Loading...

Category Archives: Content Strategy

dorie-clacrk-source-dorieclark-com

Dorie Clark Interview Part 2

This is the second part of my interview with Dorie Clark. Clark is one of the most successful marketing consultants and a frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review, Time, and Entrepreneur. In the first part, we talked about strategies that can help you to write guest posts that major websites will publish. Click here if you’d like to read this post from the beginning.

How long could it take to see results from blogging?

It is almost certainly going to take longer to succeed than you think it will.

It’s not realistic for anyone to expect that within the first year their content creation efforts will show much traction. It took between two and three years for me to start getting significant inbound attention.

And in the first few years, you didn’t get any relevant traffic?

I was blogging on other people’s sites, so traffic, per se, wasn’t necessarily my goal.

I was more into the social proof that came with blogging for those publications. And it served that purpose, so it was not without benefit to me. But in terms of things that I hoped would happen as a result of writing articles, for instance, speaking inquiries or consulting inquiries and things like that, I had to wait longer. It took several years for that to happen.

There’s such a surfeit of content now that people need to see your name again and again and again before they say, oh, this person is doing something interesting, let’s reach out.

It can be incredibly frustrating, and the only advantage is that the vast majority of people give up and drop off. If you’re not that person and you are persistent enough, then your competitive field will be much smaller. You are not competing against a hundred thousand people at step two or step three.  You are competing against a hundred people.

gkratrcya_0-dai-ke-2

With so little feedback at the beginning, how can you decide if you’re doing a good job?

I would say I offer three things for that.

The first one is to have a core trusted group of people around you that can provide feedback. You need to find people inside and outside your industry whose opinion you really respect.  

It can be incredibly hard for us to have the perspective to tell if something’s good or not. So talking things over with people who shoot straight with you and can give you insights can be enormously helpful. If you have half a dozen people that you trust saying, no Peter, this is good stuff, then it will be a lot easier to overcome the difficulties.

It’s also very important to get some benefit throughout. In my case even if three people read my blog posts, I was still able to say that I was writing for Forbes and the Harvard Business Review, and that was valuable as a credibility tool in my business. It also took the pressure off readership because that just takes time to grow. So if you’re able to find an immediate win, it will be much easier.

Finally, the third thing is to come up with intermediate metrics.

I’m working on a book, which will be published next year by Harvard Business Review Press. Stephanie O’Connell, the woman that I interviewed for it is a personal finance blogger, and we talked about the early days of her business.

Like everybody else she wasn’t getting huge traffic, but she created these sort of stepping stones metrics to help keep her engaged and feeling good about what she did. And the things that she got excited about were things like going from doing all of her posts free to getting paid for her first blogs, or having somebody that she really respected follow her on Twitter, or being invited to be a guest on somebody’s podcast.

Those are the kind of things that you can look at and say, all right, I may not have reached my ultimate goal, but at least there’s proof that there’s some traction.

lnrygwijr5c-alejandro-escamilla-1-1

You said that the credibility that came from writing for sites like HBR.com had helped you to go forward even though you didn’t have a large readership at that time. Can you name a few other results that you would consider an immediate win?

One of the chief virtues of creating content that you might look to is the networking value of what you’re doing, because presumably if you structure it right, it can bring you in contact with people you want to meet.

Another important benefit of blogging that you can experience early on is that it will make you more convincing.

Even if your posts are not read by a lot of people, they are going to help you simply because they can give you more credibility among the people you know. Let’s say you meet a potential client at a cocktail party and he says, Peter, I’m having a problem with this. And you say, oh, I just wrote a white paper about that issue, let me send it to you.

This will make it far more likely that you close that client because he will say, oh, he obviously thought about my problems.

Awesome thoughts! I only have one last question. If you started something new out of the blue, what would that be?

Well, I can tell you about a thing that I’m doing right now, which is a new thing for me that I just started this summer. It is stand-up comedy.

It’s been really fun for me. I took a stand-up comedy class, and I’ve done about half a dozen performances so far. I think that the art of comedy is very interesting and sophisticated.

It has a unique structure, and I’m very interested in trying to learn and understand that structure.

Because it’s a new way of thinking.   

Dec. 3, 2014. Boston, MA.
Portraits of Dorie Clark.
© 2014 Marilyn Humphries

How to Get Your Posts Published on Major Websites: An Interview with Dorie Clark

Writing guest posts for major publications can give you credibility, get your name in front of prospective clients, and eventually bring you paying customers. But not many bloggers are able to achieve this. Actually, most of them fail somewhere along the road and abandon content creation altogether.

Dorie Clark is a marketing strategy consultant, professional speaker, and frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review, Time, and Entrepreneur. She consults and speaks for a diverse range of clients, including Google, The World Bank, Microsoft, and Morgan Stanley.

Clark started to write posts because she realized that success in blogging could help her in everything else that she wanted to do. It took two or three more years than she expected, but her efforts ultimately paid off.

She talked to me about her journey on Skype and also gave several tips that I believe any blogger will find useful. The first part of my interview is about the ladder strategy and the steps you should take if you’d like to write for the most popular sites. The second part is about the importance of persistence, and the things that will keep you going even when you feel like nobody’s listening to what you want to say.

 

What do you think is the best approach if you’d like to write guest posts for publications like Forbes or The New York Times?

First, you should create content on your own site. This way you are able to get clips, meaning you have done some writing so that you have samples that you can show to other people. Writing on your own site or on LinkedIn is a very low-risk way to find your voice and improve your skills.

The next step, once you have those initial clips, is to reach out to slightly higher profile publications. Ones that are not necessarily household names, but are run by people or institutions that are not you and have an increased level of credibility.

Essentially what you want to be pursuing is a so-called ladder strategy, where you’re reaching out in writing for incrementally more prominent publications, because it’s very hard to go from just having a small blog to Forbes. But if you are writing for local or regional publications or business publications that they have heard of, then that gives you an additional level of credibility when you try to get in the door there.

yzvxz_oyvxu-aliis-sinisalu-1

So, I should try to reach major publications by writing to more and more sites, and preferably better ones as the time passes…

Basically yes. But here’s one more thing that you should keep in mind. Try to familiarize yourself with the editorial voice of the publications. Even people who ask me to introduce them to editors often don’t take the time to do this.

