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This is a guest post from Kamy Anderson. He is an ed-tech enthusiast with a passion for writing on emerging technologies in the areas of corporate training and education. He is an expert in learning management system & eLearning authoring tools, currently associated with ProProfs Training Maker.

Employee training is one of the most important factors for organizational success, as it helps a workforce enhance their skills and reach their maximum potential. It is how they continually learn and grow, making them more satisfied with their jobs. And you know that happy employees are productive employees.

Moreover, a 2018 Skills Gap Report by Udemy shows that 51% of employees would leave a company if it doesn’t provide them with necessary training. Facilitating regular learning will also help you retain your employees.

With that in mind, take a look at the top 14 ways to train your employees and help them grow:

1. In-House Classes and Seminars

In-house classes held by professional instructors are helpful in creating customized employee training aligned with your core values and goals. The same goes for onsite seminars.

Both of these learning and development programs are very cost-effective, as you can train your entire workforce inside your company walls.

2. Business Classes at Colleges and Universities

Many colleges and universities, as well as lots of technical schools, provide various business classes for professional learning and development.

You don’t have to worry about your employees missing work because business classes are held in the evening and over the weekend.

3. Professional Associations Seminars and Conferences

Professional association seminars and conferences are useful in furthering your employees’ careers and upgrading their skills.

What’s more, they can stay on top of industry trends, and learn all about the latest methods and principles for better performance.

4. Workshops

Professional workshops are one of the best ways to develop your employees.

Not only will these workshops aid your staff in gaining more knowledge and enhancing their skills, but they’ll also give people an opportunity to network, improve communication skills, and strengthen their professional relationships.

5. Mentoring Programs

Mentoring programs can empower employees in that they get an opportunity to work closely with professionals who can truly help them learn the trade and grow.

Mentors or work buddies can share expertise, and provide the right kind of support that, for instance, new employees need to perform at their best.

6. Coaching

Coaching creates positive work experiences and facilitates open communication necessary for effective employee performance. It pushes workers in the right direction for achieving your company’s goals.

Hire a business coach who knows how to prioritize the goals and select the right path to achieving them. A qualified coach can help your employees complete their tasks efficiently and effectively.

7. Creating a Book Club

Coming up with a book club at work will enable your workers to learn new concepts, and share ideas and knowledge with one another. They’ll strengthen their relationships, improve their communication skills, and practice leadership roles.

You can provide them with business books for improving their skills, but also let them recommend books. Determine the reading deadline, make a schedule for in-person discussion, and make sure everyone’s ideas are heard.

8. Online Training Courses

Utilizing employee training software to create and deliver online training courses allows employees to learn anytime, anywhere.

You’ll also be able to monitor their progress in real time, and jump in whenever someone needs help.

9. Inspiring A Learning Environment

Create a learning environment in your organization that inspires your workforce to learn and grow continually. Communicate your expectations clearly, and motivate your employees constantly to work smarter.

You can also create a relaxing room where they can engage in their book club reading or dive into other resources for training.

10. Access to Professional Resources

Give your employees access to a professional library, or create an online knowledge base that they can access 24/7, on any device.

Making various professional resources available anytime and anywhere will help them learn at their own pace, and save them a lot of time on research.

11. Facilitating Everyday Learning

Make sure you make employee training a part of each workday. Encourage your employees to engage in your online courses every day, and offer them work-time support for learning.

12. Flexible Work Schedule

Enable flexible work schedules so that your workforce can actually have the time for training and development. They will need this time for all the classes, workshops, and seminars you’ve prepared for them.

13. Free Conferences and Professional Association Memberships

If you organize professional association seminars and conferences, make sure you pay for memberships and conference attendance. If you don’t, you may not motivate all your workers to attend. Those events are crucial for their training and development.

14. College Tuition Reimbursement

If you offer your employees an opportunity to attend business classes at colleges and universities, make sure you cover their tuition. If they need to provide any out-of-pocket payments during their courses, you should reimburse those as well after each semester. College tuition reimbursement will motivate your employees to enroll in business courses, which is important, especially if some of them cannot afford to pay for the classes themselves.A

The post 14 Best Ways for Employers to Develop Their Employees appeared first on Adam Kirk Smith.

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This is a guest post from Megan Dennis. She is a passionate blogger who loves to write about latest SEO, SEM, and content related updates. Megan is a freelance writer and a part-time blogger for PNC Digital, an Orlando based digital marketing agency.

The world is becoming a digital hub with every passing day. Gone are the times when brands and individuals had to wait for days, weeks and sometimes even months to pass on a message or a marketing venture and understand the response. Today, the message is out there, the medium is out there, and the audience is definitely out there as well. 

Digital marketing has changed the advertising world in a way that cannot be reversed at any point now. One might say, it is in fact a revolution on its own. It is estimated that by the year 2020, global online retail could grow up to a massive 4.88 trillion USD!

Given the trend and the kind of virality that digital marketing offers, it comes as no surprise that every platform wants to make the most out of the growing market. However, digital marketing is not a magic potion. That said, it is absolutely essential to create a strategy, campaign, and to utilize all possible tools in order to execute a successful digital marketing plan.

It looks like an ideal solution to all your worries as a brand, but digital marketing isn’t as much of a piece of cake as you would imagine. Not just for brands but even for digital marketers, it is quite a task to keep up with all the trends and all the upcoming technologies. It isn’t really a static medium; it requires constant updating from a digital marketer’s end to make it happen.

