jeudi 31 juillet 2014

Is Pinterest The Right Platform For My Business?

If you decide it is, follow these helpful tips to make the best use of Pinterest.

Pinterest is quickly becoming the new “google” for anyone looking for anything the internet has to offer. This popular social media site has evolved far beyond the craft-enthusiast and home-cooking bulletin boards that dominated the early versions.

Is Pinterest The Right Platform For My Business? image Pinterest RCG Image 300x176

Pinterest is a content sharing site using online bulletin boards that users create by either reviewing what other people have “pinned” or by uploading or sharing their own content. Technically speaking, it’s a visual online bookmarking tool. Users browse websites and save ideas or images they like by “pinning” them on their Pinterest bulletin board—usually by theme. Early on, Pinterest was the go-to site for home-cooks, brides and new parents, today it’s grown to include just about every category found on the internet.

It’s no surprise that businesses are now flocking to the site in droves and are often left with the questions; Is Pinterest the right platform for every business? Some would argue yes. There are however, a few things to consider before jumping on the Pinterest bandwagon.

Is your company or brand lifestyle based? Do you communicate directly to your customer? Do you have high quality images to share? Answering yes to any of these questions would make Pinterest the right fit for your company. If you’re still unsure and need a visual aid, Intuit created this infographic to help guide people into making the decision.

Below are five tips to help you make the most of Pinterest should you decide it’s a good fit for your company and social media portfolio.

1. Set up your profile with your brand in mind—match up your social media profiles (simple to do with Twitter) so that you have consistency across your accounts. Always verify your site with Pinterest—this lets the users know that you actually own the content that you share from your verified website. Follow these simple steps.

2. Add the “Pin it” button to your site, as well as your browser. Plugins and new widgets make it simple for the user to share your images from with a simple click. Adding the “Pin It” logo to each page of your site will direct the user to your Pinterest account as well. Great content will get you more followers.

3. Create bulletin boards that closely match your brand or company. You can create any number of boards and remember to stay within the interests of the company. It would seem odd for a wedding planner to have a fishing lure themed board, so choose them carefully. Populate the boards with your own images and images from other sources. The key here is “sharing” and not exclusively pushing your own content. Diversify your boards and consider creating an open board that your “fans” can upload their own images to. Inviting your current customers or fans to share their content to your board reinforces relationship marketing and will highlight your profile within their communities.

4. Images drive the entire site. Good images, regardless of content, will be shared more than poor quality images. Follow the quality over quantity rule. If your site or company is content based, always use an image with the title of the content on the image. Give the reason someone should pin, click and share.

Is Pinterest The Right Platform For My Business? image comparison 300x88

Photographers and artists should also consider a watermark to ensure ownership credits.

5. Finally, add the Pinterest tab to your Facebook business page, this announces to your current customers, fans, and the world, that you are now sharing on Pinterest. Ultimately, building your community through Pinterest will dramatically expand your online reach giving your images and content exposure to a much broader audience.

Is Pinterest The Right Platform For My Business?

7 Tips to Grow Your Reputation Using Linkedin

7 Tips to Grow Your Reputation Using Linkedin image reputation increase with linkedin

Building reputation is important to any business or individual. For the business, it makes the brand becoming more well-liked and demanded by the consumers. For the individual, reputation increases one’s portfolio value which leads to more opportunities to grow.

Linkedin is a powerful reputation building tool for the business and the individual.

Here are the 7 tips to grow your reputation using Linkedin.

#1 Create an Expert Profile

7 Tips to Grow Your Reputation Using Linkedin image camo expert 1


Let people know who you are, what you do and how you or your business can help them . Other than telling others how awesome we are, we tell them how we can make them or their businesses awesome with our expertise.

#2 Write Original Articles

7 Tips to Grow Your Reputation Using Linkedin image facebook shop india

Be Original. Don’t Copy!

Make efforts in writing original articles. Tell people your opinions on things related to your profession and industry. Many people or businesses do not like to write. So, for those who are willing to write something about their expertise, they will have a better advantage in building their reputation via Linkedin.

#3 Share Your Opinions

7 Tips to Grow Your Reputation Using Linkedin image pizza share

Share your expert opinions to gain more opportunities.

Join Linkedin groups and then share your expert views there. Look for groups that your potential customers may be in as well as groups that are related to your industry and professionalism. By sharing your expert views with these groups, your brand credibility can gradually improve as a result.

#4 Give Constructive Comments

7 Tips to Grow Your Reputation Using Linkedin image food critic


Look for popular influencers’ posts on the Linkedin groups and then give constructive comments on them. In this way, you can leverage on the popularity of the posts which can then help to make your brand profile more visible to more professionals. When commenting, try not to use words or phrases that are aggressive or defensive, as these may not portray a positive image for your brand reputation.

#5 Connect with the Right Professionals

7 Tips to Grow Your Reputation Using Linkedin image business handshake

Connect with the right people on Linkedin, one person at a time.

Linkedin enhances the power of business networking. By connecting with like-minded professionals, you can extend your network, industry knowledge and also build up your market value. Personally, I had met some fantastic people via Linkedin; in one small way or another, they have linked me to many great opportunities which improve my personal brand reputation thereafter.

#6 Do not Sell Until You Meet!

7 Tips to Grow Your Reputation Using Linkedin image cold calling 1


Although Linkedin is often known as the “Business Social Network”, it does not mean that people can hard sell there! I had disconnected one particular Linkedin connection. This is because after we were connected on Linkedin, he consistently messaged me to ask me to become his product distributors. His over-enthusiastic approach somehow had “scared” me away. Moreover, also try not to sell or advertise massively on Linkedin groups as it may not look good on your brand image. Instead, we convince our consumers on Linkedin with valuable content rather than advertisements.

#7 Create Lasting Business Relationships

7 Tips to Grow Your Reputation Using Linkedin image building relationships

Build your professional network one person at a time. Continue to share expert opinions about who you are, what you do and how you can help them. Build a strong brand reputation and business relationship with your Linkedin connection one at a time too. Along the way, some of them will endorse your skills or even recommend businesses or opportunity to you!

7 Tips to Grow Your Reputation Using Linkedin image rome wasnt built in a day


As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Building reputation takes time; therefore, do not expect our business or individual portfolio to skyrocket the very next day we get onto the Linkedin bandwagon. However, compare to other social networks or media platforms, Linkedin is considered a faster way to build our reputation and professional network. So, it is still worthwhile to invest every little minute and effort on this social network, to reap in countless amount of benefits in the long run. Remember – one person at a time. Good luck!

This article was first published on Linkedin by Jacky Tan.

7 Tips to Grow Your Reputation Using Linkedin

Don’t Lose Sleep Over Your 24/7 Social Media Strategy

If the Internet never sleeps, then why should your social media strategy?

Scrolling through your Twitter feed at noon on a Monday, you see tweets posting by the second. There are countless media outlets reporting on breaking news, numerous brands attempting to vie for your eye with a witty promoted tweet or two, influencers presenting their thought leadership, and your friends exclaiming about this or that.

When you log onto Twitter at 2 a.m., you find just a few tweets from news outlets, maybe a brand or two, and a couple of friends and influencers — all of whom seem to be taking advantage of what is a captive audience.

There are many factors a brand should consider when developing the right social media strategy for their business. This doesn’t mean that a 24/7 strategy is a one-size-fits-all solution – but it is easier than you might think and can lead to insightful discoveries on how best to distribute content and deliver value to your customer.

When determining what posting schedule will best server you brand, it is critical to think first about your target audience – how you will address their needs and when they’re most likely to engage. You can experiment with this.. Do a few days of 24/7 posting around the clock on the hour, every hour. After the test, see which times frequently performed the best—the results may surprise you.

East coast folks must remember that just because it’s 1 a.m. in New York City, it’s only 10 p.m. in Los Angeles. So if you’re a national brand, or a global brand, the importance of experimenting with 24/7 social channels is of even higher importance to fully capitalize on your audience, both potential and existing across time zones and international borders.

