June 30, 2014

5 Web tools that can power small business success

proofhub-assignments-and-projects-big

Post by Sharon Thomson

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

Sharon-ThomsonThe challenge facing small businesses is that they have to compete against bigger, deep-pocketed competitors when selling products and providing services to clients and customers. While they can’t match their rivals’ budget or resources, they can take advantage of tools that can raise the quality of their communication and collaboration, help them execute better and produce higher quality results.

Below are five free or low-cost tools that will help small businesses get ahead. Some are project management systems and some are task management software — regardless, their goal is to enhance business productivity. See which ones work best for you.

 

podio-icon

Podio: Bringing it all together

1Podio: This online project management application facilitates communication and collaboration among team members across various project areas. The app enables your staffers to perform their tasks with enhanced organization and flexibility, leading to more timely, higher quality results. Users are given the ability to create different customizable apps depending on their business needs. Some of Podio’s useful features include commenting, task management, file sharing and other capabilities. Continue reading

June 23, 2014

The inevitable rise of native advertising


The Native Matrix Who is it written by?
Editorial staff Sales staff/
ad agency
Brand execs
Who is it published by? Publisher Public relations Sponsored content/
Native advertising*
Brand journalism/
Thought leadership
Brand Content marketing Marketing Blogging
*Sponsored content is designed to be read; native advertising is designed to be shared.

Done right, it can complement your content marketing strategy

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

Chris AbrahamNearly everywhere you look these days, native advertising is booming. If you’re not familiar with the concept, native advertising is similar to “advertorials,” designed to be entertaining enough in its own right to compel visitors to consume, be influenced by, and even share the content, be it videos, images, articles, or music, based only on the targeted and contextual appeal that holds on its own.

The content often tends to be camouflaged in native garb, looking and feeling like the surrounding editorial content in both tone and voice, whether it’s an article on the Atlantic, a Vlog on YouTube, a snappy on Instagram, or a pithy 140 characters dose on Twitter. Continue reading

June 18, 2014

11 steps to creating truly awful content

If you can’t be the best, why not be the worst?

Target audience: PR professionals, marketers, content creators, brand journalists, communicators.

David SparkWouldn’t it be great if someone could simply explain to you the secret to creating great content? Maybe they could walk you through it with just a dozen steps. Thousands of people like you will gravitate toward such an article. It could be called “How to Create Great Content” and you can cross your fingers that it doesn’t include the same redundant advice (e.g., “Create something interesting that would be of value to your audience”).

BadEgg300Have you noticed that these “How to Create Great Content” articles are written by the dozens if not hundreds. They’re all useless. In fact, I wrote an article on just that sad reality (READ: “Why I’m Annoyed By All ‘How to Create Great Content’ Advice”).

The only way to create great content is to do it over and over again until you get good at it. And then once you’re good at it, keep doing it until you’re better at it. Continue reading

June 16, 2014

6 things to keep in mind when hiring a social media expert

Social media managers implement the strategy themselves. Consultants build, teach and move on.

Social media managers implement the strategy themselves. Consultants build, teach and move on.

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, entrepreneurs, educators.

Post by Andrew Lisa

Andrew-LisaIf you’re spending too much time on social media – or too little – you may want to consider hiring a social marketing expert. Your business’s most direct link to customers, social media gives your business personality, voice and – most importantly – reach. If you can’t do it yourself, be honest about your own talents and limitations and bring a pro into the picture. But first, consider the following.

Unless you need a manager, get a consultant

1There are different kinds of experts. Managers construct, implement and maintain a social media strategy. Their services are ongoing. Consultants, on the other hand, immerse themselves in a business, analyze what they have and what they need, and then they teach dedicated staff members how to implement and run the strategy. Once they’re confident that the client business has it down, they – and their fee – move on. Continue reading

June 9, 2014

Google begins to integrate G+ & YouTube channels

GPlus

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

Chris AbrahamGoogle Plus isn’t dead, despite rumors to the contrary. In fact, it’s becoming more and more embedded into everything that is Google.

It’s Google’s hub, from which YouTube, Google Business Pages, Google Mail, and even Google Apps for Business (which looks like it’s rebranding as Google + Business — interesting). Continue reading

June 2, 2014

How to incorporate agile business techniques into your marketing

Agile business
The agile business philosophy adapts well to social marketing.

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, entrepreneurs, educators.

Post by Andrew Lisa

Andrew-LisaAgile business – a philosophy that involves frequent, meticulous planning sessions followed by “sprints,” and then reevaluation – has been used in many industries to make businesses more flexible and competitive.

The success of agile business models has been so profound, in fact, that some enterprises are beginning to incorporate the concept into their social media marketing plans. Many are finding that the up-to-the-minute, real-time nature of social media is a natural framework for the agile business theory to flourish. Continue reading