So, we have a list of 6 tips and tricks that can help you build a great digital marketing strategy:

  1. Create a Certain Sense of Awareness

The online space is genuinely astounding in today’s age and time. Thousands of great brands are simply hanging tight to be found by a large number of Google users around the world. Your brand is going to be just one of those thousands of impressions that sit back on google. You have an astounding open door to digital marketing. One that allows to reach a massive amount of people with the click of a button.

Advanced promoting gives you a chance to get found by somebody entering a scan inquiry or searching for an item you sell or will be selling in the near future. Utilize digital marketing platforms and strategies like SEO to better your search listing by a great margin.

2. Let People Engage with You

Digital Marketing leads to making a certain kind of engagement and commitment from your target audience. This is significant in that there are such huge numbers of diversions for your group of onlookers on the web. Only the best quality of digital marketing will make them remain on your page. You can increase engagement by showcasing content in various structures. Web journals, Facebook posts, pictures, infographics, recordings, and gaming are a few models.

3. Look for Expansion of Reach

Reach is tied in with getting an ever-increasing number of individuals to see your content. In any case, merely increasing your audience isn’t sufficient. Basically, you need to reach out to the right sort of audience. Be sure on the off chance that they are fascinated enough by your product or service in offering and they will purchase your item. 

Marketing on social media or SMM is one of the most ideal approaches to grow a brands reach. To show, social media networks incorporate individuals with comparable tastes, foundation and inclinations. By drawing in one right group of onlookers, you can, in a flash reach out to thousands more with comparable interests. In particular, sharing, commenting and tagging will build your reach on the off chance that you do your digital marketing right.

4. Keep Measuring your Progress

Digital marketing is certifiably not a round of possibility. Keep in mind that you have chosen to put your marketing spending plan in the digital space. 

Therefore, you have the right to know whether it is having any effect. In particular, setting KPIs is the key to guaranteeing that your digital marketing procedure produces solid outcomes. This can be as straightforward as following the quantity of supporters or item request. You can likewise follow newsletter signups and blog remarks. Estimating progress is fundamental. Without it, you can’t choose the future course of your digital marketing campaign.

5. Remain Flexible

Flexibility is significant for a fruitful advanced advertising strategy for digital marketing. Along these lines, treat your digital marketing not as a solitary methodology but as an arrangement of different techniques. For instance, Offer Factor incorporates blog promoting, SEO, social media marketing, and email advertising. 

Every one of the previously mentioned systems rise and fall in prevalence. For example, another application can make other digital marketing apparatuses less well known. Rather than being inflexible or fixated on one procedure, adjust your strategy as indicated by new innovations and audience conduct.

6. Know about Paid as well as Organic

An incredible discussion exists about whether digital marketing ought to be organic or paid. Indeed, reality lies in the centre. While organic advertising has its advantages, paid promoting is additionally fundamental. Paid promotion, however, does not need to be dishonest. 

For instance, Google obviously checks paid ads in that capacity so you are not deluding the group of audience at all. Also, Facebook and YouTube mark sponsored ventures. So your group of audience can, without much of a stretch, separate paid from organic promoting. 

These were a few tips, tricks and secrets that we had up our sleeve to make your content visible to 4.2 billion internet users with ease! We would like to hear about your tips and tricks too! 

The post 6 Secrets to a Mind-Blowing Digital Marketing Strategy appeared first on Adam Kirk Smith.

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This is a guest post from Brayn Wills. He currently holds the position of knowledge management expert at ProProfs. He is responsible for creating unique and relevant content on knowledge base tools and keeping track of the latest developments in the realm of knowledge management. In his free time, he is either reading a new book or exploring offbeat destinations.

The internet has more than 4.3 billion users today, providing a unique opportunity for e-commerce businesses to thrive across the globe. However, the success of such businesses is not as automatic as one might think. Although online transactions have gone up rapidly, the competition to position products at the top and generate steady sales is on the rise. Today, e-commerce businesses contend with the challenge of delivering customer service and developing customer loyalty. But there is a way out of this – an e-commerce business can create a knowledge base to solve these challenges.

Generally, buyers want to help themselves as they shop and will only contact support staff when they are not able to do so. According to a report by Forrester, 53% of online buyers in the US are likely to abandon an online order if they are unable to find quick responses to their questions by themselves. As such, it makes perfect sense to offer them the informational resources they need to achieve this goal. So, in what ways can a knowledge base improve your e-commerce business?

  1. Enhances customer satisfaction

A knowledge base enables customers to find solutions to their issues or queries fast and without having to contact support teams. By doing so, it gives them a delightful user experience that is likely to keep them coming back. Unlike calls or live chats, a knowledge base serves as an interactive support desk whose utilization gives customers a sense of accomplishment. Businesses can enhance customer experience by making their online  knowledge repositories more context sensitive and user-friendly. With features such as tooltips, popups, and light boxes, you can give your information repository a whole new look while making it easy for your customers to locate the information they need.

  1. Aids in quick customer response

Your customers do not have the patience and time to go through numerous pages of content to find the answers they need to complete an online purchase. In most cases, all they want is a quick access to those answers. If a prospective customer has a specific question about your business, they’ll assume they can find an answer by simply searching your website using specific keywords. If you do not have a knowledge base in place, this kind of search will return a negative response. This will discourage them and most likely result in cart abandonment. On the other hand, if you have a well-resourced online repository, a search will return positive results and provide the answers your customer needs to make an informed purchase decision.

3. It helps your customer support team

Empowering your customers to solve their issues and find answers to their queries lifts a considerable load off your customer support team. This means the team can concentrate on other important customer queries that cannot be addressed through the customer support knowledge base. Having fewer customers to help also means that your customer support staff will work in an environment that is less stressful, and therefore, will be able to provide quality services to your clients.

