All posts by Jen Corre

Time is a created thing. To say, ‘I do not have time’, is like saying, ‘I do not want to.’ – Lao Tzu

Time is money.

Yet, we have often found ourselves wasting valuable time doing nothing necessary that would contribute to our work progress or do anything beneficial for our workload. Working in an office with people of diverse background may seem like a fun way to spend your time at work.

However, it is also an avenue for wasting valuable company time through the mindless chatter and gossip or activities that are in no way related to the workload.

More often than not, when employees waste time they tend to procrastinate work-related tasks and would have them pile up by the end of the week. As such, working overtime would ensue which would necessarily translate to employers being constrained to compensating them for the time they would not have needed to make up had they not wasted time in the first place. And yet, time wastage and procrastination remain as two realities in any corporate setting today.

Contrary to what most employees believe employers are well aware and privy to their time wasting habits. That is why they need to be inordinately creative when it comes to coming up with ways to prevent them from wasting any more time. This is because regardless of whether you are a retail conglomerate or an established SEO company (search engine optimization), any wasted time is potentially wasted profit.

So, if you are an employer looking for another alternative to put a stop finally to all the time wasted in your office, try and incorporate the eight strategies below into your daily work routine and see if you can make any significant difference.

Stop wasting time now

1) Work a daily huddle to your morning routine

If you want to see a spike in productivity in your workplace, work an office huddle into your everyday work routine. They do not have to last very long, but it is imperative that you outline the team’s primary objectives which you expect them to tackle for the entire day. Additionally, this is the ideal time to address any potential challenges your team may encounter, and it helps transmit necessary information your team may find essential. This ten to fifteen-minute discussion in the mornings would keep a team focused, ensure you are all working on the same page and would jump start a more productive day.

2) Manage conflict

Conflicts in the workplace may breed animosity within two employees. This can adversely affect a team’s productivity if two employees who are in conflict with each other are involved in the same group as they would want minimal contact with each other as possible. It is best if the problem is promptly mediated to avoid potential delays in workloads. Be diplomatic when it comes to managing conflicts and address them before they escalate into bigger issues. Take the resolution, find a way to have a healthy compromise and resolve the problems and then move on.

3) Terminate chronic problems

office problems

In any corporate setting, the 80-20 rule is effective in various instances and managing conflict is admittedly one of them. The reality is twenty percent of your staff would case approximately eighty percent of your problem. When this occurs, as an employer and as your employees’ primary supervisor, it is imperative that you confront the problem. If the problem persists, however, and an errant employee continues to stir up trouble consider letting them go.

4) Maintain an open communication

Do not always readily assume that the problem lies ONLY with your employees. Take a step back and contemplate that just maybe, you are the problem. Constantly solicit feedback from your employees regarding how you are doing as their spearhead. Their feedbacks, as well as the essential support you are giving them, are two pivotal components that would aid you in making changes before minor issues are given a chance to escalate. Lend a listening ear to your employees and while doing so, be reasonable as well as supportive.

5) Utilize your employees’ talents and skills

employee skills

Your office is composed of diverse individuals with different abilities and skill sets. In the same vein, they also have their inherent limitation. Know what your employees are capable of and what they are not. Take the time to observe them while they are doing their work. Placing individuals in departments wherein they cannot thrive drives them to waste time and stunt their professional growth. Instead, make sure you have employees working to their strengths rather than trying to overcome their weaknesses.

6) Trust your employees

If you are being constantly assaulted with inquiries from employees who are too anxious to proceed without your approval, you will be overwhelmed. It can also be a cardinal sign that your employees are tip-toeing on their every task and that the stakes might be just a little too high in your office. Acknowledge that mistakes can happen and that there is always room for improvement. Alternatively, you can afford your staff the opportunity for growth by allowing them to fix those mistakes. Trust your employees and do not instill too much fear in them or they will end up bungling event the simplest of tasks.

7) Give your employees a sense of ownership

employee sense of ownership

Give your employees an extra incentive in working by letting the profitability of the company become part of their personal benefit as well. They will be motivated to work better because it would mean that your success is their success as well. Whether the incentive granted may be in the form of a profit-sharing plan or a phantom equity is up to you, regardless, it will motivate them to work harder for you.

8) Praise your staff publicly

No matter what stage of life we are in, it can be universally gleaned that positive reinforcement goes a very long way. In the same way, it would work on your employees by reinforcing positive behaviors they have. Do not just stop at personal compliments and dole out public praises to them now and then. Praising employees publicly would likely encourage other employees to emulate that particular employee’s behavior making this situation a win-win for you. So, appreciate your employees where praise is due, and you see a significant positive change in their working habits.

Lastly, to ensure a productive day at the office, make sure your employees have adequate stimulating activities to enjoy. Provide a fun and enjoyable work environment with ample breaks in between to help them re-energize. Because wasting time boils down to how motivated your employee at work is, it is essential that they are provided with a workplace and work wherein, they can thrive. Incorporate the eight tips above into your daily work routine and see if there are any positive changes in your office environment.

 It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about? – Henry David Thoreau

The answer of which highly depends on your very own definition of what productivity is all about. More often than not, we associate the term ‘being productive’ to something that means doing more. This is technically correct considering how the word ‘productive’ originate from the term ‘produce.’

Lots of people at present, regular employees most especially, believes that being busy – juggling lots of tasks in a day – means that they are producing enough. As to whether or not the output is satisfactory remains debatable.

Mr. Thoreau’s statement echoes the very question many workers have in this digital age. Where more is demanded, more is produced. Yet where is the satisfaction and purpose? Producing more does not always mean you are practicing productivity for the right reason. If any, what you are doing is only depleting your energy for things that do not help you achieve your priorities.

There’s a paradox at work here – one that is easy to understand yet often ignored by many. It’s the paradox that tells us to take a step back, stop what we are doing, and reevaluate the quality and motivation we have for the task.

Productivity IS NOT always doing MORE.