For example, they write a piece about five mistakes that you might make in doing something, and ask me to send it to the editor at Harvard Business Review. But the Harvard Business Review doesn’t publish these kinds of articles, they are allergic to these posts… And anyone who has spent some time studying it would know that.

When you’re being presented to a publication, you want everything to be tied up and you want everything to be as perfect as possible. Which will only happen if you’re able to convincingly write in a voice that fits the medium.

There are not so many pieces covering the second step of the ladder. Can you name a few publications that you’d recommend sending articles to, after publishing a few posts on your own blog?

There’s a number of different directions that you could take it.

One is to write for the blogs of regional newspapers, like the Boston Globe, or The Baltimore Sun. They have regional rather than national readerships, but people have heard of them, and they are respectable publications. That’s one way to go up the ladder.

There are also a lot of local business journals in the U.S. that you could send articles to.

Another example would be to write for niche sites. If you’re a technology entrepreneur, you might be able to break in on a site that is respective for Macintosh users. It might not be a household name, but people that are in the know about technology would respect that.

There could be a big difference between publications in a certain niche, and it could be really hard to get into the most popular technology sites like The Next Web or Mashable. What do you think is the best way to find professional sites that are more likely to publish your first guest posts?  

There’s a strategy that you might find useful when you’re looking for these types of sites.

We have a frame that institutional sites carry the most prestige. In some cases, that’s still true. But in this post gatekeeper era, some of the most influential or highly trafficked sites are actually run by individuals rather than media corporations. And you could try to make connections with them, for example, on Twitter, or at conferences, and offer to write guest posts.

Publishing on their blogs will help you to get traffic and credibility, but it is also a networking tool.

If you’re writing for people who are relatively well-known in the space that you want to enter, there’s a high chance that they will have connections at other publications. And later, as you build a relationship, you may be able to turn to them and say, oh I see that you also write for these sites as well, would you be willing to introduce me to your editor? And if you’ve been doing a good job for them, and they like your writing enough to publish it on their site, they will do it.

To be continued…

img_6507

Neil Patel on Content Marketing: ‘Eventually You Will End Up Getting Paying Customers’

Neil Patel is the co-founder of two web analytics companies, Kissmetrics and Crazy Egg, and has helped large corporations like Amazon, HP, and Viacom to grow their revenue.

He is also a popular blogger. His works have been featured in publications including TechCrunch, Forbes, HubSpot, and Entrepreneur.

I talked to him about hiring the right people, guest blogging and other content marketing tactics at the Pioneers Festival in Vienna.

 

We’re a huge fan of all the content that you’re creating, and I believe the way you’re helping people to succeed is amazing. I suppose you’re not a lone wolf, there must be a team behind you. Can tell you us how did you develop your team?

I have a business partner, and he helps me with a lot of stuff. He does a lot of product, while I focus more on marketing and sales.

I enjoy helping other people, and I have two assistants who work with me and they manage my schedule. They organize what I have to do next, where I have to go, and from there I just work a lot.

Yesterday I sat around for hours, just responding to comments helping people out and telling them how they could grow. And most of these people are individuals, not businesses. There’s nothing in it for me, I just enjoy helping others.

 

You have to trust the people who manage your time, it’s a very serious job. How did you select your assistants?

One of them I’ve known since I was a child. He is a childhood friend, I trust him and I know he won’t do anything wrong.

He also works seven days a week. Not eight hours a day but he works around the clock, and he’s just good and he’s on top of it because I had that trust factor working for all the years.

But when I hire people I do it based on whether they are fit with my personality, with my culture, and my company’s culture. I consider questions like, do they work hard, do they have the properties, what are they likely to do in the future. And if everything can align, then I test them out.

I usually test them out for a week, and if they work, great. And if not, at least I give money for a week. But I let people going fast. There is always a profit.

yoadqb46v6k-craig-garner-1

How do you test people? Do you have a special method?

It’s more like I just throw them in and say, I’m going to pay you for this one week and you’re going to get paid well, but you’re going to be thrown right into the water.

Let’s see how you do, and if you have questions, ask them as you have them, but before you ask them, see if you can actually figure out to answer on your own by doing research and looking things up. And let’s go from there.

 

You have been working with these amazing Fortune 500 companies. Do you have any suggestions for startups who would like to sell their products or services to them?

Sure. It all comes down to providing feedback and advice. A lot of these Fortune 500 companies have pains, and they are usually looking for external companies because they know they are so big that it’s going to take too long to do it internally.

If you can help them solve these pains, they will gladly pay you and use your products. First, of course, you’ll have to get access to them, but there are several ways you can do that.

One. You can go to conferences and speak with them.

Two. You can write blog posts. You can create your own blog, and you can also leverage the existing properties out there.

There’s newspaper sites everywhere, around the world there’s popular blogs like Forbes or Entrepreneur, and each country has their own versions of it. By being on these types of sites and educating and helping people, eventually you will end up getting paying customers from it. Inbound marketing is a very great tool for B2B.

 

What is the best place to publish your content if you’d like to reach entrepreneurs? Do you have any other suggestion for reaching them online?

If you plan to write guest posts, go after the big sites like we talked about and get your content published there. They are looking for more content, you’ve just got to convince them that your content is good.

Give them suggestions! Show them other articles you’ve written. If you haven’t written any articles, just write a few samples and show them.

Webinars are also a great way to get the big customers.

You can do targeted ads on Facebook to people who are connected to the kind of companies you are looking for and get them to a landing page that talks about your webinars. Get them to someone who will sign them up, and then do the webinar.

From there, your sales guys will be able to reach them, talk about their experiences, and see if they can end up closing.

45sjajsjarq-jose-martin-2

How should you contact media companies if you’re looking for guest blogging opportunities? Do you have any recommendations for grabbing their attention?  

Emails.

Find the papers or the websites that are most relevant to your audience within your region. Select an author, send an email to him and give him suggestions.

So the first email would be like, hey John, great article on so and so topic. I know what you’ve written, have you considered actually talking about this and this and this? I think it would resonate with these kinds of readers or businesses and help to understand the problem better. At first, just give a few suggestions.