In addition, you can continuously expand your information repository by ensuring that customer queries that are not addressed therein, but have been resolved by your support are integrated regularly. This is important because a regularly updated knowledge center will be rich in content and will be the leading ticket deflection factor for e-commerce businesses.

4. Helps reduce employee costs

E-Commerce businesses need to run around the clock. As such, an information center is useful in reducing the workload that customer support teams have to undertake. Instead of hiring staff to work in shifts 24/7, an e-commerce business that has such a center in place can work with day staff only and not worry about supporting customers during the night. More costs can be reduced during recruitment and induction of new employees. This is because knowledge centers are more cost-efficient when it comes to providing staff with the information they need to know about their company and the products or services it offers. Rather than spending time and money on training programs, incoming employees can learn from the experiences and knowledge of other staff through an internal knowledge base software.

5. Drives traffic to your e-commerce site

More people will be drawn to an information center that features valuable, well-written content. This easily translates to more traffic for your site. To achieve this, the articles you place on your knowledge bank should be generated using the specific keywords that customers use to search for information online. This ensures that your content ranks highly on search engines while increasing your chances of having prospects visit your site. Once they get the answers they are looking, your prospects are likely to spend more time on your e-commerce site and as they browse through your online store, will more likely end up making a purchase. Search engines such as Google are also likely to rank your site highly on their search results since they consider the time spent by visitors on web pages a key factor in ranking and search algorithms.

6. Streamlines internal cooperation

As your e-commerce business grows, your teams or departments will become more intertwined. And as collaboration among teams increases, communication can be difficult to maintain in some instances. At this point, having a centralized repository for your internal information will be necessary. An in-house information repository allows you to place everything your team needs to know in a single place in an organized manner. It provides a digital space for your employees to store information and share it with each other. This not only makes your company look smart, professional and up-to-date, but it also reduces confusion among employees. It also enhances synergy and reduces management costs as it allows them to work independently without having to be supervised constantly.

7. Stores company knowledge

The frequency with which people leave their jobs is on the rise and professional networking has everything to do with it. A survey conducted by LinkedIn shows that 89% of people who are building their careers got their current jobs due to good networking. In the event of  job transition, employees leave the companies they work at and carry on with the knowledge and experience they have accumulated. Then it becomes a challenge for the team that is left behind to pick up the pieces. Creating an internal knowledge base for your business guarantees continuity and reduces the cost of training new staff significantly. Further, documenting business data increases the value of your business. The knowledge center can be shifted from an intangible asset into a valuable, transferable asset should you decide to sell your business.

The Bottom Line

A knowledge base is an excellent tool for businesses that want to scale their customer service program and enhance customer satisfaction. Making resources such as troubleshooting guides, how-to articles, FAQs, and any other information relating to your services or products your customers might need available empowers them to solve their issues with ease. At the same time, an online repository makes it possible for your customer support staff to work on tasks that are most important to the business and reduces staff costs, enabling your business to maximize profits.

The post How can a knowledge base improve your e-commerce business? appeared first on Adam Kirk Smith.

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This is a guest post from Stephanie Soloman.

We live in an era where the Merriam Webster dictionary now recognizes the word “Google” as a verb. This is because as the internet has become more and more ubiquitous in our lives, we have become increasingly dependent on search engines, mainly Google, to help us navigate the web and all it has to offer. However, this dependence on Google has also given rise to search engine optimization, also known as SEO.

What is SEO?

Google uses AI algorithms to “crawl” the web and find the content that will provide what searchers seek as quickly as possible. No one knows exactly what this algorithm is, but we have a pretty good idea of what it seeks.

SEO is essentially an attempt to reverse engineer Google’s algorithm so that your content will appear near the top of search engine page results (SERPs). 

However, technically speaking, SEO is not exclusive to Google. It also applies to Bing, Yahoo, and other search tools. But Google is exponentially more popular, which is why most SEO experts focus on Google, and that’s what we will do in this article.

Doing SEO Well

Here are some of the most important steps to doing SEO well:

Step 1: Step into Google’s Shoes

Google seeks to make it as easy as possible for people to find the information they seek on the internet. As a result, to rank well in Google, you need to provide that information and then let Google know you have it and are the best person to show it. You do this with: 

  • Keywords. The actual search terms people use to find information on the internet
  • Backlinks. Of all the things that go into search engine rankings, backlinks, meaning links on other sites to your content, are one of the most important. Each links signals to Google that someone else on the internet thinks your content is relevant, and if you get enough links to your site/page, then this will demonstrate you’re an authority and deserve to be near the top of search results. Social media shares also have a similar effect, although links tend to count for more. But not all backlinks are the same. Those that come from high-authority, relevant sites are worth much more than those that come from irrelevant or unknown sites, so keep this in mind as you start building links.
  • Relevance. Google doesn’t want people to waste their time. If they put something at the top of search results, it’s because they feel it is relevant and useful. This is usually measured by time on page because this indicates they’ve found the information they were seeking.
  • Multimedia. Images and videos tend to make content better. Including them won’t automatically boost your rankings, but if they are high-quality and relevant, they will provide a boost. 
  • Mobile friendly. Google recognizes that most people surf the web on their phones, which means sites that are optimized for mobile browsing will do better. However, nowadays, most websites do this automatically, but check just in case. 
  • Load speed. Sites that load faster rank better. This makes sense when you think about it, for people tend to leave sites that don’t load, which reduces time on page and signals to Google that the content is not good.