It’s also important to consider who’s online throughout the night: students, doctors, insomniacs, shift workers. Parents of newborns and frequent business travelers are regularly waking up at 5 a.m. or sooner to start their day. All are curious consumers who are actively devouring content while they are up and ready to have their attention captured by whomever is there do so.

And with useful free tools like Hootsuite and low-cost premium ones like Sprout Social your brand can schedule posts across Twitter and other social platforms like Facebook and Google+. There is no need to stress about posting outside of regular business hours. (Both of these platforms also have tools to help you monitor your audience’s responses and certain keywords so that your customer service response is set up for success.) Facebook even has a built-in scheduler for brand pages that makes scheduling content – and seeing a post’s reach – even easier.

Thanks to these social media management tools it is possible to be both meaningful and efficient when distributing social content to your audience. Scheduling how and when you deliver content should no longer feel like a burden. It is simple to spread out your current social media postings across dates and times throughout the entire day and week, taking little to no more time to schedule than it does to send out posts in real-time during the 9 to 5 office hours.

A brand will be hard pressed to achieve audience gains in the social media sphere without the basics down pat, and so a 24/7 social schedule adapted to your audience and your needs is worth exploring as it is an easy way to get started.

Don’t Lose Sleep Over Your 24/7 Social Media Strategy image thumbnail3 600x475

Don’t Lose Sleep Over Your 24/7 Social Media Strategy

All You Need Is Fun: How To Gamify Your Business [Infographic]

It’s not hard to see that people love games- just check out your Facebook feed and see how many Candy Crush invitations you’ve received. But games aren’t just for fun, they can also help boost your bottom line. Gartner predicted that 70% of Forbes Global 200 organizations will have at least one gamified application by the end of this year.

All You Need Is Fun: How To Gamify Your Business [Infographic] image EngagedEmployees

Want to increase productivity and morale within your company? Engage your employees in some friendly competition. Gallup found that only 13% of employees around the world are engaged at work, but engaged employees can increase revenue by 23% and productivity by 43%, so what are you waiting for? Gamification can increase employee engagement by 60%.

All You Need Is Fun: How To Gamify Your Business [Infographic] image Top5Gamification

Be sure to get your customers in the game too. Reports show that only 31% of consumers are using online communities to engage with brands, but customer engagement, loyalty and retention are crucial to successful business. Add gamification to your site and you can increase commenting by 13%, social sharing by 22%, onsite time by 140% and social sales by 2,000%. Check out some of the best practices for customer and employee gamification from Concur in the infographic below.

All You Need Is Fun: How To Gamify Your Business [Infographic] image Concur Gamification Final

All You Need Is Fun: How To Gamify Your Business [Infographic]

The Dos and Don’ts of Using Video in Email Marketing

The Dos and Don’ts of Using Video in Email Marketing image video in email marketing

If a picture’s worth 1,000 words, what’s a video worth? According to a recent study by Email Monks, using video can boost your email marketing returns by 280%. Yet only 25% of email marketers are doing it. With so many different uses for video—from product demonstrations and customer testimonials to training videos and factory walk-throughs—there are endless opportunities to leverage the power of video in your next email marketing campaign.

Use the following video best practices to ensure you get the most ROI for your buck in your next campaign:


  • Keep your video short. The shorter the video, the more likely viewers will watch it in its entirety and take action. Plus, concision packs power and helps ensure you’re communicating as effectively as possible. If your topic can’t be trimmed to less than two minutes, consider dividing the video into a series.

  • Use the word “video” in your subject line to draw focus to it and attract an audience interested in video. After all, if you’ve spent your time and resources creating a video, you don’t want it to be overlooked.

  • Turn sound for auto-play videos off for those who are opening their email in quiet offices.

  • Keep it action-oriented with a clear call to action. Clickable buttons and links enhance viewer engagement and help to prevent you from losing leads.

  • Pay attention to quality. Poor sound or image quality in your video can be a big turn-off. Make sure voices are audible and images are at the proper resolutions.

  • Include non-video elements, such as a web URL and a short description of the video, for viewers unable to watch it within their emails. While HTML5 is growing in popularity (allowing more people to view video within emails), not all email clients are on board just yet.

  • Use a fallback “still shot” that is a good representative image so viewers who are unable to watch video directly can understand what your video is about. If the image is enticing enough, they may be more inclined to click on a URL and watch your video elsewhere.

  • Keep your bandwidth 150-200kB/second or less so your video loads smoothly.

  • Include share buttons so viewers can promote your video on social networks. You will also be able to identify these advocates and further segment future messaging accordingly.

  • Follow up with auto-responders to deepen engagement with viewers who have taken specific actions.


  • Overlook content. Content quality is still king when it comes to videos. Rather than send out frequent videos, focus on sending relevant videos.

  • Assume you need a big budget. Keep in mind some of the most popular videos were made for nothing (Think of cat videos.) Production costs do not have to be high in order for your videos to be effective. And because most smart phones are capable of recording video in HD, you don’t have to invest in expensive equipment.

  • Get too ambitious. Start small and test the waters. Set up a focus group and ask for suggestions. Then, once you’ve seen how your audience reacts, you can plan and invest more.

  • Get caught up in perfection. Making videos is about connecting to your audience, not being the next Spielberg. Don’t lose sight of that goal.

With just a little forethought, a strategic approach to video can take your email campaigns to the next level. Ready to take your email list to the next level? Download our eBook “ 5 Easy Ways to Take Your Email List to the Next Level ” today!

The Dos and Don’ts of Using Video in Email Marketing image ae5bc993 8444 4627 b32e 4ff1ebd312ad 600x97

The Dos and Don’ts of Using Video in Email Marketing

Are You Building an Army of Thought Leaders? Move from Individual to Corporate Thought Leadership

Thought leadership is a topic I’ve discussed at length, but it’s an area of focus that commands much attention. While it’s usually looked at from a personal point of view, it’s very much a corporate agenda as well. Consider brands like General Electric, The Ritz-Carlton, and ESPN for example. Their corporate strategies have taken them from knowledgeable companies to de facto industry thought leaders.

Have you considered establishing a corporate thought leadership model for your company? You may be surprised to learn about the many internal and external benefits.

What is Corporate Thought Leadership?

Are You Building an Army of Thought Leaders? Move from Individual to Corporate Thought Leadership image thought leadership

Interestingly enough, there’s no single definition for thought leadership. It encompasses so much and varies from person to person. But, because I’m so interested in the idea, I’ve found it helpful to develop my own definition for it. I believe a thought leader is an individual who is recognized as the leading authority figure in an industry and profits from its position. By no means is this a complete or accurate definition, but it’s how I tend to think of it.

You’ll notice that I chose to include the word “individual” and that’s because I view personal and corporate thought leadership as distinct, though similar. The corporate side involves an organization made up of multiple thought leaders agreeing on the same values and beliefs. This form of leadership is much harder than your typical ‘personal’ thought leadership, yet has the potential for even more beneficial results.

The Benefits

Corporate thought leadership, while hard to develop and implement, can provide enormous internal and external benefits. When properly executed and fully supported, it can set your business apart from the competition.

Internally – Corporate thought leadership can improve company culture and morale. When done well, it can build trust, enthusiasm, pride, purpose, and loyalty. Think of it like this: wouldn’t you rather work for a company that lets you in on its goals and allows you to participate in furthering it? It shows that your employer trusts you as a person, wants to see you succeed, and needs your help. As a byproduct, they develop employees who are loyal and proud of the work they do.

Externally – From an external point of view, corporate thought leadership has enormous value. It shows brand consistency, industry authority, attention to detail, and pride. Competitors begin to look at your company as the leading figure on thoughts, ideas, and implementation. Customers see your company as head-and-shoulders above the competition. Suppliers want their resources in your hands. Distributors are happy to push your product out. The benefits go on and on.

How to Establish Corporate Thought Leadership

Once you understand the value in corporate thought leadership, you’ll be quick to jump in. While the benefits are enormous, they are definitely not easy to come by. It takes time, energy, resources, and discipline. With proper execution, you can experience great internal and external profit. Here are five corporate thought leadership steps for your own company:

  • Establish your position. Before you can do anything else, establish a clear position. This requires a meeting of the minds between corporate leadership, as well as proper communication between all members of the organization. You must find consistency and purpose in your message for it to be effective.

