June 27, 2012

Why Content Writing is Considered Effective

Guest post by Kristen Bradley

Businesses are starting to understand that a positive online presence is mandatory in today's technology driven environment. The old ways of online marketing are over and using old marketing practices will leave your business product in the dust. This is where content writing from numerous individuals through crowdsourcing comes in handy. This way of marketing products is effective and becoming a normal way for business to be relevant online.
Content Writing with High Quality 
The web is always updating to improve the way users find content. In the last few years, it has become mandatory for content to be high quality. Information that is not relevant or full of grammar mistakes will be left out of the first pages on a search engine. This will ultimately leave your business out of the limelight, therefore fewer people buy your product. You need individuals who are skilled enough to put together relevant content that will drive customers to your business product. The best part about using crowdsourcing to get content is that each content writer will to put together information differently. This is like using a thesaurus of keywords that effectively grabs the attention of new and returning customers. This kind of content places your business on the first page on many different engines.

Qualifying Workers Made Easy
The benefit of using a system that is already developed is that you do not need to work too hard to find the right people. Most crowdsourcing sites have a way to test users against your expectations. The worker pool may have many workers, but not every worker is suited to produce your content. Standards set by crowdsourcing companies help you find those gems in a sea of workers. This eliminates the work of placing ads, viewing resumes and checking credentials for thousands of potential workers. The screening process is cut down significantly and you can find only the workers who can produce what you seek.

Once you have a good number of writers you can turn to for projects, keep them happy. Simple communication is worth a lot in this business. You end up with a pool of highly skilled workers, groomed to perfection that churn out great content as you need it. This keeps a steady flow of new content coming out, so that your business can shine in the spotlight with your products. Crowdsourcing and content writing fit perfectly together. When they are used to the fullest ability they produce a powerful end result.

Kristen Bradley is a principal from CrowdSource.com, a premier website helping business leaders succeed with their professional ventures.

June 21, 2012

Is Leadership Flat?

Theoretically yes. Realistically no. This may ruin it for you idealists, but let me explain why.

If you're on a leadership team, there has to be a point person
 Who makes the decision? 
Who takes responsibility for failure? 
Who's the leader?

We'd like to believe that leadership can be flat, but that structure doesn't work. How often does indecision, disagreement or different agendas come into play? Sure, the same can be said for the singular leader, but there still needs to be a single person in charge.

At its purest form leadership is about relationships (minus the leverage of position, power or money). One leader works best. Accountability can come from the board or management team, but everyone wants to know who pulls the trigger

Even in today's contemporary, growing organizations such as Zappos or Facebook, there is still a recognizable face to the brand. Who knows if they are truly the leader, but they're viewed that way. 

Instead of thinking horizontal vs. vertical, consider a circle. If a leadership team is placed in a cylinder, it can be turned to different point persons when necessary. A leader doesn't always have to be in charge. In fact, serving and following is an important trait as a leader. 

Similar to the saying, "There can't be too many chefs in the kitchen," leadership works more effectively when there is one leader and defined roles for the rest. This isn't about power, position or money, but about bringing the most value to a company by "being on the right seat in the bus." 

I'll take it a step further and say leadership is a gift. Anyone can lead, but some are born to do it. 
Yes, leadership skills can be taught, but certain individuals facilitate greater results when they're on top. 

Top 3 Essentials for Web Entrepreneurs

If you're a Web entrepreneur, you probably know what your competition looks like. Quite a few sites are horrible, while only a select few stand out. You don't want to be part of the sub-standard sites out there so it’s vital that you have several essential things to be an online success story. Here are a few lessons for the budding web entrepreneurs out there:
Design Matters
As Web designer Brian Reed once said, "Everything is designed. Few things are designed well." The design of your site matters. It’s the first impression that users will get about your business. Your site should be well designed and a pleasure to look at, especially the landing page. When your site visitors land on your home page, it’s essential that you capture their attention quickly. This means an easy to read and easy to view site where users will know the site's purpose within a few seconds. Grab the visitor's attention and encourage them to click the other page links. Make it easy for your site visitors by letting them know who you are and what you do, briefly and concisely, so they are likely to stay on the site and possibly become customers.

