Work from home

Three tricky words.

Tricky because home used to be a refuge from work. Home is safe, work brings tension. Home is long-term, work might not be.

But mostly because the industrial, cog-oriented mindset of work is that you should keep your head down, avoid responsibility and look busy! The factory owner seeks productivity, which equals more, which means pushing people to go faster. The natural response is to hold a little bit back, because if you don’t then you’ll just have to do more anyway.

Some might wonder about kids who are homeschooled, because they haven’t been processed by the compliance-focused industrial schooling system. Can they really be trusted in a factory environment, they ask.

An aside about the clickers: Large universities now require undergraduates in lecture classes to bring a clicker with them to class. The clicker confirms their attendance. The clicker can be used throughout by the professor to ensure that students are paying attention. The clicker can easily lead to better training. Sort of the way it works on dogs, but backwards.

Click training is not going to create the sort of professional who can work from home. It simply pushes us to comply even more closely with a system that monitors us as we work to find an answer that the boss knew all along.

And when Harvard sends every student home to take virtual classes after spring break, they give up the social dynamic that is Harvard, but are they also going to learn anything, really?

They will if they want to.

That’s the key to the whole thing. Unless you’re doing easily measured piecework in the old-fashioned cottage industry mindset (the original work from home job), then the opportunity is to raise your hand, not keep your head down.

Some jobs and some schools reward people who lead, connect and volunteer.

Slack and other distributed online systems make it easier than ever to build a flat organization. Which makes it more likely that people who want to lead can lead.

When you work from home, you can sit back and wait for assignments and hope you won’t get picked. You can be sure to click the clicker when required.

Or can you decide to change your posture. With all the time you save by not going to meetings and not commuting, you can run with the opportunity. Turn the freedom into responsibility instead of fearing or hoping for authority.

Some jobs don’t lend themselves to this opportunity. If that’s true, you could figure out how to change the organization or go find one that deserves you and your commitment to the work.

The best way to work from home is to plan your own agenda, organize your peers, make bigger promises, show up often, lead, connect, innovate and ask hard questions. And then do it all again.

You will if you want to.

Stay home.

Stay home, it’s a good idea. It’s a generous way to help people stay safe. Stay home and lead.

In the long run, which is getting shorter all the time, people with a linchpin mindset are valued more highly, given more opportunities and make a bigger impact. This is a chance to enroll in the journey of making a difference.

From wherever you’re working.

Influencer Marketing in 2020? Change Is Coming

Woman looking at phone image.

Woman looking at phone image.

You already know what B2B influencer marketing is. It is “the practice of a B2B brand engaging internal and industry experts with active networks to help achieve measurable business goals.”

But how is that changing in 2020 with social media distrust, the spread of misinformation, advertising regulations, and more?

B2B influencer marketing in 2020 has seen new challenges arise, requiring a shift in approach. From trust to transparency to accessibility, 2020 is set to be a transformative year for influencer marketing programs.

What is B2B influencer marketing in 2020 and how is it changing? We share the answers with you below.

In 2020, B2B influencer marketing is… niche and targeted.

That big-name influencer you’ve been working so hard to grab? You might want to pivot to a smaller, more niche expert.

A whopping 70% of millennials prefer endorsements or sponsorships from non-celebrity influencers. Of course, exceptions exist, but bigger isn’t always better. In our experience, an influencer with a smaller, more engaged audience is much more valuable than an influencer with a large, disconnected following.

It is for that reason that it is of paramount importance that you select the right influencers for the job. Even if that means rolling out a campaign with fewer influencers or passing on a big name in your space. The more niche and targeted you can be with your influencers, the better. The research shows that audiences prefer hearing from lesser-known, “hidden gems” in the industry.

[bctt tweet=”“An influencer with a smaller, more engaged audience is much more valuable than an influencer with a large, disconnected following.” @annieleuman” username=”toprank”]

In 2020, B2B influencer marketing is… transparent.

Trust in B2B marketing remains top-of-mind in 2020. One way to grow trust in your brand is to improve your transparency – something that will most certainly impact your influencer marketing campaigns.

Most B2B brands are already ahead of the trust curve, disclosing their influencer relationships and denoting when an influencer message or piece of content has been paid for. However, plenty of gray area still exists. For example, what if you didn’t pay an influencer? What’s the guideline then?