There are countless other factors in Google’s algorithm, but these are by far the most important. They are combined into a score known as a Domain Authority (DA), or, for specific pages, Page Authority (PA). Typically, the higher your DA and PA, the better your page will do, although this is not a hard and fast rule.

Step 2: Design Content the Right Way

When designing content for the web, you must keep in mind the way people read things on the web, especially because this is also how Google will evaluate your content. Here are some tips to help you create good content that will perform well with search engines: 

  • Include your target keyword in the title, the first paragraph, the last paragraph, and at least one subheading.
  • Shoot for about 1 percent keyword density, but always prioritize writing naturally. If you stuff keywords, you will get punished. Synonyms and related keywords are a good way to improve your content without harming your content. 
  • Only target a keyword once.
  • Use subheadings with related keywords and short paragraphs.
  • Include images and edit the “alt text” to include your keyword whenever it is natural to do so.
  • Embed videos whenever it makes sense to do so
  • Make sure the content reads well and is grammatically correct. Google doesn’t technically look at this, but if readers see bad grammar in the first sentence, they are much more likely to leave, reducing time on page and hurting your rankings.
  • Write longer content when it makes sense. Google tends to reward longer pieces, but quality is still always better than quantity, so don’t write more if it’s going to sacrifice the overall article quality.
Do Keyword Research the Right Way

Keyword research is critical to any good SEO strategy. This refers to the process of identifying which keywords you’re going to target. 

However, it’s really easy to do keyword research the wrong way, and this can waste time and money. Here are some tips to help you take a good approach:

  • Determine the objective of your SEO campaign. Do you want to drive sales? Drive traffic? Get new followers? This matters because if you are going to go after sales, you need to target keywords that people search for when they’re looking to buy, the most common being “Best X for Y,” but “Reviews of…”, “Where to buy…?”, “Comparison,” etc. are also relevant. If you’re just after traffic, you can cast a wider net.
  • Be realistic about keyword difficulty and volume. To do keyword research, you’re going to want a keyword tool. Google Keyword Planner is a popular choice because it’s free, but AHRefs is another great option if you’re willing to spend some money. These tools are helpful because they not only help you search for keyword search volume, but they also give you an estimate of how difficult it will be to rank on the first page. If you’re just starting out, go after topics that are relatively uncompetitive, or if you must go after more difficult terms, get ready to build a massive campaign.
  • Don’t forget about long-tail keywords. When doing SEO, we tend to get drawn in by terms that promise to deliver tens of thousands of visitors. But the broader the term, the harder it will be to rank for it. For example, ranking for “smartphone” is going to be nearly impossible unless you already have a super high authority site. The alternative is to go after lower-volume, long-tail keywords that are more specific but easier to target. For example, instead of trying to rank for “smartphone,” you could go after, “how to make my smartphone battery last longer.” 

Furthermore, you will need to come up with a long list of keywords around which you will create content. But you don’t need to rank for everything. Some posts and pages need to be written about topics relevant to your target keywords so that Google can see which niche you’re in. So, to continue with the smartphone example, you would want to make sure to also have content written about phone carriers, phone features, designs, cases, etc. This will signal to Google what you’re about, which will make it easier to rank for your target keywords.

Invest in Great Content

By now it should be clear that the content on your site must be top-notch if you want to rank well. But you also need links, and this means doing content marketing. You need to either write guest posts for other blogs that are relevant to your niche, or you need to create content you can share and that will attract links on its own.

People have been trying since the beginning of SEO to cheat the system and get lots of links for cheap. Some work, and some don’t, but if your links get identified as scam, you’re in big trouble. As a result, it’s much better to take the high road and just create great content. It might take a little longer, and it will be more expensive, but it will pay off in the end. 

To do this, pay writers and other content specialists what they’re worth, and don’t be afraid to pay more for quality. You get what you pay for in this world, and this most certainly applies to the content you create for your SEO campaign.

Be Patient

Entire books have been written about how to do SEO well, so what we’ve discussed is really just the beginning. However, these points are also the building blocks of any good SEO strategy. Learn them well and apply them, but also start training yourself to be patient. It takes at least two to three weeks for Google to notice new links and other changes in your content, and if you’re just starting, it could take up to a year for you to really notice results. But if you create a good plan and stick to it, then SEO can take you and your business everywhere you want to go.

The post How to Do SEO Well appeared first on Adam Kirk Smith.

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This is a guest article from Amit Kothiyal. He has 9+ years of experience in digital marketing and has helped numerous brands establish their online niche. He is active on Twitter where he shares his experiences with professionals across the globe.

These days, the emphasis on good content is immense. Look around, and you will find a surplus amount of “wholesome content”. That is because businesses worldwide now acknowledge the cumulative power of content.

The phrase, “content is king” is floating around board meetings and brand campaign discussions worldwide. Originally, content marketing was just a way to set your brand apart from the competition. Now, it is a necessity.

Content marketing is now a make-or-break factor for any business. Zazzle media found out that 60% companies struggle to produce content consistently, and 65% find it to be a challenge to produce engaging content.

That leaves you with the question: why should I try doing something I don’t know if I am good at? The answer is simple. Content marketing has benefits you can cash on. Not easy, for sure. But has anything good ever been easy?

How would content marketing help your business?

1.      Helps you grow brand awareness

Everyone appreciates a superhero entry. Content marketing basically allows your brand to create a niche for itself in what may appear to be a saturated, highly-competitive market.

When you speak of brands that have made it huge due to content marketing, you cannot rule out Hubspot. Hubspot, using content marketing, created an educational niche regarding content sharing.

There are various companies out there who have managed to create a dedicated space for themselves online, with the help of astute and effective content marketing strategies.

2.      Helps enhance your conversion rates

Unless some strategy involves a healthy return on investment, you may not be interested. But that is the deal with content marketing; it is revenue generating along with other benefits.

Content Marketing Institute found out that 61% of online US consumers were more likely to make a purchase after reading a blog. To back this up, ABG Essentials found out that content marketing provides conversions rates about 6 times higher than all other digital marketing methods.

3.      Better content, better ranking

Your SERP (Search Engine Result Page) ranking matters to the growth of your online business. It is basic knowledge that if you put out better content, more people will visit your site, which in turn means better ranking.

The higher you rank, the more people will visit your site, and the cycle continues in your favor. In order to get people interested, post relevant content that lures in their attention.

4.      Better leads generation

A study byKapost shows that investing in Content marketing yields 3 times more leads per dollar. Content basically has far reaching effects. Content essentially can establish itself as a prime lead generating factor for your online business.

When you offer good content, people want to have more of it. And the main goal is to bring people to like you, not push them to do so. If you are insistent on them subscribing to your newsletter, chances are they never will. Instead, offer them good, wholesome content, and let the magic unfurl.

5.      Content can be easily shared

You must have heard of content going viral. But how does it happen? It is simply because the content you have created is so magnificent, that people cannot get enough of it.

And when people are given something like that, they share it. Case in point: Dove’s Choose Beautiful campaign which encapsulated the everyday struggles a woman has to face. Owing to the relevance it had with the artificial standards of media-fueled beauty women have to face, the campaign was an instant hit thanks to share options across social media platforms.

6.      Enables you to showcase your expertise

When you share content that is relatable and effective, it helps establish a sense of expertise among your audience. Also, everyone likes a bunch of data that has been assembled systematically for their convenience. That basically is the benefit of the Internet–all the information in the world, in one place.

When you do the research, and then put out useful content, your audience will love it. Not only will they follow your content diligently, they will also consider you to be an expert, and reach out to you for more. And that’s more engagement for your business.

7.      Content supports other digital marketing strategy

Consider content marketing to be more of a Midas touch. Anything that is not seemingly working in your favor works with content marketing by its side. Basically, great content marketing offers a different perspective to mundane activities.

Businesses deploy various digital marketing tools, but not all fire. In fact, some backfire horribly. In case you have invested quite a lot, and do not want your deployed tool to fail, you can pair it up with content marketing, and enhance the quality immensely.

The post How Can Content Marketing Benefit Your Online Presence? appeared first on Adam Kirk Smith.

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This is a guest post from Jilian Woods. She is a freelance journalist and a contributing writer. Apart from her day job, you may find Jilian engaged in volunteering or doing yoga.

Many employees come into work with a negative mindset to some degree. This could be a generally negative mindset of knowing a day is going to be bad or negative in the sense that they don’t like working with the people around them. That said, in this article we are going to take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages a negative mindset may offer.

Pro: Prepared for Worst Case Scenarios

First, let’s start off with a positive side of having a negative mindset. When someone consistently thinks the worst, they are prepared for that situation to happen. So, when your business runs into a problem, these individuals are usually well-equipped to handle emergency situations.

This is particularly true when someone has realistic expectations. Strategically, this can allow an employee to have plans B, C, and D ready in case plan A doesn’t work. This preparedness will serve companies well as they will always have just-in-case scenarios ready if a concept doesn’t take off as they want it to. Remember, there’s no such thing as being too prepared in business and backup plans can also help increase productivity.

Con: Stifled Creativity

When someone is constantly being negative, they may not push themselves to think differently. Without thinking about how something or a process could be improved upon, they are failing to innovate.

We don’t often think of creativity as a skill that can be learned but it, like any other skill, can be cultivated. For instance, no one was born being able to write, yet it’s a skill that almost any college student has to have. If this skill is lacking, they may use some essay help that can be found on resources like this one.

Pro: It Offers Balance In the Workplace

If there is a prime example of too much positivity in a work environment, it was Jeffrey Immelt’s “Success Theater” at GE. This concept was rather simple: CEO Jeffrey Immelt only wanted to hear what was going right for GE. This was a mentality that bled down to all levels of the company. It created an almost toxically positive environment for the corporation with no one seeing to flaws and failures.

The result of this management style was that all problems – big or small – that GE faced during this time were largely ignored. This overconfidence and a general disinterest in hearing any bad news allowed problems to grow to such a size that they were untamable and led to significant financial loss. This problem could have been avoided if the organization allowed for any negativity in its ranks. If more members of the company were able to highlight problems, many of them could have been avoided.

It isn’t just GE that has dealt with this issue, though. If there’s anything that can take down a company quickly, it’s human nature’s aversion to conflict and natural anxiety in delivering bad news. With the introduction of employees who have more realistic modes of thinking, these teams would have access to varied viewpoints rather than simply accepting a singular, not all-encompassing view of the company’s status.

The concept of this type of thinking wouldn’t even necessarily have to be limited to outright objection either. Oftentimes, these thinking styles rather manifest in the form of caution or intense critical thinking.

Con: Discourage Hard Work

The best outcomes typically come from hard and careful work. Unfortunately, always expecting the worst of a situation sometimes means being discouraged from striving towards a positive outcome. After all, if it isn’t going to happen, why strive towards it?

This is a pitfall that employees with a less than positive mindset need to avoid. While in the case of being prepared for failure is great when faced with missing the mark, the initial effort towards a positive outcome is needed for a chance to make the desired outcome happen.

As a counterpoint to this, though, some have argued that the insistence of something failing is a drive to continue to work harder on it. A motto of “well, it probably won’t work, but let’s see what we can do to change that” might be present.

Conclusion

Negative mindsets within organizations are often seen as a, well, negative attribute. However, a negative mindset can be both an asset and a drawback. There are improvements that can be made to a completely negative perspective, but there are also benefits of this mindset as well. For the ideal perspective, these strengths and weaknesses should be balanced.

The post Pros and Cons of Having a Negative Mindset at Work appeared first on Adam Kirk Smith.

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This is a guest post from Devin Morrissey. He has been a dishwasher, a business owner, and everything in between. You can follow him on Twitter.

It has been a little over a year since the eruption of the #MeToo hashtag, a social media movement of millions of women around the world who have been victims of sexual assault at some point in their lives. The movement has been a showing of solidarity with the women who came out and told their stories of being victims of influential figures like Harvey Weinstein, a famous American film producer who was accused of assaulting dozens of women. The movement shook up communities and businesses throughout several countries as it demonstrated the prevalence of sexual assault in society.

After seeing the impact of #MeToo and realizing how pervasive an issue sexual assault remains today, many businesses have assessed their sexual harassment policies in an attempt to ensure that employees are protected and that they don’t find themselves in legal trouble. However, adding a new policy here and there isn’t enough to enact widespread change. Let’s review some current ways businesses are protecting their employees against sexual assault.

Sexual Assault in the Workplace

According to a Pew Research study from March 2018, 59 percent of women and 27 percent of men said they had personally received unwanted sexual advances or verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature, either in or outside of a work context. However, among women who said they had been sexually harassed, 55 percent said it happened both in and outside of work settings. This suggests that sexual assault does indeed occur in the workplace and that it’s not uncommon. Employers need to take action in order to let their employees know it won’t be tolerated. 

Not only is sexual assault a traumatic experience for the victim, as well as legal trouble for the workplace, it can also simply disrupt your employees’ ability to get work done. If one particular employee is traversing the office exhibiting disruptive behavior and being inappropriate, it can make dozens of employees feel uncomfortable and cause a huge distraction. If anyone ever suggests that an employee is being crass or rude, it can be a good idea to keep an ear to the ground to make sure you pick up on any inappropriate behavior so that it can be addressed before it becomes a larger problem.

Even if your workplace has sexual assault policies in place, your business could gain a reputation as a company that tolerates sexual assault unless they are strictly enforced. This could lead to your business being sued if an employee is a victim of sexual assault in the workplace and feels that management did nothing to support or help them. Employers are expected to provide a safe working environment for their employees, and that also means acting on employee harassment complaints before they escalate to assault. Otherwise, an employee could have grounds for filing a case against their employer.

Protecting Employees Against Sexual Assault

To protect employees against sexual assault, many companies have changed their business practices to avoid protecting executives who abuse their power and to retrain employees to recognize signs of harassment and assault. Companies are doing this by analyzing their guidelines and refining out-of-date sexual assault policies that don’t specify the large variety of behaviors that constitute as sexual assault. With more specific guidelines and a zero-tolerance policy for sexual assault, there is less inappropriate behavior that employees can get away with out of sheer ignorance.

Businesses can also help protect employees by encouraging them to come forward if they’ve experienced harassment or assault and letting them know their voices will be heard. If there is a severe case of sexual assault in the workplace, employees should be ensured that they will be given any resources or accommodations they need. Employers should be connected with local hospitals, where medical professionals are prepared to provide sexual assault victims with access to forensic examinations, which can open the doors for more victims to receive the vital services that they need in cases of sexual assault. 

It’s crucial for business leaders to effectively communicate with their employees about matters such as sexual assault. By actively listening to and addressing employee concerns, business leaders are using an effective communication strategy that will help to limit confusion and misunderstandings.

This subject should never be taken lightly or made into a joke; otherwise, employees may think it is a topic that won’t ever be taken seriously. Leaders who make it clear they do not tolerate any form of sexual assault, even jokes or comments, help to foster an environment that limits these types of behaviors and helps employees to feel safe in their workplace. 

The post How Businesses Are Protecting Employees Against Sexual Assault in the #MeToo Era appeared first on Adam Kirk Smith.

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This is a guest article from Amanda Sparks. She is a professional marketer and blogger and is passionate about developing innovative and customer-friendly solutions for brands. Featured on SproutSocial and Chamaileon.

No matter what industry you operate in or how big your company is, there is always a story behind it. People love reading stories about their favorite brands, businesses, and products. Brand storytelling not only humanizes your company but also brings positive PR and new customers to your doorstep. 

However, it is not as simple as writing a few lines of text and publishing it as a representative image of your brand. Readers, especially online, want to see substance, emotion, and professionalism above all else. To that end, let’s take a look at several steps which can help you develop a great story about your business and the people who work in it.

Start with the Mission

Every company has a reason for existing besides the obvious need for revenue. Just look at Coca-Cola. The company made it its mission to “spread happiness”, not to sell fizzy drinks or branded toys. However, their products are infused with the mission of their company, making them much more relatable to the end-user. 

Each piece of content that gets published under your brand’s name must be recognized as such in an instant. Make sure to add your visual elements, company name, and other small details to each content piece before publishing it. In the same vein, your brand’s story must start, and end, with the long-term mission of your brand. That way, people will have something abstract, but relatable, to hold on to and identify with.