Good Domain Name
Simplicity is especially important when it comes to your domain name. A good domain name is easy to remember, easy to type, and easy to recognize. Although there are plenty of different extensions to choose from today, .com is still the most popular and most easily recognized; generally preferable to a .net, .org, or any other extension. If possible, it’s best to avoid adding dashes or a number that isn't part of your company's name. Extra characters just make it more difficult to remember and type, which could limit the amount of people who are return visitors for your site.

Be Accessible
One of the main reasons that site visitors might not return is frustration. How easily can they get in touch with you? It’s important that your contact information - phone, live chat, or email - is readily accessible. A visitor who can't find the answers they want will automatically start looking for a "Contact" button or page. It’s vital that your contact information is easy to find. Being available for your site visitors is truly be one of the best ways that you can turn the visitors into your buyers.

Besides contact, there's also recognition. The Internet is essentially a massive ocean over which you can cast an impressive net to pull in potential consumers. Note: PPC and SEO. A proper PPC campaign and a means of auditing that campaign can help you get your brand in front of new, relevant eyes while SEO will give you exposure through organic search. You can have all the luck in the world developing your online business, but it means nothing if no one can see it. 

Using these top three tactics are essential for the neophyte entrepreneur. Try these simple tips to see how valuable they can really be!

Zach Buckley is a freelance writer who is interested in exploring the intersection of culture, science and education.  He lives in the Midwest and enjoys music, literature and good food.

June 14, 2012

Startup Life Coach

Today's economy brings uncertainty, so instead of hoping a regular job will provide stability, many people are turning to start their own companies. 

I'm fortunate to be a part of a young entrepreneur community called Career Synergy. We get inspired by other's success stories and are focused on how to help each other. From aspiring to serial entrepreneurs, the best way to learn is to interact with those are are doing it. 
What if you're at that place where you are starting to scale and grow? You're multitasking doing strategy, leading and selling. How do you have enough time to juggle everything? Honestly, you can't. That's where a life coach can help

Zappos and Google have proved that business isn't just about products, but about creating an engaging, productive culture that attracts the best talent. Performance happens naturally when distractions are taken away. What once was seen as a "perk" is now very much a reality. 

A life coach at your company is similar to athletes hiring a personal trainer. The added support, accountability and perspective can be the difference between victory and defeat. Life coaches can be hired as independent contractors or employees, depending on your needs. Think of it like a proactive HR. Sitting down with a coach weekly or bi-monthly gives employees an opportunity to vent and problem solve with an objective voice. Imagine walking into a coach's office at the top of the hour, then leaving in a rejuvenated state less than 60 minutes later. Coaches can diffuse potential bombs before they reach HR.

Hiring a life coach shows your workers that you're invested in them. Motivational speakers are great, but a week later the effect has worn off. Setting goals with a life coach provides measurable results. Create a learning culture at your company by hiring a life coach!

June 10, 2012

The Biggest Loser and Breaking Habits

By Jeff Okita, Founder at Six Taste
Breaking habits are hard. At twenty-four years young, I still think of myself as being open and flexible, and that my personality is still being shaped. Although I know I’ve been approaching the past two weeks with the purpose of making a more meaningful first impression, I find myself falling into old habits. I think it’s because I’m not putting myself in enough situations to practice.
Can people change? 
I remember having this discussion with people and most say you can’t. I think you can, yet most people see my view as idealistic. I’m not saying it’s easy, I think it’s extremely hard to change, but it can be done.
If a person is self-aware, practices, and can measure progress, I think change can be made, it’s just extremely difficult. Look at the show ‘The Biggest Loser’. Say what you will about reality television, I find this show fascinating because it’s about breaking extreme habits. These individuals have to go to the Biggest Loser Facility and discover the root causes of their weight gain, eat healthy, exercise daily, and track their progress. That’s why most contestants are able to keep the weight off - they have made a fundamental change of how they live their life.
Every day people don’t have the luxury of a trainer to force them to practice changing a habit. Instead, if we’re serious about making a change, we have to "create" a trainer, or create a system that forces us to practice. The question becomes, how serious do you want to change? What are you willing to risk to make the change? How uncomfortable are you willing to get?
Personally, I don’t know the answer to these questions yet, but I'd be curious to hear yours...