An average B2B company will continue to disclose only the content they sponsored. A smart B2B company will disclose everything. Audiences don’t like feeling deceived. The more straightforward and honest your brand is, the more your audience will listen.

In 2020, B2B influencer marketing is… approachable.

As our own CEO Lee Odden is known for saying; “Everyone is influential about something.”

It is with that same spirit that influencer marketing will expand and become democratized. From internal subject matter experts to customers to individuals without any formal expertise or following at all, B2B brands are realizing that valuable voices come from everywhere. 2020 audiences care about substance over style more than ever before. This leaves brands with the freedom to be more diverse in terms of the types of voices they feature and what they have to say.

[bctt tweet=”“Everyone is influential about something.” @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

In 2020, B2B influencer marketing is… media.

Influencers in 2020 aren’t just a new social channel for your campaigns. They’re an entire media company.

Take a look at Jay Acunzo or Brian Solis. From podcasts to books to speaking engagements to their own websites, their content expands far and away from just a tweet or LinkedIn post. Successful B2B brands will recognize this in 2020 and tailor their outreach and campaigns accordingly to take advantage of more than just their expertise and social media. For example, you could partner with them on a podcast episode or commission them for a blog post. The more you treat them like the media company CEOs that they are, the better.

In 2020, B2B influencer marketing is… varied.

We touched on this a little earlier, but in 2020, B2B brands are already evolving their message and who delivers it. However, they’ll also need to change how it’s delivered.

2020 has seen many more content formats emerge, such as virtual reality (VR) experiences, interactive content, and more to drive engagement. And we’re certain that more content types are on the horizon. With brands thirsting for more engagement and attention-grabbing campaigns, these new and exciting content formats will also permeate the world of influencer marketing. If you want your B2B influencer marketing campaign to break through the void and stand out among the crowd, you’ll want to think about changing up the format, or even featuring several formats, to switch it up.

[bctt tweet=”“What makes experiences different and memorable is if they’re really good… or really bad. Anything in the middle tends to blur together in our recollection. Only the extremes stand out.” @NiteWrites” username=”toprank”]

In 2020, B2B influencer marketing is… experiential.

The customer experience is everything. For marketing departments executing influencer marketing, those influencers are your customers.

Brands that are providing an exceptional influencer experience in 2020 will have no problems retaining and growing those relationships into long-lasting partnerships. Having those positive partnerships with influencers makes it easy for them to say yes to whatever you need. But it also helps spread the word to other potential influencers that your brand is amazing to work with: a sentiment that is worth gold (or maybe platinum) in B2B influencer marketing.

So how can you ensure your influencer experience goes above and beyond? Ask yourself:

  • What can I do to make our influencers’ lives easier?
  • How can I help our influencers reach their marketing goals?
  • When was the last time I spoke to each influencer?

Asking these questions will emerge opportunities for a better, more beneficial experience. Haven’t spoken to someone in a month? Reach out and see how they’re doing — not to seek their contribution but to just see what’s new in their lives and how you could potentially help. It is those little details that will go a long way and separate your brand from the rest.

[bctt tweet=”“Visual, experiential content that is easy to find and satisfies business buyer’s needs to be informed, entertained and inspired will continue to be areas of focus.” @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

The Times, They Are a-Changin’

In 2020, B2B influencer marketing is already seeing a great amount of change. Their approach is becoming more targeted, influencers are more diverse, the practice as a whole will become more transparent, and so much more. Adapting to these changes is what will set the good B2B brands apart from the excellent. We hope you’ll use these insights to help your influencer marketing strategy make the transformation for 2020.

How else should you adapt your influencer marketing strategy in 2020? View these 2020 influencer marketing trends.

The post What Is B2B Influencer Marketing in 2020? Change Is Coming appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

The problem for freelancers

Getting found.

No clients, no work.

And the clients have a problem as well: Figuring out who the truly good freelancers are.

A marketplace like Upwork is supposed to solve a classic two-sided problem like this one. But the problem is so difficult that marketplaces often make it worse (and charge too much as well).

They make it worse by pushing people to be bottom-fishing cheap commodity providers. If someone searches for ‘logo designer’, there is a huge amount of pressure to be the freelancer who checks all the boxes, has decent reviews and is also the cheapest.

