar. Your headline and your ad copy should tell the reader what’s in it for them if they take that action. Explain the benefit to reading your ad and doing what it says.

Include strong verbs. Make sure your entire ad copy reads like a call to action, including verbs to indicate the actions you want your readers to take.

Remember who you’re writing for. Your Facebook ads will be targeted to a specific audience, which should match up with one of your own buyer personas or customer demographics. Knowing who you are writing for can provide some invaluable insight into how you write your copy—which values to highlight, which pain points to address, etc.

Test everything. Write a few variants on your headline and test them against each other; keep track of which headlines get results and which don’t, and use that as a template for future copywriting.

Get Help with Your Facebook Ads

A final thought: You can always outsource your Facebook Ads copywriting to the pros. Grammar Chic’s team can deliver ad text that is short, punchy, and powerful. Talk with us about it. Visit us online at www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444.

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How to Write Great Content for Short Attention Spans

There is always more and more online content vying for readers’ attention—yet it seems like the average online attention span is getting shorter all the time.

This is something that any content marketer has to take into consideration. You need your content to be read and interacted with, yet your audience may have very little patience to sit through anything that isn’t totally optimized to keep them engaged.

So how do you optimize your written content? Here are a few tips to consider.

Start with Buyer Personas

People are going to be a lot more willing to read your content if it feels like it was written directly for them. That’s why you need to start with your audience, and ideally with a well-composed buyer persona. What are the pain points you need to address? What are the values? What kind of language should you be using—highly technical or extremely casual? And what do your readers ultimately want to gain from your content? To answer these questions, you have to have a pretty good sense of who you’re writing to.

Structure it Well

It’s also important to make sure you organize your content in a way that makes it easier to read—and, for that matter, to skim. Some ways to do so include:

  • Write in short paragraphs
  • Avoid long sentences
  • Use subject headings to break up the content
  • Use bulleted lists whenever you can
  • Make sure you end with a good summary of your main takeaways/action steps

Don’t Let Your Words Stand Alone

A plain black-and-white page of text is inevitably going to be a little boring, and strain the average reader’s attention span. Images, infographics, and embedded videos can spice things up significantly, while also helping to break up the content and make it more digestible.

Be Clear in Your Value Proposition

Put yourself in the shoes of your reader, and ask: What’s in it for me? The reader should be able to walk away from your content with some value, some specific benefit. You need to emphasize that value up front, both in your headline and in your introduction, ideally in the first paragraph. Let readers know that they will see a benefit from reading your content.

Don’t Be Afraid to Go Long

A final note: Short attention spans do not necessarily call for short content. There is still plenty of room for articles that go in-depth and provide more specific value. In fact, a reader with a short attention span may prefer these articles; a flimsy blog post may seem like a waste of time, while something more substantive may seem like it’s a lot more worthwhile.

You can create content that engages even the ficklest reader—but if you need an extra hand in enhancing your content, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Grammar Chic can help you write content that gets read and engaged with. Learn more at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Blog Writing, Business Writing, Content Marketing, Content Writing, Social Media, Web Content

5 Ways to Make Your Written Content More SEO-Friendly

Whether you’re writing content for your company website or dashing off the latest company blog post, you want it to be something good—something that offers value to your reader, and reflects well on your brand. At the same time, you want it to be something that’s search engine optimized. After all, great content isn’t very useful if nobody can find it.

This is a little bit of a false dichotomy, perhaps. Generally speaking, writing good, valuable content is the single best way to optimize it, and all the SEO tricks and gimmicks in the world can’t compete with the raw power of quality writing.

With that said, there is certainly a need to ensure that your content is as palatable for search algorithms as it is for human readers, and simply writing a good article is only the first step. As you seek to maximize your content’s SEO potential, here are five simple principles to keep in mind.

Improve Your On-Site SEO

Originality is Imperative

First and foremost, make sure that what you are writing stands on its own. Google doesn’t see any value in duplicate content, and as such it tends to penalize it. Regurgitating the exact same copy for each product page on your website, for instance, or simply copying text from the website to the company blog, will lead to diminished rankings. Take the time to ensure that every piece of content you write is phrased uniquely. Tools like Copyscape can help you ensure that you’re not plagiarizing yourself or others.

Readability Matters, Too

Google’s bots are more likely to favor articles that are readable to wide audiences—and that means using short sentences and paragraphs, limiting your ten-dollar words, and abstaining from the passive voice. Good, concise, punchy content—written in a way that makes it easy to read—will only help you as far as SEO rankings go.

Your Title Should Be Optimized

Writing a catchy headline is key. So is keeping the title to a Google-friendly length of 55-60 characters max. Finally make sure your URL matches the title and contents of the page; a URL that’s just random numbers hampers your SEO efforts.

Be Structured

Your content should have a structure that makes it easy for readers—and search bots—to follow along and get the basic gist of what you’re saying, even just by skimming. The best way to do this is to structure your article with H1, H2, and H3 tags to break up different sections of content. Bullet points and numbered lists can also be helpful, when applicable.

Use Keywords—Judiciously

Though you want to avoid keyword stuffing, and shouldn’t sacrifice quality for keyword count, keywords can certainly be useful in demonstrating what your content is ultimately about. We’ve blogged about the importance of judicious keyword strategy before.

Write Content That Gets Discovered

With the right approach, you can write content that pleases people and search bots alike—no easy feat, but worth it in the long run. Or, you can hire our team to write it for you. Contact Grammar Chic today to ask us about our SEO-friendly content writing services. Reach out at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Business Writing, Web Content, Writing

No, You Shouldn’t Include References on Your Resume

Often, the things you don’t include on your resume are just as important as the ones you do.

Case in point: We blogged just a few days ago about the Career Objective, and how it really has no place on a resume.

Today, we’ve got another resume element you’re better off ditching—and that’s your list of references.

Why References Are Out

Our resume team still sees a lot of resumes that come with reference lists—but in truth these lists are unnecessary, and in some cases, can be harmful.

The main reason why we recommend against reference lists is that they simply aren’t in keeping with modern resume trends. When you include one, it makes you look older, out of touch. Of course, what you want is a resume that does just the opposite.

An alternative to listing resumes is to say that references are available upon request—but we’re not big on this, either. The reason is that this is redundant. Employers know that you’re willing to offer references if they ask for them—if you’re serious about the job, anyway. No job candidate is going to deny a request to provide a few references. There’s just no need to state your willingness on the resume, and doing so wastes invaluable real estate.

The bottom line is that your resume should be about you. That’s what hiring managers care about—and a list of other people’s names isn’t going to tell them much.

Rethinking the Reference List

Does this mean you should delete your reference list altogether?

Not necessarily. We still recommend keeping a reference list. We’d just advise that you make it a separate document—not part of your resume.

Have a file where you have references on hand, so that when a hiring manager does request to see them, you can provide them quickly and easily.

Make sure that, when you hand out a reference sheet, you let your references know; nothing good can come of them being caught off guard by a request from a potential employer, and besides, it’s just good manners to fill them in.

Update Your Resume Today

You need a resume that’s compact and powerful—and reference lists take away from that. Get your resume up to date today. Reach out to the Grammar Chic resume writing team for a full resume makeover. Call 803-831-7444 or visit www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Resume Writing, Resumes