Experience and researches have proven that being productive could also signify increasing one’s efficiency in performing the same quantity of tasks. It’s not necessarily doing more things, but rather becoming better at what you already do.

For those involved in digital works however, adhering with quantity-based requirement at a regular basis may be the only option. People like those who undergo SEO training Philippines sessions know that for their company to be at par or be ahead of the market competition, constant production of output is a must. This is where mindfulness and motivation comes in.

To continually keep up with the numbers while keeping your motivation up, understanding productivity’s hidden cost will help you prioritize and make the necessary adjustments fit for the values you uphold. Let’s take a quick look.

Time

Whether your job demands you to be stuck at your desk for hours or something more physical and outdoors, deciding to be more productive takes time.

More of which is attributed to the fact that certain habits are difficult to change. If you want to add one more activity to your regular workload for instance, that could mean sacrificing some of the habits to get more time.

Increasing productivity doesn’t have a one-day, instant trick. It’s a process, and it takes time. Those who manage to deal with it are the ones who see progress in the long run.

Motivation (or willpower)

Taking into consideration the fact that productivity takes time, it’s easy to understand why many find themselves discouraged at the lack of any tangible progress. There may come a point when you feel like your motivation to continue is sucked away, making it difficult to continue doing any productive routine.

Decreased motivation over time is nothing new, and it remains one of the most challenging factors among employees who struggle on keeping up their high quality work consistently. There are some general tips on how one could boost his or her self motivation towards work. But at the end of the day, it’s something unique to an individual.

Regardless of one’s personal strategy, experiencing some ups and downs on your willpower level is part of the price you pay for becoming more productive.

Creativity

“The more you do it, the more you get better at it,” so they say.

However, there’s a direct antithesis to this statement that also holds some truth. It’s that one thing that says, “The more you do it, the more you get tired of it.”

Productivity demands you to invest time in doing the similar task on a regular basis. It’s the only way to get you familiar with the task. Sadly, routine is also one thing that usually gets in the way of your creative muse.

Routine demands a process, something you must follow to finish a particular task. Creativity signifies more freedom and flexibility. This can be a real challenge especially for creative people who need a more dynamic environment to work at. In developing productivity, one may find himself holding back from the usual creative process he is accustomed to.

Value

You may be inclined to multitask. In fact, you may find more satisfaction at the thought of doing more. However, randomly juggling different tasks only tires you more than actually focusing on things that matter.

To make every hour of work count, setting up priorities is vital. And how do you exactly do this? You identify the values that matter to you most. For instance, a person who values success, adventure and learning will most likely prioritize different things compared to someone who prioritizes relationships and social life.

Delegating your focus and energy on things that matter most makes work more rewarding. More importantly, it saves you time from going over tasks that will not help you achieve your goal.

Reevaluating your personal values takes time and your list of priorities could go as many as thirty. One cost you pay in wanting to become more productive is to cut off some of those priorities and reduce them to those that matters soonest.

Productivity can have a lot of connotation depending on who you ask. Some define it from the occasional motivation boost they have that makes them perform better than the usual. Others consider it as a fleeting ideal, present now, gone later.

For digital marketers however, being productive has to be a requirement. The online world is so dynamic and information is passed across different channels in a matter of seconds. It doesn’t wait for your dosage of inspiration. Speed matters and productivity is a constant.

It is a choice, and you control how you wish to inspire yourself to work. Overcome the paradox by trying out different strategies and enjoy quality productivity!

Rank your site higher and it’ll receive more traffic; obtain more visitors and it’ll rank higher on results pages.

Landing on the top positions in the results pages is becoming harder by the day. Or should be we say with each algorithm update? Some search engine optimization (SEO) consulting services try, trick and test Google. They do so using black hat techniques. But, these tactics only bring in immediate, short-term results. Also, that’s not the goal of optimization. Instead, the ultimate goal is to come up with strategies, techniques, and tactics that will produce long-term results. These results are higher ranking, bigger traffic volume, higher conversion rate and higher profits.

Interestingly, the traffic and ranking connection seems like a never-ending cycle. Rank your site higher and it’ll receive more traffic; obtain more visitors and it’ll rank higher on results pages. However, it often starts with appearing on the search engine results pages (SERPs). Now, how will you make your site appear on SERP? Here’s how.

tips to rank higher in google

The importance of backlink

Off-page optimization is as important as on-page optimization. In fact, some experts even think that the latter contributes about 80% to making the SEO campaign a success. Off-page optimization basically refers to the processes that allow getting the most number of backlinks possible.

A backlink is an incoming link from a website, web page to another website or web page. Just so you know, Google loves backlinks. For it, a website that receives lots of backlinks can be considered as an authority site. It’s because a backlink is deemed as a vote to that site. It means that the site contains unique and valuable information that can’t be found elsewhere.

The question now is – how will you earn more backlinks?

Ways to obtain backlinks

1) Competitor analysis

One of the simplest ways to earn backlinks is to copy what your best competitors are doing. Where do they get their backlinks? What sites are linking to them? Which of their contents are receiving the most backlinks? Why? When you do this, link building opportunities available to you will reveal themselves in the process. Perhaps, your competitors are not yet tapping the power of .edu and .gov sites. You can explore these opportunities to surpass their ranking results.

2) Guest blog

Guest blogging is not dead if you want to ask the question. But, the guest blogging that we are doing now is different from the guest blogging we do five years ago. Of course, we still write the content that will be published on a particular website or blog. The idea is to gain links from these established websites. Google gives more weight to this since these links are rather difficult to acquire. But, Google warns the content writers that if obtaining link is the sole purpose of doing guest blogging then, you are doing it wrong. This is the common pitfall. Instead, think of how you can add value to the readers of that blog. In this way, you’d deserve the backlink endowed to your website.

