November 5, 2011

Please support our walk! My son Elijah and I will be walking for the cure in January, as part of the Susan G. Komen breast cancer walk! Our goal is to raise $150 and every little bit helps. Please go here to make your tax deductible donation:

Denelle Swaim's Fundraising Page

Thank you for your support!

September 2, 2011

5 Quick and Easy Tips to Improve Your SEO Right Away

I've gotten so many requests for SEO (search engine optimization) content optimization lately that I thought I'd share my top five tips for writing the kind of SEO-optimized web content that will get relevant web traffic clicking right to your site. In just a few short years, SEO has exploded into its a marketing segment all its own. But in my experience, you don't have to be an SEO expert to benefit from a few of the fundamentals. You'd be surprised how some simple changes can make a big difference when it comes to driving traffic to your site.

1--Write relevant copy. Make a list of the keywords (and keyword phrases) you might want searchers to use to find you. If you have no idea what words someone might use to find your site, do a few Google searches and see where your competitors show up. Then rewrite the content on your site to include these words. You'd be surprised how easy it is to replace a few words here and there with your keywords.

2--Stay relevant. Update your site regularly, keep your web's content current by regularly adding new content via a blog or YouTube videos. Always keep your audience in mind. If your site is designed to draw writers looking for an experience copy editor in finance and marketing, then make sure your site provides them with all the content they are looking for and need.

3--Don't forget meta tags. This sounds a lot harder than it is, but that's just because most people don't know what the words "meta tags" mean. But it's just titles and keywords. Most websites let you title each page and provide keywords that are particularly relevant to the page. Take a few minutes to make sure your pages are titled appropriately based on content and that you've embedded the proper keywords in each page.

4--Use titles for your links. Don't just provide links to relevant websites, tell your readers where you're sending them. This makes it easier for Google and the other search engines to find you. For example, I often like to send readers to Grammar Girl's website. Here's a link to one of my most often referred to pages on the affect/effect distinction: Grammar Girl's Article on Affect vs. Effect.

5--Don't forget social media. Social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) is rapidly changing the web's landscape. Don't be left behind because you haven't used simple plug ins on your site that allow viewers to "Like" or "Share" your content with their friends on Facebook. While you're at it, don't forget to secure your domain name on YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and any other social media outlets you can think of--Google indexes these pages really well, so chances are they'll drive traffic back to your home page as well as your social media sites.

Want more? Check out Hubspot, SEOMoz or any of Google's learning centers for in-depth information on SEO, but be prepared to spend long hours trolling through pages and pages of information about how to make your site more relevant to web crawlers. Or you can always hire an SEO expert if you need leads to start pouring in FAST (but be prepared, they don't come cheap!).

If you're not prepared for such a big commitment, I've found that most sites can benefit from a few simple changes with very little effort. Make a few minor tweaks every day and you'll start to see an improvement in lead gen over time. Need help writing or editing SEO content for your website? Email me for a free quote today. I'd love to help you get started.

January 18, 2011

How to submit your project for editing...

Now that you've found your favorite editor on the web, how do you go about submitting your project for editing? Just email me today for current pricing and I'll get back to you with a FREE quote today!

November 30, 2010

If you're thinking about graduate school...

Now is the time to get a jump on the competition. When you think about your graduate school "Statement of Purpose" (Why, oh why, does this silly statement require passive voice?), think about what you have to offer that other students don't.

I always love to read and edit the latest finance, marketing or economics study the most, but as an accomplished editor, I am often chosen by business school and other graduate school candidates to help edit entrance essays. To be sure, in today's fast-paced, competitive world, your entrance essays must be polished, concise, and demonstrative of your higher-level thinking capabilities, but that's not enough to get you a letter of admittance.

If you want to get in to your chosen business school, you must also show why (notice I didn't say "tell" here, but that's the subject of another blog post...) you are uniquely qualified to attend your chosen school. And the answer isn't, "...because it's where I want to go." If that's the only reason you should get in to your chosen graduate program, then get in line and apply to night school at a local community college.

If you want to get in to a top-tier graduate program, take some time to think about why you're a unique candidate. Is it your personal qualities? Your professional experiences? If this were a job interview, what elements of your background or personality would you want to highlight for the interviewer? And why? To get in to graduate school, you'll need to stand out in a way that is beneficial to the admissions committee in the same way that you'd hope to stand out to a prospective employer. Think about how you might do that...

And then, think about how others have already done that. Google search "best business school essays" and read some of them. Notice any patterns? Great. Now try to make sure your essay doesn't fit into any of those predictable patterns and you're at least one step closer to a unique essay that will set you apart from other candidates.

October 29, 2010

Face it, your business can't afford the next 'Where's the Beef' campaign anyway...

When I first started marketing, I couldn't help but try to think of the next big idea. If I thought long and hard enough, I knew I could come up with that homerun campaign that would make us a household name overnight.

But since then, I've learned to redefine what great marketing means.

Of course, we all want the next Old Spice campaign. Who doesn't want to come up with the next hot guy on a horse to sends millions of housewives rushing out to buy your product or service? But as a marketing director for small companies, let's be real here. All the best campaigns throughout history have one thing in common: they were expensive. At least, they had budgets that looked a lot less like my salary and a lot more like what you might think a motion picture's budget would be! Anyway, chances are, my company couldn't support the kind of ramp up necessary even if I succeeded! My company is just too small for such quantum leaps.

Then how can I set my company apart using the same old strategies that I've always used? Doesn't that doom me to insanity? Here's the secret: Stop looking for the big winner. As arguably the world's most successful investor Warren Buffett said, don't focus on higher and higher hurdles to jump. Instead, look high and wide for small hurdles to step over.

For SMEs (small- to medium-sized enterprises), success lies in incremental growth. That means you need to strive to make your proven strategies better by constantly raising the bar. At my firm, I set real, measurable goals for each element of every campaign--improve open rates, fewer unsubscribers, capture more leads, improve conversions... And then I research how to improve that element of the campaign. And then I test it. And tweak it. And test it again until I see a (statistically significant) improvement. And then I move on to the next element.

This process of constant refinement may not lead to giant leaps in revenue growth or the kind of substantial profitability turnarounds like those that have the world singing your company's name while holding hands for the holidays, but for SMEs, it can offer not only a firm foundation in your proven strategies, but also constant, incremental successes that will eventually empower you to take the capitalize on the "next big thing" should you think of it. In other words, creating a solid growth platform ensures that you launch your next big campaign from a solid platform. It also means you won't have very far to fall if you miss the mark.

So before busting out that last bit of cash on hand for what you hope to be your big break, take a good hard look at what you're doing that's already working well for you--if nothing, then look at your competitors, surely he/she is doing something right--and then start doing that. Then focus on making it better and better.

Need help improving your marketing strategy? Email me today for a FREE quote.

October 11, 2010

Sweet Feeback!

I always enjoy receiving positive feedback from my clients; it reminds me why I love editing so much! But this rating I received today particularly made me smile, so I thought I'd share...

Query Letter, 5 out of 5 stars
magnificent job! Editor helped make improvements from start to finish of the document. thanks! cute photo too ha ha

October 7, 2010

Having trouble getting around?

While I aim to keep all the important content on the main page, do you find my new home on the Web difficult to navigate? Let me know how you like/dislike my new blog! I'd love to hear from you!