Second email to John next time he publishes an article. Hey, John, I just wanted to let you know keep up the great work, I’m loving your content, it’s really good. Just as a quick suggestion for you, if you did A, B, and C, you might get more traffic and your readers would probably love it.

At this phase, you’re still just giving suggestions how they could modify the content. For example, you could also say that your paragraphs are really long, and if you just cut it up into more bite-sized text like three to four lines, it would be easier on the eyes to read.

Then the third email would be like, I’ve noticed you blogged about A, B, and C, but have you thought about X, Y, and Z? If you blog about it, I think it will appeal to your reader base and they would love it. Here is what, I know you’re also busy so if you want I can go write it for you if you introduce me to the editor.

And what you’ll find is that he is likely to introduce you.

 

Can you use the same approach if you’d like to contact corporations? Like sending an email to them about how great their product is and how could they improve it…

Yes. It works for companies as well. And it’s extremely useful to email up quite a bit of companies, and you can’t hear any salesman try this way.

Although It would be a bit more difficult, as most entrepreneurs are lazy and don’t want to take the time to answer emails.

 

Do you have any other recommendations that I haven’t asked you about but you think would be very valuable for the folks in Budapest to hear from you?

No. Keep up the work. If you keep working hard and executing fast, you can increase the chances of succeeding.

One thing to really do is to learn from other people’s mistakes. Understand what kind of similar mistakes you could be making, and try to avoid those. By learning and not repeating other people’s mistakes, you’ll increase your odds of success.

tiffany-pham-1

An interview with Tiffany Pham of Mogul: ‘If I could just teach myself how to code, I could make this a reality’

Mogul is an online publishing platform that helps millions of women around the world share ideas, stories and career advice with each other. I sat down with Tiffany Pham, the founder of Mogul, at the Pioneers Festival in Vienna to talk about her entrepreneurial journey and how she became one of the most influential young CEOs in the new media in just a few years.

 

We’re from Hungary and the director of operations at Mogul is also Hungarian. Can you tell her story?

 

Our head of operations, Juli, is an amazing woman who earlier was one of our super users on the mobile platform. She had done such an impressionable job, and the insight she offered to the young women around the word was incredible.

So she was just this amazing super user to us when all of a sudden it made sense to bring her on board as part of the team. She started working as a consultant and she helped in different aspects of the business. And then over time it made sense to promote her to head of operations.

So that’s the way I assured our team has grown organically through such mechanisms, and by onboarding super users around the world in different ways onto our team.

 

I love this story. When she was a consultant was she a full-time employee? Did she move to New York at that time?

 

Initially, she was working remotely, and then she came to our offices and began working full time as a consultant before becoming a full-time employee.

You have a remote team, as well as an internal team. How do you manage them? What are your managerial secrets?

 

With my internal team, I work hand in hand to create a culture of full transparency and real-time feedback. So that every single day there’s no hesitation on providing ideas and suggestions that can help us improve all together. At the same time, each of the internal members of our team manages some respects of the external teams, as well.

For example, our head of operations oversees our ambassador program, and we have thousands of global ambassadors. We reach 18 million women each week, and our head of content community oversees 15 hundred influencers on the platform. We also manage a team of salespeople out in the field.

 

Let’s talk about your journey, Tiffany. I tried to research it and maybe it was my lack of eye for details, but I couldn’t figure out your tipping point, if you will. How did you get started, and what did you need in order to succeed?

 

It’s a really good question. I think it was rooted in my family history because my family had been in the media and the service of providing information for many generations. I was inspired initially by my grandmother because she had written for newspapers in Asia to provide information access to those around her.

When I moved here, I did not know how to speak English. I learned it through the media, and started to understand how powerful it could be for learning. And then eventually, when I was fourteen, my grandmother passed away. The day that she passed away I made a promise to her that I was going to do everything I could to carry forward her legacy: Provide information access to the world like she had. So it became my sole motivation to carry out that goal for the rest of my life and dedicate everything I could towards that goal.

Thereafter I worked in the media industry across different facets, to learn every single new one. So one day I found myself in three jobs at once. I was working at CBS, the television network, and simultaneously I was working with the Beijing government to launch a new venture in the U.S. area bridging cultural gaps between U.S. and China, and then I had a third job. I was producing feature films and documentaries with Gérard Miller all around the different social issues that needed more global awareness.

As I worked in the news story growth, one day I woke up, and by chance, I’ve been listed on Forbes 30 under 30. And all of a sudden, young girls around the word started to write me letters asking me for advice, asking me what articles am I reading, what videos am I watching, is there a chance that I could share the resources I was accessing for these opportunities.

That’s when I started to realize as I answered back every single letter one on one, what if we had a platform whereby millions of us could share our ideas, our carriers, and our lives, and our journeys. And from that exchange of information, we begin accessing more knowledge from each other, and become that much better and that much stronger together.

At that time, I’d written a book on how to better align the IT infrastructure with business strategies, and I realized that maybe if I could just teach myself how to code, I could make this a reality for younger women around the world like myself. So every single day I worked on the three jobs I had, and then at night at 3 a.m. sat down at the kitchen table and taught myself Ruby on Rails. After a couple of weeks, I built the first iteration of Mogul.

So to answer your question, the tipping point was when I finally had developed the first iteration. And then because all those young girls were continuing to contact me organically desiring this, as I launched it, it launched to million users within the first week, becoming one of the fastest growing concept platforms for woman ever. And subsequently, today we reach 18 million per week. So that’s where we’re right now.

 

tiffany-pham-02

 

Amazing story. How did you feel? Did you ever think about becoming an entrepreneur?

 

I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. My father was an entrepreneurial man. I grew up in an environment whereby we used to recite the phrase that it’s OK to fall forward. And to fall forward was something that I realized I needed to do.

What I mean by that is to move past the nos and get to the yeses, to be resilient to realize that there’s actually no failing because as long as we’re moving forward, everything is OK. And as you’re learning, in the end, you’re winning.

Then what is a failure?

 

That’s what I’m saying. There’s no such thing as failure. As long as you’re learning and moving ahead, then you’re going to get to the yeses and in the end, you will learn everything you need to do to accomplish the next. So just keep moving ahead.

