Why Does Content Work For Some And Not For Others?

The online space is witnessing increasing deployment of focused content by companies to drive better user engagement and build awareness of one’s brand. The reason is obvious. Content marketing is proving to be a profitable proposition for creating brand appeal among niche users and reaping rich dividends.  The creation and distribution of meaningful, relevant, informative, easy to understand and implement, consistent and purposeful content can turbocharge your brand’s scalability index.

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Content marketing done in right perspective not only attracts and retains customers but also triggers word of mouth promotion by satisfied evangelists. With content, you are actually making the potential buyers more empowered and intelligent which motivates them to make informed and conscious purchasing decision in your brand’s favour. The underlying theme is that, if you keep providing your prospects with valuable and actionable information, it would get reflected in the form of steady traffic to your site and higher conversions.

Have Companies Benefited from Investment in Content Marketing?

Yes.

Stats from various studies show that the lead generation for content is 3x more compared to outbound marketing whereas the money pumped in for content generation and deployment is 62% lesser.

Additionally, content works because it is in demand. This demand for content can be seen in the online audience – a vast majority of people in the demographic class of 18-50 years prefer online news and content to secure the latest information. As a result, the growth in leads for SMEs which have their own blogs has been reported to be 126% more than those counterparts which don’t believe in blogging. In the USA alone, about 61% of online customers have made their purchasing decisions after going through fact-driven recommendations in blogs.

What Makes Content A Successful Strategy For Brands?

If you go by market-based insights, the reasons would be quite straightforward but many:

  • Good content has the right balance of short and long tail keywords which prompts the search engine crawler to index the related sites for all relevant search queries.
  • Quality content must be posted at frequent intervals; delayed or staggered posts are perfect catalysts for driving away your prospective buyers.
  • Content shouldn’t just be limited to your own blog. To make it work, target high authority sites and build your authority through guest posting.
  • Believable content has to be relatable and authoritative so that readers can rely on the information shared and become experts in navigating problems.
  • Exciting content never lets the focus of readers stray and grasps the short attention span through shorter paragraphs and extensive use of visual creatives.
  • Strong content is never overwhelmed with unnecessary words just for fulfilling the expected length.
  • Readable content uses easy to comprehend words and simple sentence constructs. Good content also eliminates the use of jargon.
  • Marketable content does not repeat ideas and never sports cookie-cutter characteristics.
  • Unique content is plagiarism free; even if ideas have to be borrowed, they are presented with a fresh perspective.
  • Engaging content allows sufficient scope to gauge the sentiments of readers and measures the resonance of ideas shared through user polls, reviews, social media shares etc.
  • Compelling content needs to be interactive and addressed to the readers in a manner that they find it more personal than advertising-centric.
  • Content works more effectively when you give your audience the choice to pick from different formats. This means videos, podcasts, blogs, infographics etc.
  • Updated content always gives reflection to activities of importance that have happened for your brand. And is attuned to the current industry trends.

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Why does Content fail to Deliver for Some?

If your brand fails to leverage the potential of content optimally for rich returns, it must be suffering from one or more of the problems outlined below:

  • The content might be pushy and/or advertising-centric.
  • It might not be working because it offers no real value to readers.
  • If the content is outdated, irrelevant and inconsistent with your brand’s vision- it won’t get you any engagement.
  • Your content could not be working because it might have plagiarism issues. Such content invites penalties from search engines.
  • When content lacks strong and catchy headlines, it fails to catch the reader’s interest. So even if your content is giving really valuable information, it might get skipped because it lacks an engaging structure.
  • Content containing spelling and grammatical errors doesn’t work for the audience.
  • When statements are not backed by facts, they harm your credibility. To make this work, you should link your content to high-authority and reliable sources.
  • When content does not have relevant keywords that would help the search engines categorize it properly, it fails to gain visibility.
  • Content that lacks any thought-provoking characteristics is also bound to fail.