Showcase Your Staff

One of the best ways to write a story about your business is to showcase the people behind it. Everyone, from your managers to staff members, should have their place in the story you are writing. This can be done in numerous ways: through images with quotes, team photos, or simple snippets of everyday office work. 

It’s important that people realize that your business is a collection of likeminded people who work towards the same goal. This will humanize your brand and product, allowing a lot more people to identify with what you do. In turn, they will spread positive word of mouth about your business and occasionally convert into followers, subscribers, and customers.

Integrate Multimedia

When we talk about “writing” we often refer to plain text. However, brand storytelling requires a lot more life and versatility. Multimedia content such as photos, videos and/or audio conversations with your staff members add a lot to the story. 

Brian Summers, copywriter at BestWritersCanada, spoke recently: “Written words can only do so much to illustrate a point. Adequate multimedia materials are always necessary in order to drive a point forward, both in formal writing and blogging.” You can create small bits of multimedia in-house without hiring outside assistance. What matters is that you give people an “image” to hold onto while they read your business’ story.

Implement Social Proof

Numbers are an important part of brand storytelling. The more statistical data and infographics you implement, the more proof you will have of your intentions as a brand. Readers love seeing social proof in blog posts and business stories. It helps them be at ease with a brand they don’t know and it makes their future purchase decisions easier. 

Toby Heath, a marketing manager at Best writing service rating explains: “You can implement anything from the number of satisfied clients you worked with to the number of products you sold over the course of your business’ existence. Any number that positively paints a good picture of your brand is worth implementing into the story you create for your business.”

Proofread your Writing

The importance of grammar, spelling, and formatting in your brand storytelling cannot be overstated. You could write an amazing story about your business but if it is riddled with proofreading errors, people will have a hard time taking it seriously. To that end, it’s always a good idea to use platforms and tools to help your cause. 

Tools like Grammarly are a great resource of spellchecking and proofreading once you have some materials already done. On the other hand, platforms such as Hemingway App can help you edit and trim down your content if you wrote a lot of content without planning in advance. More doesn’t always mean better, even in brand storytelling. Spellcheck your writing before publishing it and you will come off as much more professional and trustworthy to your readers.

Mind the Keywords

Even though you are writing a story about your brand, keywords still play a large part in your online visibility. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can effectively help you make your story more visible to search engines and subsequent readers. 

Tools such as Google Adwords and SEM Rush can help you identify the best words to use in your brand’s story. All you have to do is sprinkle these words into your writing in order to make your content more relevant to search engine algorithms. That way, even people who don’t know about your brand can come across the story you created and become intrigued by your business, products, and services.

Testimonials as Abstracts

Just as multimedia is important to your writing, so are employee testimonials. Take some time to interview your staff members, colleagues, and even business partners. Ask them to give you a quote or two which can then be used in your brand storytelling efforts. This is another aspect of social proof which works wonders for people who don’t know anything about your business prior to reading the story. 

Natalie Andersen, CEO of GetGoodGrade, has shared recently: “People often skim articles online and don’t have time to read long-form content. Abstracts are an amazing way to draw attention to important pieces of content.” Make sure to format your testimonials and quotes so that they are separate from the body text itself. That way, even casual onlookers will be able to read the positive comments about your business.

Place a CTA

Lastly, calls to action can help your brand’s story come to a satisfying conclusion. Even though brand storytelling is aimed at representing your brand, it’s still important for people to interact with the content. CTAs are a great way to invite people to share their opinions of your brand and offer some feedback or insight from their perspective. 

It’s worth noting that CTAs should be used very sparingly in business stories, sometimes only in the conclusion of the piece itself. That way, you will be able to perfectly continue the discussion and point it towards the comment section below. Don’t passively present your brand and hope that people do something about what they just read. Ask them to do so through carefully written CTAs which will engage them on an individual level.

Business as a Family

Painting a positive image of your brand will take time. After all, online readers and customers are used to seeing businesses without any faces or story attached to them. However, with several content pieces on your website and social media pages, you will be able to create a much more presentable and professional brand image. All it takes is for you to look around the office and think of creative, human ways of presenting your work to the public.

The post How to Write a Great Story About Your Business appeared first on Adam Kirk Smith.

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 This is a guest post from interview expert and writer, Jane Henderson.

It is thought that around 25 million Americans are starting or running their own businesses according to the report by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. The world of business is one that is often rife with challenges that will surely test you and have different effects on your health through the years. While ideally, you can roll with the punches and come out smelling of roses, it is also quite likely that you’ll lose a bit of your initial gusto as you go along. As an entrepreneur, this is something that you have to avoid. So in the interest of keeping your positive outlook alive and well, what can you do about it?

Take Care of Your Health

Your health plays a big part in your success as an entrepreneur. Those that do not eat well report a 66% drop in their productivity based on the Population Health Management Journal. The idea of getting healthy might come easy while in your 20s and 30s but can be harder to attain as you reach 40. A good way to avoid this is to be on top of your health throughout the different stages of life. Eat healthily, go visit your doctor, take care of your appearance, and you’ll be sure to reap a happier mental state because your body is in tip-top shape. Caring for your health is important as it is directly correlated with your mental health. If you want to protect your positive outlook, taking care of your health is a must.

Have Strong Mornings

Established and successful leaders like Oprah Winfrey and Anna Wintour start their days early and get some exercise or meditation in before they jump in to tackle their daily grinds. Embedding a strong morning into your routine helps create a feeling of accomplishment early in the day. So no matter what you face, you’ve already been productive in a particular avenue in your life. This is a good habit to build while you’re young so as the years pass, this mental and productivity safeguard will be deeply entrenched in your routine. After all, keeping a good morning habit gets you in a chipper frame of mind and adds toward your positive perspective.