 

Let me rephrase it. Failing is when you stop. And you don’t move forward. That’s failure.

 

In that case, in the end, true failure is not doing. Not trying.

 

Can you talk a little bit about your years at CBS? Did the experience and the connections you made there help you become an entrepreneur?

 

Yes, absolutely. Being at CBS enabled me to see all the amazing ways in which the company had risen to the top and had created wonderful programming and amazing business partnerships to continue to sustain its profitability and growth. It was an amazing opportunity to see a world-class team in place in order to carry all those things out. It was the perfect place to develop insights into what Mogul could become one day.

 

You worked at a large corporation, and now you are managing an important website with millions of users. How can innovative companies work together with large corporations and companies like yours?

 

Ultimately it’s all going to rely on your friendships. Relationships can help you enter each of the companies no matter what size in the right way.

So if you want to talk to an amazing start-up, you still have to figure out who internally is the decision maker and who can connect to that decision maker in a way that it will set you on the right path and the right foot in the door. So find your correct connection and find out that warm path to get there, and then ultimately on the corporation side it’s the same thing.

Find who is the correct decision maker internally. Figure it out whether through various platforms like LinkedIn or through just discussing it in online groups. And then with that person, figure out who you know mutually, who can make a recommendation that will help you to rise up above the noise.

How did you build your friendships in the industry?

 

I’m glad you’re asking this question, because what I’m about to say next is very key. It’s about then developing true friendship and relationships through collaboration. So, in the end, it’s not about networking per se and just creating this very superficial one-time relationship.

It’s about creating a true friendship whether through initial teas or coffees, or by finding ways in which you collaborate together through small projects or tasks.

Maybe you help them on their site, or maybe you find a way to support them in their initiatives in a way that they don’t have to put much investment in at the beginning. But as you prove yourself out in that very first initial moment, then all of a sudden that pilot task that they did with you will become so much more of a bigger deal!

 

 

During our meeting, I also asked Tiffany Pham about the development of the platform and her future plans for website personalization. I posted this part of the interview on Springtab’s blog. If you’d like to know more about the Mogul platform, click here to read it.

how-to-create-an-effective-content-workflow

How to Create an Effective Content Workflow

The first thing you’ll need to produce content that will help your organization is a strategy. Without it, your posts, guides or videos will have only a small chance to increase brand awareness and the number of leads.

A good content strategy defines who you are writing for and what needs your content satisfies. In most cases it also describes the style that your writers should use, as it helps create a consistent voice for your brand, that the users will recognize.

Besides the style guides, content strategies may include a list of your most important keywords, a detailed description of the buyer personas you are targeting, tips on distributing your content, and a short brand brief.

Once all is done, and you haven’t made serious mistakes in this phase like targeting the wrong keywords, there’s only one thing left before you can launch a successful content machine.

Someone’s got to do the job.

You’ll have to build a team and make each team member understand the goals of your strategy. You’ll have to specify the tasks that need to be completed before and after publishing. You’ll have to assign roles and define the responsibilities of your team members. And you’ll have to find the most effective way of communication between your co-workers.

This is what a good content workflow can help you achieve. Content workflow management is not about managing content. It’s about managing people.

 

Online content marketing and web analytics concept

Online content marketing and web analytics concept

 

What can you avoid with the content workflow?

 

If the roles and responsibilities are not defined clearly, your content creation could enter a spiral of approval chains. Especially at larger corporations with complex mechanisms for communication, it could take 15 to 20 emails to move a single blog post from concept to publishing.

This means that more time is spent on reviewing, changing, and approving content than it takes to create it. This can be extremely frustrating for writers; and if it happens regularly, it means that you’re on the wrong track.

In the end, your content will suffer. There is a limited number of changes that any piece of content can tolerate before becoming inconsistent or flawed

 

Roles and tasks

 

If you’d like to create an effective workflow, you should get started by identifying the tasks your team will have to complete in connection with a post before they could move on to another project. Then try to find the right person for each of these tasks.

The number of the needed steps can change from organization to organization, as the number of people firms can dedicate to each of the tasks. Only large companies are able to assign an individual team member for every task. With that said, even a smaller blog could benefit from defining them.

 

I created a short list of the steps I believe most content teams should go through. I also listed the various roles associated with them. In most cases, it makes sense to complete these tasks in the listed order.

 

  1. Find out what to write about. This task is rather self-explanatory, and any team member could take part in it. Among other sources, you can use your keyword research, competitor analysis, social media channels, and forums related to your industry to find stories that your audience might be interested in.
    Feedback from your readers or colleagues working in other departments can also help you decide what to spend time on.
  1. Approve the idea. Based on your strategy, editors, content managers, or the team of writers could decide what to post about. Creating drafts from the ideas can make their job easier, but on the other hand, it could be time-consuming.
  1. Research your topic, and create a copyMost of the time posts are created by one writer, but in-depth articles are sometimes written by several authors. Collaboration could speed up the process if you need to ask experts or move out of the office to create the story. Try to find out which method is the most effective for your content team!
  1. Create images and graphics. This is the work of the graphic designer. If your team doesn’t have one, you can outsource this work, or use stock images for your posts. Stock images are not a really good solution, because they are rarely relevant, and can’t help you to create a distinctive style.
  1. Review the post. As the approval of the idea, this is the job of the editor or the content manager. He or she has to fact-check the post, look for copyright issues, and decide whether it’s up to your standards.
  1. Proofread it at least once. Ideally, this is done by a proofreader. If you can’t afford to hire one or outsource it, editors or writers can also look for grammatical errors or misspellings in the text. The authors of the posts shouldn’t be assigned with this task, as usually they’ve read it so many times that they are unable to find errors in it at this stage.
  1. Publish the post on your website. This is the job of a website administrator, but anyone else can do it too. If your website is not outdated, you won’t need programming skills just to publish a story.
    Someone, who is good at SEO should write meta descriptions and titles for your posts at this stage if they are not created automatically.
  1. Promote it and measure the effects. Many people can work on these steps. Ideally a social media manager shares your posts on the suitable channels, email experts send it to your subscribers, and Google Analytics experts measure the impact.
    If you have a smaller team you should find the suitable people for each of these tasks. If people in your industry could be interested in your new content, you can contact them and look for guest blogging opportunities after you’ve published a story.
  1. Update it after a while. Older posts, in many cases, generate more traffic and leads than new ones. This is why it’s a good idea to regularly review and update older posts that are still visible for searchers. The easiest way to keep your site up to date is to task the authors with rewriting their posts when needed.