Now that you have realized the apparent bottlenecks that are withholding your content from producing that killer’ effect, it is time to give your content strategy the much-deserved facelift. Skip the don’ts and work on the dos to get the most out of your content strategy.

Matthew Booth is the Global Marketing & Operations Director at SMEGoWeb, a global brand which has helped more than a thousand businesses achieve their online goals. With a decade of agency experience, he is now set out to share his marketing knowledge to help companies refine their digital strategies.

 

Why health incentives are a work perk you shouldn’t overlook

When it comes to considering a new job, most people think first of benefits such as salary or paid time off. They’ll use those as the only measurement when considering whether to take what’s offered, or whether they should push harder when they bargain.

But here’s the thing: There are other tangibles that make just as much of an impact on your daily life as do salary and vacation or sick time. For example, what about not ever needing that sick time because your employer has helped you do whatever it takes to be as healthy as possible? Have you ever considered the idea of negotiating health benefits in order to achieve that end?

If you haven’t, you should. Health incentives—whatever you have and whatever you can negotiate—can help you not only feel better but reduce your out-of-pocket costs. Here’s what to consider as you review them.

 

Is Your Business Friendly Towards the Environment?

Whether in business for many years or starting one, how friendly are you with the environment?

In a day and age when there is more focus on how man impacts the environment, it is to your benefit to protect it.

That said your business can take a positive role in this effort each day.

So, is your business friendly towards the environment?

Ways You Can Contribute to a Healthier Environment

In looking to be a responsible business, here are ways you can help contribute to the environment:

  1. Recycling – Does your company recycle all kinds of different products? If you answered no, how about changing this moving forward? Recycling is a great means to help keep the environment cleaner. For example, you should have a place in your office where employees can recycle things. These would include papers, bottles and cans. It is quite easy to put some bins throughout the office for such matters. You might even have a contest each month to see which employee can come up with the most recycling. In doing this, you encourage your team to do their part for a better environment.
  2. Solar energy – What is your office building made of? If you had the chance to, were solar panels installed at the time of its construction? In the event you are building a new office complex, would you go solar if you have the option to? By using the energy from the sun, you can power your complex and save money on utilities in the process. As a business owner, saving money wherever you can should always be on your mind. You can also do your part to better keep the environment clean. If learning about solar and where and how to build an office, reach out to companies like Precision XYZ. Such brands can educate you on how best to make for a safe and money-saving office site.
  3. Education – While you never force workers into anything, do all you can to encourage them. As an example, provide them with reading materials and even a video or two to show during a company meeting. It may be a case where some employees want to do their part, yet they do not quite know how to go about it.

When you decided to go into business years ago or recently, you may not have had the environment on your mind in thinking where your next office will be built.

That said more business owners are stepping up to the plate in this all-important cause. As a result, it is opening more minds up on how they can do their part.

Take time to go online and see how your business could contribute to a better environment.

Not only will you and your employees be the beneficiaries of this, but others will too.

So, think about your role, the role of your employees, and then get to planning how you will all make a difference.

In the end, you might be quite pleased with what you come up with.

And you know the environment will be too.

About the Author: Dave Thomas writes about business topics on the web.

 

 

7 Things That Can Kill Your Company Culture

Every company develops a unique culture that defines how people feel and behave as they work. For the most part, business owners and managers take the lead in creating a culture that reflects their values.

A study published by the Gallup organization revealed that having highly engaged employees resulted in 10% increase in customer satisfaction. Research also shows that the productivity of workers can jump by 12 percent when they feel satisfied. Such efficiency gains reduce the cost of human resources and directly impact your bottom line.

Build a healthy, satisfying work environment for your business by avoiding the following killers of your company culture.

1. Not Hiring Team Players

Some people just don’t work well with others. You might even use labels, such as “jerks” to describe them. They constantly criticize their boss and try to spread discontent. If you have this type of person on your staff, now is the time to weed them out.