3) Web 2.0 sites

Web 2.0 sites publish user-generated contents. These sites often have social features. Examples of these sites are StumbleUpon, Reddit, and HubPages. Although Google constantly looks into backlinks created through these sites due to possible spamming, the links are highly Google-friendly. The best way to navigate through these sites is publishing 100% unique contents that target one keyword. Integrate multimedia like an image or video. Some sites only allow a backlink to your website once you reached the required number of published articles. Hence, write as often as you can.

4) Testimonials

Business partners and suppliers and other stakeholders that you do business with can also help you in ranking higher in SERPs. You may offer a testimonial to any of them. The beauty of this is that testimonials are published directly on the website. Often, a website allows the person to provide details of his or her company to show the visitors or readers that you are a real person. This means free backlinks for you. Double plus is the website where the testimonial will be published is already an authority site.

5) Link reclamation

From the name itself, it means reclaiming previously linked mentions that are no longer active now. The necessary first step is finding websites that mention your company and its products. Focus on those sites that don’t link back to your website. You may use tools like BrandMentions or Mention.net. Then, contact the website reminding its administrator to add the link to your company name, for instance. A friendly reminder will do. Remember, when contacting the website, give the full details. Include screenshots, so that the person may easily track the unlinked mention.

6) Blog aggregator

A blog aggregator is a website that lists blogs in various industries and niches. The majority of these aggregators offer a dofollow link for free. You need to submit your website for review, however, before the aggregator will include your website in the list. You will be given a unique HTML code to determine that you own the site you are submitting. Upon approval, you will see your website in its appropriate category. Also, there are blog aggregators that focus on specific niches. Make sure that you are submitting your website on the right aggregating site.

7) Broken link building

A broken link refers to a link that is not working, rendering a 404 error message (i.e. Page Not Found). When you find a 404 page that is relevant to your website, you may contact the owner of the site regarding the broken link page. Offer to write content for that page in exchange of a backlink. If you want to do this method in full swing, you might as well install the Check My Links Chrome extension.

A backlink is a strong ranking factor. Your website will not rank in Google without inbound links. If you are wondering if these will work, the answer is YES. Even the experts are doing these simple tactics. While backlinks are not the panacea, no one can underestimate the boost they can do for your ranking. It’s either you do it or your competitors will do it at your expense. It’s your call.

How to be Emotionally Intelligent

(And Why It Is Important in Increasing Productivity)

emotional intelligence

Just recently, Google announces that it discovered what really makes a team productive through its Project Aristotle. Dubbed as psychological safety, a team member has to be nice so he or she can work in a team setting minus the misunderstandings and conflicts. Thus, it doesn’t matter if you are working for an SEO company, FMCG firm or online marketing agency. Bottom-line, you can never go wrong with kindness. And, this is where emotional intelligence comes in.

How can you become an emotionally intelligent employee? That’s the question. In a world full of speakers rather than listeners, answering this question can be a real challenge. The workplace is tormented with noises, so how can you even pay attention to your own emotions, let alone other people’s emotions? Stop right there. Haven’t you realized that emotional intelligence (and the lack of it) affects your productivity? Well, it does.

And what better way to combat this and improve productivity than through improving your EQ (emotional quotient). Before we teach you the process, let’s scrutinize what makes an emotionally intelligent staff.

 

The emotionally intelligent employee

An emotionally intelligent employee is capable of recognizing his emotions and that of others. The person is able to discriminate between his feelings and label such appropriately. Finally, the person uses this information to guide his thoughts and behaviors. According to Daniel Goleman, author of the groundbreaking book ‘Emotional Intelligence,’ an emotionally intelligent individual is personally and socially competent.

Further, the author also identified the five domains of EQ.

1) Knowing your emotions (Self-awareness)
2) Managing your own emotions (Self-regulation)
3) Motivating yourself (Self-motivation)
4) Recognizing and understanding other people’s emotions (Social awareness)
5) Managing relationships (Social skills)

Below is a video of Goleman tackling how and why emotional intelligence becomes the differentiator.

 

The productivity of an emotionally intelligent employee

Did you know that when it comes to performance, employees with average IQs outperform people with high IQs 70% of the time? The perfect combination seems like average IQ and high EQ. There are also studies that claim that 90% of top performers have higher EQ, not necessarily high IQ.

EQ is also examined by TalenSmart to determine how it compares to other critical workplace skills. The experiment concludes that EQ is the strongest predictor of performance with 58% success rate. Thus, EQ can be considered as the foundation of the skills since it impacts what a person says and does everyday and while at the workplace.

What’s more, employees with higher levels of EQ make more money compared to those with lower levels of such. A person with high EQ earns $29,000 more. The more that person increases her IQ, the more she will earn. An emotionally intelligent employee earns an additional of $1,300 with every increase in the EQ level.

Indeed, EQ affects performance and productivity and thus the personal and organizational success (read: bottom-line). That’s how important emotional intelligence is.

 

Becoming an emotionally intelligent employee

Here’s the good news: EQ is a learnable skill. A person can increase his or her emotional intelligence! Nevertheless, you cannot predict the EQ of a person based on how smart he is. Learning is the same regardless if the learner is 15 or 50 years old. EQ is different. Some are born with it. Some are natural at it. Some took years to learn it. Some even took more years to perfect it.

However, if you are going to start doing these things below, you’ll improve your EQ in no time. The items are random but are somehow connected to one another. Warning: Long list.