Keep a Tight Inner Circle

A lot of our outlook in life is sourced from two particular areas: within ourselves and from our social circles. Have you ever heard of the saying “you are who you hang out with”? It infers that if you hang out with people who carry defeatist and cynical mindsets, there’s a big chance that you’ll start thinking that way too. The reverse is also true that is why you should be careful about who you allow into your inner circle and who stays through the years. When your inner circle is comprised of individuals who are positive in their thoughts, words, and actions, you create an environment that makes it conducive for you to remain positive throughout the years.

Your positive attitude is like a small and steady flame that keeps your engine lit. Like all flames, it needs a bit of help to stay alive even though strong gusts of winds howl and rave around it. Safeguarding your positivity will take a bit of work but it is a quality that you will not want to dull as you age.

The post An Entrepreneur of the Ages: Keeping Your Spark Alive and Well appeared first on Adam Kirk Smith.

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This is a guest article from Lynda Arbon. She is a passionate and enthusiastic health blogger. You can follow her on Twitter.

The modern lifestyle is all about finding the right balance. In order to succeed at whatever it is that you undertake, you need to strike the perfect balance between your work, your life apart from work, and your relationships, in order to lead a more meaningful life.

Let’s take a look at how we can achieve an amazing work-life balance that helps you excel in both your professional and personal life as well:

1.  Be Grateful For What You Have

Being grateful for what you have is quite evidently the first step in bettering anything. You have to realize that things could be a lot worse for you, but they aren’t. You hold a steady job, and have a person to share your deepest feelings with, which is far more than what most people have.

When you are more appreciative of what you have, you take slightly more efforts to express your appreciation, which goes a long way. Once you are able to appreciate the importance of all that you have, you can eventually prioritize better.

2.  Importance of Having Sound and Positive Relationships

Being in a positive relationship can be incredibly useful for your career and your overall well-being. The main aspect of a healthy relationship is finding encouragement in every endeavour you undertake. It is what pushes you to become better, and accounts for personal growth of character and skills.

When you have a partner that pushes you to be better at what you do, you willingly tend to be braver while facing challenges at work. This sets a positive feedback loop in motion, and helps you find success more often.

3.  Learn to Say No, Politely

Knowing when to say ‘no’ could save you a world of damage. When you realize that either your work or your relationship is becoming a negative influence in your life, you have to stand up for yourself and say “no.” In the end, you need to acknowledge what is working for you, and what is not. Honestly, there is no point making something last that isn’t paying back some sort of dividend. When this happens, you only end up wasting time and energy, which would have been far more productive if put elsewhere.

4.  Spend More Time with Family

In most cases, family sticks with you through the various ups and downs of life. Spending more time with parents or siblings gives you a different perspective on life, many times better. Watching how your parents manage to establish their own work-life balance, or how your siblings are coping with theirs, gives you an opportunity to reflect and manage your own time better. And learning to better manage your time now eventually leads to a better life tomorrow.

5.  Meditation

This is one of the most underrated skills that one can possess. Meditation actually stills your thoughts and allows you to choose the ones that matter. It enhances your ability to focus, increasing your overall productivity.

Meditation is the art of silencing one’s mind, a practice that is forgotten about with the busyness of life. Minds are often otherwise too cluttered with thoughts that bring about anxiety and fear, whereas silence brings reflection and clarity. When you silence your mind, you bring about a certain control of your actions.

6.  Prioritize Better

Many times, you probably find yourself conflicted to find what is truly important. And if you do not give it enough thought, you may end up working hard on the wrong decision, which may be the biggest time waster of all.

That said, prioritizing in no way means sacrificing or compromising. Rather, it is an adjustment you make to strike a balance between your work and your relationships. When there is an understanding between the two, you will eventually find the space needed to function. Communication is key, so make sure you use it to the full.

7.  Maintain Beneficial Hobbies

Creating a full life can take a heavy toll if not careful. However, having a life outside of your office and house is crucial to your well-being. Hitting the gym is one such positive experience that can help you cope with the stress that comes along with a career and family life.

Another beneficial hobby is playing a musical instrument. Scientific studies have proven that music alters the brain structure for the better. Be it solo or in a group, being involved with music can really turn on the positive vibes around you.

Apart from adding good habits to your lifestyle as stated above, the elimination of bad ones, such as any sort of intoxication or smoking habits, can also play a great role for your efforts towards work-life balance building. If you are a regular drinker and/or smoker, quitting such habits today itself can be a very tedious task. So rather than forcing your body to immediately quit smoking & drinking, the best way is to look for better alternatives which can curb your addictions without further harming your body and mind.

Consider non-alcoholic beverages as an alternative to your drinking habits or just motivate yourself to limit your alcohol intake to a bare minimum. Similarly, contemplate opting for nicotine gums, patches, or e-cigs to curb your ever dangerous smoking habit. Research even shows that switching to vaping is a safer option than traditional cigarettes.

Implementing these good habits and kicking the bad ones can usher in a ton of positivity and will help you manage your career aspirations and family commitment better. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be tedious, but the above-mentioned tips should at least start you on the right path. What many tend to overlook is that things don’t necessarily work themselves out on their own, unless we help create opportunities for ourselves. Creating some sort of balance in life is a result of our actions, so producing the right actions is the only thing that will ultimately lead to the lives we want to live.

The post Seven Effective Tricks to Balance Your Work, Life and Relationships appeared first on Adam Kirk Smith.

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