Meanwhile, do everything possible to ensure that you only hire team players. Try to screen your applicants by their demeanor during interviews as well as feedback from their personal references.

2. Bureaucracy

A multitiered hierarchy can kill your company culture. Seemingly endless meetings, PowerPoints, emails, and “edicts” from upper-level management can waste time and leave your team members feeling powerless.

Help people do their job by only involving them in meetings that directly impact their work. Also, ensure that each worker directly reports to only one supervisor or manager. Empower your employees to innovate to improve quality and efficiency.

3. Stress

Deadlines are only one of the many sources of stress that can kill your company culture. You need to counter the pressure to promptly complete projects with sensible work-related practices. For instance, encourage your staff to take breaks, drink water and eat healthy food.

Fantastic managers periodically check on their direct reports to answer questions and ensure that work proceeds smoothly. If you leave your employees without the answers they need, they will feel stressed, especially as due dates approach.

4. The Boss’s Way or the Highway

As a leader, you should welcome diverse perspectives and opinions, even when they contradict your own. Furthermore, by emphasizing results rather than tasks, you can help your team develop independence and confidence.

When you let everyone participate in decision-making, you help them have a sense of value and belonging. Your employees will begin to identify themselves with the firm and always look for ways to improve the way they work.

5. Lack of “Beyond the Paycheck” Motivation

Some employees only show up to work because they want a paycheck. These workers show little intrinsic motivation and will rarely do anything outside of their job description. Such workers can kill your culture and negatively impact everything your firm does.

Engage your workforce by providing perks and incentives that transcend payday. Motivate your employees by providing each of them with a clear path to advancement. Also, consider offering non-traditional work arrangements such as remote work and flexible scheduling.

6. “Keep Your Head Down and Get it Done” Attitude

Employees who focus on doing their work without providing feedback can cripple your business. You need people on your team who will share their ideas and ask questions in ways that stimulate innovation.

To create engaged employees, never ridicule a suggestion and insist on practicing an open communications policy. By creating a safe, trusting business culture, you harness the thoughts, experiences and ingenuity of your employees for the common good.

7. Micromanagement and Lack of Trust

Healthy relationships among your team members require you to trust them. However, in many companies, business owners and managers communicate distrust by micromanaging everything their workers do.

Avoid closed-door meetings and suspicious whispers in hallways that make employees feel as though you are deciding their futures without them. Instead, treat everyone with respect and assume the role of a mentor or coach rather than an overlord.

In the end, pay attention to all the feedback you receive, including from employees who leave your business. Take your employees seriously and treat them right. By building a healthy company culture, you build a strong reputation for your firm and a solid foundation for success.

Jen McKenzie is a freelance writer from New York, NY. She is fascinated by all things having to do with words,business, education and cutting-edge. When Jennifer is not busy writing, she enjoys taking long walks and spending time with her two pets Brando & Marlon. You can reach Jennifer @jenmcknzie

Creating a Client-Worthy Home Office

With the number of home offices rising year after year, the design of these spaces is constantly getting improved and upgraded. The point of such an office is to give you a productive place to work, but also make an area for meeting the clients as well. An office will reflect your work habits and clients will pay attention to every detail in order to get a picture of your professional skills. The true challenge lies in dealing with shared space and being productive, and these are the things a good office can help you with. Achieving all of that in a place where you also live can be quite tricky, but there are a few simple rules you need to follow in order to make everything work.

Choose just one area

When welcoming clients into your office, it’s important to be able to separate everything else going on in the rest of your home. Firstly, choose a space that’s far away from the living room, because that’s usually the loudest room in the house. Apart from that, talk to your family or roommates, explain your delicate situation to them, and ask them to be quiet when you’re having meetings.

This space should be dedicated to your work only, and you should keep all the distractions outside. If you don’t have a spare room in your home, choose a quiet area and set your office there. Just make sure you have privacy, especially if you’re stuck with an open space.

