16 Talks About Loyalty in the Workplace - From Staff Attraction & Retention to Proactive Listening (TrendHunter.com)

(TrendHunter.com) These talks about loyalty and employee retention focus on keeping workers happy rather than keeping customers around. A stereotype that exists of millennials is a lack of organizational loyalty, and...
RSS Business Feeds

20 Talks About Hope - From a Fresh Foundation for a Nation to Creating Successful Social Businesses (TrendHunter.com)

(TrendHunter.com) These talks about hope are perfect to review as we leave 2015 behind and enter into 2016. The last year was a difficult one for the world in many respects, from terrorist attacks to devastating...
RSS Business Feeds

The Ten-Item Wardrobe - Jennifer L. Scott's Talk About Minimalism Discusses Wearing Less Clothes (TrendHunter.com)

(TrendHunter.com) In her talk about minimalism, Jennifer L. Scott discusses the benefits of a ten-item wardrobe. The speech follows a book from the speaker and her experience on a study abroad program in France...
RSS Business Feeds

Identifying With Success - Michelle Ryan's Talk About Ambition is On Women in the Workforce (TrendHunter.com)

(TrendHunter.com) In her talk about ambition, Michelle Ryan discusses the under-representation of women in the workforce and the complex circumstances surrounding work-life balance. The speaker wants to look beyond...
RSS Business Feeds

Being Yourself at Work - Suezette Robotham's Talk About Authenticity Discusses Covering at Work (TrendHunter.com)

(TrendHunter.com) In her talk about authenticity, Suezette Robotham explains how to find and be yourself in the workplace. Dubbed the ‘talent whisperer,' the speaker discusses the phenomena of “...
RSS Business Feeds

Hopeful Leadership Approaches - Melanie Cook's Talk on Hope Explains a New Kind of Leader at Work (TrendHunter.com)

(TrendHunter.com) In her talk on hope and leadership, Melanie Cook discusses what it takes to lead in the digital age. Today's employee is empowered by the world wide web and global marketplace, but many feel...
RSS Business Feeds

In The News: AdSense Updates Mobile Ads, FAA Requires Drone Registration

drone operator

The tools that you can use to run your small business are constantly changing and evolving. In the new year, concepts like mobile ads and even drones are likely to come up quite a bit, as they sometimes did in 2015.

This week, Google made headlines by unveiling a new look for mobile text ads in AdSense. And the FAA also made news by requiring almost all drones, even non-commercial ones, to be registered. These and more small business updates are included below in this week’s Small Business Trends news and community roundup.

Technology Trends

AdSense Unveils a New Look for Mobile Text Ads

Google has given AdSense mobile text ads a sleek new look. In a recent article on the official Inside AdSense blog , the search engine giant has unveiled the new format that “allows for higher performance with a more beautiful and user-friendly appearance.” The redesigned version has been rolled out on mobile devices, so you should be able to take a look at it right now.

FAA Requires Drone Regulation — Whether Used for Commercial Purposes or Not

Whether you are using your new drone for business or any other purpose, all drones within a certain weight range must now be registered with the federal government. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced its strategic drone registration site that’s now up and running.

Deadline Looming for Verizon, Sprint Refunds: Have You Applied?

You only have until December 31 to file for a refund from one of two wireless communications giant: Verizon Wireless or Sprint Mobile. If you’re like many small business owners, you’re forever trying to figure out how to make your money go just a bit further.

Deluxe’s Aplus.net Jumps On Pre-Owned Domain Trend

Aplus.net, Deluxe’s domain registration and website hosting company, is now offering premium domain names, Linzi Breckenridge, VerticalResponse’s Senior Content Marketing Manager said in a blog post. A premium domain is a pre-owned domain name that is now available for resale at a premium price. The name is considered more valuable because it is shorter so users can easily remember.

Green Business

Future Tablet May be Digital Paper — And You Can Share Files

Television shows and movies have long envisioned a future where all of the data anyone could ever need to access is found on paper thin sheets of plastic that can be connected to a hard drive. The allure of this is easy to understand. After all, if we could turn this futuristic sci-fi concept into a reality, we would no longer need expensive monitors to display information.

Marketing Tips

Are Shiny, Metallic or Tactile Business Cards the New Norm?

Moo just announced a new line of shiny, tactile business cards. These design elements have the potential to make your business cards stand out from the sea of plain, matte cards that your clients and contacts have likely collected over the years. But Moo isn’t the first company to offer these unique design elements for business cards.

Signals Are Mixed About Whether Clicks Help “Google My Business” Ranking

Google originally acknowledged that clicks do help “Google My Business” rankings earlier this month then seemed to reverse itself on the subject. The about-face from Google was observed by Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable. The reversal on Google’s part leaves those working to promote their brands through Google My Business to wonder which is the case. On Dec.

Product Lists

Top Business Movies for Entrepreneurs this Holiday Season

One of the newest business movies for entrepreneurs, “Joy” premiered in theaters on Christmas Day. The film, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Robert DeNiro, details the life of entrepreneur Joy Mangano, inventor of the Miracle Mop.