  • Develop a distribution plan. Once you have an idea of which industry you want to own, develop a detailed distribution plan. While you can have the best thoughts and ideas in the world, they are only internally beneficial if you have a distribution plan in place. Your plan should include multiple mediums, channels, and methods. Content should be pushed out via blogs, white papers, social media, industry trade publications, and anything substantive of industry-specific value.

  • Identify thought leaders. While corporate thought leadership requires active participation from everyone, you should identify those who will lead the charge. Everyone has a unique set of skills and expertise – use these to your advantage. One person may be particularly good at developing interactive site content, while another may be able to reach people at a grass-roots level.

  • Develop production procedures. How will content be developed and produced? Will employees be required to work on aspects of your thought leadership campaign during work hours, or encouraged to spend time on it outside of work?

  • Measure and review. No corporate thought leadership plan is successful without proper metrics in place for analysis and review. This is where knowing your employees’ skill sets is important.

An Example of Effective Corporate Thought Leadership

Are You Building an Army of Thought Leaders? Move from Individual to Corporate Thought Leadership image GE 600x222

While not always explicitly stated, corporate thought leadership is everywhere. Some companies are open about their approaches while others go about things in a private manner.

General Electric gives us an excellent look at the diversity thought leadership can possess. As its website states, “GE maintains a voice in numerous industries through the active participation in events and forums by its professional staff. These people frequently share their knowledge and expertise with various organizations that look to the company for its perspective on what is evolving in the business world around them.” Think about the many industries GE is involved in: finance, education, computers, healthcare, public administration, production, power generation, residential appliances, aviation, and so on. Yet, despite these involvements, GE maintains a singular corporate thought leadership strategy of sharing its expertise and providing answers. In fact, GE shares white papers on thought leadership on its website.

Your company may not have resources like GE or other Fortune 500 companies, but you can still implement a corporate thought leadership strategy. You can go as far as the thoughts and ideas of the people that make up your organization.

Do you encourage a corporate thought leadership strategy in your organization?

Are You Building an Army of Thought Leaders? Move from Individual to Corporate Thought Leadership

Steps to Forgiving Yourself

Steps to Forgiving Yourself image forgiveness1 600x398

Sometimes, it is hard to forgive your own missteps. You feel really rotten when you have let yourself or someone else down. But one day, you must allow the sun to shine again. And, sometimes that can be extremely challenging.

Here are some strategies to help you forgive yourself and move on with your life:

1. Confront your mistake. In all circumstances, take responsibility for your error. Come face to face with it and acknowledge where you stumbled. As painful as it may be, this is the first step to forgiving yourself.

  • It is sometimes helpful to look in the mirror and say aloud what you did. This connects you with the action. It also helps you realize that it is okay to make mistakes.

  • Therapy can help if the first option does not work well for you. Talking to someone else may help you release feelings that are tied down inside.

2. Analyze the impact. Take a moment to reflect on the outcome of your actions. Who has been affected? How badly were you or others hurt it? Take it all at face value, and avoid embellishing it with undeserved emotion.

  • Take the time to consider the impact outside of what you initially see.

  • It is sometimes easy to overlook the smaller impact when the greater one is overwhelming.

3. Accept your human imperfections. Above all, be kind to yourself. Remind yourself that you are human. There is no one on the face of the earth who goes through life without making any mistakes. However, it is important to remember that this does not excuse what happened.

  • While accepting your human imperfections, take the time to identify your shortcomings. Use this opportunity to work on aspects of yourself that you might want to improve. Perhaps you would like to further develop certain character traits or strengthen your skills in particular areas.

  • When apologizing to yourself and others, you can point out that everybody makes mistakes, but you have learned from yours and have every intention of not repeating it.

4. Challenge yourself to do better. The crucial final step to self-forgiveness is challenging yourself to do better. In the previous step, you have accepted your imperfections. Now the time has come to work at fixing the things you can.

  • Is it that you need to learn to be nicer to others? You can work on that through conscious effort or group therapy.

  • Try not to repeat the same mistake. That is one of the easiest ways to backslide and end up at square one again.

  • Ask your supportive friends and family to help you on your journey. Remember that no man is an island.

Making things right will mot usually happen overnight. The important thing is that you forgive yourself and commit to turning things around.

You are filled with so much potential. That potential sits unused while you consume yourself with negative energy.

Lift yourself up!

Come to terms with the fact that you have so much more to give to the world. Chip away at the negativity until all it has left is your renewed spirit.

Forgive yourself, and take the next step forward.

Life awaits!

Steps to Forgiving Yourself

Print Still Wins in These Days of Digital

Make information print or digital depending on its purpose

If you use the Internet every day, as many millions of people do, you are living in something of a bubble. For instance, when you spend your life online it is all too easy to think “everyone” does their shopping online. Yet, in fact, over 95% of all goods we buy are bought from bricks and mortar stores. In spite of its success, online shopping is still only a small proportion of retail.

And when we are facing inboxes full of email messages and window after window of information to absorb, it is quite believable that digital is the way people prefer to get content. Except outside the Internet, print is alive and well. Indeed, sales of printing paper have never been so great.

In spite of being surrounded by digital technology, real world activity is still immensely high. Whether it is shopping or reading – the Internet is not the only place people do it…!

The need for categories

The human brain loves to categorise things. Indeed, categorisation is a fundamental part of how we recognise things, how we remember what they are and how to use them. In the past we only had two categories of communication – printed and face-to-face. Now we can have emails, instant messages, Tweets or posts on Facebook. The more communications technologies we have, the more our brains like it because it helps categorisation. So, people have emails for work, instant messaging for family, Facebook for friends and so on. The more technologies we use, the better it is for categorisation.

Print Still Wins in These Days of Digital image printvsdigitalNow, it seems people are categorising information according to different purposes. New research in France shows that people are preferring digital communication for one thing and real printed information for something else. People are no longer making a choice between print or digital, but making the decision according to the purpose for which they need the information. Because we now have different methods of providing information, people are creating mental categories as to what each kind of information is for.

The study shows that people are using digital for information they want to share or to check a quick fact. But for in-depth information or material they want to have for future reference, print is the preferred technology.

Your website needs different delivery methods

What this study shows is that you need different delivery for various types of information. For instance, if someone wants to share information you need the material available digitally. But if your audience wants to store the information you need it available in print. Of course, you cannot always achieve that easily online. But what you can do is to make some information available on a web page and then the in-depth material to be stored available in PDF format which can then be downloaded and printed ready to store.

DOWNLOAD: Document on why people prefer print. Click Here (PDF)

Print Still Wins in These Days of Digital

Break the Rules in Your Business

Many of the rules that apply in businesses were set years ago and have endured by force of habit. A good example is the QWERTY keyboard, which is in use on all desktop computers. The original QWERTY layout of keys on the typewriter keyboard was designed in the 1870s to slow down the speed of typing because fast operators were causing typewriter keys to jam together. By putting the most commonly used letters e, a, i, o away from the index fingers of the hands, speed was reduced and jams were avoided. Those mechanical jams are long gone but we are stuck with a rule for a keyboard layout that is outdated and inappropriate. How many of the rules in your organisation are QWERTY standards – set up for circumstances that no longer apply today?

If you can find a way to rewrite the rules of the game so that it suits you rather than your competitors then you can gain a remarkable advantage. In the late 1970s the Swiss watch industry was suffering from fierce competition from the Japanese. Major brands like Omega, Longines and Tissot were in serious trouble. Nicholas Hayek took dramatic action. He merged two of the largest Swiss watch manufacturers ASUAG and SSIH to form a new company, Swatch. It took a radically different approach to watch design, creating a low-cost, high-tech, artistic and emotional watch. Within five years the new company was the largest watch-maker in the world. Swatch rewrote the rules of the watch industry. Swiss watches had competed against mass produced brands by focusing on tradition and quality but Swatch changed the parameters by making watches that were fun, fashionable and collectable.