Be professional straight away

Your front porch and the hallway will be the first things your clients are going to see, so try to make these clean and simple. When it comes to the outdoor area, always keep your porch clutter-free and add some plants to bring in a dose of nature into the picture. Be sure to have secure and sturdy entrance doors because that will show everyone your style and personality in a matter of minutes.

Keep the space from the entrance to your office clean and stylish, because you’ll have to walk with your clients through the house. Don’t put away your personal belongings because your clients will appreciate you more if you have pictures, travel memorabilia and personal items displayed in the hallway.

Provide comfortable seating

The seating area for your clients should be divided into two parts to make it work for different types of meetings. One should be right next to your desk and you can choose between comfortable and ergonomic chairs. That way, you’ll be able to work over some strategies on your laptop and deal with the paperwork. In addition to that, you can add a cozy sofa which will be great for brainstorming and going through different ideas.

By breaking the seating area into two sections, you’ll be able to meet everyone’s wishes and provide them with enough comfort, and your clients will cherish how you’ve thought of everything. Your desk and chair should be comfortable and positioned in the center of the office because you need to be able to work and function throughout the room when you have meetings.

The space should reflect the business

An organized space is one thing, but you’ll take everything to a whole new level if you opt for styling your office in accordance with the type of your business. For example, if you’re in the real estate business, you could hang pictures of modern houses and apartments, or showcase successful sales you’re proud of.

On the other hand, if you are a marketing guru, you can add a whiteboard to be able to show your clients some of the ideas you have for them. It’s important to connect the style of your home to your business, because that will show your professional side as well as your wish to always be productive.

Add some color

You should definitely forget the “office beige” and focus more on finding some color combinations that will help your productivity. One option is to use vibrant colors to boost the productivity level and combine this with some subtle décor.

On the other hand, many people like to use soft hues such as orange, green and blue, because these are both professional and playful, and can be combined with different types of furniture. However, if you want more style, you can use wallpapers and choose different types of patterns and prints.

When designing your own home office, make it inviting and professional, and create a balance you and your clients will love. They need to feel comfortable, but also know that you’ll do a good job and make your collaboration successful. Although it may seem like a lot of work for a home office, this is also a working area, and it should reflect all the abilities of your business. In the end, make sure you’re inspired because working from home has its advantages, but you’ll always struggle with trying to be productive.

Emma B. Joyce is a blogger based in Australia. She is a true home decor and DIY fanatic. Emma is interested in music and also is a big reading enthusiast. Finding new designs and patterns is her daily task. She is a regular contributor on https://smoothdecorator.com.

The Reality of Hiring a Consultant for Your Small Business

As a small business owner, you probably like to be involved with every aspect of your business, from the mundane to the most critical tasks. Hiring employees is one step to getting help for your business, but there may be some problems outside your and your employees’ knowledgeable scope.

Perhaps you need the help of more specific professionals — which is the void a consultant can handily fill. Still, you find yourself wondering if you really need a consultant, and if paying them would be worth the knowledge and skills they bring to the table. As a small business owner, you have to learn when to ask for — and find — cost-effective help.

Do You Really Need a Consultant?

Consultants come in a variety of flavors with different niche skill sets to potentially suit your needs. Trying to figure out if you need someone’s specific experience to help your business might be as easy as asking yourself a few questions.

First, make sure you’ve done all the research on the subject you could. If information was beyond your grasp or unavailable, reaching out for paid help might be the way to go. Second, focus on the job you want them to bring to your business. Is this skill something you or an employee can learn in a few days or weeks, or is this an area that takes years to master? If the funds are available, but the skill set isn’t, a consultant may be exactly what you need.

What Does a Consultant Do?

A consultant is an outside expert you hire through an agreed-upon contract to help your business. The consultant is independent of your company, so they keep to their own schedule and may have more clients than just you at one time. You might even hire a consulting team, rather than one person.

There are many different types of consultants for different jobs. Some of the most commonly used consultants work in accounting, IT, human resources and legal services, each able to bring a new and better direction for your business.