  • Observe your emotional tendencies
  • Understand and express how you feel exactly
  • Don’t let other people label your emotions for you
  • Don’t let others judge how you label your own emotions
  • Be specific with your choice of words to describe how you feel
  • Pay attention to people, things, events that make you feel that way
  • Understand how you feel connects with your behavior
  • Don’t judge your own feelings
  • Control your negative emotions
  • Don’t let negative feelings cloud your own judgment
  • Decide how to behave in face of a negative feeling
  • Share how you feel with other people
  • Be honest with what you really feel
  • Be more responsible for your own reactions
  • Act calmly and rationally
  • Be more receptive to feedback
  • Use criticisms wisely
  • Sense other people’s emotional needs
  • Listen more empathetically
  • Empathize with other individuals around you
  • Ask questions
  • Pay attention to other’s body language to uncover their feelings
  • Observe how your emotions manifest physically
  • Don’t hurt other people’s feelings
  • Know when you hurt someone’s feelings and apologize
  • Be open-minded
  • Don’t confine yourself to your own feelings and beliefs
  • Respect other people’s feelings
  • Appreciate the role of other people in your life
  • Try to understand where they are coming from
  • Be trustworthy especially when a person shares his or her feelings with you
  • Observe how other individuals react to certain situations
  • Compare other people’s emotions to your own emotions
  • Show genuine care and concern for people and their experiences
  • Be willing to help others
  • Be flexible and adaptable
  • Channel your emotions creatively
  • Have a personal strategy so negative emotions won’t get the best of you
  • Exert self-control by avoiding impulsive actions and expressions
  • Say no to someone if you really have to
  • Distance yourself from emotionally draining mistakes
  • Don’t dwell on negative circumstances
  • Let go of grudge
  • Approach toxic people rationally
  • Don’t let negative emotions fuel the chaos
  • Disconnect from time to time
  • Have a strong sense of your own feelings

Before you may put into practice your knowledge, it would be wise to determine your current EQ. There are many EQ assessment tools online, most of which are free. We recommend you assess your EQ first to know the areas that you need to improve best. The result will be your baseline, something to start your EQ improvement journey. Commit to improving the initial results and achieve those competencies that you lack. After all, it is your personal excellence that you are working on.

Good luck!

In content marketing, even if your content may have no virality, it should be shareable at the very least. Shareability is critical particularly for startups and those companies that have a relatively small community, especially in the social realms. The goal is to make your contents as easily shareable as possible. But, how can you possibly do that when you are making it so easy for them to ignore your contents? How come, you might ask. Below are the reasons.

1) No one knows your content exists

What do you do after hitting the publish button? Leave it as it is? How can you expect your readers to share your contents when even you are not sharing them? Now, ask yourself. Will you share your own content? Can you honestly tell if your content is highly shareable? If you can’t even judge the shareability of your own content, no one will also do so.

It is one measure of the shareability of a content – when you actually want to share it with others and so others they can share it with their own networks. While there are various ways of discovering contents, the basic premise is that distribution starts with the content creators themselves. Make me aware of it. That’s the very first thing you must do.

IMPORTANT: DISTRIBUTE YOUR CONTENT

2) No one knows who you are

Let’s say that you’ve written a share-worthy content. The question now is – why will I share it when I don’t even have a clue who the writer behind such? Trust is a big word, and even more so today when even the media are tricked of believing a hoax as an actual news. No one wants to be a part of those-who-don’t-verify-the-veracity-of-a-content-before-sharing-it statistics.

With that said, before anyone shares your content, you must prove your trustworthiness and credibility first. Trust in you means trust in your content, too. Content sharing is also a form of recommendation. Thus, you must give your target audience some good reasons before they can recommend you. Publish information about yourself and make it easy for others to find.

IMPORTANT: CREATE AN AUTHOR BIO

3) There are no share buttons

A classic! How can your audience share the contents they’ve just read when there are no social widgets to support the task? Some sites or blogs put them buttons, but these are hidden somewhere that is not so visible. That’s another mistake on your part that kills the chance of your contents being shared online.

Did you know that if a person thinks that your content is so great it is a sin not to share it, he or she will copy and paste your link and share it with his or her friends? Make it easy for this person and other people to share your content by putting your share buttons where it must be placed, in the first place. Social widgets are no longer an add-on, these are now a must. And, make sure these are working otherwise, the person might lose interest in sharing the content.

IMPORTANT: MAKE THE SOCIAL ICONS NOTICEABLE

4) Your content is boring

When I say boring, it means not the actual content, but how it is structured. READ: Text without any picture. Admit it or not, but images give articles more substance. Of course, when putting an image, make sure that it is relevant to the contents because people will judge not just the text, but the image as well based on its relevance and shareability. Likewise, make sure that the image is in the right format because each social network has its respective image dimension requirements.

Have you heard of visual content marketing? Indeed, contents that are accompanied by relevant images get 94% more views than those contents that have no images whatsoever. Take it from Facebook. The social network giant updates feeds with giving links with pictures more reach than those links that don’t include any image. Images increase content visibility. Don’t forget that.

IMPORTANT: PUT THE RIGHT IMAGE

5) Your content lacks value

Long-form content is emphasized more than ever. This means reading a content entails at least 3 minutes of your readers’ time. What can you bring to the table that your readers can takeaway from your content in exchange for spending their time reading it? Put simply, is reading your article worth a readers’ time? If not, then that’s a major problem.

Sometimes, it is not about how short or long the content is. If your blog post is divided into ten parts and yet a reader can learn lots of things from each part, then there is no reason he or she won’t read the succeeding nine parts. It is better to publish a 500-word article that is packed with practical and actionable tidbits than read a 2,000-word post that is full of fluff.

IMPORTANT: BRING VALUE EVERY TIME

BONUS

Your contents are indifferent

Contents must show compassion, too. If it focuses too much on the brand, no one will share it. They should not be too salesy because I, for instance, would only think that you are after my business, and you don’t necessarily care for your audience. There is no goodwill enough to make me believe that you care for the greater good.

As such, your readers are human unless otherwise you are writing and publishing contents for optimization’s sake – traffic and ranking, that is. Even so, experts would always say to write for human, not bots. Us, humans, value relationships more than brands and if a brand can show genuine concern for its public, it is easier to build a community of content advocates. Connect with them at the individual level.

IMPORTANT: BE HUMANELY RELATABLE

Perhaps, the last one is the one of the most important content marketing tips that this article can share with you. Put your readers front and center, knowing what ticks them, what piques their interest and what causes they support are surefire ways of making the contents you publish as highly shareable as possible.