 

I hope my list gives you an overview of the most important tasks and roles in content creation. After a while, you will need to refine your system and give more weight to certain elements, or change roles if something doesn’t work as intended.

But a content workflow is not only about dedicating tasks, it should also help team members communicate effectively and understand when they should start working on any given tasks without sending emails to each other.

Choosing the right tools can make this happen.

 

Like an organic being - Internet of Things concept - Colorful version

 

What tools should you use?

 

A large number of firms still manage their content marketing with a combination of Word, Excel, and email. On the other end of the spectrum, you can find companies that create fluid workflows by developing unique software solutions

In between them, there’s a large number of subscription-based and free tools that companies can use to simplify content creation and distribution.

We use a combination of Google Drive, Trello, Slack and Asana for this purpose.

Drive allows us to edit documents collectively and track changes without troubles. We use Trello to notify team members about the progress of our projects and the tasks they need to start working on. Slack is for internal communication and file sharing. Finally, our deadlines and the editorial calendar are stored in Asana.

This combination works well for us, but this doesn’t mean it’s a perfect solution for every other team. Cloud-based services and collaboration tools can make things easier, but they come with a learning curve. So if understanding how new tools work would take more time from your team than it could save, stick to what is working for you.

The point of creating, documenting, and explaining a content workflow is to make life easier for you and your team, and to eliminate the need of for a great deal of oversight by any one member during content creation.

 

Once you get there, you can get rid of many frustrations that come with this work, and spend more time on what is really important: to create great content.

HILVERSUM, NETHERLANDS - JANUARY 28, 2014: Linkedin is a social networking website for people in professional occupations. As of June 2013 more than 259 million users in more than 200 countries.

LinkedIn Sins

LinkedIn is for everyone, no matter if you are a job seeker, a student, recent graduate, or if you are currently employed. It is one of the most powerful platforms for partnerships, clients, media, and it is a place of business, too. Therefore, having an attractive profile is more than important.

“Details are not details; they make the design”

I’ve always known that having a LinkedIn profile is a crucial element of a business, but in the very beginning I was not aware that the secret is in tiny details. When I first signed up to LinkedIn, I just started to fill out the sections without any deep consideration of the things I wrote.

If I’m not mistaken, LinkedIn has just recently started giving you tips on how to boost your profile. Earlier, you had to figure out everything on your own. Now, it shows if your profile is strong enough or weak lacking some information.

What LinkedIn won’t tell you though, is how to write and what exactly to include. It took me a little time to understand that my LinkedIn profile is as important as, for example, my website; it is part of my business.

LinkedIn as the part of your identity

Your identity is like a puzzle; if only one little piece is missing, the picture is not complete. It is just simply annoying. In the same way, having an unprofessional profile looks discouraging when it comes to business. I realized that a LinkedIn profile is part of a whole identity.

Since then, from time to time I take a little time to look at my profile, how I can improve it. It’s not like I did it once perfectly so I can forget about it. I always make updates, change things that could be different things I notice on my own, or get as a tip from someone else.

LinkedIn sins

We should know about certain unwritten rules to follow. Actually, sometimes it is easier to learn from the mistakes and to know exactly what never to do.

Let’s see then some of the worst LinkedIn sins listed by Emma Brudner, staff writer for HubSpot’s Sales. She gives a great selection of those mistakes you should definitely avoid.

1.Forgetting to upload a profile photo

On LinkedIn you are selling a whole identity of yourself. Now, LinkedIn is like a huge community where you will not be seen, unless you do it. In fact, Nicole Williams LinkedIn spokeswoman says that “profiles with images are seven times more likely to be viewed than those without one.”

2.Having a bad profile photo

Having a bad profile photo is still better than not having one at all, but still you should carefully select one that is more of a professional-looking picture. It means that you can completely forget about selfies, pictures taken in the mirror, family, pets, friends, duck-face, cheesy style. Keep in mind what you would like to convey to your network with your image.  

3.Summary, summary!

It is very unfortunate to miss out the summary section, even if it feels like you have added enough information about you. It is the only part of your profile where you can show your personality, which will make the difference between you and the others. So let yourself come up at least with few interesting sentences; this is what people would like to know about you.  

4.Grammatical errors

Make sure that every single word is grammatically correct. Such mistakes can play you off.  It shows that you don’t care, you are irresponsible and careless. Always double check your writing.

5.Writing from the third person point of view

Writing your LinkedIn content in third person feels unnatural. Hopefully, you don’t use third-person language in your everyday speech when you talk about yourself, so don’t do it in your LinkedIn profile either.

6.Lack of personal contact information

Some people might feel that including their e-mail address in their profile is too personal. Well, it’s not. In fact, it’s important that let’s say your potential buyers can find you and are able to get in touch with you without getting annoyed by the research they do in order to get your email address.

7.Neglecting keywords

SEO keywords should be included not only on your website, but also throughout your LinkedIn profile. It’s proven that they boost views. So don’t forget to put those powerful words and see the result.

8.Instant messages

If you really want to get in touch with someone, don’t discourage them with your spammy e-mails that land instantly in their in-boxes right after the connection request is accepted. They won’t see that you are really willing to put personal effort in that relationship. Start with a comment on one of their posts, or share an article with them, so they see you are really interested in the topic.

9.Generic connection requests

If you want to build quality relationships, you should always use personalized connection requests. The generic LinkedIn request “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” doesn’t sound bad, but customization is important to show that you have real interest in the relationship.

10.Sending friendly but pointless messages

Sending friendly but pointless messages just to build a good relationship is not the best method you can find. People usually don’t have time for easy chats, so use another way of connecting, use the “like” button, make a comment, or share.

11.InMail spams

No one likes spam. LinkedIn shouldn’t be a place for spam, because people will tire of your messages if you send mass messages without any specific intention.

12.Overreacted selection of connections

Some people are overly selective about their LinkedIn network. However, there is nothing wrong with accepting most people who request to connect with you without seemingly have a valid reason for connecting with you. The more people you have in your circle, the more reach you have.

13.Weak comments

We established that comments are better than pointless messages. However, pointless comments don’t make any sense either. If you don’t have anything to add in particular, just simply give a “like.”

14.Activity feed “on” when profile updating

Always turn your activity feed off when you update your profile, e.g., you add a new profile picture, or update a work experience or skill. People get tired of pointless information, let them see your post that they would like to read.

15.Being anonymous while viewing profiles

A conversation can start with a profile view. Someone might be interested in you, or it can happen the other way around, too. So don’t have your search set to anonymous when you’re looking at profiles, LinkedIn is here to expand your connections.

here-are-3-useful-tips-on-how-to-focus-and-become-more-productive

3 tips for staying focused

To stay focused at work is one of the most difficult things to accomplish. Everyone knows those little evil factors that distract us whenever they can: a phone call, a message, construction work noises from the street, just to mention few of them. Sometimes it feels like they are working against us on purpose.

We all know them well, and how much they can limit our productivity when focusing on something. Today’s digital world particularly demands our attention even more than ever before.

Our brain works automatically and our reaction to anything comes naturally. Even when we want to concentrate only on one thing, our brain can react to some sounds, noises. Sometimes we don’t even realize immediately that we’ve lost our focus.

Multitasking and focus

While we might have thought that if we are good at multitasking it means our brain has a larger capacity to focus, multitasking doesn’t necessarily lead to better performance. In fact, our brain is programmed to react to everything, so when it comes to focusing solely on one thing, it can be very challenging.

Eventually, we have to teach our brain to focus exclusively on one thing for a period of time without any distractions. It can change the whole proceedings.

3-tips-for-staying-focused

 

Here are 3 useful tips on how to focus and become more productive:

  1. Creativity in the first place

Often, we do those tasks first that don’t require too much thinking, just to kind of “warm up” for the tougher works. If we think of this as our body getting tired by the end of the day, our brain works in the same way. Mindless work lowers our energy and later in the day, we will have less capacity to do the other jobs.

Focus on the tasks that require creativity and do them first thing in the morning. Leave the less important jobs like scheduling a call, or deleting your emails, for later.

  1. Time allocation

We all work in a different way, but it’s very typical that there are “morning type” and “evening type” people. We do our best working or studying either in the morning or late at night. It’s very likely that we don’t fully pay attention to our work eight hours a day. We have to find those few hours when we are the most effective and put everything we can into those hours.

Find your time of effectiveness, and if you can, look for a place where you can best concentrate on your task. It might be out of the office, where you can perform better.

  1. Brain training

“We’ve trained our brains to be unfocused” – David Rock

Our multitasking brain can be trained for focusing ultimately on a single task, according to David Rock, the author of Your Brain at Work.

Start “training” with short sections only. First, take 5 minutes a day in a distraction-free place. Try to fully concentrate in that 5 minutes and increase this time period slowly.

Read more about this topic: Your Brain at Work by David Rock, the co-founder of the NeuroLeadership Institute
How did you enjoy this tip? Please share your thoughts here or drop me an email. I would love to know if you guys want me to write articles like this or not!

pexels-photo-large

Designing Flexible, Maintainable Pie Charts With CSS and SVG

A balanced composition feels right. It feels stable and aesthetically pleasing. While some of its elements might be focal points and attract your eye, no one area of the composition draws your eye so much that you can’t see the other areas.

Balancing a composition involves arranging both positive elements and negative space in such a way that no one area of the design overpowers other areas. Everything works together and fits together in a seamless whole. The individual parts contribute to their sum but don’t try to become the sum.

An unbalanced composition can lead to tension. When a design is unbalanced, the individual elements dominate the whole and the composition becomes less than the sum of its parts. In some projects, unbalanced might be right for the message you’re trying to communicate, but generally you want balanced compositions.

Note: This is the seventh and final post in a series on design principles. You can find the first six posts here:

Physical And Visual Balance

Balance is easy to understand in the physical world, because we experience it all the time. When something is unbalanced, it tends to fall over. You’ve probably been on a seesaw or a teeter-totter at some time in your life — you on one side and a friend on the other.

Assuming you were both about the same size, you were able to easily balance on the seesaw. The following image appears to be in balance, with two equally sized people equally distant from the fulcrum on which the seesaw balances.

The person on the left makes the seesaw rotate counterclockwise, and the person on the right makes it rotate clockwise by an equal amount. The force of each person acts in a different direction, and their sum is zero.

 

If one of the people was much bigger, though, the balance would be thrown off.

Here, the force of the larger person is reduced by being closer to the fulcrum on which the seesaw balances. I’ll trust you’ve been on a seesaw before or at least watched others play on one and that you have a pretty good sense of what’s going on.

Visual balance is similar. Physical weight is replaced by visual weight. The direction in which the physical weight acts is replaced by visual direction.

As a reminder, below are definitions for visual weight and visual direction, although I’ll refer you back to the fourth post in this series for more details.

  • visual weight
    This is the perceived weight of a visual element. It’s a measure of how much anything on the page attracts the eye of the viewer.
  • visual direction
    This is the perceived direction of a visual force. It’s the direction in which we think an element should be moving if it were given a chance to move according to the forces acting on it.

You don’t use instruments to measure the forces. You don’t use formulas to calculate whether everything is in balance. Rather, you use your eye to determine whether a composition is balanced.

Why Visual Balance Is Important

Just as in the physical world, visual balance is a good thing. It’s desirable in and of itself. An unbalanced composition can feel uncomfortable for the viewer. Look back at the second of the three seesaw images — it looks wrong because we can tell that the seesaw shouldn’t be in balance.

Visual weight is a measure of the visual interest of an element or area in a design. When a composition is visually balanced, every part of it holds some interest. The visual interest is balanced, which keeps viewers engaged with the design.

Without visual balance, viewers might not see all areas of the design. They probably won’t spend any time in areas with less visual weight or interest. Any information in those areas could easily go unnoticed.

You would balance a design visually because you want to balance the points of interest in your composition, so that viewers spend time with all of the information you want to convey.

startup-photos-large

Design Principles: Compositional Balance, Symmetry And Asymmetry

ince launching a furniture design studio in 2006, Stine Gam and Enrico Fratesi have split their time between Denmark and Italy. Although their growing business,requires a wayfaring lifestyle, they’ve found ways to keep themselves grounded thanks to the daily rituals they engage in while traveling and the time they set aside for family.

Stine Gam and Enrico Fratesi have managed to achieve a lifestyle many of us only dream about: The founders and designers behind the furniture studio GamFratesi travel regularly between their hometowns of Pesaro, Italy, and Copenhagen, Denmark. While the couple often misses the comforting rhythms of daily home life with their three-year-old son, Frederik, traveling has been a fertile ground for creative inspiration. Their designs, though rooted in the stark and practical Scandinavian tradition, incorporate conceptual elements that add a touch of playfulness to their minimalist aesthetic. Running a young company keeps Stine and Enrico busy, but they still make it a priority to carve out time for friends, family and lingering over scrumptious breakfasts each morning. We spoke with Stine and Enrico about how their family stays in the present while hopping between homes.

What kind of families did you grow up in? Were there any life lessons your parents passed down to you?
Stine: We grew up in two very different environments. We recently found an old black-and-white photograph of Enrico’s father at the age of six, sitting in a workshop while his father made shoes for postwar survivors. We inherited a sense of discipline and a pure dedication to our work from him, as well as the knowledge that everything is possible if you’re committed and put in the work. We also found a photograph of my father at age 30 when he had long hair and was climbing a tree with his guitar. We got the freedom to dream and express ourselves without boundaries from him. These are two very different lessons, though both are equally important to us.

What are some of the differences between the Italian and Danish approaches to life?
Enrico: The Danes are true masters of creating intimate and welcoming domestic spaces. Perhaps this is due to the adverse Scandinavian weather conditions that force them to stay indoors all the time and encourage them to create warm and inviting home environments. They have a knack for adapting their homes to accommodate natural light, have a great eye for color and know how to bring aspects of nature into their everyday lives. In Italy, people seem to gravitate more toward gathering in communal areas such as large city squares rather than staying inside. More attention is paid to quality and developing these spaces rather than focusing on interiors. That said, we sometimes come across interesting historical interiors that mix unexpected styles and objects with sophisticated design solutions.

How do the work ethics in Denmark and Italy differ?
Stine: When we’re in Copenhagen, we allow ourselves to linger over breakfast in the kitchen, making conversation and enjoying the food and each other’s company. This is less common in Italy, where morning meals usually consist of a quick espresso and a croissant at the bar. The Italians prioritize lunch instead and tend to spend a long time partaking in this meal.

Please tell us a bit about your weekday morning routines at home: Do you have any personal rituals?
Enrico: I’m quite grumpy in the morning while Stine is calm and very good at gathering the family around the table for a wonderful, cozy breakfast. Our days often begin with homemade bread and cookies, fresh juice and chatting and playing with our son, Frederik, before we start our day. Stine loves mornings as she feels like she has the entire day in front her. I’m more partial to evenings as they feel like the calm after the storm of the day’s activities. How do you like to spend time when you’re at home?

Stine: Listening to music, preparing some nice food in the kitchen, reading books and playing with our son. Our home is located above a busy street and we enjoy people-watching from our window. We also like going on long walks around Copenhagen if the weather outside is nice.

What are your after-work hobbies?
Stine: We’re lucky that our work is also our passion and that our hobbies are all somewhat art- or design-related. Many of them become inspiration for our work, such as reading or listening to good music. We love these art forms for their expressive abilities and how they’re able to convey a wealth of emotions in just a few words or notes.

 

How do you like to spend your weekends?
Enrico: Apart from certain situations where an imminent delivery forces us to work, we devote our weekends to the family, experiencing the city and meeting friends. We’ve hoped for and have been working toward having nonworking weekends for so many years, but we’ve only recently achieved this goal.

How often do you host dinner parties?
Enrico: We love having our friends over to our house for fortnightly meals. We often serve a simple, family-style meal made using a small selection of high quality seasonal ingredients. Lunch is often Danish-style and consists of bread and an assortment of Scandinavian root vegetables. For dinner, we like serving well-made Italian pasta with a slow-roasted tomato sauce.

What are the most important components to running a business?
Enrico: Passion and patience.

What do you enjoy most about traveling?
Stine: It’s always been an integral part of our working process. We used to have more freedom and flexibility in the early stages of our company, but growing business opportunities in Copenhagen have required us to establish it as our primary work base and Pesaro as a refuge for when we need some time away from the city. We allow ourselves to make the trip to Pesaro when things get too hectic. It’s a lovely city nestled between the sea and the hills. Everything is within walking distance and the rustic buildings provide a welcome contrast to the highly stylized and modern architecture you find in Copenhagen. It’s essential for us to maintain a strong relationship with each location, and each has a special place in our hearts.

Are there any simple traditions you try to preserve when you’re traveling around in different cities?
Stine: A key part of our everyday routine is valuing the little things and individual moments in the day. We try to implement this philosophy regardless of where we are in the world.

What do you miss most about home when you’re traveling?
Enrico: We miss our son like crazy when he’s not with us. We don’t long for any material things when we’re away, though we do miss the everyday routines that come with being in your own home, such as walking around barefoot in the kitchen or preparing a bowl of yogurt and muesli and enjoying it on the couch while chatting for hours. The first thing we do after returning from a long trip is to whip up something to eat, often a dish that’s simple and homey.

How do you strike a balance between the time you spend at work and the time you spend with friends and family?
Enrico: While the fact that we’re self-employed means that we invest tons of passion, dedication and time into our work, family comes first. We’ve had to make many personal sacrifices over the years for the sake of our business, but we make it a point not to let work compromise family time.

hands-people-woman-meeting-large

2 + 7 előadási és prezentációs praktika, amit így biztos nem mondtak el neked

Mostanában egyre többször adok elő és sokszor kérdezik barátaim, ismerőseim, hogy milyen praktikákat alkalmazok. Igyekeztem itt néhányat összegyűjteni.