There is a general process for every consulting project. The pre-consulting phase is before the work starts, where you and the expert discuss terms and come to an agreement. The consulting period consists of discovery, research and the final presentation for your business. Lastly, the post-consulting phase is where you may choose to extend the agreement or implement your own.

Find a Consultant

Finding a consultant for your specific needs may be easier than you think. You have to know what you need from the hired expert. Searching through friends, business partners and online are sure ways to find the person you need. However, you need to make sure they fit the role. They should be fluent in data modeling, in addition to an ability to connect information from seemingly random sources, also known as dot-to-dot literacy.

An ideal consultant is someone who has experience as a coach and a fellow small business owner to relate to the process. Coaching skills are important so they can take action and get involved with your employees. You can also check their LinkedIn profile for testimonials and recommendations if you’re still in any doubt.

While looking around for a consultant, you may run into a lot of contractors and need to know the difference between the two. Both are temporary experts hired via a contract, but a consultant works outside the business, while a contractor is an internal component. Knowing the difference can keep you from hiring the wrong job title, especially if you’re in the market for a contractor instead.

Payment and Budget

Typically, your consultant is going to work with you for about three to six months, with the open option to renew the contract. The pre-consulting phase is the time where you talk to the expert you’re wanting to hire to hash out pay, time and your budget. An important bit of advice is to remember value determines price, not any pre-set rules.

However, on average, expect the price to be anywhere from $150 to $10,000 an hour, with projects ranging from $1,000 to $250,000. Here is where you have to find your budget. Once you discover how much the expert help is worth to you and how much you can afford, the rest should be easier. Figure out your sales percentages and where you need them to be, versus what you’re willing to pay the expert, and discuss your options with them personally.

What’s Best for Your Business

A consultant will be an expensive add-on to your business either way if you discover you need the help. However, the reward can easily outweigh the cost. Decide what you want the future of your business to look like, and explore all the avenues to get you there. A consultant may be expensive, and hiring one could be a process, but they could bring your business to new heights you likely hadn’t imagined before.

Bio: Nathan Sykes is the editor of Finding an Outlet, a source for the latest in IT and business news and trends.

 

Starting a Business: How Bring A-Game in Your Marketing Campaigns

If you are a new startup, then it is essential that you bring your A-game to your marketing game before you even have enough experience to really know what you are doing. That is why it is essential to consider the different components of a campaign. Here are some tips on different marketing components along with basic tips you need to consider.

Television Ads

Almost 90 percent of adults see at least one television commercial every day. Therefore, it can be an important way to let customers know about your product. Using experienced TV and film actors can help deliver a powerful message. Consider which stations are most likely to connect with your target demographic.

Social Media

Social media can be very useful in building company trust as people often use it to find out more about your entity. People often check their favorite social media platforms multiple times a day, so make sure that they see you interacting with your customers when they do. Hiring a brand ambassador or influencer who already has a following can be key to building your audience quickly.

Website

Your company needs a well-organized website. With about 50 percent of all traffic coming from mobile devices make sure that it is optimized for all types of devices. Customers are unwilling to wait for your website to load, so make sure that your landing page loads in under a second. Make sure that your content is informative and well written.

Radio

Depending on who is in your targeted audience, radio can be a powerful way to reach them. Work with an experienced advertising director to create advertising that will capture the essence of your company in under 30 seconds. Then, play your ads on stations where your targeted audience is found.

Newspaper

While some insist that newspapers are dead, they can be an important factor with some targeted audiences. If you are trying to build a local business in a community that still has a newspaper, then advertising there may bring people in your business’ front door. Additionally, if your niche market has a popular newspaper, then appearing there can be a great way to build your brand’s authority.

The right mixture of each of these components depends on your targeted audience. Get to know them and you will learn where your marketing dollars will be most effective. Then, hire the best experts that you can to deliver marketing that will connect instantly with your target audience.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley