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Code coding Learn Software The Right Stack

8 Mistakes Keeping You from Landing Your Dream Coding Job

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Software development has been the most in-demand job in the country for three years running — yet many coders struggle to break into the industry. Here are eight mistakes that are keeping you from landing your dream coding job.

Landing Your Dream Coding Job

I hear the same complaint come up again and again.

“I’ve applied to hundreds of positions, and I haven’t gotten one interview!�

“Do people even hire software developers anymore? They only want web developers.�

“I’m a great coder, but no one will hire me, because I don’t have experience.�

Does any of this sound like you? If so, there’s a good chance one of these eight mistakes is keeping you from landing your dream coding job.

#1: You Learned the Wrong Stack

A top mistake coders make is learning the wrong coding language stack.

By far, the most useful, most popular, and most employable stack is the .NET stack, which includes several languages (C#, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and SQL), a design pattern (MVC), and a program (Visual Studio).

The .NET stack allows you to design web applications, which is the most in-demand position in America, and it’s the number one choice for almost every business with a web development shop.

With its popularity and practical applications, .NET is the first stack you should learn if you want a career in this industry.

#2: You Didn’t Learn Practical Coding Skills in School

A lack of practical skills is a huge problem preventing many coders from being hired.

Employers want coders who can solve real business problems. Unfortunately, many universities focus on theories, not practical skills.

Many universities fall into the trap of teaching a little bit of everything. There’s a class on C#, one on HTML, one on databases, and so on. All these classes are interesting and informative, but the skills are never brought together and connected to full-stack coding projects.

If you didn’t learn practical coding skills in school, you need to develop them on your own.

#3: You Have a Weak (or No) Portfolio

Especially if you’re a new coder, without experience, having a weak portfolio or no portfolio at all is a major mistake.

Without a portfolio, you have no proof that you’re as good at coding as you claim to be, which immediately puts you at a disadvantage. With a portfolio, you can show employers just what you’re capable of.

For your portfolio to be effective, it must include projects that demonstrate skills a business would need. Useless, silly programs can be fun to code, but for your portfolio, focus on projects that show off useful, real-world skills.

#4: You Struggle in Interviews

Many skilled coders struggle to get hired simply because they’re not good at interviewing.

One of the problems is that interviewers often play a “code trivia� game, quizzing you on obscure code lingo and knowledge. If you suffer a brain blank and flub even one question, you can be taken out of the running.

Instead of playing this game, take control of the interview by shifting the focus to your portfolio.

Talking about your portfolio demonstrates you have the necessary coding skills and knowledge, making the “code trivia� questions less important.

#5: You Don’t Have a Recruiter

Not having a recruiter is a mistake that puts you at a significant disadvantage.

In most cases, by the time you apply for a position online, a recruiter has already submitted ten qualified candidates. This is part of the reason you could apply to hundreds, even thousands of positions and never receive a reply back—it’s because a recruiter already filled the position!

The simple truth is, if you want a job, you need a recruiter. Without one, you may never even get in the door for an interview. That’s just how it works.

#6: You’re Too Picky About Your First Job

Many coders’ careers are derailed because they’re too picky about their first job. For instance, many coders don’t want to work in web development, but this is the most in-demand position.

If you turn down your first job offer, there’s no guarantee you’ll get another one, and your coding skills can quickly grow rusty and out-of-date, making you unhirable.

To get your dream job, you first need to build experience. So when you receive your first job offer, take it. You may need to start in web development, but once you gain some experience, you can get a different job.

#7: You Need to Work on Communication

Poor communication can hold you back from your dream career.

To improve your communication, engage in conversations with a desire to be helpful. When your boss needs to know the timeline of your project, give her your best estimate. When asked about your code, explain how it works and how you arrived at your decisions.

Also, try to make your work seem less mysterious to those without a technology background. Avoid technical terms and acronyms, and compare your work to something others find more relatable.

When you can code and communicate well, you become a rock star coder.

#8: You Need to Specialize

To get your first job, you just need to know the most popular coding languages, but if you don’t eventually specialize, you’ll never advance to your dream job.

Web development jobs—the most common coding jobs—most often focus on the .NET stack. However, apps, games, AI, and phone operating systems usually work with different, more specialized languages. If you want to compete for these high-demand jobs, you need to learn the relevant coding languages.

Look up job postings for your dream job to identify the languages you need to learn, and then start studying in your free time.

The post 8 Mistakes Keeping You from Landing Your Dream Coding Job appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Apps Hack Productivity productivity tools Tech Tools

7 Best Tools to Create a Highly Productive Work Environment

tools productive work

Most businesses work on several projects and the work requirements keep on changing every now and then. The real challenge kicks in when you need to work on multiple projects having tight schedules. With so many tasks lined up for you, it becomes difficult to manage work and get things done within the predefined time frame. And with the pandemic, it’s even more difficult to accomplish your career goals. Here are the seven best tools to create a highly productive work environment.

Often, the stress of work and the demand to stay productive throughout the work hours may result in your overworking and losing your efficiency.

However, things do not need to end this way always as there are tools that can help you get over such difficult situations.

I am talking about productivity tools that are powered by modern technology and designed specifically to make your professional life easy. These tools will help you create a productive work environment by promoting effective task management and team collaboration.

Why You Should Use Productivity Tools in the Workplace?

As the name suggests, these tools are capable of injecting productivity in the workplace. They have a wide range of features that tends to improve the output of users.

Most productivity tools address the blockades that restrict you from giving your best at work and help you in eliminating them.

Below are some of the most notable benefits of using productivity tools:

What to Look for in Productivity Tools?

If you search for productivity tools on the web, you may get overwhelmed seeing the innumerable options. However, just to make it clear, not every tool out there can help boost your productivity at work.

What you need to do is to look for some basic characteristics in a productivity tool before considering it as a good option, which are:

  • Interactive User Interface
  • Comes with a Set of Practical Features
  • High Performance
  • Scalable to Meet Growing Needs of Business and Teams
  • Affordable Pricing Plans
  • Good Customer Support
  • Available Across Multiple Devices

Best Productivity Tools To Use

Finding the right productivity tools that can meet your requirements as well as budget is a tedious task. To help you out, I am listing the 7 best and most desirable productivity tools that can be a perfect fit for you and your business. Here goes the list:

1. ProofHub

A centralized place to manage projects, tasks, and team is what defines ProofHub the best. It brings together all the essential tools that you and your team need to be productive and stay on top of work. The software comes preloaded with Kanban boards and Gantt charts that you can use to define project workflows and keep an eagle eye on the progress of each task.

ProofHub also makes team collaboration effective with features including online proofing, team announcement, and built-in chat interface. There’s a dedicated space to carry out real-time discussions. Simply put, this project management software can help your team to be on the same page and carry out their tasks to bring in the desired results.

Recommended Plan:

Ultimate Control – $89/month (billed annually), $99/month (billed monthly) with unlimited users.

2. Zapier

Zapier is an automation tool that connects the apps you use every day, such as Gmail, Slack, and Mailchimp, to make your workflow more efficient. For example, you can create a Zap — automated workflow — to save attachments from Gmail directly into DropBox, which saves you time and reduces the possibility of documents slipping through the cracks.

Zapier connects more than 2,000 apps — making the number of possible workflows virtually endless.

Recommended Plan:

Starter 19.99/month (billed annually), $24.99/month (billed monthly)

3. Todoist

Managing tasks becomes easier when you have the Todoist app on your side. With this app, you no longer need to remember tasks and their due dates as you can transfer everything onto to-do lists. Thus, you can channel your focus on executing tasks rather than remembering what lies next on your work schedule.

You can even create subtasks for a task, add comments, prioritize, and track activities associated with a task, and visualize all such information conveniently in the Task view. You can also delegate tasks to members and make sure that everyone is well aware of what they need to accomplish.

Recommended Plan:

Business – $5/user/month (billed annually), $6/user/month (billed monthly)

4. Slack

Slack is a popular and reliable tool designed to make team collaboration successful for any organization. Staying in the loop is of the utmost importance when multiple people are working together on a common project and Slack is just the perfect tool to make this possible. By using this tool, your team can stay connected with each other and start productive conversations instantly.

One of the key things that make Slack ideal for collaboration is the flexibility that it offers in terms of communication. Apart from direct messaging and group chat, you can use Slack to switch between audio and video conferencing. Moreover, the tool also supports file sharing as well; you can send documents, PDFs, images, videos, and more to your teammates without any hassle.

Recommended Plan:

Plus – $5/user/month (billed annually), $6/user/month (billed monthly)

5. Dropbox

Dropbox is a cloud storage service that allows you to keep all your documents, designs, and all other work-related files organized. For becoming productive, it is important to keep a check on time wastage caused when searching for files in a clutter. Dropbox provides you a secure space where you can bring all your work together.

You can also create files and edit them directly within Dropbox – there’s no need to switch between different apps. You can also choose people with whom you want to share your work with and collaborate effortlessly. Another feature that you will find useful when collaborating with your team is Dropbox paper, which lets you create and share project timelines, to-do lists, etc.

Recommended Plan:

Dropbox Business (Advanced) – $20/user/month (billed annually), $25/user/month (billed monthly)

6. Toggl

Time tracking is extremely important when you want to maximize your productivity at the workplace. Toggl is a simple yet powerful time tracking tool that is going to make time management a painless process for you.