The problem with that race to the bottom is that you might win. Compliance and commodity pricing can’t possibly work well for an independent freelancer, because there’s always someone cheaper than you.

And clients? Well, every once in a while a good client encounters a freelancer who is worth sticking with. The marketplaces, though, want to be sure to get paid for every hour worked, not simply surface the good ones. Upwork is trying to slip through a change in their terms of service (effective in four weeks) that will subject any client who hires a freelancer they found on their site to a fine of up to $50,000–per freelancer. That’s not good for either the freelancer or the client.

The gig economy is based on the magic of finding the right person for the right job. It falls apart when it becomes a commodity marketplace in which each freelancer struggles to be valued for the work they are able to create.

For most freelancers, the hard part isn’t doing the work–it’s being tricked into believing that they have to be the lowest bidder to succeed.

More on this in our upcoming workshop for freelancers. Sign up for updates now and we’ll let you know when it’s launching.

Understanding the Many Practical Uses of Voice Transcription Technology

Video and audio files offer more sensory appeal to different types of audiences. However, there are also people who are not receptive to visual and auditory presentations. They prefer to read and digest the information. Businesses handling tons of media files, as well as specific businesses, such as medical, education, media, and legal services also need written texts of their audio and video files.  

Transcription started a long time ago, around 3400 BCE in fact, yet many companies put too little importance to the service. They do not think that it will be useful to their business, or that they can go a long way to reach people who are hard of hearing, for example, and people who need written documents to finish their work, or use them as reference.

Practical uses of transcription

Voice transcription has many uses, which some people tend to overlook. Transcriptions are very useful for many reasons, the bottomline being that they add value to a business concern.

Here are some examples of the many practical uses of voice transcription:

  • You get written text documents of the speeches given at your conference. Hosting a conference is a huge marketing investment. Company executives, invited guests and resource persons typically give speeches to motivate and inspire. They may share valuable experiences and tips. While the speeches may be prepared beforehand, speakers tend to use them as guide, and add more information and words of wisdom when they are on stage. Having a transcript of these speeches provide you with more personal insights and knowledge that you can use later.  
  • Transcribed speeches are useful for press releases. You usually host a conference to announce new company milestones, launch new products, and present new investments and acquisitions. Transcriptions provide you with an accurate record of the conference proceedings, which you can later edit and distribute to media outlets, to see to it that the salient points are included and the information is consistent, to avoid misquotes and misheard information.
  • Reach more visitors to your website. Video and audio materials enhance user experience. However, not all users have fast and steady internet connection. Video and audio files are larger and slow to load when there’s slow connection, prompting them to leave your site. Moreover, search engines rely on written content, so transcriptions of your voice files will boost your website’s ranking, as your keywords will be displayed and read by visitors, as well as search engine bots.
  • You get all the details discussed during meetings correctly. Secretaries today record the meetings instead of taking down notes. Transcribing the minutes of the meeting ensures that you can get a written copy of everything that you have discussed. A professional transcriptionist using a robust voice transcription software can have your minutes ready within a short time. You can share the transcription among all participants so they can see all the actionable items.

There are more applications, such as those for court proceedings and hearings, HR grievances, focus groups and market research, subtitling, and dubbing as well as translation.

The post Understanding the Many Practical Uses of Voice Transcription Technology appeared first on Blogtrepreneur.

Story Skills – Data and Information

Story.

When there’s simply data, it’s all noise. It’s impossible for a human being to absorb data without a narrative.

Once we figure out how to turn your features and ideas and benefits and effort into a story, though, it becomes information. And then we can act on it.

We have a story problem. All of us do. We’re not doing a good job of developing the empathy to turn all the data we’ve assembled into a story that others can understand.

Today, we’re launching the second session of The Story Skills Workshop. Led by bestselling author Bernadette Jiwa, it’s a proven, effective and powerful way for you and your team to learn how to make the impact you’re hoping for.

It was the most successful workshop we launched in 2019, and we’re bringing it back for those of you that missed out. Look for the purple circle on the registration page to save some money.

I hope you can join us.

Thoughts on a human and Media virus

I’ve been studying digital media “viruses” for more than 20 years, and much of what we have discovered about them comes from the analogy to epidemiology and the behavior of real viruses.

Here are some ideas that might be relevant as we come to grips with a slowly unfolding tragedy, and help us with our fears and plans each day.

Viruses act like they are digital. A loud concert gets quieter as you move away from it. A chemical dumped in a lake gets diluted as it moves further from where it landed. But a virus starts fresh every time it infects someone else. Often, we act as if that’s not true. Even though it’s organic and living in our body, it’s a code, one that replicates fairly completely as it spreads. It evolves as it goes, but it also recharges with each new host.

Viruses are contagious. Epidemiologists measure R0, pronounced R-nought. It’s the measure of how many people a virus in one person will reach. An R0 of 3, for example, means that every person who gets it will infect three more people. Obviously, if the R0 stays above 1, it means that eventually, it will infect every single person. That never happens. What does happen is that the number shifts. When the measles is in an elementary school, it can have an R0 of 20. But, over time, as environmental and other factors come into play, it goes down. Right now, the R0 of Covid-19 is estimated to be between 2 and 3, though it might be higher than measured if there are a lot of mild or unreported cases. As you can see below, more than 2 is very high.

Viruses can spread when we don’t know we have the disease. (And of course, there’s an analogy here to malicious computer viruses). Of course, that’s not how memes and YouTube hits work, but it’s very relevant here. The virus has no intent, no goals, no desires, but viruses that spread tend to be viruses that are contagious when we don’t know it and that last a while. It increases their R0 because apparently healthy people walk around spreading the disease. Freaking out around someone who is coughing isn’t helpful, since there are plenty of people who aren’t coughing who may be almost as contagious.

There’s a difference between the impact of a virus and its virality. The measles are one of the most contagious viruses we know, and fortunately, they only seriously impact (or kill) a small percentage of the people they infect. Because they infect so many, though, it’s urgent to be vaccinated for measles… to prevent you, or the person you’ll infect next, from being a victim. Here’s a chart from a really helpful article in the Times: (click to enlarge)

It’s very difficult to buy your way out of this. We’ve been trained that a good way to deal with emotional stress is to buy something, but there’s not much to buy. So far, it seems as though most healthy people will have an unpleasant time if they contract the virus, but with fluids and rest, will recover completely. It’s possible you’ll need medical help for pneumonia or perhaps access to oxygen supplements or a respirator, but there’s not very much you can have in your home that will help. However, if you meet the CDC’s definition of warranting medical evaluation—such as the presence of a new cough—it is best to call your doctor or local department of health. You may need to be tested, examined or treated.

Big numbers conceal the tragedy of the small ones. If 98% of the people who get a disease end up okay, that can still mean that hundreds of thousands or millions of people don’t do so well. The odds are definitely in your favor, but they’re still odds. There’s a slow-moving tragedy happening, and it’s going to impact people we care about.

The ideavirus in the media is preceding the actual virus’s arrival. That means we are experiencing the effects of this twice. Once, when we’re filled with fear of the unknown (with various entities fanning panic) and again when it actually arrives.

The R0 varies because of superconnectors and the places in which they hang out. They closed the Louvre for this reason—some people and some places dramatically amplify the average rate of spread of the virus.

A mask is not a good luck charm. Medical professionals know how to wear masks and use gloves and proper sanitation to prevent themselves from communicable diseases. Commercially available N95 masks don’t block particles as small as COVID viruses. Watching people walking through airports with their facemasks misadjusted, or touching a surface (the germs can last for days) makes it clear that this is talisman thinking, not actual prevention. Handwashing can work, particularly if it’s done often and well.

The thing is, if every person on Earth was isolated for three weeks, we could be pretty confident that we could move on, but the world is a lot more connected than that. We’ve built a worldwide culture of connection, both digital and physical, and while we can slow down the spread of a virus, we can’t stop it.

There are so many things we can do to radically improve public health. Everyone can get fully vaccinated for childhood diseases and seasonal risks as well. That alone will save hundreds of thousands of lives a year. We can aggressively campaign against drunk driving and get people to stop smoking. We can clean up the environment and invest in clean water and adequate sanitation. That’s millions and millions of lives saved annually. Each of these problems will kill more people than this virus. It doesn’t pay to panic ever, and in a case like this, getting smart and making appropriate decisions is far more effective than going into a frenzy.

Wishing you and yours good health, peace of mind and a quick end to this.

 

Thanks to Dr. Jonathan Sackner Bernstein for his contributions, all errors are mine.

5 Tips for Making your Products More Attractive to Buyers

Many businesses, old and new, fail each year because buyers are not drawn to a physical location or internet address. Some businesses do not even pass the starter stage due to a lack of investors or buyers interested in the presented products or services. Buyers these days tend to be fickle with all the choices available to obtain goods and services. If products are not displayed, described and marketed to catch the eye, the competition will have an advantage.

Nailing the Initial Presentation

Business owners wishing to sell new or innovative products, services or concepts must begin the process by finding buyers and investors.  This is true of any business whether people can find it on the street, online or both. Walking into a meeting unprepared will prove futile. Prepare a presentation that will impress with customized products from suppliers, such as Filmsource.

Binding all pertinent information so buyers can have it for reference ensures nothing gets lost. Laminate the most important aspects like the business plan and the budget. The report covers a proposed name and the logo will make the project memorable and stand out from other projects.

Existing Businesses

Presentation is equally essential for businesses already in operation. Attracting buyers begins by highlighting new or improved items. E-commerce business needs a home page that will instantly let browsers know what products are sold in a way that makes them want to explore the website. Interesting photographs, clear and concise descriptions, and a unique name will capture attention.

Retail stores with physical locations require banners to announce sales or new merchandise. Eye-catching displays in the windows will cause passers-by to stop and be compelled to enter. Signs hanging from the ceiling direct shoppers to specific sections when inside. A larger than life depiction of the newest smartphone, for example, attracts buyers to the electronics department.

Effective Methods Considered Old-Fashioned

Independent professionals, regional medical practices and local eateries are examples of small businesses that need people in the area to patronize them in order to remain open and thrive. While making the entryway inviting will draw some new people, keeping customers happy and offering something exceptional or unexpected are still effective ways to increase volume. Nothing can replace word-of-mouth to expand business exposure on the local level.

Promotions and reward programs will keep regular customers coming back and entice new people to discover your location. A restaurant that offers free drinks with the purchase of an entrée or ten percent off desserts for a limited time is inexpensive and effective. Convenience stores do well with reward cards that are punched once eligible items are purchased. Coffee, soda, pizza, and pastries are common rewards that draw people away from the competition and into one location stores.

Sponsor a contest, such as a dart tournament or a trivia game, to make visiting the establishment fun and exciting. The prizes can be a t-shirt with the business logo, a free drink, or a coupon redeemable at the next visit. This is a tried and true method for attracting new customers and expanding business exposure in the community.

Displays

Intriguing and creative displays are paramount when seeking a higher number of buyers. Bringing a prototype of a product or a diagram illustrating a concept is more stunning on one of the several display options. A backdrop, perhaps, or a tablecloth with a logo will elevate the presentation and indicate professionalism.

Products on a stand with tiers allow buyers to learn about multiple versions of the same brand or featured item. Beauty products, light bulbs of different wattage and candy variations are ideal for this type of display in a physical retail store. A brochure stands in a waiting room to inform patients or clients of all the services provided in the medical center or an insurance office.

Selecting the right display for products and services that pique curiosity is an interactive means of gaining new customers. Someone getting a hair cut will check out shampoos and leave the salon with a signature line of hair care products. The person driving a family member to a dentist appointment is likely to discover procedures to whiten teeth or have a root canal to save a decayed tooth if the display is attractive and well placed.

Establishing an Internet Presence

Having a website is only one step to a complete internet presence. There is a multitude of ways to participate online to reach targeted audiences. A guest post on a related website will drive buyers to the business. One regarding insurance seen on a site for new and used boats gets people thinking about the topic. It is critical not to forget to add a link to your website within the post.

Social media sites have virtually exploded in popularity over the last few years. Some people visit preferred sites and pages every day. Gone are the days of only needing a page on Facebook. Certain targeted audiences are found on social media sites that only consist of pictures and photographs while others watch videos on a different site.

The internet is also a way to find business partners, investors, and freelance professionals. LinkedIn is a popular site for this purpose. Owners with no logo designs can find an artist to create one. A marketing agency will help get your brand noticed. Descriptions and experience histories of most professionals listed are found on this site.

Attracting buyers is becoming difficult due to increased competition. People are ordering more products and services online for the vast selection of items available and the convenience. Start-up and small businesses struggle for exposure against larger ones with more financial resources. The attention span is dwindling to a few seconds at best.

These reasons, and many more, are why attracting people to your business requires diligence, persistence, and exposure. Visual merchandising, a strong internet presence, excellent customer service and offering something the competition does not are basic attraction practices that work for most businesses in any industry.

The post Flying Off the Shelves: 5 Tips for Making your Products More Attractive to Buyers appeared first on Blogtrepreneur.

The Internet is Infinite. Choose Not To Be Overwhelmed!

The internet is infinite. For humans, anyway.

In the time you’ve been reading this, more than an hour of video has been uploaded to YouTube. You will never catch up.

The thing is, the world has always been infinite compared to human scale.

Living on a bucolic farm in the 14th century, there was no need to get bored. You could study earthworms, write a sonnet or have a conversation with your neighbor…

We widen or close our lens on the world in order to avoid becoming too bored or feeling too small.

When you first encounter a new web service, go on Slack or get back to your computer after a break, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed. Too much to sort. We want a foundation to stand on, but firm footing eludes us for a while.

And then we find it again. Because we intentionally make ourselves unaware of the rest of it.

Right now, orbiting a distant star, the folks on Planet 10 are having a conflict about something or other. But we have no idea. And right now, someone who works for you has a question, or the store you’re not in is having a problem, or a co-worker is doing something without your oversight–and it’s all proceeding without you, because total information awareness is a fiction.

Find your footing and do your work. It’s a choice.

Why Outsourcing Work Can Improve Your Life

The amount of daily work that you have to get done can surmount to the point of exhaustion. This means even less work is getting done because you are too tired to even think about it. However, there are solutions for your dilemma.

If you are a parent, teacher, business owner, or anyone with a busy schedule, you might be looking for reasons to get others to do work for you. You know what? You might be right. Outsourcing work in any area of your life can bring you serious benefits, and these are the reasons why.

Clean Houses Can Mean Clear Minds

One big area of work outsourcing work needs is in the form of housecleaning. Springing for a housecleaning service can save you precious time in your home life, not only for parents but for anyone who is dealing with a messy home. Cleaning up your living space is a good way to declutter your mind. Having a professional cleaner come in and remove the mess is good for the organization, as well as reducing your stress. While it may vary in cost, it is one well-known way to get work done for you so you have time to get to your other responsibilities.

Tax Preparation Services 

Taxes have become a dirty word. Not because there is anything particularly wrong with it, but the association with taxes and very stressful time of the year for business owners and individual tax filers. That is why a tax preparation service can help outsource work, and get you all caught up on your paperwork for when that time of the year comes around. Helpful as these services are, you also get the added benefit of being able to do them online, which is a big time saver. The convenience of outsourcing your work is ever apparent during these times of importance. Taxes do not need to put your life to a grinding halt, just know what you can do to remedy this stress.

Planning Your Schedules and Routines

Making use of virtual assistants is one way to outsource work without actually having anyone do the work for you. Home assistance products from Amazon or Google are excellent for jotting down your plans through voice recognition, and lets you do many things hand free. One benefit to your busy life comes in the form of organizing it, and planning your schedules and routines will allow you some freedom. Need to plan your workout schedule but have to cook dinner before your partner comes home? Done and done. Nothing feels better than successful multitasking.

Conclusion

Feel like you are getting bogged down by so many responsibilities in your life? You are not alone. In fact, this is one of the biggest issues that most people deal with. Luckily for you, this is far from unresolvable. These simple tips on how to use outsourcing of service or work will benefit you greatly. Improving your mental health, improving your productivity and giving you the freedom to live your life with a new, positive attitude.

The post Why Outsourcing Work Can Improve Your Life appeared first on Blogtrepreneur.

Digital Marketers’ Free Bootcamps Online

Do you realise that any of you who has a Laptop and is playing games for hours daily can devolve one part of the day to earn some money while on the laptop. Imagine how shocked your parents would be! 

Wouldn’t you want to be able to close the laptop and go out meeting your friends, announcing that today you earned $150 or $300? It would be exciting, right? You could buy everyone a drink. You would feel great. 

register here for free bootcamp to open up the possibilities for making money online from your laptop