To praise or not to praise. That is the question.

praising employees

Image source

Some experts claim that praising a child only manipulates and steals his or her pleasure. Can we say the same for the employees? Isn’t giving feedback albeit compliments an essential aspect of creating a culture of a highly-engaged workforce? If you cannot praise your employees, what should you do then? What’s the reasonable compromise?

Praising boosts productivity

Indeed, new and more solid evidence regarding upholding positive feedbacks are emerging by the day. A study from Harvard Business School reveals that activating a person’s best self-concept can lead to immediate and long-term outcomes. Put simply, praising an employee often leads to improvements in:

  • Performance under pressure,
  • Creative problem-solving,
  • Resilience to stress and burnout,
  • Relationships with employers,
  • Emotions, and
  • Resistance to diseases.

Dr. Jooa Julia Lee, the co-author of the study, claims that employees who are reminded of their best work tend to be more creative and less stressed than those who receive no feedback whatsoever. That’s because there’s the constant yearning to learn about how he or she positively impacts or contributes to others, a part of the process of developing an employee’s best self-concept. Otherwise, there’d only be poor performance, emotional exhaustion, and high turnover.

When praising feels unnatural

Now we know that praising employees is a good practice. One problem that may arise from this situation, however, is that singing praises in public may feel unnatural. In other words, not all of us are comfortable in giving praises in private, what more in public?

Not all managers and supervisors are comfortable doing it especially in front of all other employees who are not the subject of the praise. There could be the fear of instilling a sense of indignity for some. Hence, they hold back. Some supervisors feel that praising their employees will only spoil them, so they keep the praises to themselves.

For some, the extent to which they can offer praises stops at annual performance reviews. It forms part of the performance appraisal, pointing out the person’s achievements and what needs to be improved. These “praises” are often formal and serious, and thus, cannot necessarily motivate the person.

Taking praising easy

What these managers and supervisors do not realize is that the failure to recognize the small wins of their subordinates is a deviation from their core responsibilities. A supervisor needs to encourage a worker so he or she would grow along with his or her job.

Furthermore, the study concludes with the fact that

Most societies and organizations have not created vehicles for reminding people who they are when they are at their best, even though theory suggests that this information can inspire them to achieve more of their potential.

There. There lies the importance of giving praises. Hence, any diligent supervisor would encourage his or her subordinates to push their limits while also building the right environment where they can do so. Such an environment could mean providing them with well-intentioned criticisms and sincere praises to guide their personal and professional growth.

Convey positive messages thoughtfully

Giving positive feedback should be intuitive. Nonetheless, there are instances when you need to choose your words to say to the person carefully more so when someone else is going to hear it. When you say “good job,” make sure it is clear what job you are referring to. Be specific.

Make the praise genuine

Never offer a praise just because you are compelled to do so. Praise whenever something good arises. And when you praise a person’s work, make sure that it is thoughtful and heartfelt to maximize the impact of your message. Make it meaningful because your employees would know that you’re just faking it.

Avoid the sandwich method

Perhaps, you have heard the cliché of providing negative-positive-negative feedback. Stay away from this technique otherwise it’ll become a nasty habit that only confuses your employees. Often, the staff will only focus on the negatives and forget about the positives completely.

Don’t over-praise

Over-praising has its own perils regardless of how well-intentioned it is. It can work against even with the best interest of your workers. A praise should not lose its meaning; the recognition must match the person’s effort and thereby, results. When you go overboard about praising, the perceived value of not just that one particular feedback but all the succeeding ones will be lessened.

Know the person

Again, it is not just the supervisors who may be uncomfortable in giving praises. Some of your workers may feel uncomfortable when receiving praises as it makes them the center of attention. Know how an employee responds to a recognition so the praise may achieve its intended impact.

Balance the praise

Top performers are producing great results because, well, they constantly receive recognitions. Just make sure that they are not performing just for the sake of leeching on praises. Thus, make sure that you praise or offer words of encouragement to your lackluster staffers. They need it.

Dale Carnegie Training provides a list of phrases to use when praising an employee.

  • I am learning a lot from you.
  • I am really glad that you are part of our team.
  • I really trust you and that means a lot to me.
  • Thank you for helping us out; you were a major factor in the success of this _____.
  • That’s a great idea; let’s roll with it. In fact, why don’t you take the lead role in getting it done.
  • You are one of the best _____ that we’ve had in this position.
  • You have a rather significant contribution to this project; thank you.
  • You have truly set a new standard for all of us.

Forbes also offers suggestions on how to go about praising your employees.

1) Focus performance appraisals on strengths instead of weaknesses.

2) Provide opportunities to succeed and excel and let them know if they are doing well or not.

3) Promote a culture of commendation.

Providing feedback is a fundamental part of people management. It can be good or bad. It can be positive or negative. It can be a praise or criticism. However, it must never be ugly. Strike a balance between providing the most accurate feedback based on performance and outcome. Eventually, you’ll be seeing deeply engaged and highly-performing staffs.

12 Things You Don’t Know True Leaders Do

There are things that separate a true leader from a mediocre one or the one who claims who be a true leader but is nothing more than just a lip service. To those who claim to be true leaders in every sense of the word: do you even know how true leaders spend their time? Here’s the how. Here are the things that true leaders do that you’re might not be aware of.

True leaders lead

Leadership is about responsibility, not necessarily about power. But, only true leaders know how to empower their people. If a leader has to say, “just follow because I’m your leader,” then he or she is not a true leader. Empowerment means showing the people the way – the way to do things, the way to deal with complaints, the way to combat stress, the way to handle conflicts, etc.

True leaders strategize

Any unit or group needs a framework, a strategy. Only true leaders can push the people in the right direction. They bring not only focus but also the discipline to move onward the determined goals. However, the strategies we are talking about here are not only about the tangibles or the outcomes. They are also applicable to the people. There’s a humane side of every implemented strategy that only true leaders understand.

True leaders communicate

Building on the above, how the group or team members act greatly depend on the conduct of the leader. No team, group or unit can move forward without taking how the staff feels and thinks about the implementation of a particular strategy, for instance. In pulling the group along, the leader needs to communicate with the followers. Most importantly, the leader needs to explain the vision using specifics, not buzzwords.

True leaders establish

Clear expectations, that is. While it is an essential component of leadership, establishing expectations is an often overlooked component. People naturally crave for understanding. They need to know what are expected of them. Otherwise, they won’t make sense of the direction or the goal that you are trying to pursue and achieve. Only true leaders recognize such a need; hence, he or she provides guidance to whoever needs it.

True leaders encourage

True leaders ask, and they ask the right questions. Only the amateurish leaders dictate the policies. Instead, true leaders ask the followers how and “why do we need to do it this way and not the other way around.” Other than seeking answers, the leader also encourages his or her people to ask questions, too. True leaders invite open criticism. They ask open-ended questions to provoke insights and actions with the goal of improving current practice and inspiring innovation.

True leaders instill

A leader engages the followers not because he or she is dependent on them, but because they deserve it. Engagement is an essential part of the process. Any leader wants an inspired, committed and motivated follower. That’s why true leaders need to instill a sense of confidence, independence, and assertiveness in them, all of which forms part of empowerment. Only when they feel empowered that your followers will commit.

True leaders support

Followers need to be effective and efficient at all times. However, everyday problems can take a toll on how your people do their respective jobs. The greatest gift of true leaders is making themselves available whenever the followers need him or her. Average leaders tend to distance himself or herself from the others in light of an inevitable problem. No true leader does that. Instead, a true leader becomes the catalyst of solutions.

True leaders anticipate

Part of the leadership job is anticipating potential problems and creating contingencies. Through this, the entire team or group is prepared to handle the impending setbacks. True leaders are proactive, and they take pride in it. They don’t fear the unknown; instead, they face it with courage. True leaders also persuade their followers to the same – overcome their own fears, weaknesses, and limitations.

True leaders inspire

Inspiration is essential; it drives us to be the best that we can be. True leaders draw inspiration from their own lives as well as on the things around him or her. However, their inspiration is also the key to inspiring others, specifically their followers. How can you inspire others if you aren’t inspired yourself?

True leaders decide

A leader’s life revolves around decisions; it comes with the territory. Nevertheless, only true leaders make smart, informed decisions or those decisions that are based on hard and proven facts. They don’t do ‘guesstimates.’ True leaders are aware that every decision they make is equally critical. And they don’t let their followers make decisions so they can take the blame when the going gets tough. True leaders don’t engage in a blame game. They admit their mistakes and correct them since they are fully aware that they are accountable for their own actions and decisions.

True leaders prioritize

While leaders juggle various tasks and responsibilities on a daily basis, they know how to prioritize. True leaders choose their battles, knowing which of the tasks on hand are the most important and require immediate attention. Although some leaders would emphasize multi-tasking, true leaders value mono-tasking that gets the job done faster and at the expected quality. Indeed, they value quality over quantity and completion over perfection.

True leaders build

They build a community of followers. True leaders earn the trust and respect of the people around him or her even that of his or her rivals. True leaders don’t follow the competition. In fact, they are the competition. They are the standards. They set the bar so high that it is very difficult for others to follow suit. Nevertheless, they keep their feet on the ground. They don’t brag. They are humble, noble and sincere.

You think you know what true leaders do, but you have no idea. But, after reading this, perhaps, you’d get a good grasp what makes a true leader in every sense of the word. Now, you can easily pinpoint a true leader from that one person who is painfully yet regretfully claiming to be one but leave the scent of mediocrity when he or she passes by.

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We all love ourselves some guru, and for us, it’s Neil Patel. In one of his articles, Neil talks about the times when a company must absolutely hire an SEO consulting services. It may not necessarily be an agency; it could be an in-house SEO. Then again, Neil also shares insights on why you must not hire your own SEO experts, that is, in-house. Here’s our take on these issues.

When do you need the help of an SEO company?

1) While planning a website

Is your company planning to launch a website soon? Some experts such as Bruce Clay advocates as early as 2012 the need for SEO web design. Yes, there is such a thing. A website that is built from scratch should be also optimized from scratch. While there could be some conflicts regarding structuring and programming the site, a website that is optimized from the ground up performs best SEO-wise.

Unfortunately, not all companies fail to realize this. The most often route taken is designing and developing the website before optimizing it instead of optimizing the design first before it should be developed. Since the website will be optimized eventually, there is the apparent redundancy in cost. Thus, for seamless integration, SEO must be considered early on the planning stage.

A website is an essential aspect of any digital marketing strategy. There is no single digital marketing campaign we’ve encountered that doesn’t involve a website. Even the content marketing is funneled down to and through the website. Website development is inescapable, and so does website optimization from the bottom up.

2) While redesigning a website

A website redesign is almost always considered due to performance issues particularly those that are hurting the user experience (UX). Come to think of it. You won’t be redesigning your site if it is performing to every expectation, right? However, a website redesign is a black hole that sucks whatever ranking and traffic you have built over the years. Would you risk losing such because of a redesign? Definitely not!

SEO should be your number consideration at this point. The experts can conduct a thorough website analysis specifically identifying which among the pages will be affected the most. The covers all aspect of SEO from inbound links to images. Afterward, the expert will come up with recommendations that can be integrated into the redesign. They call these technical SEO.

If you are thinking of doing it on your own, don’t. You cannot wing it; let an SEO company help you with this one the way you would commission a web design company to redesign your website. Just let them do what the SEO company does best. You might be surprised to know just how un-optimized your website is.

3) While recovering from a penalty

Most of the website owners only approach an SEO company when their sites were hit with a Google penalty. A sad truth. Although some site owners would learn a link building strategy or two, they don’t know any better. They won’t know that what they are doing is actually against the guidelines set by Google. In fact, some website owners don’t even know that these guidelines exist.