With Toggl, you can start or continue tracking time for a task with just a single click. All the time data is stored on a secure server and you can get detailed time reports to assess which projects/tasks are taking too long to get completed. If you wish to have a tool that lets you see how you and other members of your team are spending your work hours, then Toggl is just the perfect choice.

Recommended Plan:

Premium – $18/user/month (billed annually), $20/user/month (billed monthly)

7. GanttPRO

GanttPRO is a Gantt chart based tool that you can use to manage your tasks as well as your projects in an efficient manner. The interactive Gantt charts offer a timeline view of projects that will help you manage your resources smartly. You can also set task duration and create dependencies among tasks on a Gantt chart.

The tool also has a board view using which you can organize tasks as cards. Additionally, GanttPRO is a great tool to use if collaboration is what bothers you the most. Attaching files with tasks, adding comments, getting notification for task activities are some features that you’ll admire while working in a team.

Recommended Plan:

Team – $7.90/user/month (billed annually) (minimum 5 users)

Conclusion

Whether you are a manager who needs to lead teams and drive projects towards success or an employee who needs to finish all the assigned tasks before due time, there are tools that can help you out. Pick a suitable productivity tool from the ones listed above and start managing your office work like a pro.

Image Credit: Elly Fairytale; Pexels

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Categories
credit card in UAE credit cards Credit Score Fintech Lifestyle

Best Ways to Use Credit Cards to Increase Your Credit Score

increase your credit score

A plethora of websites may suggest to you a hoopla of best ways to increase your credit score but how successful are these tips and tricks, ever wondered? Your credit score reflects how well you use your credit and is thus, immensely important during the requirement of any kind of loan. It is, thereby, important to be aware of the factors that may affect your credit score as well as the measures that may improve it. I have brought you the best and some do it yourself ways on how to improve your credit score in UAE using your credit cards.

Ensure that you pay your credit card monthly bills on time

  • A history of late payments and other delinquent behavior can have a strong negative effect on your credit scores for many years.
  • To avoid missing your due date, set a reminder on your phone a few days beforehand or mark the date on your calendar. You can also adjust your online account settings to always automatically pay at least the minimum required amount each month.
  • Or, better yet, set up automatic payments to pay the full new statement balance each month. To avoid heavy interest rates, you must pay the bill in full.
  • This can help you both stay out of credit card debt and avoid interest completely with most cards.

Keep your credit card utilization low

  • Credit scoring models look at how much of your available credit you’re using on each credit card in UAE, and how much of your total credit limit is being used across all cards.
  • They do this by calculating the percentage of your credit limit you’re using, as reflected on your credit reports. This percentage is called ‘credit utilization.’
  • Using a high percentage of your credit limit is seen as very risky. It may indicate that you’re overextended financially and may have trouble paying your bills as a result.
  • Generally, the lower your credit utilization, both overall and on each individual account, the better it is for your score.
  • So, opening a new card or increasing the credit limits of cards you already have could potentially have a large positive impact on your credit scores.

Avoid applying for many credit cards in a short period of time

  • Opening many new accounts in a short period of time can be seen as risky financial behavior because it looks like you’re in need of money and are acting recklessly.
  • This ‘new credit’ factor considered in your credit scores is where the number of inquiries and length of time since your most recent inquiry comes into play. The length of time since you last opened an account can also be factored in here.
  • While every new inquiry and every new account won’t automatically have a negative impact on your scores, there’s always a possibility that it could. Many hard inquiries can have a negative effect on your credit scores.

Increase the length of your credit card history

  • The older your credit history, the better. If you established accounts a long time ago and have been able to manage them responsibly, that demonstrates to lenders that you’re less risky than someone who doesn’t have a very long credit history.
  • If you take the length of time each of your accounts has been open and average them together, that’s the average length of your credit history. This average is considered in credit scores because you’re seen as less risky to lenders the longer your accounts have been open. The ages of your newest and oldest accounts are also considered.
  • When you open a new credit card and already have some older credit cards, you’ll reduce the average age of your accounts. This could potentially have a negative effect on your scores.
  • There are two potential ways to improve your credit scores within this category. First, you can wait for the accounts on your reports to age. You should be careful about adding new credit accounts because every time you do you’ll reduce the average age of your accounts.
  • Second, you can ask a loved one to add you to an existing, older credit card account as an authorized user. If you’re added onto an older account with positive payment history, it might increase your average age of accounts.

Using the best credit card in UAE (moneymall) has a direct influence on the most important factors that go into establishing your credit score. So getting a credit card and using it regularly and responsibly is one of the quickest and most effective ways to build or rebuild your credit score. We hope that you will follow these guidelines for the effective use of your credit card.

The post Best Ways to Use Credit Cards to Increase Your Credit Score appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Amazon ebooks ebooks Kindle Marketing Sales Tech

The Secret Behind Every Bestselling eBook

bestselling ebook

With so many writers out there and books getting published left and right, it is only natural to believe that the competition for a book becoming a bestseller must be fierce. However, we’re here to tell you that if you follow the right guidelines and take the right steps, the road to getting that “bestseller” tag in front of your book on Kindle is still achievable.

Back in the day, publishing a book always used to be in publishers’ favor.

It was up to them what they want to publish, how they market, and which books they take towards the best-seller market. A lot of politics went into this, and a lot of money exchanged hands as well.

Amazon eliminated that trend by giving YOU the power. Now, everything from writing to publishing to setting prices and becoming a bestseller is in your hands. Amazon also broke down the “bestseller” tag and assigned it to niches, i.e. bestselling fiction, bestselling autobiography, etc. thus giving writers a better chance at earning that tag.

The revenue of the eBook industry stands at $15.7 billion in 2020, rising by 6.2% each year. At the same time, there are over 1.02 billion readers worldwide growing at a whopping 8% per annum. Around 8 million readers every year.

How can you become a bestseller and stand out from the crowd?

Here, we’ll explain in detail how you can do that, all the way from writing an eBook or getting one written, editing it, publishing and marketing in a way as to enjoy the esteemed bestseller badge to the fullest. If you’re wondering, apart from satiating the ego, the tag really does make a difference in terms of sales.

The Secrets Behind Every Bestselling eBook

These eBooks don’t fall from the sky, nor is there a spirit guiding bestselling authors about what to write and what not to write about. Every bestselling author started right where you are; in front of a screen, contemplating whether their idea is worth it or not.

Here is what you need to do to craft the perfect eBook.

Decide on Your Niche

Deciding where your niche is, is where you will decide which way you’ll lean in your writing, and what category of ‘bestsellers’ you will be recognized in.

When you are deciding your niche, it’s as simple as choosing a class in a 24 Hours of Le Man’s race. Choose the fastest, most competed for niche.   Think: prototypes in Le Man’s talk and Fantasy in eBooks, or the C class, slower cars where there is competition, but it’s not as fierce. These are autobiographies and children’s books.

You can go all-in and try your luck in numerous or all categories if you’re really confident about your idea. Make a decision here and stick to it. Changing genres from fantasy horror to crime thriller mid-writing is one of the worst things you can do to your eBook.

Remember, sticking to one niche means you’re not only competing with fewer authors — but you also get more authority. You get recognized for one niche, which is better. Would you rather be a jack of all or a master of one?

Cover the Bases – Lay Out Your Idea & Start on a Draft

You have a perfect idea. From the flawless introduction to the storyline, climax and perhaps, the end. Or you might be missing out on a few parts? Whatever the case, you need to pen it down and see how it feels.

Sometimes, an idea feels like the best one out there, but when you put it to paper, it’s not that magical. A lot of thought and strategy goes into making any idea become the best one, and the first step in doing so is fleshing the idea out.

Right now, it’s not about making sure it’s well-written and error-free – It’s all about you and your idea.

Here’s what you should do:

  1. List our ideas. Write at least three different variants of your book. Make a rough abstract, include a climax and an ending. The more passionate you are about a given idea, the easier it will be to churn out words and finish. Read through each one, or have a friend do it for you – friends, if possible. Plural. Follow the most popular one.
  2. Choose one, and formulate an outline. Once you’ve finalized a candidate, make a detailed outline. Try to keep it as neat as possible. As if this is the final draft (it isn’t, but still). This will motivate you to make a draft that you will be able to follow later on – a “stencil” of sorts.
  3. Now, it’s just time to fill in the blanks. This is a long and gruesome task – and you’ll also get to meet one of our writers’ best friends; writers’ block. You can also choose to hire eBook writing services for that if you feel like you don’t have the time to write your book. Just make sure it’s a trustworthy writing service – not a freelance eBook writer where there is a chance of someone stealing your intellectual property.

Remember, that “bestseller� banner only comes if you keep your readers happy and they leave good reviews. And even then, no matter your sales or the tag, it won’t save you negative reviews.

Edit Your eBook the Bestseller Way

It’s one thing to write the perfect eBook, it’s entirely another to edit it. Not as big a grind as writing, I’ll give you that — but it’s a beast to tackle in itself nonetheless. No, let me reiterate, it’s a nightmare.

If you look at some professional eBook writing services, you’ll see that they don’t expect writers to send perfect, error-free drafts every time. Instead, they have a team of editors who go through their work regularly.

While there are numerous alternatives available out there for eBook publishing and marketing needs, editing is something that ends up being a major obstacle for many a writer. Seasoned editors usually have years of writing experience, thus know what exactly what to look for. Plus, the independent view also gives them an edge over first time eBook writers such as yourself – or even veteran writers at times.

You Can’t Edit Your Own Work

The prime reason behind why you can’t edit your own work is that you’re too close to your work. You editing your own work would be like a surgeon performing surgery on their family.

Bestsellers usually leave editing to their agents or hire a third-party service to do that for them, or use online tools to root out grammatical mistakes. However, there are errors that go beyond what the eye can see.

These include the story and semantic-related issues that online resources simply can’t cater to. Having said that, I would like to expand a little on my statement; editing your own eBook is very difficult; not an impossible feat.

Here are some clever editing tricks to keep in mind when editing your own work. Doing so, you may be able to reduce the cost of an editor significantly if they’re charging you per edit. So, roll your sleeves up and let’s dive into your eBook together.

Take a Break

One of the biggest mistakes writers make (understandably) is to jump into editing right after they finish writing or the very next day. It is completely natural to want to publish your masterpiece the moment it’s done, but that is a bad idea.

Your conscience might fight you over this, but wait a while after completion. Just set it aside, let it collect dust for at least a week. More, if possible. Just don’t let spiders make webs on it. Three weeks is more than enough.

As you give it time, you start forgetting tiny details. If you start right away, these details are fresh in your mind and you unintentionally start skimming through the text, leaving behind a wide margin for error.

As you start forgetting, you’ll look at the book with a relatively fresher set of eyes, thus highlighting mistakes even better. Remember, distance gives you perspective; and nothing is better at highlighting your mistakes than hindsight and perspective.

Don’t Try to Finish It in One Go

Even the most notable writer, Mark Twain, had his first book rejected by publishers and edited numerous times before getting published.

Don’t be ashamed if there are edits. Go through your book slowly and take breaks every now and then to get a fresh perspective each time you come back.

Remember, it’s an eBook, not an article. Grit to get over with editing and getting it published soon is one thing, leaving behind errors and typos is entirely another. Not only will it ruin your readers’ experience, but it will also be a major obstacle on your road to becoming a best-seller.

Frankly, it’s embarrassing to have one of your readers point out a typo. A “friend” of mine learned that the hard way.

I recommend going through your eBook at least three times, and taking your time each time if it’s your own. If it’s ghostwritten, reading it twice would be more than enough, highlighting any changes in your path. Put in comments and send the file back. Just remember not to overedit.

  1. First, cater to story elements. Look for any plot holes, misalignments, discontinuations, change in characters or genders, or other such problems. If you find any typos, fix them but don’t focus too much on them.
  2. In the second run, focus on grammar. This is where you fix every typo, put in every punctuation mark, cross every “tâ€� and dot every “i.”
  3. Your third read will be just to finalize it. You’re simply preparing it for your editor now.

Even if you go through your book a hundred times, you will find mistakes each time you go over it. Only a third-person can tell you whether your book is bestseller material or not.

Use Online Tools

Online tools aren’t the best alternative to hiring a professional editor, but they do help reduce the cost significantly. Here are some online companions that you can use to help sort out grammatical errors from your book:

  • Grammarly: By far one of the most popular online editing software out there, Grammarly takes the cake not just in popularity but in versatility, compatibility and ease-of usage as well. Correcting mistakes with Grammarly is just a matter of clicking on its suggestions. However, you can only get the most out of this app if you purchase the paid version. Otherwise, the edits are mostly grammatical.
  • Hemingway App: The fiercest competitor Grammarly has as of yet, Hemmingway stands tall as the free editing tool that has been a friend of many a bestseller over the years. From grammatical mistakes to sentence structures and other mistakes, Hemingway is a great tool for all. The web version is free with more features than Grammarly’s free version.
  • Paper Writers: This is not an online tool, per se, but a ‘forum’ of sorts where you can share your manuscript with other aspiring writers and readers. You can ask them to go through your manuscript and make edits. They act as an extra pair of eyes, for those of you who need them.

Don’t Overedit – It’s the Bane of Many a Writer

Editing is for a manuscript what seasoning is for a meal. It can either make your eBook shine and leave your readers wanting more, or make it bland and tasteless. However, just as adding too much salt, sugar or spice can ruin a perfect dish, over-editing can do the same to your manuscript.

Publishing without editing is a definite possibility, but let me ask you; when was the last time you heard about a best-seller that had typos in it? Or plot holes?

Yes, these books sell, and sometimes they sell well too, but you can’t go as far as saying that they’re best sellers. The same goes for an overediting manuscript. And when editing your eBook yourself, this is one of the most common problems that you could face.

As you go over your story, you are bound to see some errors and you’ll fix them too. However, in the next run, you might feel that it didn’t need to be changed in the first place, change it in the next read, revert it again and so on. That’s you overediting.

This usually happens if you sit with your manuscript too long – you start seeing issues where there are none. You’ll even see plot holes where the story makes perfect sense! Remember, just as you see others’ pastures greener than yours, they are going to see your grass greener than theirs.

Edit your book once, twice, or thrice at most and then leave it. If you still feel there are problems with it, give it to someone else. Accept that you can’t do it yourself. That’s the bestseller’s way of editing.

Marketing Your eBook, the Best-Seller Way

Once you’ve edited your eBook to the best of your ability, it’s time to give it to a professional. While they work their magic, the figurative rule of eBook thumbs dictates that you start marketing your eBook.

As they say, make hay while the sun shines.

While the book’s idea is fresh in your head, start writing social media posts, creating Facebook banners, YouTube videos, pamphlets to distribute, texts to send to friends and family, and more. Start showcasing your eBook and prepare material for once the book gets published.

Remember, if your story idea is even the slightest bit different than what’s out there in the market, and you’ve got the book edited right, the only thing that stands in your way toward becoming a bestseller is marketing.

Once your book is published, if it’s successful you won’t get the time to focus on writing promotional stuff. So create content not just for now but for the future as well.

Now, focus on building anticipation. In the future, tell readers why they need to buy your book instead of telling them what they’re waiting for. Here are some tips to help you market your book the bestseller way before it’s even done.

  • Posting social media posts about your book.
    • Include tips and tricks
    • Tell them what they’ll get
    • Give them some value
    • Make them think that they’re learning something new from the promotional content, how good will the book be?
  • Post regular updates about the book’s progress – incorporate a countdown, if you can
  • Make a “behind the scenes” video or blog post
  • Tell your followers about the challenges you had to face when writing – no need to mention your freelance writers or the eBook writing services you hired if any
  • Create an event on Google and social media
  • Engage your audience with questions and giveaways
  • Plan and schedule interviews
  • Plan and schedule book signings. Use Amazon’s Print of Demand Service to your advantage. That’s a bestseller move that builds anticipation

Publishing Like Bestsellers – Print or eBook?

You’re not just publishing for the sake of publishing, you’re doing it to win. You’re looking to become a bestseller — so your marketing and publishing medium needs to reflect that. As you saw above, the marketing phase will be much more aggressive and writing will be more quality-intensive.

Now comes the hard part; print or eBook?

If your goal is to climb the New York Times bestseller list, you need to go with ‘print’ publishing. However, coming from NYT bestsellers, the tag is more hype and glamor than being actually more useful than Amazon’s bestseller tag.

However, if making a passive income for yourself is what you’re really after, Amazon’s bestselling author tag is what you need. Plus, where you need to wait at least 6 to 12 months for the NYT bestseller tag, you only need a few weeks to become Amazon’s bestseller.

Furthermore, if you choose to get your book printed, you will have to look for a publisher, sign a deal with them and give away a hefty share of your royalties as well. Though you do get to enjoy a slightly higher status, consider how hard it is to get accepted by these publishers.

But if we come down to brass tacks, the process of getting a deal from one of the big publishers out there is unnecessarily complicated. Amazon has presented people with a good alternative, and sales aren’t any less for eBooks compared to physical books, especially in 2020.

In fact, if you look at the total traffic volume on eBook selling platforms and sales during the first three months of COVID-19 lockdown, you’ll see that people are actually buying more eBooks than printed books! And we don’t mean digital copies of physical books, but actual, self-published eBooks.

The following graph shows how the lockdown has increased the number of visits to 1.51 billion in March 2020, from January’s 1.34 billion. As visits have grown, so have the number of books sold.

Graph depicting the number of visits to eBook selling platforms due to the lockdowns

Wear Your Sunglasses Because It’s Time to Become a Bestseller

Now that you’ve published your eBook on whatever medium you choose, wait. It’s just a matter of time before you get an email congratulating you on your success. However, just because you’ve clicked the publish button and money has started rolling in, it doesn’t mean you can stop marketing.

As mentioned above, that is what will drive sales and get you past the finish line — and that is where most published authors stop putting in the effort.

Don’t be like those writers. You set out to be a bestseller — don’t quit before that. Keep on posting promotional content, keep on responding to reviews, and most importantly, be active on social media.

You might be inclined to start working on your second book at that point, but that is not what bestsellers do unless they have a launch team driving sales as they continue working. If you’re cutting costs, just jot down your idea somewhere like you did for this book and put it aside.

That book can wait – it hasn’t even crossed anyone’s mind yet. Focus on what’s out there. Put your efforts into marketing and you shall reap the rewards for it.

Don’t get up every day and get depressed because someone else holds the Amazon bestseller tag. Remember Amazon doesn’t have just one bestseller, but quite a few at the same time. Just keep an eye on the market and current trends, and if a book similar to yours gets popular instead of your own, you’re in luck.

Use what we in the business call “second-hand marketing.” Target people who read that book. You can find them in the review section of Amazon or perhaps on Goodreads. Tell them via email or social media that since they liked that book, you think they’ll like this one too.

Just try to be nice about it. If they’re not interested, don’t trust your book onto them. It’s a bit of a trial and error game, but you’ll get the hang of it eventually. If you’re nice about it, people will be inclined to leave a positive review as well. And word of mouth sells. Unlike any other form of marketing — sales by word of mouth is what you want.

Here’s how many books you need to sell to become a bestseller:

  • New York Times: 9,000 copies
  • The Wall Street Journal: 3,000 books
  • Amazon: Depends on books being sold in your category

The last category is why, if you’re publishing an eBook on Amazon, you need to be careful about what niche or category you’re choosing. Try to choose one with the least competition. But if you have written or gotten an exceptional eBook Ghostwritten from professionals or freelance eBook writers, the competition won’t even matter.

If you have applied any of the tips we mentioned above, or perhaps all of them, congratulations. You’re on the right path towards becoming a bestseller. If you haven’t, we hope our guide was of some use to you.

If you think we missed out on something or want to pitch in your two cents, get in touch with us down in the comments. We’d love to hear what you have to say.

Top Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio; Pexels

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covid-19 Health Healthcare Tech technology-centric

Technology-Centric Healthcare is Here to Stay, Thanks to COVID-19

covid technology centric healthcare

It seems so simplistic to talk about the way we used to deliver healthcare, in a pre-COVID-19 world. We moved around in close proximity to our patients and delivered care mainly up close and in person. But, technology-centric healthcare is here to stay thanks to COVID-19.

Technology-Centric Healthcare

There have been people ushering in new technologies like telemedicine for decades, but the reality is we didn’t see mass adoption or implementation until a global pandemic hit.

The way we do nearly everything has been altered in some way, and we are seeing the quick adoption of digital health technologies across the healthcare continuum in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.

Once we get to a place where we are no longer laser-focused on fighting the spread, our attention will turn to a new way of delivering care in a post-COVID-19 world.

The new way of delivering healthcare is going to be a lot different than what we’ve been used to — or even what we are used to.

Why is this moment in healthcare so different?

We’ve talked about shifts in healthcare before. There is no shortage of predictions about the tech trends that will change healthcare, such as augmented reality and wearable devices.

This time is different. Take telehealth as an example.

Although it has been around for decades, doctors have not been quick to use it. In fact, 2019 – way back before the coronavirus was a reality – saw only 28% of physicians using telehealth to deliver care.

Within weeks of COVID-19 striking, practices around the country shuttered their doors to patients and saw appointment cancellations hit as high as 108%.

For doctors and patients alike, virtual care became the only option. Recent projections say virtual medical care visits will top 200 million this year. The record is up sharply from the original expectation of 36 million visits for all of 2020.

Doctors Before the Pandemic

Before the pandemic, doctors who hadn’t yet adopted telehealth to deliver care didn’t see a huge need to be able to see patients remotely.

There were other obstacles, like the issue of reimbursement which made it unattractive or impossible. Seemingly overnight, though, things changed and Americans everywhere only had one choice if they needed medical care: virtual.

Even as we flatten the curve, life will not be going back to what we used to consider normal anytime soon.

Social distancing will be something we will all have to get used to. Limiting the number of people in enclosed areas, like waiting rooms, will become the new normal.

Bigger time breaks between patients will be necessary to properly clean and sanitize exam rooms. For at least the next couple of years, we will see changes to the way we did things in healthcare, which will solidify some of the shifts ushered in to deal with COVID-19.

All the new changes will go far beyond telehealth.

Telehealth gets a lot of attention these days, but there are many different technologies that change the way doctors and patients interact that will become the new normal.

For many providers, COVID-19 has been the catalyst for adopting many of them, as digital became the only way to connect with patients.

Messaging and Monitoring

One thing providers realized quickly as the pandemic spread across the country was a need to communicate to patients easily and effectively.

While some health systems and small practices were using messaging technology prior to 2020, the reality for others sank in as they needed to cancel large numbers of appointments.

Adding to the issue is how to provide accurate information to high-risk patients, and ensure all patients had access to the latest information about the virus and its presence in their communities.

Recent Healthcare Data

Interestingly, recent data shows that those areas hardest hit by the virus that saw a dramatic uptick in doctor-patient communications. California saw a quicker flattening of the curve than those who were hard hit by the virus, who saw a smaller number of messages sent — like New York.

No matter what “normal� looks like going forward, providers will continue to leverage digital tools that allow them to communicate to, and engage with, patients with the push of a button.

Digital screening

Just like flying following 9/11, visits to the doctor are not going to look the same.

We should all get used to being screened for symptoms of COVID-19 in many areas of our lives, with doctors’ offices leading the way. Providers around the country are quickly adopting digital tools that allow them to pre-screen patients who are making and coming in for appointments.

For many people, the new screening will come in the form of a text message as part of an appointment reminder.

While many offices will leverage a mix of channels, such as voice, email and text, it is important to note that patients overwhelmingly prefer text messages.  When the patient receives a text message, the reminder will include a link to a quick screener survey with a few questions to answer prior to their in-person office visit.

If any of the questions suggest they might be positive for the virus, the patient’s provider would follow up with next steps. The quick text enables the healthcare team to deliver care quickly while reducing the risk of exposure to themselves and other patients.

Zero-contact check-in

As we all have become acutely aware over the past several months, limiting the spread of the virus requires us to stay a certain distance away from others. We can all think of a number of places we visit fairly regularly where this would be difficult to avoid, and the waiting room at your doctor’s office is no exception.

As we move to re-opening offices around the country, we will see many providers implement zero-contact check-in procedures The patients can check-in virtually – including submitting co-pays. The patient then waits in their cars until they receive a text message that the doctor is ready to see them.

These new procedures not only limits doctor exposure to patients but keeps office staff from close physical interactions that might put them at risk.

Particularly innovative use of this kind of technology is one of our health system customers — which is setting up virtual triage for the emergency room to keep patients who don’t need emergency care away from an area that could put them at higher risk for COVID-19 or other diseases.

Curbside care

Much like with waiting rooms and telehealth, doctors’ offices will find ways to keep patients from having to come in when it could be risky – for them or others – to do so.

Some visits require more time and attention, others can be done relatively quickly and easily, even with a patient remaining in the car. For example, vaccinations, testing, or routine blood pressure tests can be done anywhere and don’t require the patient to go into the waiting and exam rooms.

Remember the Digital Tools

More and more providers are leveraging digital tools that enable them to check-in patients. Screening and reviewing patient information and history from electronic health records (EHR) can quickly and safely be done from the patient’s car.  Proceeding in this manner with initial-contact-administrative-care protects both the patient, staff, and doctors.

Technology’s Rapid Transformation in Healthcare

Technology is constantly shifting how we deliver healthcare.

There are moments in history that push us faster toward innovation and adoption, and give us a new way of doing things. COVID-19 is one of those moments.

While much of healthcare will stay the same – and many will continue to debate whether that’s a good thing or not (that’s for another article!) – many methods will be changed for good.

Healthcare providers are in the business of making people healthier and delivering care. The pandemic tried its best to keep healthcare providers from doing just that.

With the past several months forever etched in people’s memories, providers won’t be able to go back to business as usual. Rather, they will do everything they can to ensure they are able to deliver the very best care to their patients.

Technology is the best and maybe the only way to seamlessly provide essential healthcare to patients.

Image Credit: Anna Shvets; Pexels

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Customer Experience with a Millennial Mind

millennial customer experience

It’s not how we’ve always done it, and that’s a good thing. Here is a guide to creating a customer experience with a millennial state of mind.

Millennials’ communication styles are different from prior generations. Younger workers appear to have a clear preference for visual content, particularly videos. When faced with an issue, they’ll watch a YouTube tutorial to figure out how to fix their broken vacuum rather than dust off the text-heavy owner’s manual.

Many millennials’ preferred methods of connection and communication involve an abundance of emojis, GIFs, memes, and acronyms.

How will your business connect to this generation? How do you create a customer experience that will make an impact and create a loyal customer out of this generation? Chances are, many of your employees are part of this generation and the customers they’re interacting with are their peers.

Enabling your employees with the communication tools necessary to connect in the ways that are natural for them is essential in providing high-quality customer interactions that can improve satisfaction, increase referrals, and drop churn like it’s hot.

The Ultimate Guide to Stand Out with Millennials

Business owners who pay attention and apply the technologies that are central to the millennial’s world do so by using the tools they already interact with on a day-to-day basis.

As you learn millennials’ language and communication styles, you’ll gain insight into creating a high-touch, personalized experience using software specialized just for that. Customized and highly personal is the key to creating a meaningful experience while simultaneously improving your bottom line.

Here are five key concepts that will help you break through the noise and tailor your customer experience to Millennials.

  1. Be Authentic
  2. Show, Don’t Tell
  3. Work Around Their Schedule
  4. Speak Their Language
  5. Know Your Audience

1. Be Authentic

‍Millennials conduct copious amounts of research before they make just about any purchasing decision. Because so much is available, data has shown that millennials are more likely to make decisions for their money and their life based on their values.

A Nielsen report found that 73% of millennials will pay more for a product that is sustainable— and the word “sustainableâ€� is equated with “trustworthinessâ€� in a millennial’s mind.

How will you stand out? Emanate authenticity.

Our millennials are people who been inundated with choices their whole lives and their generation is spoilt with them. You can bet the one thing — they know how to differentiate everything. The Millennial knows the better from the best — it’s kind of like knowing the difference between a pair of Yeezys and a pair of Feezys, or Ray Bans from Ray Berries.

Your product and team have a story. Tell it with transparency to invite connection with people both in and out of your company.

Be Trustworthy

Trustworthiness and transparency allow you to connect with customers in an authentic way. Go beyond the taglines and offer information. Present knowledge that isn’t typically required or shared on a product label or business brief — such as the brand story.

Tell how your brand may be contributing positively to the world, and how much your company upholds honesty and integrity with its employees and clients.

It’s often independent initiatives that provide this information to millennials, but this extra effort is important — don’t pass up the opportunity to do it. You extra effort could be the very thing that sets your company apart from the competitors.

Some examples of ways to communicate authentically include having an ‘About Us’ page on your website.

Have your social media engagement up-to-date and interesting to create community. Opt for live-streams with a webcam recording software as opposed to a formal press release information.

Couple these well-founded efforts with communication software that speaks the way millennials do, and you’ve found yourself a pair of listening ears. Have your spots at least for 8 seconds — that’s the amount of time it takes for millennials to decide whether they’ll move on to their next option.

Be careful with using AI to completely replace your customer support. If not done properly, your AI effort can cost you customers and loyalty.

Authenticity in Action from G2

G2 Crowd, for example, embraces this concept by creating personalized videos to share with their potential customers.

Using screen recording software and annotated screenshots have enabled the company to grow to over $7m in its sales pipeline because of the connection aspect that videos provide.

Matt Lazares, G2 Crowd Enterprise Account Executive, said of video capture software “…We are able to reach out to people that we typically can’t connect with.â€� (Read more here.)

2. Show, Don’t Tell

Counter-intuitively, but not surprising, millennials value efficiency and speed over service.

They are, after all, the generation of convenience. Quick, efficient, speedy — all reasons why products like cupcakes, makeup, and even bike parts can be bought from vending machines.

It stands to reason that the customer experience journey today should steer away from clunky information portals and automated messages and focus on talking with customers the way they talk to each other. Use intuitive apps to show exactly the message that needs to be conveyed.

Find ways to showcase your product through tutorial videos, use cases, and images that can be key to building loyalty.

Clear Messaging is key

Frustration exists in communication when messages aren’t clear. Lousy messages are prevalent in companies from customer support to onboarding, marketing, and sales departments (to name a few).

Take a close look at your customer and potential customer you’re trying to work with. Think about the work required to answer a question that’s rather easy to show, but arduous to explain via chat/email/over the phone. All customers have their preferences — but your millennial customers are special and you want to reach them.

There’s also the inconvenience of schedules not matching up to jump on a call and do a “quickâ€� demo. Think screen recording software — millennials love it. 

A brilliant solution is screen recording software. It works like this: a sales rep takes a recording of her screen. She can explain every step of her demonstration clearly as a talking head in the top corner of the computer screen as she simultaneously runs through her process.

The person may even use the GIF creator to show another client a quick method to navigating her product’s dashboard–super simple, and easier seen than told.

The use of a screen recorder, snipping tools, and a GIF creator completely cuts through wordy, textual barriers to deliver precise communication. Using a screen has to be authentic — it’s real. A screen is efficient — no-extras communication needed. It’s also a sleek, streamlined communication tool that optimizes the customer experience.

Video, video, video

Customer support teams using product management tools like screen record and screen share mitigate time-consuming (and frustration-inducing) processes.

Product management tools help them promote the effectiveness of their product and actively soothe the customers who are most likely to churn. Utilizing these tools creates an experience where information is clearly stated without pain points that arise when using chat, phone calls, and tutorials that don’t cover specific questions.

It is safe to say that productivity software that implements video will find success and create a long-lasting impact with millennials.

Why not make a quick video to show exactly how your product works?

A staggering 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every day. (That’s billion, with a b.) Our society is used to watching videos, likely because video content is a great tool to learn, easy to consume, and a convenient way to digest and retain information on-the-go.

Understanding the value of video is huge for sales teams. Today’s customers are 95% more likely to remember a call to action after watching a video, compared to 10 percent who read a call to action in text format.

Videos and GIFs create a unique experience from other ways of receiving information.

There’s data to prove that your videos will be a hit: a Ragan study reported that more than 60 percent of millennials say they understand information faster when it’s communicated visually, versus just 7 percent who don’t.

3. Work Around Their Schedule

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

best live chat software
Generation Y has seen a significant rise in the number of employees working remotely. Gallup found that from 2012 to 2016, the number of employees working remotely rose by four percentage points, from 39% to 43%, and employees working remotely spent more time doing so.

Nontraditional schedules are becoming the norm thanks to innovations in technology and companies vying to have competitive benefits packages (like extended parental leave policies, unlimited PTO, etc.).

Additionally, millennials are prepared to work after they leave the office, and often do. These facts have contributed to the demand for digital, cloud-based collaboration tools and productivity software. Being able to provide digital communication outside the 9-to-5 is invaluable, and it may also be the only time to reach some of your customers.

Providing content with video recording software that can be referenced at any time is not only convenient, but ensures that you’ve got an evergreen piece of material with the potential to make an impact the more it’s passed around and viewed.

As cloud computing quality and accessibility continue to mature, demand increases.

Businesses are shifting to cloud-based collaboration software solutions and consequently find eager and adaptable users (both in-house and for communicating with customers). Providing visual references to your customer makes the customer feel that you’re aware of and sensitive to their time and specific needs, further nurturing the customer journey.

4. Speak Their Language

Consolidating the number of products an individual uses is key for millennials’ need for efficiency.

Using screen recording software takes a small amount of time and helps to avoid any miscommunication, because of the personalized demonstration aspect. Clear, concise interactions are key to making customer interactions positive (and ensuring they’ll continue the conversation).

In most cases, the ability to send a quick and easy video recording prevents company reps from having to hop on a call to explain something to a customer or keep a customer engaged in a chat (and good luck if you type something wrong).

Chances are high that you have experienced a time when you, perhaps begrudgingly, spent too much time on the phone with customer support or hearing a sales pitch. The right tools can eliminate those issues.

Visual communication appeals to customer success and support, product, and sales teams in businesses because of the intuitive nature of the product and concentration of a myriad of connection-driven needs in one hub.

Companies save time, and their customers save time. Businesses also use the product management tools of this communication software in a wide variety of ways, including:

  • Onboarding new customers
  • Prospecting and closing new clients
  • Demoing product features
  • Providing product feedback
  • Reporting and tracking bugs and issues
  • Building team training/knowledge wiki
  • Explaining complicated workflows
  • Sending updates to teams or clients
  • Answering customer support tickets

5. Know Your Audience

‍Generations Y and Z are heavily visual creatures. If you’re already struggling to connect with this subset — it’s time to sprint so that you don’t miss out on connecting with the next round of tech-savvy humans that are beginning their entrance into the workforce.

Younger individuals today are growing up with the internet, smartphones, and social media as a rule, not an exception.

They’re already well-versed in the areas that millennials had to learn. Millennials may remember the sound of dial-up internet while Generation Z doesn’t know life before WiFi.

According to Forbes, Gen Z individuals use an average of five screens (compared to a millennial’s three). These include a smartphone, laptop, TV, desktop, tablet, and even a smartwatch. This drives home the importance of shifting toward value in technology.

What’s more, if they’re interested in learning something new, Gen Zers will take it upon themselves to learn it.

Our millennials are highly proficient in self-education.

Thirty-two percent of Gen Z (7 to 24-year-olds) watch lessons online and conduct research by watching videos. Using visuals will help you to secure Gen Z as well.

Key Takeaways to Millennial-Approve Your Customer Experience

‍Affecting the customer experience all comes down to authentic communication, communication style, and the ease with which you do it. The common thread above is the significant need for more video content and adaptation to communication software.

Find productivity software that employs features such as screen recorder, snipping tools, and GIF creators. These are the features that will help you talk with your millennial customers to create a positive experience.

Someone who has a positive experience with your company is more likely to become a loyal customer.

Seventy percent of the customer’s journey is dictated by how they feel they are being treated. When you’re using your video capture software to walk a customer through a process or a complicated question be authentic.

Use the technology to facilitate a deeper connection with your customer.  You will have created a millennial-approved, positive and forward-thinking customer experience.

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Content Strategy Not Working? Here are the 6 Reasons Why

content strategy

Click on any blog related to content marketing and you will read “Content is the king� somewhere mentioned there. Content with the right content strategy helps you build your brand, make it visible to your audiences, boost customer trust, increase conversion rate, and even close sales. But does this ‘king’ bring everyone the same profits? Here is your content strategy not working? Here are six reasons why.

Today, we see every one creating content, and over 70% of the marketers are even actively investing to scale content marketing. But the sad truth is — not all of these marketers are happy with the results they see.

In the majority of the cases, it is not the content that is to be blamed. It is rather the content strategy.

Despite putting in all the efforts to make the content work, many still see their content lost somewhere in the deep dark digital abyss.

With minimal views, zero interaction, no engagement, and certainly no conversion, the dream of dominating the world with your content could instantly turn into a nightmare. But there is a ray of hope that will pull you out from failing at your content strategy.

Here is a blog that will tell you the main reasons why your content strategy is failing and how you can fix the strategy to succeed.

Because You Are Writing for the Bots and Not Humans

One of the biggest mistakes that most of the companies make when following a content strategy is that they focus too much on making their content rank than making it interesting. Google bots have become super smart and would automatically rank your content if it is loved by the people.

If your target audiences are not able to connect with what you write — it will be of no value to your company.

You will never be serving your target audience if you stuff your content with keywords, key phrases, and links.

Check for your content strategy.

Is it totally backed by keyword analysis and nothing else? Are you just churning out new content every other day to make sure your keywords rank?

If that’s the case, your content strategy is never going to work. Here are some mistakes in your content strategy that are taking you down.

  • Writing just enough (300 words) to fulfill Google guidelines without covering the complete topic.
  • Unnecessary stuffing the content with long and short tail keywords that make no sense to the reader.
  • Hyperlinking the content with just the service or product rather than linking it to informative pieces.

Quick Fixing Tip:

While writing content, you need to ensure that it is written with humans in mind and only optimized for search engines.

  • Create content that is catering to the needs of your readers and is still optimized for search engines.
  • Make sure it has at least 1,890 words. This way, it covers the complete topic and also makes Google web crawlers happy.
  • Keywords are important. Place them strategically. Primary keyword once in the first paragraph, title, and URL.
  • To avoid keyword stuffing yet ranking for the same, use LSI keywords to make your content look more natural.
  • Link your content but make sure it is linking to both internal and external pages that provide value to your readers.
  • Images are important to keep your reader entertained. You can use these images to gain ranking as well by adding Alt Tags and ensuring it ranks on Google images. When creating top-performing content on Google, you also need to add images with Alt Tags in it.

Because You are Scared of Experimenting with Content Forms

In an age when you are surrounded by content in all forms, limiting your content strategy to just blogs and articles is a sin. You might have a full-blown content strategy in place with a content calendar that ensures your writers churn out content pieces and post them on your website or external platforms. However, it is 2020 and your target audiences have gone far beyond consuming content through just one means.

Each business starts its content strategy from ‘having a blog page.’ And it is great as over 60% of the businesses that acquired more customers had a blogging channel in place. But thinking that that’s enough is where you start failing.

You need to study your buyer persona and the stage they are in the buyer journey to offer them the required kind of content for a successful inbound marketing initiative as well.

For example, a buyer in the awareness stage would like to have blogs and ebooks or guides around the topic. Those in the consideration stage might look for whitepapers, blogs on ‘tips’ or ‘best ways’, etc. And those in the decision stage of their journey would rather look for case studies, videos, industry reports in the niche.

The mistake you are doing is that you are offering all types of buyers in all stages of their buyer journey with the same content. Neither are you looking at the buyer demographics nor on the stage of their journey to create customized content.

If your content strategy is failing even in the times when content is the king, know that it is the time to diversify.

Quick Fixing Tip:

  • The best way to diversify your content strategy is by repurposing your content. This way, you don’t have to increase your team size to create all types of content. You simply need to repurpose the content that’s already available with you. In fact, 60% of marketers use their one piece of content in two to five ways.
  • Turn your content into different forms like videos, podcasts, ebooks, pdfs, infographics, etc., to ensure it reaches audiences in the way they consume their content.
  • Look for content that is already working with the audiences and update in to make it brand new. Add new pointers, create images, and make it eye-catchy, provide new examples, improve the layout, and much more to ensure it keeps the visitors engaged.
  • Create videos from your engaging blogs
  • Make social media graphics to build your community of readers there
  • Offer downloadable content in the form of pdfs, guides, whitepapers, etc.
  • Transform your long-form content into ebooks and send them across to your clients
  • Create a buzz among your audience by creating a post that talks about the best round-up posts.
  • If you have some really good information-rich content, create webinars from them to build your authority in the niche

Because Your Competitors Already Dominate the Niche

Your content is good, you are producing all types of content, and even promoting it right. Yet, you are not able to succeed with your content marketing. Why?

Maybe because your competitors are way too strong.

Yes, one of the main reasons why a majority of the businesses see their content strategy failing is because they are up against industry giants. Many times, businesses are doing nothing wrong, it’s just that they are in an industry or market that is already dominated by big names. In such situations, it is only human to feel that it is not much you can do. But giving up should never be the case.

Think you cannot fight the saturated or dominated market? You can.

Quick Fixing Tip:

If you are also in an industry where your competitors have left no scope for you and no matter what you do, your content is still not working, here is what you can do.

  • Offer problem-solving content to ensure that your target audience can rely on you for solutions
  • Be consistent with your content delivery and never back down. Slowly and steadily, you will reach the top.
  • Start with building a small niche group of followers with your content and start expanding it.
  • Try the skyscraper method of creating content where you find the best piece of your competitor’s content and generate something even better.
  • Look where they are lacking through a thorough competitor analysis. There must be something they are missing out on and that’s where you need to hit with your content strategy.

Because You Are Not Creating Valuable Content

Producing content for content’s sake is not going to take you far. It should always provide some value to your audience. A very prominent reason why the majority of the companies do not succeed with their content is that they get too busy simply churning out content pieces one after the other without considering if it is working for their audiences or not.

You are not thinking about your audience while creating content. It is only the numbers you are worried about. And the same thing has passed on to your writers as well. They aren’t worried about content quality or the value it would create with the readers, they are simply meeting the deadlines and targets of writing x number of words each day.

Quick Fixing Tip:

When it comes to writing valuable content for the audiences, there are many things you can do. Here are some of them:

  • Have a buyer persona and analyze the characteristic of the audience to know what kind of content they like. You need to find what clicks your audience and create content that engages them.
  • Your content team should be experienced and know how to create high-quality content. You cannot expect them to create great content if you haven’t familiarized them with your target buyer personas. Make sure they have complete information about your company’s offering, working process, and the target audience so that they can create valuable content.
  • Make your content stand out by adding some unique qualities to them and offer value in one way or the other.
  • Give a different angle or perspective to your content to ensure that it is creating more value for your audiences
  • Talk to your sales or business development team to know the questions that the customers are actually asking and create content on that.
  • Pay attention to the content type that is not working with your target audience and either stop doing that in your strategy or try to improve them.

Because Your Content Promotion is Not On Point

Content marketing is not just about content. It’s second half talks about marketing and that is where most people fail. Many people have talented content writers who tell the company stories in a perfect manner while also offering value. But they lack in promoting the content on the right channels.

Your content strategy would definitely not work if you are doing nothing about the content once it has gone live on your website.

How do you expect your users to find the content? Do you expect them to type your blog URL to reach the page? No one would do that, of course.

How will they reach your content? They will reach your content when you know how to promote it.

Take, for example, Robbie Richards, a professional that helps growth-stage SaaS companies with their SEO strategies. His page was just a month old with no backlinks or anything. Yet, he grew his traffic by 272% in just 30 days. How?

Having a content strategy that emphasizes on creating great content and promoting it right. He used Buzzbundle tool, weekly round-ups, forum marketing, etc.

Quick Fixing Tip:

There are some simple and quick tips that can help you improve your content strategy through promotion.

  • Send out email newsletters to all your subscribers for your blog posts
  • Share each of your blog posts on social media platforms that best suit your business and audience in a very engaging manner. Don’t forget, over 74% of your users are on social media. But make sure you target your content according to social media platforms. LinkedIn for business posts, Instagram for cultural posts, Pinterest for infographics, Twitter for mentioning industry experts, etc.
  • When sending out emails to your prospects, you can link your informative posts in the email to give them value and get more traffic on your site.
  • Reshare your content on different reposting channels like Medium etc., with your original link as canonical to reach out to wider audiences.
  • Answer questions on Quora, Reddit, etc., while linking to your blog post to get interested readers from there.

Because You Aren’t Tracking Content or Wasting Your Data

Data is imperative in today’s world and you need to make complete use of the data that you have to improve your content strategy. Basically, if you are not backing your content strategy with data, you are simply taking the guess-based approach. And that is not going to take you too far.

It is important that you track each piece of content and know the numbers to not just formulate your content strategy but also improvise it accordingly.

The data collected from tracking and analysis of content, marketing campaigns, and other similar things can be very useful in strengthening your content strategy and making it fool-proof.

Quick Fixing Tip:

  • Google Analytics, Hubspot Analytics, SEMrush, and many more tools are available to help you analyze your content performance
  • Looks at the page views, bounce rates, average session, etc., to see how your content is performing
  • See the referral traffic and make sure sharing content there becomes a routine
  • Have a monthly report to see where the traffic arrives most and from where. Create content and promotion strategies accordingly.

On an Ending Note

Like having a correct inbound strategy is imperative for digital engagement, a correct and fail-proof content strategy is also crucial for your success. In fact, if done right, your content strategy can get you three times more leads than paid search advertising. All you need to do is find the reasons why it is failing and fix them to succeed.

In this blog, we covered all the major reasons that lead to the failure of content strategy and how you can quickly fix them. You can perform content audits regularly and see ho everything is working out. Once done, implement the quick fixing tips and do not forget to include these implementations in your content documentation as, without it, your strategy would not stand.

Key Takeaways:

  • To make your content strategy work, make sure your content is written for humans and well-optimized for search engines.
  • Creating just one kind of content would bore your audience. Treat them with variety and serve them with a mix and match of video, blogs, podcasts, infographics, etc.
  • The content should always provide value to the readers and compel them to take some action.
  • Do not worry if your industry is already dominated. Offering value consistently would help you carve your niche.
  • Just pushing down chunks of content on your website wouldn’t suffice. Promoting the content should take an important part of your content strategy.
  • You also need to monitor all your content efforts. Otherwise, how would you know what’s working and what’s not? With proper tracking, you can create more value-driven content that will resonate with your customers’ requirements.