17088_504108712946972_546382571_n copy

 

Betanulni az egész előadást, mint egy verset.

Nem ment, mert valamit mindig elfelejtetem és közben ráfeszültem, hogy ha nem pont úgy mondom, ahogy megtanultam, akkor az milyen ciki lesz.
Csak azt nem vettem számításba, hogy rajtam kívül senki sem tudta, miről szeretnék előadni, ezért nem kell izgulni, hogy mit mondok vagy mit nem: csupán egy élményt kell átadni a hallgatóságnak

 

20 másodpercem van és jöjjön a videó.

Mivel nagyon gyorsan kezdett el dobogni a szívem, elakadt a hangom és nem kaptam levegőt, tudtam, hogy egy lélegzettel kb. 20 másodpercnyi információt tudok elmondani, mielőtt kívülről látszik, hogy nem kapok levegőt. Ennyi időm volt felvezetni az előadást és elindítani egy videót.
A videó jó, hiszen mindenhol halljuk, hogy az audiovizuális kiegészítés emeli az előadást. Ez így is van és így senkinek nem tűnt fel, hogy ez nekem az egész prezentációt megmentő eszköz volt. Miért? Érdekes mód, az első fél perc után visszaáll a szívverésem és a videó után már lazán tudok előadni. Történt valami: elkezdtem élvezni az előadásokat. Minimum 5-10 perceseket kellett tartani, az elején felvezetni majd egy videót benyomni és utána újra átélhettem azt a felemelő érzést, mit gyerekkoromban a színpadon.

Aztán jött a többi, amit használok:

Szemezz

Megkérni barátainkat, hogy össze vissza üljenek le a nézőtéren, így lesz kivel szemkontaktust tartani. Általa úgy érzi a közönség, hogy mindenkihez beszélünk. Nem fókuszálunk be csupán egy pontra és nem is a padlót, plafont vagy a mögöttünk lévő kivetítőt nézzük

 

Tied a színpad

Megvannak azok a koncertek, ahol a rock star-ok az egész stadiont áthatják? Mit látunk? Járnak kelnek össze vissza és mozgosítják a tömeget, aki együtt él velük. Ugyanezt tette Steve Jobs is a beszédeiben. Ąmikor fent vagyunk, miénk a színpad, csak ránk figyelnek. Ne bújjunk el egy szegletében és ne is csak egy helyen legyünk. Nem a ppt-nkről szól (ami sokszor full felesleges is), hanem rólunk. Így járkáljunk, tegyük magunkévá a pódoiumot és a közönséget is.

Szünet

Képzeljünk el egy témát… … … Egy témát, amit imádunk és órákig tudnánk beszélni róla… … … Az órákból pedig a legjobb infókkal … … … Perceket faragunk … … … Ezt pedig előadjuk. — A szünet néha lehet hosszabb, mint maga a beszéd része. Óriási hangsúlyt tud adni, NE féljük tőle. Egyrészről segíti az előadás dramaturgiáját, másrészről ha szép lassan beszélünk és szünetet tartunk, nem tűnik fel senkinek ha éppen elgondolkodunk valamin közben.

 

Lassan fuss

Winston Churchillt felkérték egy egyetemi előadás megtartására, amit ő el is fogadott és csak annyit kérdezett, mennyi ideje van. A megtisztelt hallgatók válaszolták, hogy amennyit csak akar. A Miniszterelnök mondta, hogy nem úgy van az, mert ha valóban bármennyit beszélhet róla és ott lesznek három napig, már most indulhatnak, azonban ha egy órában össze kell foglalnia, kér két hét felkészülési időt. — Tudjuk, hogy mennyi idő áll a rendelkezésünkre és mennyi információt adjunk át. Nem kell gyorsabban beszélni, csak hogy többet mondhassunk el.

Én ezt akkor értettem meg, mikor a prezentációs tárgyamon kaptunk egy témát, amiről fél órában kellett beszélni. Sikerült. Ez a tárgy heti kétszer volt és a második órára mondták, hogy ugyanezt 15 percben adjuk elő. Oké, furcsa volt, de NAGY nehezen sikerült. Meg is dícsértek minket, az ajándékunk pedig az volt, hogy a következő héten 5 percben adhattuk elő ugyanazt. Hát ez mekkora baromság, ezt nem lehet – mondtam. De ment. És ugynaúgy, ugyanannyi lényegi infót átadtam. Majd levittük 2 percre és a végén !!!! fél percre, 00:30 perc, 30 másodperc. SIKERÜLT. Mindegyikben szépen lassan beszélve, szünetet tartva, a legfontosabb érzést és infót átadva. Ez az egész pitch filozófia alapja

 

Testbeszéd

Álítólag a testbeszéd és a tonalitás (hangsúly) adja az egész előadás 90%-át. Szintén álítólag Kenedy ezért nyerhette meg a választásokat. A TV miatt. Kezünk sose legyen zsebben vagy összekulcsolva. Ne legyen nálunk papír. Kezeink derék és nyak között legyenek (kivéve ha szavazásra buzdítjuk az embereket és felemeljük a kezünk, jelezve, hogy ők is emeljék).

Steve Jobs hónapokig gyakorolt

Mindenekfelett pedig gyakorlás teszi a mestert. Minél többet adok elő, minél gyakorlottabb leszek, úgy tágul a komfort zónám és fejlődhetek

 

Struktúra (jó akár kronológiailag vagy in medias res is)

 

  1. Figyelemfelhívó mondat
    1. Alátámasztó kijelentés, témameghatározás
  2. Fő üzenet átadása
  3. Első alátámasztás
    1. Első alátámasztás indoklás 1
    2. Első alátámasztás indoklás 2
    3. Első alátámasztás indoklás 3
  4. Második alátámasztás
    1. Második alátámasztás indoklás 1
    2. Második alátámasztás indoklás 2
    3. Második alátámasztás indoklás 3
  5. N alátámasztás (amennyi kell)
  6. Fő üzenet kiemelése
  7. PONT. Nincs thank you, csupán egy hangsúlyos befejezés, amivel jelezzük, hogy vége. Várunk a tapsra és csak alatta köszönjük meg.

Kihagytam valamit? Kérlek egészítsetek ki!