Recovering from a penalty, regardless of its severity, can take up to 9 months or even more, depending on the strategies and tactics employed to ‘clean’ the website. The fact that websites heavily rely on traffic to rank high cannot be emphasized enough. Technically, your site will receive low traffic volume if Google de-indexed the site. Now, you are seeing the criticality of recovering from a penalty.

The question now is if you are responsible for the de-indexing of your site, should you be the one to recover your website from the penalty? If you insist, you can do it on your own. However, don’t expect any immediate result more so if you have no idea whether the strategies you implement are effective enough to remove the penalty or not. That’s the main difference unlike when you hire an SEO to do the recovery for your website.

4) After conducting a search

That’s very simplistic. Nonetheless, what we mean is if you are doing a simple keyword search and you cannot find your website on the first page of the search results page and not even on the fifth page, then you are definitely doing something very wrong. It is either you are targeting the right keywords, but your website is ranking for the wrong keywords or that you are targeting the wrong keywords. Period.

There are two things that are evident; one, your rankings are declining and two, your traffic volumes are declining as well. These are just two of the things that SEO experts have learned to deal with with utmost eagerness and urgency. Why? Because every single traffic that your website is not able to convert is a lost opportunity. Adding insult to injury, you are losing each of them to your competitors.

Further, there are also two things that an SEO service provider possess namely recommendations and deliverables. Again, after conducting an SEO audit, the SEO specialists will give you a list of recommendations on how to improve your websites along with the target deliverables and timeline. If you or you will allow the agency to do the changes for you, then there is no reason your website should not rank in the very near future. A quality SEO company can rank your website in just three months.

Now, you can see clearly why you should not underestimate the importance of hiring an SEO agency and SEO per se. An agency is there to help, not to scam you. And don’t you ever believe the most common misconception that SEO is dead because it’ll never be; it’s so alive otherwise you won’t be here reading this article. There could be some changes in terms of algorithm updates as Neil points out. However, the core of SEO will remain the same for the years to come, and it’ll only get stronger as competition gets tougher.

How Much Time Do You Really Need to Do SEO?

how much time do you need to do seo

Search engine optimization (SEO), which some of you dread (of course, we know), seems like a daunting task. Well, it doesn’t seem so because it is really daunting. If you aren’t doing SEO yourself, you might not understand the dauntingness (love this word) of it all. This is particularly if you are letting an SEO company to do all the optimization works for you, which is completely a-okay.

Lucky for you, but if you want to know what you are paying for the man-hours involved, here’s a simple walkthrough.

 

The simplest answer

To answer the question, you will need A LOT of time to do SEO.

SEO is a multi-factored activity. It also depends on what optimization works your company needs. For example, a website that is nowhere near the top 10 search engine results page (SERP) requires more time than a website that is already ranking on positions 11 to 20 for specific keywords. These are your factors; I haven’t mentioned competition yet. Definitely, at least one of your rivals are implementing their own strategies. Likewise, the competition against top ranking keywords is another story.

Thus, an answer applicable to all companies is difficult to come by. All we can say is… it depends.

 

The work required

There are three major opportunities to optimize a website and each opportunity involves man-hours of its own. These are on-site, on-page, and off-site.

On-site SEO

Audit

On-site optimization always starts with a website audit to determine how it is currently performing SEO-wise. Optimizers need to know how does the website appeals to both users and bots. A thorough audit will be the foundation of the future improvements on the site so this must be taken seriously.

Among others, the tasks involved are:

  • Analyzing the site speed
  • Checking the keywords used
  • Conducting a keyword research
  • Analyzing the link profile (internal and external)
  • Analyzing the navigation (if the site is intuitive)
  • Checking if the site already includes micro formatting (URL, logo, and other markups)
  • Analyzing contents including structure and duplicate
  • Identifying errors (i.e. broken links, missing pages, bad codes, heavy images, etc.)
  • Checking the sitemap
  • Checking the social media activities (i.e. social widgets installation and placement)
  • Checking the site’s mobile-friendliness
  • Checking the site’s overall security
  • Checking Google Analytics and Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmasters Tools) implementation

Estimated time: 8 to 40 hours

* More man-hours will be needed if the website will require a redesign

On-page SEO

On-page SEO forms part of the on-site SEO. It’s just that the former is taken on the page level while the latter is considered on the site level. The tasks involved are:

  • Checking the tags (i.e. title, meta, header, image alt, etc.)
  • Checking whether each page has unique tags
  • Assigning landing pages or creating new ones for each keyword

Estimated time: 8 to 16 hours

For these on-site and on-page SEO, it would be much better to check this checklist so you’d really understand what needs to be done.

Set-up

Setting up the SEO campaign starts with the implementation based on the results of the audit. The tasks involved are:

  • Implementing recommendations based on the analyses

Estimated time: 16 to 40 hours

Monitoring

After completing the initial setup, period checkups must be implemented. Adjustments must be made based on the results of each checkup. If any issues arise (major and minor), troubleshooting is required as well. Specifically, the tasks involved are:

  • Checking Google Analytics and Search Console
  • Measuring the campaign
  • Analyzing for improvements
  • Troubleshooting based on the recommendations
  • Preparing ranking and traffic reports
  • Drafting new recommendations based on the reports

Estimated time: 4 to 8 hours per week

Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO are optimization efforts performed beyond the site. Nevertheless, this aspect of SEO comes in various forms and completely depends on the extent that you want to invest on it. These are tactical and yet technically optional. The tasks involved, but are not limited to the following, are:

  • Building and earning links
  • Promoting contents on social media
  • Doing other peripheral SEO strategies

Estimated time: 12 to 24 hours per week

Content development

Content creation is another daunting task and an ongoing one at that. Writing a blog post, press release or article may seem easy, but it is not. The amount of research involved alone may discourage you. Alternatively, you can outsource content writing to a service provider. In this way, you may focus on other more important things to do.

Estimated time: 4 to 16 hours per week

 

A basic caveat

In every task, you may use a tool, but be careful what you use. Basically, the use of tools is subjective. There are hundreds to thousands of SEO tools and apps online; it’s up to you to choose which one you think is the right fit to your purpose. [Notice that I said 'the right fit' not 'the best tool' because all of them claims to be the best. Pun intended.]