Every business operates in an environment of written and unwritten rules. Many of these boundaries and restrictions are self-imposed and accepted without questioning. Often it is the newcomer to an industry who can ask the question, ‘What would happen if we broke the rules?’

Break the Rules in Your Business image branson

Sir Richard Branson

This is what Sir Richard Branson did when he launched Virgin Atlantic to take on the might of British Airways, American Airlines and Pan Am. They all played by the same rules; first class passengers enjoyed the best service, business passengers received adequate service and economy passengers got very few frills. Branson eliminated first class and instead gave first class service to business passengers. He introduced innovations such as free drinks for economy passengers, videos in headrests and limousine service to the airport.

The law of the land has to be obeyed but most business rules are there to be broken. Anita Roddick, founder of the retail chain the Body Shop succeeded by deliberately doing the opposite of what the industry experts did. She saw that most pharmacies were stuffy places that sold toiletries, perfumes and medicinal creams in expensive packaging and pretty bottles. She did the opposite by packaging the goods in Body Shop stores in cheap, plastic bottles with plain labels. It saved cost and it made a statement that the contents of the packages were what mattered. The Body Shop was seen as natural, spiritual and in tune with an environmentally friendly consumer.

Picasso broke the rules on what a face should look like and Gaudi broke the rules on what a building should look like. To achieve radical innovation you have to challenge all the assumptions that govern how things should look in your environment. Business is not like sport with well-defined rules and referees. It is more like Art. It is rife with opportunity for the lateral thinker who can create new ways to provide the goods and services that customers want.

Break the Rules in Your Business

One Simple Trick to Win Over Your Boss and Clients

One Simple Trick to Win Over Your Boss and Clients image One Simple Trick to Win Over Your Boss 600x374

In today’s modern marketing agencies, employees often operate as individual specialists. Each team member seems to have a specialty, and sometimes those specialities seem like mysterious types of witchcraft to the people on the outside.

Unfortunately, a client or boss who doesn’t understand what you do is less likely to view you as a marketing extraordinaire and more likely to view you as an unpredictable threat. Most especially, as an online marketer, even daily tasks you can complete in your sleep (If you’ve ever answered corporate tweets at 2 a.m., you know this to be true) can appear to be a minefield to the people you work for. Horror stories abound of companies getting taken down by one unfortunate misstep on social media or a badly conceptualized video. Sadly, this means your boss might see you as less of a digital surgeon and more of a twitchy bomb disposal officer.

Build Confidence and Win New Believers

We can win our bosses and our clients to our side, however, by sharing in our knowledge. If you take the time to teach your boss, client, or supervisor about your work, you can save yourself a lot of grief later on. Consider it an exercise in building their confidence in your field. The important thing to remember, though, is that you can’t possibly teach them what you do with the little time you have; what they want to understand is why you do what you do.

Here’s an example: say you’re working with a car dealership, and the owner rolls his eyes when you tell him that you want to start showcasing sales staff members on the company Facebook page. He doesn’t understand how talking about the staff is going to make people buy cars. The real question he’s asking you is, “Why would this generate business for us?” Provide him with some stunning examples of other similar businesses that have personalized their social media, and show him that the profiles will work because people want to feel like they ‘know’ the person they’ll be working with during such a major purchase. Chances are, you’ll get the green light to go ahead with the profiles.

Avoid Too Many Cooks In the Kitchen

The next stumbling block is the company’s Do-It-Yourself-er: that person in the office who, when armed with just enough know-how to be dangerous, starts to question the value of a digital marketer at all. Often we get roped into taking huge swathes of time to educate these DIY-ers because we feel obligated to answer all their questions, including, but not limited to:

  • “Well, how do you share a photo on Facebook?”

  • “How do I start up a Twitter account?”

  • “Can I share a post on Pinterest if it doesn’t have a photo?”

What routinely happens is that these DIY’ers become a bit like new drivers: they’re armed with just enough basic information to allow them a driver’s licence, but they lack so much experiential knowledge that they’re dangerous behind the wheel. Avoid opening the door to backseat drivers by answering their questions with ‘why’ answers instead of ‘how’ answers.

In response to, “How do you share a photo on Facebook?” suggest they open a personal profile and experiment, then explain the reason why you post photos on the company page. A good example is: “Facebook is very visual, so photos allow us to tell the company’s story more effectively.”

Bite-Sized Updates

You might be able to build your team’s confidence in your surgeon-like skills by providing them with regular updates that answer the ‘why’ question more than the ‘how’. Consider creating a one-page PDF at regular intervals, showing some screen shots with a couple of easy-to-follow statistics beside each. This will help you highlight why your campaign direction is working, not just how you’re pulling it off.

For example, include notes that explain why a campaign had so many retweets (‘People love kittens driving cars!’) instead of overwhelming people with how so many retweets were generated (‘We scheduled tweets at optimal time periods based on statistics of the average car driver vs public transportation commuter blah blah blah.’)

If you follow these suggestions, you’ll likely see a positive change in your relationship with your boss or client. Often, specialists get wrapped up in explaining how we do our job. But for your boss, client, or teammates, they’ll learn to trust in your abilities as long as they understand the part that matters the most to them: the reasons why your work is so valuable.

One Simple Trick to Win Over Your Boss and Clients

How to Create a World-Class B2B Call Center

How to Create a World Class B2B Call Center image 463052dad9377fe2445d3b1bfb5f62a3 S

A marketing manager, Susan, was doing a stellar job with her online and offline marketing campaigns, generating leads by the bucketful. As soon as she received them, she passed them over to the sales manager to distribute among the sales force, expecting to receive praise and thanks for her outstanding efforts.

But she heard nothing. Complete silence.

Eventually, she stormed into the sales manager’s office and asked, “What’s going on? Aren’t the sales people happy with the leads? Why aren’t they out there closing the deals?”

The sales manager looked across his desk and explained regretfully that the salesforce didn’t want “leads,” they wanted “qualified leads.” Susan responded that there had to be some qualified leads in the piles of leads she had sent. “Yes,” said the sales manager. “I’m sure there were, but the sales force doesn’t sort through leads to find the golden nuggets. If a few are not qualified, they’re considered unqualified just by association.”

It was then that Susan realized she needed a call center, filled with associates who love to ferret out good from bad leads, nurture those that wanted to buy but weren’t ready yet, and set appointments. She knew these associates could also make cold calls to reach people who weren’t opening her direct mail or finding the company online. They could recruit channel partners, profile accounts and generally fill in the gaps in her marketing program.

But how should she go about it? Here are the steps Susan (and you) can take to create a world-class call center.

  1. Define Your Destination

You want to start with your mission, vision and goals. Perhaps, you’re interested in inside sales. Maybe you want to focus on business development. Or, it’s possible you need both these functions.

Also, it’s important to lay out how leads will flow through the organization, from marketing to the call center and then on to sales.

Knowing upfront your end goals and how you plan to manage leads is important because it will affect how you design the organization and employee responsibilities.

  1. Hire RightIt takes someone with unique background and skills to survive and thrive in a B2B call center.

    If you’re doing it right, your agents aren’t reading word for word from a script. They are asking questions and responding intelligently to high-level decision makers. So, they have to be educated, intelligent and good listeners. In addition, they need to be persistent and able to bounce back from the rejection that comes with the job. And to keep up with the daily workload, they need to be organized and detail-oriented.

    To bring the right people onboard, who can make or break your success, you’ll need to survey the competition and offer a competitive compensation plan and a pleasant working environment.

  2. Bring Out the Best in PeopleEven if you’ve hired the best, a sink or swim environment isn’t going to work. Everyone can improve their skills with regular feedback on their listening and presentation skills, their voice intonation, and how their personal metrics compare with others in the department. And if you’ve hired the right people, they’ll be happy for the feedback — they’ll accept any advice that could lead them to greater success.

  3. Processes and Systems

To get the best results, you need to support excellent agents with world-class processes and systems that make your call center run like clockwork. You need to integrate your marketing automation with your CRM system. Optimize your CRM system for the tasks at hand — prospecting, tele-nurturing, lead qualification and more. Ensure you have the reporting in place to measure results. Provide the agents with resources they can use to look up companies and contact information. Finally, put in place a good phone system that provides you with the reporting and functionality needed for a world-class call center.

How to Create a World-Class B2B Call Center

7 Ways PR Pros in Their 20s Can Ensure They Retire by Age 55

OK, I know the title is a bit extreme, but I had to get your attention given this is a PR/marketing blogger talking about finances :)

First, I want to start this post with two quick disclaimers:

1–This is not your average Communications Conversations post. I am NOT going to talk about PR, social media or corporate communications in this post.

2–I am in no way, shape or form a financial planner or professional. Please do not take my advice as financial gospel.

7 Ways PR Pros in Their 20s Can Ensure They Retire by Age 55 image Dollars 600x400

That said, I think this is an important topic for students and younger pros just starting out in their career in their 20s.

Why? Because I was you 20 years ago. And I faced the same challenges you do now.

Financial challenges.

Really, not so much financial challenges as financial literacy. In essence, understanding how to better manage your finances.

It’s a class you typically don’t get in college. You tend to obtain your financial literacy in one of two ways: 1) From your parents or other family members, or 2) From the school of hard knocks–learning as you go on your own!

I want to address the folks who might fall in that second bucket. Because establishing financial literacy early on in your professional life can pay huge dividends down the road. HUGE.

I’ve boiled my tips down to seven concepts I believe are worth considering. Again, this is not necessarily financial advicel–just a few helpful tips to consider as you map out and plan your financial future. And, a few things that have worked well for me over the years.

1–When you get promoted, maintain your lifestyle–don’t upgrade it

This is probably one of the biggest–and most simple–concepts you can implement that will potentially help you the most. When you get that big promotion, or that new job with a 20% increase in pay, resist the urge to upgrade your life. Resist the urge to buy a better car. Resist the urge to go on a huge shopping spree. Resist. Resist. Resist. Instead: Maintain. It’s not as hard as it looks. You do that through 3-4 promotions, and you’ll be sitting on more cash than you think.

2–MAXIMIZE your earning potential

Learn how to negotiate. Learn how to stick up for yourself. Learn how to ask for a raise. And, most of all, learn how to constantly re-invent and market yourself. These skills will be HUGELY valuable to you throughout your career. Just look around at people within your company in senior positions right now. Sometimes, they’re not the smartest people, right? But, they’re most likely killer negotiators and self-promoters. Yeah, I know, no one likes a self-promoter. But guess what? There’s nothing wrong with a little self-promotion, if done right. And, it could wind up making you tens of thousands of dollars (if not hundreds) over the course of your career.

3–Don’t buy a BMW

I realize a car is a very personal choice for many, but resist the urge to buy that top-shelf car. Why? It’s an “asset” that depreciates the second you drive it off the lot. And, it depreciates quickly. And, at the end of the day, who really cares what kind of car you drive? My wife and I have driven some combination of Hondas, Toyotas and Hyundais throughout our lives. We’re at a point in our lives where we could afford nicer cars now–but we resist. Because it’s a car. It gets us from point A to point B. Period. And it’s never going to MAKE you money.

4–Splurge on ONE area of your life–save everywhere else

When you get that raise or promotion, splurge. Don’t upgrade your lifestyle (that’s something different–see above). But splurge. But–and here’s the key–only splurge on ONE item. For us, it’s usually food. We spend a decent amount of money on food and going out to restaurants in South Minneapolis. We enjoy that–it’s our splurge. Find your splurge. Spend money there. And then stop.

5–Use ONE credit card and use it VERY sparingly

This one’s obvious, but it bears repeating since so many young people seem to get mired in debt. Establish one credit card, but only use it if you really have to. And, when you do use it, pay it off quickly. Very basic financial advice, but there’s a reason everyone reiterates this. Getting to a “no debt” stage is absolutely key for financial security.

6–Learn how to invest on your own

I’m not saying you shouldn’t hire a financial planner. Go ahead–hire away (in fact, if you’re looking for a good one, hire my friend Eric Rislove in Woodbury–I can provide details if you’re really interested). But, learn how the market works. Learn how investments work. Learn how your 401K works. If you don’t, you increasingly won’t understand what your financial planner is talking about when you sit down once a year. And, that’s dangerous territory. For me, personally, this has meant understanding financial basics enough to invest on my own through Vanguard so I avoid costly fees I would incur through other firms. But bottom line: Learn investing basics. It’s not that hard.

7–Track your expenses–religiously

I have a friend who’s an accountant. This friend sets up a budget for his family each year. He’s meticulous about it. And he tracks EVERYTHING. I used to laugh at this friend. But, eventually, I saw how wise he was. Especially now as a business owner, where I track all my expenses each month. I can see how smart this strategy is. The beauty: By tracking your expenses, you start to become more self-aware of your spending. It’s kinda like keeping a food diary. Once you start tracking how many Oreo’s you’re eating on a daily basis, you become pretty damn aware every time you shove one of those cookies in your face. Start tracking your expenses. Make it a habit.

So, those are my tips. I hope those help. Sorry for the off-topic post today. Back to regularly scheduled programming Monday :)

photo credit: Great Beyond via photopin cc

7 Ways PR Pros in Their 20s Can Ensure They Retire by Age 55

Cultivating Ripe Sales Leads: Lead Nurturing Strategies for Small Business

Maybe you’ve over-watered a perfectly good tomato plant and watched it shrivel up and drown. Or maybe an overdose of fertilizer has burnt up your yard.

Whether it’s water or plant food, too much of a good thing can be, well, bad.

See, in nature (and in sales), there’s a fine line between nurturing and smothering. A little TLC can create flourishing environment, while overbearance suffocate.

Not all of your sales leads are ripe enough to convert to customers right now – but someday, a lot of them will be ready to be harvested (according to Gleanster Research, that number is around 50%)

Will your business be poised to reap the benefits?

With a balanced lead nurturing strategy, you can.

Lead nurturing engages contacts with relevant, personalized content over a period of time until they are ready to buy. By sending digestible nuggets of information that strike a chord with their needs, you’ll build credibility over time.

But just like too much fertilizer will burn up a plant, dumping too much knowledge on your contacts can cause information overload, spurring potential leads to pull the plug on your relationship.

The Old School Sales Process – A Lead Landfill

In a lot of businesses, marketing acquires leads from sources like list rentals, pay-per-click campaigns, tradeshows and other sources, then tosses them right over the fence to sales.

Sales picks out the choice leads to try to close. Though many leads will be well qualified to buy, a good portion of them might not be educated about the product or service, or the timing may not be right.

Sales will be able to close some of these leads, but for the rest, it’s like scorching a delicate begonia in the sun – it’s too much of a pitch too soon in the buying journey.

The leads that don’t close just become waste, and marketing starts from scratch to deliver a fresh batch of leads again. It’s an inefficient cycle that uses a lot of unnecessary energy:

  • Leads that aren’t ready to buy get tossed

  • Marketing is always starting from zero to generate the next batch of leads

  • Sales experiences volatility as they churn up leads

Modern Sales and Marketing – A Greener Approach

In lead nurturing, marketing consistently cultivates new sales-ready leads, turning sales volatility into systematic, predictable revenue.

Instead of tossing every lead over fence to sales, marketing acquires leads, then nurtures them with a series of touchpoints until the leads indicate that they are ready to make a purchase.

There are lots of advantages to this evergreen approach:

  • Forming Relationships: By connecting with leads over time, they get to know you. You earn their trust along the way and when it’s time to buy, your business is already on their short list.

  • Optimizing the Sales Cycle: As you keep in touch with your contacts, you can educate them along the way. Instead of waiting for leads to discover their pain-points and search for your solution, you have the power to inform them, shortening the sales cycle.

  • Reduces Waste: With lead nurturing, you aren’t burning up your lead list every month. Hot prospects are handed off to sales while marketing cultivates the next batch into sales ready leads.

  • Encourages Growth: As you nurture contacts through email and social touchpoints, your list actually grows organically through peer-to-peer referrals and brand awareness.

Lead Nurturing Strategies

Just like a green pepper plant, leads need the right mix of attention and education to grow into hot prospects.

Lead Scoring: The purpose of each touch point with a lead is to move them closer to the sale. As you email your contacts, make sure they can take an action to indicate their level of interest. Actions such as visiting a link, watching a video, or filling out a form impact lead score so that marketing can systematically determine when a lead is ripe to send to the sales team.

Timing: How often you should connect with contacts depends on the length of your sales cycle and their level of interest in your brand. If your sales cycle is 6 months, it’s probably more appropriate to send an email every two weeks, rather than bi-weekly. Also, contacts who engage with your emails are telling you, “we want more!” and can be communicated to more often.

Segmentation: Garden tomatoes thrive in well-drained soil while tropical cannas like damper conditions. Different plants require different care, just like your leads. Create unique nurturing campaigns that deliver content based on your lead’s unique interests to maximize your yield of sales-ready leads.

Lead nurturing is all about showing your leads the proper care and attention they need to become ripe for sales.

Cultivating Ripe Sales Leads: Lead Nurturing Strategies for Small Business

Selecting Sales Technology Is like Ordering from the Cheesecake Factory

While on site visits last week, some of the Qvidian marketing team did what they do best: worked hard, played hard, and in the process, ate their way through enough sizzlin’ Southern cuisine to leave any foodie in a delightfully guilt-ridden coma. When asked what was on our plates, we couldn’t recall – just a whole lot of everything tasty.

Selecting Sales Technology Is like Ordering from the Cheesecake Factory image qvidian marketing neworleans 600x401

As a self-proclaimed foodaholic, it’s fair to say I’m far from a cheap date and can easily chow down an appetizer or two (or three) in addition to a main course and dessert (of course). So where’s my go-to spot when I can’t decide? The Cheesecake Factory – where else? Yet while variety, aka the spice of life, lives at this chain of the endless menu, I’ve somehow failed to move beyond page 4. This begged the question: can too many choices actually limit your options?

Selecting Sales Technology Is like Ordering from the Cheesecake Factory image cheesecake factory plate 600x400

Today, sales enablement pros are faced with the same dilemma. The number of tools and technologies available is downright overwhelming. Just like the Cheesecake Factory’s menu, the sales enablement market is overfilled with attractive solutions all offering “amazing capabilities,” promising to quell your hunger for improved sales execution and performance. So what do you order? It’s impossible to try them all, and nor would you want to – your selling situations are particular to the circumstance, and so is your buyer. Not to mention, there’s a good chance you’re just like me and stick to only what you’ve tried, tested, and proved. You can probably guess where I’m going with here…like me, you’re probably missing out.

Sales processes, like your taste buds, are unique – so not every solution will fit your criteria. At the same time, you know what you like. Wouldn’t it be cool to tailor restaurant menus to each individual palate, featuring courses with your favorite ingredients? Streamlining and simplifying sales complexity can be just as helpful. Salespeople are often inundated with data overload, forcing them to spend way too much time chasing information, and far less time actually utilizing the right – or accurate and relevant – information for closing deals faster. It’s therefore essential for you to arm your sales teams with automated guidance and best practices tailored to each of their specific selling conversation. There’s simply too much noise out there not to, risking loss in productivity and hurting your bottom line.

As for me, next time I’m at the Cheesecake Factory, I’m moving on to page 5 and trying the Shepard’s Pie.

Selecting Sales Technology Is like Ordering from the Cheesecake Factory image shepards pie 600x418

Selecting Sales Technology Is like Ordering from the Cheesecake Factory

The Rise of the Corporate Publication

The Rise of the Corporate Publication image bmbxck 300x200

Where do you get your news? Today, most Americans prefer TV, but accessing news via computers is a close second, having come a long way since just surpassing print newspapers in 2008. And, with many of those preferred Internet news sources incorporating blogs and online publications, it’s not surprising if people have frequented outlets like Tech Page One, Java Magazine or to see what’s going on in the world.

But, are these your typical news sources?

While these examples may run similar stories and have a familiar look and feel as mainstream outlets like GigaOM, Network World and InformationWeek, upon closer look, they are actually content marketing initiatives run by major corporations like Dell, Oracle and Adobe, respectively.

But, these are more than just fancy corporate blogs. They cover news of other trends beyond the corporations’ core competencies and from other companies – even competitors! And, with decent readership and audience demographics, they’re becoming increasingly credible. For instance, Tech Page One reaches more than 70,000 unique monthly visitors, primarily consisting of IT decision makers.

As more corporations start self-publishing their news, traditional media outlets may risk steeper competition. However, at the same time, the outlook for journalists’ job security may be on the rise.

It’s no secret that publications are cutting back on writing staff… from a PR standpoint, we’ve seen this in increasingly lean reporting staff made to cover more and more beats. But, today, this decline is still going strong. In fact, newspaper revenues have gone down more than 50 percent in just the past five years, while full-time newspaper writing staff was cut 32 percent from 2000 to 2012.

So, perhaps these corporate publications are giving traditional journalists another outlet to pursue their careers. Dell’s Tech Page One boasts staff from traditional print newsrooms, such as Fortune, PC Magazine and the LA Times.

And, for PR, it’s providing another outlet to get clients coverage and exposure in front of key audiences with the same pitching and guest post tactics used for mainstream blogs and publications… just be prepared to have the corporate logo represented heavily on any press clippings!

Want to learn more about creating great content for SEO?

The Rise of the Corporate Publication image EvolutionCover5

In The Evolution of PR, Content Marketing and Blogging , we cover:

- The ongoing changes in the world of PR

- The principles of content marketing for tech companies

- Important blogging strategies

- How to use press releases for more than just brand-building


The Rise of the Corporate Publication

What Role Do Videos Play in Your Content Portfolio?

With YouTube often referred to as ‘the number two search engine in the world’ and a third of all online activity apparently being spent watching video (via Digital Sherpa), you’d be crazy not to include video in your content portfolio.

Video brings a whole new dimension to your content, allowing you to connect with time-pressed prospects and, of course, those that can’t be bothered to read reams and reams of text.

Where do videos work in the sales funnel?

What Role Do Videos Play in Your Content Portfolio? image sales funnel 2 e14005912974241Videos can be very effective throughout the entire buying cycle. Due to their shareability, fun videos are great for increasing brand awareness and getting people into the top of the funnel.

Educational videos work best in the middle of the funnel where prospects are looking for solutions to their problems. Then, towards the bottom of the funnel, video footage of, for example, how you have helped companies, can be very persuasive when someone is considering which supplier to run with.


So, what value do videos add to your content portfolio? We ask some of our team what they think:

What Role Do Videos Play in Your Content Portfolio? image Steve Masters1Steve Masters

Video is a great way to share information quickly and in an engaging way. What you can say in a three minute video may take someone ten minutes to read, if you write it out. And, of course, it’s easier to add tone, pace and emphasis with speech, whereas the strength of the written word relies on the understanding of the listener. Aside from that, the popularity of video as a content medium is growing so much because people are now sharing videos almost as much as they share pictures. It is more fun to share something and say, “Watch this,” than it is to say, “Read this.”

What Role Do Videos Play in Your Content Portfolio? image Laura1

Laura Varley

As we all know, videos are hugely popular online and account for a huge proportion of global web traffic. Check out this infographic on The Drum about what happens in a YouTube minute – you can see it totally makes sense to make video content part of your marketing strategy. People love quick bites of content they can view on the go, but they also love visual content. Video is a combination of both of these things, which is why it’s so popular. Not everything can, or needs, to be said via text or an infographic and sometimes a video is best for getting your point across quickly and easily.

What Role Do Videos Play in Your Content Portfolio? image Larissa1Larissa Hirst

Video allows companies to demonstrate their human side to a wide audience, enabling them to engage on a different, slightly more emotional level.

The Internet is awash with content right now, but videos are catchy and unique. Just some music and colourful images will stand out against every other blog post that resembles a bland piece of paper.

However, videos still have to be relevant to your marketing and content strategy or else they can look a little untidy and out of place. A good place to start is to check out Powtoon where you can create presentations and animated videos for free (with more actions and images available at different pay points).”

What Role Do Videos Play in Your Content Portfolio? image Graeme1

Graeme Parton

With mobile displays getting better by the day and Wi-Fi networks increasing in size and quality, consumers have all the tools they need to watch video content wherever they are. The stats show that most are making the most of the opportunity too; YouTube now has one billion unique users every month, for instance. Not only is it easier to grab someone’s attention with great videos, they’re extremely shareable too – engage the viewer and the clip could end up being sent from social network to social network, reaching thousands of new potential customers.

What Role Do Videos Play in Your Content Portfolio? image Liz1

Elizabeth Smythe

It’s always a good idea to provide a wide variety of content. People get bored easily and sometimes don’t want to have to think. That’s where video comes in. It’s perfect for communicating a message in an easy, engaging way that couldn’t be achieved using words. It also injects some personality into your content, which is always nice for the audience to see.

Join us in a fortnight’s time for another ‘Ask The Journalists’.

What Role Do Videos Play in Your Content Portfolio?

Transform Your Brilliant Content: Ten Ways to Recycle Content

Transform Your Brilliant Content: Ten Ways to Recycle Content image recycle 600x399

Transform Your Brilliant Content

Ten Ways to Recycle Content

Ever had a great idea that you weren’t sure how to share without making all your friends crazy? Sure you have! You have one of those right now…sitting in your back pocket. That idea for a Portable Solar Dog Grooming Truck, for instance, needs to be seen. Or that website for cats who take selfies (you even bought the domain and a GoPro!) just begs to be released unto the world. But how?


Your website is the basis of all great ideas. This is where the ideas live. Use your blog to expand your brilliant idea, adding pictures, drawings, and video, if possible (more about video below). Once you’ve written about your idea, you can begin to spin it into other formats. This is where the fun begins!


Yes, you’ll need to tweet about your great idea. Take different snippets, add different pictures, and voila! A blogpost of a few hundred words can become many tweets. Don’t forget to pin your newest post to the top of your Twitter feed, along with an image. Twitter has become more and more image-centric, so take advantage.


Speaking of images, you can pin your blog post to your blog board (here’s my blog board, by the way). Include search terms so that people looking for your topic can find it. Anything with cats and selfies, or cute, wet dogs has to be on Pinterest. Unless it already is!


Maybe only 3 or 4 people will see it on Facebook unless you promote it, but still. You have to put it there. And the more you post and interact on Facebook, the better the chances that your content will be found.


Create a more scholarly headline to get people to click on that link. I like this example of good LinkedIn headlines, from LinkedIn Makeover.

Google Plus

Here you’ll want a more techy edge, so focus on the solar in the mobile dog grooming truck. And maybe a closeup of the mechanism. And of course you’ll want to do a Hangout on Air (here’s an example with buddies from Women in Business Today, where we had Chris Brogan as our spotlight guest:


You can then post to YouTube because SEO. If you’re starting out on Google Plus, here’s a Guide from Martin Shervington.


Pictures of cute dogs and cats! Who could resist? Hashtag it like crazy. That’s how people find you on Instagram, and everyone seems to hashtag everything shamelessly.

Solid Gold

When your content gets a little old, you can bring it back to life. You can rewrite an older blog piece by changing about one-third of it and adding pictures. If you’ve been blogging for a year or two, this is a good way to reuse content.

Create an eBook

Once you have a few posts, you can bundle a few and create an eBook. For instance, you could take your solar idea and bundle that with some other posts you’ve written for a book about portable solar.

Make a Slideshare

If you’re good with images, you could make a PowerPoint that you share with your friends on social media. This could go on all channels, and in this new format, many people might relate to it more. Or you could find someone who could do it for you.


Many people are audible learners, and prefer learning by listening. Or they’d love to listen to you speak your idea. You can have someone transcribe your Hangout on Air or blog post and then use the podcasts for still another purpose.

How Do You Recycle Content?

Each time you switch mediums you’ll come up with some new ideas, which will appeal to a different audience. Some people love video, some like to listen, and some want to scroll quickly through images. What’s your favorite way to recycle?

Transform Your Brilliant Content: Ten Ways to Recycle Content

Talking Points Podcast: Is Company Blogging Broken?

In this latest episode of the Talking Points Podcast, Kevin and I experimented with a new format. We asked famed Dell blogger, Lionel Mechaca, to join us as a guest commenter.

Lionel, now with WCG, joined our discussion as we talked corporate blogging (of course), the future of social media strategy, and Minnesota Vikings football (what else?!?!).

Hope you enjoy (also: shiny new Stitcher embed below–you like?).

SHOW NOTES – July 31, 2014

“The Broken Art of Company Blogging (and the Ignored Metric that Could Save Us All)”

Minnesota Vikings/Instagram

Minnesota Vikings/Website

Boston Celtics/Instagram

“Why It Might Be Time to Completely Change Your Social Media Strategy”

Talking Points Podcast: Is Company Blogging Broken?

Google Local Search Algorithm Update: A Pigeon for Local Businesses

Google released an update to their Local Search Algorithm last week. Search Engine Land coined this update “Pigeon” and noted that this update is expected to have a significant impact on local businesses. SEOs are already noticing telling changes in google local search organic results according to Search Engine Roundtable, and also with local directory listings such as Yelp.

Google’s goal of this update is to improve local search results by tying together authoritative local business websites with their Google Maps results. Google Maps added a scroll bar to its search results just days before the Pigeon update was released and SEOs can already see an improvement in the pairing of local searches with Google Maps results. The image below shows a search for “hardware store Chicago”. You can see the scroll bar Google added to the map search results, along with a list of local Chicago hardware stores and their locations plotted on the map.

Google Local Search Algorithm Update: A Pigeon for Local Businesses image Screen Shot 2014 07 29 at 10.42.32 AM 600x332

While many businesses will notice an increase in organic web site referrals from Google, some will also, of course, see a decrease. Be sure to check your local rankings (if you are an agency representing local businesses or a local business yourself).

Pigeon and the Google-Yelp Fix

Local search and Yelp go hand-in-hand and fortunately, Search Engine Land has been performing an in-depth analysis of the impact of Pigeon on local search rankings. According to Matt McGee of Search Engine Land, “One thing appears to be clear: Local directory sites are getting better visibility in Google’s search results.”

Local directory sites, such as Yelp, have had trouble in the past with Google’s algorithm. Yelp has even accused Google of manipulating search results to have Google+ related information appear higher than Yelp results for queries containing the search term “Yelp” specifically. Yelp released a report with the results for the query “gary danko yelp” (see image below) and pointed out that despite the query containing the word “yelp” Google produced the Gary Danko website as the first result along with sitelinks to Google reviews and the Google+ page.

Google Local Search Algorithm Update: A Pigeon for Local Businesses image Screen Shot 2014 07 29 at 11.37.45 AM 600x419

(Screen shot from Search Engine Land)

Just a few short weeks ago if you were trying to find the Yelp review of a restaurant, store, or other local establishment, the Yelp review would rarely show up at the top. This issue, Google’s “Yelp problem,” seems to be resolved with the new Piegon update. In the screen shot below you can see my query for “hardware store Chicago yelp” and you can see that the top five results are all Yelp pages. Problem solved.

Google Local Search Algorithm Update: A Pigeon for Local Businesses image Screen Shot 2014 07 29 at 10.43.15 AM 600x523

If you are an agency representing local businesses, or a local business yourself, let us know the changes you have noticed as a result of the Pigeon update in the comments section below!

Google Local Search Algorithm Update: A Pigeon for Local Businesses

Do Marketers Understand The Word Strategy?

ANNUITAS recently launched a survey that focused on the Demand Generation function within large B2B enterprise organizations. While the research is still ongoing there have been some key findings in the area of content marketing that are quite revealing.