The post Content Strategy Not Working? Here are the 6 Reasons Why appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories
Branding Marketing ReadWrite Social Media Marketing

5 Reasons Why You Should Absolutely Embrace Social Media Marketing

social media marketing

Are you technologically challenged? In a world of rapid change where social media, online platforms, and virtual reality are transforming the very essence of civilization; any person or business falling short of the requirements to survive in the digital age is basically technologically challenged. But there is hope. Here are five reasons why you should absolutely embrace social media marketing.

Be a notable landmark in the digital world

In 2013, “selfie� was nominated by Oxford Dictionaries as the word of the year. What others perceived as the mere initiation of a technologically savvy term into the mainstream discourse soon became more than just a trend.

The “selfie” set precedence to the modern world’s increasing dependence on the internet and the variety of tools to access its power.

The simple selfie event is a milestone in the history of digital evolution and how it has revolutionized the very language of how we think, act and connect. The social media buzzword took center-stage in the lexicon of modern humanity. The selfie and what resulted from it relayed the impact of social media and the rising importance of technology in our day to day lives.

Few have been able to reap the benefits of this game-changer and many refuse to accept the law of the digital jungle.

Businesses delaying the integration of social media marketing to their present strategy are incurring huge losses. What’s more, the tendency to neglect upgrading existent business plans with the latest digital marketing trends can also impede your business success.

The survival of any business in modern times is largely dependent on how they overcome old prejudices and attain healthy adaptability to technological change.

If you find it hard to accept the changes in thinking and conducting business that has been wrought by social media — then it is high time you modify your thinking and transform your business plans to achieve optimum benefits.

Here’s a list of 5 important reasons why you should definitely embrace social media marketing:

1)    Promote Your Brand

Social media is the best place to grow your brand. Your main objective should be to put your brand out there and promote it as well as you can.

Start with a plan, research your market, and wisely put up your content on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

Your clients are spending quality time on the internet and social media, surfing for things they like or are interested in. Having your brand present in these spaces gives you valuable visibility.

With the advent of modern technology, the masses have started relying on social media for more and more information. Today everything from what the latest trends in fashion are, to which café is nearest to your location can be found with a few clicks on your phone.

Not having a social media presence can prove lethal for your brand value and push you to obscurity. When people are following you on social media and engaging with your content, it ultimately boosts your brand awareness and gives you the ability to focus on other aspects of your business.

2)    Enhance Lead Generation

The main target of any business is to generate as many leads as possible. Marketers have been proclaiming the importance of social media marketing for some time now and have actually ranked it as the most effective tactic used for improving lead generation.

Social media is the apex method when it comes to interacting with brands and researching new products or services for those countless people who spend their time on the internet. The simple trick to get more leads is to establish a social media presence and then continue to nurture your marketing strategy with only a little effort.

Do not forget to optimize your profile, create user-friendly and personalized content and most importantly build great offers and incentives to convert those leads.

Social media is one of the defining factors in how people purchase products. It is extremely difficult to achieve maximum lead generation by ignoring the benefits of social media.

Today, when more than 4.5 billion people are using the internet at the start of this year, it will definitely determine the success of your brand’s marketing strategy.

3)    Build Community Relationships

Customer loyalty is the key to the success of any business. With social media, businesses are able to speak directly to their customers and connect on an intimate level. When a business is able to engage with its customers in a constructive manner, ensuring better services and products becomes an easy task.

The best aspect of communicating through social media is the plethora of creative methods one can use to have a conversation or other forms of interaction. From conducting contests to stream live videos, sharing stories, informing updates, and much more.

Social media is where a marketer can let her imagination run wild.

However, it is important to keep in mind internet protocols and analyze the kind of reaction you get from your audience. By closely studying audience reaction, set up a channel of personalized communication through a variety of social media handles for your products and services.

Businesses should also utilize the ability to respond as soon as possible whenever their customers search for necessary information. With this, maximizing the satisfaction of customers and addressing their grievances becomes more efficient.

The satisfied customer will ultimately help improve the loyalty of your customers exponentially.

Traditional mass media is slowly becoming less relevant with every passing day. To have a personal one to one engagement with customers is nearly impossible to hold, using the old formats of business communication.

Social media fills this gap in the market by creating a platform for businesses to build communities around their brands using the latest technology and digital innovation.

4)    Promote Multi-channel Campaigns

Businesses these days have the opportunity to tap into a generation of shoppers, who are consuming quality content through multiple platforms. Social media has enabled consumers to effortlessly move quickly between channels.

Your customers can roam freely from websites to social media, from email or messenger, and retrace their steps back to social media again. Every channel becomes a host to whatever campaign you run. In other words, for the same amount of effort you put on every campaign, you can get double, triple, or manifold profits.

Be sure to make your social media marketing strategy more powerful by making multi-channel marketing an integrated part of your business initiatives and strategy. Using these cutting-edge tricks, you can boost website traffic, by luring inbound traffic to your site.

Each and every social media handle is that you have is a potential key to unlock your website. Each post is a new door to provide content. Therefore, show visitors and followers why they should visit your website through social media marketing.

5)    Nurture Your Networks

A research conducted by Crowdtap on 3,000 people illustrates that 64% of those surveyed use social media to find ideas and inspiration for shopping. Look around yourself and examine the number of people relying on online shopping through social media. You will definitely see a rise in the numbers that have kept on increasing in the last decade and reached its peak this year.

You already recognize social media as an impactful marketing tool on its own. All these benefits are additionally complimented by social media direct messages. They personally support and reinforce your branding on many channels simultaneously, by providing you with the opportunity to reach your audience at any time and any place.

Stringent focus on customer feedback is a must-have to succeed in any business; the same is applicable to social media marketing. Traditional methods of networking and feedback procedure are only enhanced by social media.

The ideal deal for community management is organic campaigning. However, paid campaigns can also be used for that added extra audience reach. Use customer data generated by all the active users on social media and engage with your followers.

When you engage with your followers, you can learn more about who is your target your customers, and reach out to them to know more about each other.

You will also gain insight into what they like to spend their time on and what interests them. Don’t forget to keep close eyes on your competitors and industry peers. What your competitors are doing can dramatically improve the effectiveness of your content, advertising, and messaging. Copy or improve upon what they are doing.

Social Media Marketing is a no-brainer

Staying aloof from the wonders of technology and focusing only on its ill-effects will get you nowhere.

With every passing day, your business will find it hard to survive in this highly competitive world, where social media presence is the new currency. Those who are slow in the uptake to embrace technology in business continue to suffer. T

o thrive in this digital era it’s imperative that you utilize the power of social media marketing.

In order to keep up with the changing world, stop being technologically challenged and proactively enrich your business commitments with a seamless social media strategy

Learn as much as you can about social media management and advertisement and keep up with modern times.

Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio; Pexels

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Categories
Apps Blockchain IoT

Blockchain – A Platform for IoT Solutions

blockchain iot

As you heard many times before, blockchain technology is going to change the whole IoT industry. What you have not heard is how this is going to happen. Here is the answer to three questions and how blockchain is a platform for IoT solutions.

  1. What is a blockchain?
  2. Which blockchain is a better choice for IoT solutions?
  3. How to design IoT based solutions?

Note that there are several fundamental problems with almost all the blockchains that you know, including BTC and Ethereum.

blockchain

 

What is a blockchain

A blockchain is a distributed database that is accessible from anywhere, and there is no single point of failure. So, is that it? You might argue that all these things are achievable by current platforms and infrastructures.

But the cost is higher, and the availability of the system is lower. To understand it better, let me take you through the characteristics of blockchain technology.

A Public ledger

A public ledger means everyone can join the system. That is the major difference between a blockchain and other systems. Let’s clarify that any blockchain that is not public, is not a blockchain. So just drop any private blockchain without being impressed by the big names (e,g., Hyper ledger by IBM).

Immutable

An immutable database or ledger records everything. So, it is a trail of evidence! It logs every action on the system. It doesn’t mean you can not update a record, you can! But you need to create a new record and refer it to the old one.

Distributed

If you work with current databases like Oracle, you know how costly it is to distribute data. By using blockchain as a database, the data is already distributed with no single point of failure which leads to 100% service availability with global access.

Built-In Money

Paying from a device to another device in the form of micropayments opens many opportunities for IoT solutions.

Imagine in the coming years and with the existence of driverless cars, you get to your workplace, your car goes away and works for you during working hours, and gets paid constantly per kilometer/meter/hour/minute.

In this instance, your car could also sell the current traffic data to other applications whenever they use the data.

All of these are possible only with micropayments on the blockchain, (not all of them) because micropayments are too expensive on any other system.

Cryptography

The nature of asymmetric cryptography allows you to authenticate and authorize devices. The feature is a perfect tool to trigger other devices without a direct connection. More on the later.

 

Choosing the right one.

Decision, Blockchain
Choosing the right one.

 

Now we know why we should use blockchain in IoT. The next step would be how to evaluate a blockchain for IoT solutions. The followings are the basic requirements for a usable blockchain-based platform

  1. Scalability
  2. Interoperability
  3. Global Accessibility
  4. Low and non-Volatile Cost
  5. Stability
  6. security

Scalability

A successful IoT solution generates a massive set of actions(transactions). As a result that will put the platform in real test. A blockchain that doesn’t scale has no chance to be used for an IoT solution.

Interoperability

IoT devices vary in many ways, their OS, the application, usage, etc.. So it is necessary to use a platform that works perfectly with any device despite the differences.

Global Accessibility

How silly it sounds when someone tells you they have their own internet? The same rule applies if someone tells you they have their own IoT network. The nature of an IoT solution is to be accessible globally, the name “Internet� is in the IoT after all!

Low and non-Volatile Cost

In any solution, estimating the cost is part of the process. To do that, you need to make sure the platform you are using has a fair and steady cost. If the cost of using the platform decreases in the future, Great! But an increase in cost will kill the project easily.

Stability

Last but not least is the stability. For instance, you have installed a device to work for years, but the protocol of the platform changes constantly. Think about it, you are not changing anything, but any change on the platform affects you directly.

Imagine having an FTP server where the FTP protocol changes every six months, how painful that would be.

Security

A blockchain is secure if it meets the following requirements:

  1. Having an immutable database where nobody can alter or delete the data. The major difference between a blockchain database and other databases is the immutability. This feature makes blockchain a perfect database to store activities of IoT devices.
  2. It is expected to continue running in the future. One of the existing problems of many blockchains is the uncertain future of these projects. This comes from things like regulations, business models, number of users, lack of incentive in miners and investors.
  3. Having incentivized and honest players. In bitcoin whitepaper, the word “honest� was written fifteen times which pretty much emphasizes the importance of honesty in blockchains. So, if a miner or a major player isn’t honest to the platform, nothing can make that network secure.

Not all the blockchains pass the requirements of being a proper platform for IoT solutions. Now we are going to learn how to distinguish a suitable blockchain from the rest.

How to Use Blockchain with IoT

A blockchain is a single distributed database (ledger) where data won’t be altered or lost. Now the main question is how to update this database? How do the transactions on Bitcoin work?

Transactions are a way of telling the network that you want to update the ledger. Generally, this update can be a request for actions like moving coins or inserting data.

Each transaction requires at least one input as the sender unless it is a Coinbase transaction and one output as the recipient.

When someone requests an update on the ledger, he needs to provide the proof for its request which is the signature of Unspent Transaction Outputs – UTXOs (the process is simplified). Only the person who has the private keys can provide those signatures.

As long as the private key(s) are safe and not compromised, nobody can update the ledger on behalf of the sender (the owner of UTXOs).

With the original version of Bitcoin, the transactions also can carry data, this data can be anything with any instructions. (Today you find some limitations on the BTC network regarding injecting data into the ledger.)

Scenario One:

We have devices A and B with no direct connection, or through a specific server. Item A is a motion detection device. Whenever it detects any activity, it logs and encrypts the event in a transaction and sends it to the network.

If device A doesn’t detect anything in five minutes, it creates an “OK ” transaction and sends it to the network.

On the other part of the city, device B is monitoring the network(with no direct connection to the device B). Device B is ready to take some actions according to the following situations:

  • Device B captures a transaction with the address of Device A as the sender, including the status of “OK.â€� As a result, it resets the timer to zero and does nothing.
  • Device B detects a transaction with the status of the warning. It will make an automatic call to the Police station with a proper message.
  • The timer on Device B passes five minutes with no transaction from Device A. Accordingly, Device B will make an automatic call to the Police station with a proper message.

In this scenario, there is no way to counterfeit Device A by an adversary unless he gets his hands on the keys. Also, there is no way to detect any server involved in the process or any relation between A and B.

Scenario Two:

Another simple example would be having two dogs in the yard and feeding them one by one. For example, you want to feed them only in times that one of them is in the yard, and the other one is resting.

You think about it and find out how we can manage two dogs with GPS devices and food gates that take actions according to the GPS data inside the transactions to the network. The above instances were only examples to grasp the concept of IoT on the blockchain better.

If you look at the keywords, you can think of thousands of other possibilities for creating complex algorithms.

Note that In Bitcoin you can have 2^256 (the real number is a bit lower) addresses. Each address can represent a device without requiring a public IP. The transactions cost less than $0.002. By using payment channels this amount will decrease even more considering the transactions transferred between parties.

Conclusion

Most of what you hear about blockchain technology is just hype but using blockchain technology improves security, transparency, and availability. Also, it lowers the cost of running projects.

At the moment of writing this article, the original Bitcoin is the best candidate for IoT solutions. It has all the elements an IoT solution requires.

In this article, I gave you the pieces of the puzzle. The rest is up to you to come up with countless secure IoT solutions.

Image Credit: Worldspectrum; Pexels

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Categories
Cloud cybersecurity Data and Security

Cybersecurity Concerns Shouldn’t Halt Digital Transformation of Your Business

cybersecurity and digital transformation

Cybersecurity is one of the biggest hurdles to progress and digital transformation for companies. Naturally, with new technologies comes new vulnerabilities, which companies can find difficult to navigate especially in new cloud environments.

Legally, cybersecurity designers have to follow strict regulations such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and other laws to protect sensitive information that businesses may possess of their clients.

However, companies that can navigate this system and use their information effectively can more than double their profitability.

Security is a focal point for the future, but it doesn’t have to be the end-all-be-all for companies’ progress and transformation. Companies can not only evolve with technology but stay ahead of the curve and use it effectively. Here are three ways to prevent your company’s security needs from halting the digital transformation of your organization.

Security is Where the Cloud is

The future of security lies in the “cloud,” an ambiguous term that much implies your data is stored invisibly in the sky somewhere. The cloud refers to software and services that run on the internet rather than on your computer’s hard drive.

Data is stored and accessed over the internet (on someone’s server) rather than locally, which can make some companies nervous. The worry or nervousness can prevent businesses from jumping into the next generation of security.

Putting trust in the cloud means trusting that the data will be accessible at all times.

Unlimited accessibility is possible, but it can cost a pretty penny, especially as the companies providing the service can charge for things such as bandwidth.

Trusting the cloud also means trusting the companies providing cloud storage services, which many companies have trouble doing. Big corporations such as Amazon, provide cloud storage services to thousands of smaller companies. The companies can run the risk of outages that can last for hours.

Intellectual property issues can also be an issue with cloud storage. Your business and companies that provide cloud storage solutions may have riffs over who owns the data since they’re the ones storing it. This can depend on where the data was created (locally or in the cloud), and what verbiage is used in the terms of service agreement.

Reasons why companies may not want to implement cloud solutions.

However, cloud computing and cloud-based storage solutions are the future. Local storage is limited, but the storage capacity of the cloud is almost unlimited. Almost constant improvement in cloud services means an improvement in the security of data and infrastructures involved in cloud computing. Cloud security can offer reduced costs since the need to invest in dedicated hardware is eliminated. Reputable cloud service providers eliminate manual security configurations.

Familiarizing with the Cloud can help your organization operate at scale, reduce the costs of technology, use flexible systems that can give the company a competitive edge, and keep moving toward the future.

Tokenization is a Secure Digital Transformation

Tokens are a subject that not a lot of companies have heard of, but can definitely benefit from. A digital token is a digital representation of an asset or right. The asset can be a stock, bond, or real-estate.

The digital token can also represent the rights you have to access a form of data. With security tokens, you can have ownership of the asset, and investors in this asset are protected. Security tokens are useful for private securities.

The security token can often be confused with a utility token, which is when the Howey Test is used to differentiate the two.

The Howey Test is a test made by the Supreme Court that may determine if a transaction qualifies as an investment contract. This test asks if the asset is an investment of money, if it’s in a common enterprise, if there’s an expectation of profits, and if the asset comes from the expectations of others. If the asset passes this test, it can legally be considered a security token.

Security tokens are useful for companies to pay dividends and share and generate profits for token holders.

Paper-backed assets have a liquidity problem, but the cryptographic representation of assets takes care of that issue. By utilizing security tokens, businesses can represent their assets with a simple, government-regulated token. They are rather underutilized at the moment, but as more individuals and companies become interested in owning tokenized versions of assets, security tokens show a lot of promise.

Allocate Funding for Cybersecurity

Ironically, businesses can be held back from progress because they don’t know how much money to spend on cybersecurity. Cybersecurity threats have been dramatically increasing for several years, and data breaches are more common than they were ten years ago.

Cyber threats and data breaches are now considered the norm rather than the exception. Threats such as these have made big businesses to increase spending on defense and cybersecurity, but several firms still underspend on their cyber defenses.

Most firms have the most basic forms of cybersecurity, such as firewalls and antivirus. This may have been enough in the old days, but cybersecurity threats today are much more sophisticated and require more evolved forms of protection.

Authentication, encryption, and digital signatures can all help organizations protect their data from cyber threats, and it’s incredibly important that businesses invest in these to prevent costly breaches.

Investing in protection from breaches can be costly, but the chaos that ensues from data breaches when cybersecurity is not taken seriously can be more costly than their preventive measures.

Spending money on these needs now can prevent companies from having to pause operations to fix mistakes from malware, phishing, ransomware, and other forms of data breaches. In this way, the digital transformation of an organization can continue without needing to worry too much about cyber threats.

In the End

The digital transformation of an organization can be slowed down or even halted in the event of a cybersecurity threat.

Knowing how to evolve with the changing cybersecurity industry through cloud computing, tokenizations, and allocating funding for cybersecurity are just three of the dozens of ways to prevent a company from being left behind in its digital transformation.

Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio; Pexels

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