For best results, try using Google’s products (Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Google Trends, Google Keyword Planner, etc.). They’ll tell you what to do exactly. We use this tools for our audits as well as other tools online such as Screaming Frog and Moz.

 

The plausible timeline

Month 1 – Audit and analysis

An entire month will be devoted to analyzing the website and its current strategy. Recommendations must be made based on the analysis. It is possible to conduct the analysis and technical changes within a month.

Month 2 – Technical SEO

Again, the technical changes may have already been implemented by this time. If the website requires more than just simple coding tweaks, this can go on for at least 2 months. That’s why it is advisable to consider SEO when developing a site from scratch or during a redesign. Nevertheless, while technical SEO is on the works, building contents and links may start now.

Month 3 – Content development

Once everything’s implemented, the foundational works such as creating contents may start now. An entire month might be needed, but this will still depend on the types of contents that you want to be created. If you’ve started publishing contents on the second month, you might be seeing results on the end of the third month.

Moreover, the succeeding months must be devoted to ongoing content creation, link building and technical optimization. You have to do this to improve your search performance to the tune of #1 position. Yes, aiming for that position is hard, but no one says that it’s impossible.

To put things in perspective, you need to invest 32 to 96 hours to do the groundwork and another 20 to 48 hours per week to do SEO. So, that’s really a lot. Again, you may do it yourself, hire an in-house SEO specialist or outsource to a local SEO company. It’s your call.

 

Inc | Hobo | SEOMark | Forbes | Search Engine Watch

As digital marketers, we all know what content marketing is. You, as our readers, may not know that we are doing some sort of marketing through the contents you are reading from our website, blog, Facebook page, etc. That is, an SEO company may churn hundreds of relevant contents for the readers without the readers realizing it. With this, it would be great to know why we are publishing content consistently from both writer and reader’s perspectives and how we come up with contents to publish.

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Why content marketing is important to us – digital marketers?

There is nothing absolutely new about content marketing. Remember infomercials? Well, they are not actually published, but we consume this type of contents nonetheless. Further, a study conducted by Content Marketing Institute revealed that about 93% of marketers are using some form of content marketing in their marketing portfolio.

How content marketing revolves along with the changes in the digital landscape is profound. However, there is no denying the immense benefits of doing content marketing. Compared to traditional marketing, content marketing is a very cost-effective strategy and it generates more and highly-qualified leads. Because it is inbound, it can generate up to 54% more leads. Aside from that, it breeds consumer satisfaction and loyalty. About 90% of online consumers find the contents very useful. They are more confident in buying from companies that publish content regularly.

You can say that we regard content marketing as a specialized strategy. Why not? It puts the consumers at the center of our overall marketing strategy. Content is more attractive to consumers than blatant, intrusive marketing. It keeps their interest and gives them the freedom whether to buy or not, that is, after consuming the content.

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Why content is important to you – readers?

Well, it is easy to discern why contents is and should be important to the readers – it is in-depth learning in a capsule, to say the least. Our goal is making your lives easier and more convenient while solving your problems on hand. That’s empowerment. So, the next time you are reading an article or watching a video, be reminded that you are being empowered in the process.

Knowing why consuming content is important to you is paramount to the success of our content marketing strategy. We call this customer-centric content, which is not an easy process. If we want to produce content that you will find informative and useful, we need to get to know you first. This is a common pitfall wherein getting to know your customers and really knowing them are two very different concepts. Unfortunately, the lack of knowledge of who we are marketing to will reflect on the implemented strategies.

For us, it will take a lot of activities such as below:

1) Conducting a market research

More than knowing your demographics and behaviors, we will talk to current customers. We would like to know your needs, likes, and preferences. Admittedly, the market research can be lenient to our brand, products, and services, but the main goal is how we can keep you as patrons. We would also like to know the reasons you will no longer patronize our brand. We might get you involved through the media that you are most familiar with including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.

customer-centric-content-marketing

We’d like to hear your voice, too. Including what you think about our contents and what will motivate you to share them. This is how value is spread, and this is only possible if we have valuable contents. One possible pitfall here that we, content writers, must avoid is thinking that the perception of usefulness is universal. Well, it is not. What we find useful may be useless to our readers. This is where the importance of knowing your audience comes in.

2) Define the target audience

After developing an in-depth understanding of our customers, we can now define who our contents must target. Through this, we will only create contents that solve your problems by answering your buying questions, for instance. Nevertheless, we will not just develop the contents on a whim. We still need to understand how you consume our contents. For example, we want to know if our customers are reading articles through their desktop or mobile devices.

Evidently, these are concerted efforts. Having a good grasp of the interests, preferences and pain points are serious since we can only start looking for the right topics and right formats after knowing all these. As such, the content that we should develop must resonate and appeal to our target audience. This leads us to the next logical step.

3) Produce dynamic content

When we say dynamic content, it means contents that are highly valuable and shareable. Another pitfall that content writers face is that no matter how well we acquaint ourselves with our audience, our readers will eventually get bored. That is, if we cannot produce contents that will keep their interest and energies high. We are always on the losing end if we think of content marketing as a mere process of churning out ‘fresh content.’ It is more than that.

Some examples of dynamic contents are how-to guides, e-books, podcasts, infographics, videos, and images. This can be either branded or non-branded. Notice the diversity in the types of contents that audiences from around the world are consuming – be it on World Wide Web or social media. That’s because the diversity of devices where contents are consumed. There should be a balance there. The mantra is making the right contents available for the right audience at the right time at the right place using the right device.

 

Our jobs don’t stop there. We still need to track whether our content strategies are successful or not. Basically, we need to determine which types and formats of contents drive the best results. We need to improve our efforts just so we can align more useful contents to you – our audience. So, you see, even if our strategies are geared toward profitability, our main aim is to provide our readers with a unique value. This is a more worthwhile pursuit.

 

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