Do Marketers Understand The Word Strategy? image strategy 2
When respondents were asked, “Do you have a content strategy?” 72.7% responded with yes. While it would seem like good news to see that almost three in four of B2B Enterprises have a content strategy, some of the responses to other content focused questions leaves one wondering on how marketers define strategy. According to the results of the study:

- Only 41% of respondents align their content to the buyers pain points and challenges

- Only 29.1% create specific content for each stage of the buyers journey

- While 78.2% use nurturing as part of their Demand Generation Strategy only 38% of these respondents create nurture specific content

- Only 14.6% of respondents track the performance of their content offers

There seems to be quite the disconnect between what marketers are saying “we have a content strategy” and what they are actually doing. So where is the disconnect?

I believe there are several forces at play as to why marketers are saying one thing, but in reality, practicing another.

Marketers Have Traditionally And Still Do Focus on Tactics-

Each and every week there are reports, webinars and articles written on how to execute an effective “fill in the blank” campaign. Marketers are looking for insights on email campaigns, social campaigns, telemarketing campaigns, etc. These are all tactics i.e. vehicles to deliver content. The reason they fail is they do not take into account the purchase cycle of the buyer, which moves the thought process to a programmatic approach, and not a series of disconnected tactics. When designing your next demand generation program, don’t think about the tactics, think about the content touch points that can be developed to establish a dialogue with the buyer, then determine the vehicles that will be used to deliver the content.

Demand Generation Marketers Don’t Really Know Their Buyers-

According to the survey’s early returns, only 36.4% of respondents stated that their Demand Generation teams are responsible for the development of buyer personas. In order to create effective demand that Engages, Nurtures and Converts the buyer through the buying process, it is necessary for buyer insights to be the starting point of the strategy. This includes knowing their path to purchase, their challenges and pain points among other things. Product marketing and corporate marketing do not get to this level of detail, so the Demand Generation team must. Not having this kind of insight makes it impossible for Demand Generation teams to have the deep knowledge of their buyer – which is necessary for the development of content. Marketers Believe Activity = Value

Both the CMI Content Study launched earlier this year and the ANNUITAS study show an overwhelming number of companies will continue to spend money and put more of their organizational energy behind the creation of content. However, this increased funding and work to create content is not having the intended impact. Note only 9% of marketers in the CMI Content Survey say they are “Very Effective” with their content. Why? Because working harder and simply doing more does not equate to improved results. This is evidenced by the multiple studies that show that up to 70% of all marketing generated content goes unused.

As B2B Demand Generation and content marketing continues to evolve, it is vital that marketers understand what it means to take a strategic approach. Right now, the responses don’t add up and simply saying there is a strategy does not mean there is one.

Do Marketers Understand The Word Strategy?

Customer Experience Management is Like Herding Cats

Customer Experience Management is Like Herding Cats image InfluenceCustomerExperienceThe role of Customer Experience Influencer is more realistic than the so-called Customer Experience Manager role. If you try to manage (i.e. control) the customer experience, you just might as well change jobs and become a cat herder. You will have many more successes to celebrate as a cat herder than you will as someone who attempts to manage (control) the customer experience. Why? It’s mainly because people do not want to be controlled. You have to influence their experience, not manage it. Try to control them and you’ll get the claw.

A great example of influence versus control is illustrated in a Super Bowl advertisement that aired in the year 2000 for Electronic Data Systems (EDS), now part of HP. The Cat Herders” commercial visually documents the extraordinary courage, effort, and gratification of being a Cat (not cattle) Herder. You can easily see what it was like to live the dream of driving those short hairs into town while not losing a single one — ain’t a feeling like it in the world. Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s easy.

The commercial attempts to convey a message in a funny (belly-laughing) way. The message is that EDS can help to make the complexities of your business easier and will help to move you in the right direction. I am not certain if the message is as memorable as the thought of trying to herd cats. Trying to herd cats is so ridiculous that when we are in a situation where very little is going the way we want, we say that “I am trying to herd cats”. If someone says this to you, you know exactly what they mean and can usually feel their pain. They are in a crazy situation that is difficult to control. You can’t control cats which is why dog people naturally hate cats. Cats do what they want. You have to influence a cat’s behavior, not control it. Try to make a cat obey and you get the claw.

The evidence is very clear: managers seek to control and leaders seek to influence. To create an exceptional customer experience, you must think like a Customer Experience Influencer, not Manager.

In their book, Outside In, authors Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine define customer experience as how your customers perceive their interactions with your company. The key word in this definition is: perceive! In order to have others perceive something, you must influence them into having the perception you want them to have.

What You Should Manage

What you can control, and therefore what you need to manage, are the tactics and tools that will assist you with influencing customers’ perceptions of your company. With this mindset you can then review three things that you may have analyzed before, but now use a very different lens than you have used in the past. This time review beyond the functional and delve into the finesse aspects of serving customers to drive positive perceptions of your customer interactions.

Apply your new perspective when you review:

Product: Instead of thinking about what it is or what it does, it’s time to infuse how it makes them feel. Even if you sell software, your software may relieve the stressful feeling of trying to get work done in a limited amount of time. It may make them feel confident in doing the job right.

Process: Instead of thinking in the context of steps, think about ease and agility. Giving customers the perception that you are easy to do business with is rapidly becoming a competitive difference and advantage for the influential few.

People: Instead of think about transactions think about interactions. Interactions are when you and your customers have an effect upon one another or when you have an effect on your agents. The concept of effect is essential when you are trying to influence. Managers think with the mindset of transactions, not interactions.

So what!?

You might be saying this is all semantics; that these are just words and that this mindset is included in the way organizations develop their products, processes, and people strategies. If this were true, why did Watermark Investment Consulting report the following:

Over a 6-year period, customer experience leaders outperformed the S&P 500 index by 28%. Those who had poor customer experience performance lagged behind the index by almost 20%.

With this differentiated performance, these customer experience leaders must be doing something . . . well . . . DIFFERENT!

So here is your chance to decide. You can either lead or manage. If you want to influence your destiny, there is no better time than ever before to make the shift from thinking transactions to thinking interactions. Think influencing the customer experience, and not managing the customer experience. When you learn how to influence the customer experience you will bring that herd into town. When that happens, ain’t a feeling like it in the world. But, don’t let anybody tell you that it’s easy.

Customer Experience Management is Like Herding Cats

Cultural Intelligence: Avoiding Business Blunders

Cultural Intelligence: Avoiding Business Blunders image chopsticksIn our last post we talked about what cultural intelligence is. Now let’s look at some concrete examples of how a lack of cultural intelligence can sabotage your business dealings.

  • A failure to use chopsticks helped to lose a company a contract in China. A friend translated the remarks of the Chinese interpreters, who expressed their opinion that a company could never do business with people who showed so little respect for their culture by not learning the custom.

  • Representatives of another U.S. company sabotaged a Japanese deal at the very beginning by presenting a 50-page contract draft at the start of negotiations. In Asian cultures, establishing relationships is very important before negotiating the terms of a business agreement.

  • An American business manager at a Korean company tried to treat his employees as equals and ended up with a substantial loss in productivity because his subordinates did not take him seriously. Perceptions of authority vary across cultures, and taking an American-style approach to management can backfire.

  • Home Depot lost a huge investment in China by marketing to a culture that perceived “do it yourself” home improvement not as a “hobby” but as a low-status last resort for people who could not afford to hire professionals.

Subtle errors can also sabotage your efforts, even in countries that have a lot in common with the US. In the UK, your placement of silverware after a meal can mess up a formal dinner. Putting your knife and fork down at the six o’clock position on your plate signals that you are done eating; otherwise the confused waiter won’t take your plate, possibly throwing off the whole carefully planned schedule. And if you don’t know that in Britain “tabling” something at a business meeting means opening the issue for discussion, you might get the opposite of what you’re looking for. (The Anglo-EU Translation Guide is a humorous attempt to explain the understated British way of voicing criticism.)

In other words, a lack of respect and knowledge vis-à-vis other cultures can ruin a business relationship. With cultural training and preparation these businesses could have avoided these mistakes and thus also avoided losing deals and money.

Next week we’ll look at some examples of how cultural knowledge helped some business relationships to thrive.

One of our cultural consultants Carol Cunningham contributed to this article.

Cultural Intelligence: Avoiding Business Blunders