Retail Trends

Ebay Has Begun Editing Seller Listings for “Brand Name Misuse”

Instead of removing seller listings for brand name misuse (in other words, keyword spamming) eBay has resorted to editing listings, observers have reported. Previously, eBay simply removed listings that violated its policy and would send out an email to the seller notifying them of the same. However, editing a seller’s listings to fit its policy has been unheard of up until now.

Church Attendance Surges, Food Trucks Decline, Says Foursquare

For the past year, the tastes of Americans have been changing. Trends in everything from food preferences to religious practice are in flux. And, as a small businesses owner, depending upon your market, it may not hurt to get ahead of some of these shifting interests. Some of the most interesting changes are reflected in a recent infographic from Foursquare (see below).

Small Biz Spotlight

Spotlight: Avanoo Trains Employees in Three Minutes a Day

Training and educating team members can seem like a tedious task for any business. But Avanoo does employees  training in small increments so that it can actually be effective and helpful, without stealing away hours of productivity. Read more about Avanoo and the training the company offers in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

Social Media

The Next Logical Step In Facebook’s Video March?

Facebook has been increasing its video content features in an effort to compete with rival YouTube. And that includes Facebook video advertising. As a next logical step in Facebook’s video march, the company has now launched a new option for advertisers to bid for 10-second video views on a cost-per-view basis.

Facebook Professional Services Find Plumbers, Others by Ratings

Looking for a good plumber or a highly recommended wedding photographer? You will soon be able to find local service providers on Facebook. The social networking giant has quietly launched a new feature called Facebook Professional Services that directs you to the best rated and reviewed service providers in your area.

Finance

Recent IRS Case Highlights Need for “Sophisticated” Small Business Management

Nick’s Roast Beef celebrated its 40th year in operation in 2015, something about which most mom-and-pop shops can only dream. It wasn’t long after the birthday celebration, however, that the owners were forced to wake up from that dream when they were indicted on 17 federal criminal counts.

The Valuation of Early Stage Companies has Risen Sharply

The valuation of early stage venture capital-backed startups jumped dramatically in 2013 and 2014, after modest increases over the previous nine years, data from law firm Cooley LLP reveals. Cooley reports the typical valuation of companies in transactions in which the firm served as issuing counsel either to the investors or to the company raising money.

Drone and Operator Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "In The News: AdSense Updates Mobile Ads, FAA Requires Drone Registration" was first published on Small Business Trends



RSS Business Feeds

In The News: AdSense Updates Mobile Ads, FAA Requires Drone Registration

drone operator

The tools that you can use to run your small business are constantly changing and evolving. In the new year, concepts like mobile ads and even drones are likely to come up quite a bit, as they sometimes did in 2015.

This week, Google made headlines by unveiling a new look for mobile text ads in AdSense. And the FAA also made news by requiring almost all drones, even non-commercial ones, to be registered. These and more small business updates are included below in this week’s Small Business Trends news and community roundup.

Technology Trends

AdSense Unveils a New Look for Mobile Text Ads

Google has given AdSense mobile text ads a sleek new look. In a recent article on the official Inside AdSense blog , the search engine giant has unveiled the new format that “allows for higher performance with a more beautiful and user-friendly appearance.” The redesigned version has been rolled out on mobile devices, so you should be able to take a look at it right now.

FAA Requires Drone Regulation — Whether Used for Commercial Purposes or Not

Whether you are using your new drone for business or any other purpose, all drones within a certain weight range must now be registered with the federal government. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced its strategic drone registration site that’s now up and running.

Deadline Looming for Verizon, Sprint Refunds: Have You Applied?

You only have until December 31 to file for a refund from one of two wireless communications giant: Verizon Wireless or Sprint Mobile. If you’re like many small business owners, you’re forever trying to figure out how to make your money go just a bit further.

Deluxe’s Aplus.net Jumps On Pre-Owned Domain Trend

Aplus.net, Deluxe’s domain registration and website hosting company, is now offering premium domain names, Linzi Breckenridge, VerticalResponse’s Senior Content Marketing Manager said in a blog post. A premium domain is a pre-owned domain name that is now available for resale at a premium price. The name is considered more valuable because it is shorter so users can easily remember.

Green Business

Future Tablet May be Digital Paper — And You Can Share Files

Television shows and movies have long envisioned a future where all of the data anyone could ever need to access is found on paper thin sheets of plastic that can be connected to a hard drive. The allure of this is easy to understand. After all, if we could turn this futuristic sci-fi concept into a reality, we would no longer need expensive monitors to display information.

Marketing Tips

Are Shiny, Metallic or Tactile Business Cards the New Norm?

Moo just announced a new line of shiny, tactile business cards. These design elements have the potential to make your business cards stand out from the sea of plain, matte cards that your clients and contacts have likely collected over the years. But Moo isn’t the first company to offer these unique design elements for business cards.

Signals Are Mixed About Whether Clicks Help “Google My Business” Ranking

Google originally acknowledged that clicks do help “Google My Business” rankings earlier this month then seemed to reverse itself on the subject. The about-face from Google was observed by Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable. The reversal on Google’s part leaves those working to promote their brands through Google My Business to wonder which is the case. On Dec.

Product Lists

Top Business Movies for Entrepreneurs this Holiday Season

One of the newest business movies for entrepreneurs, “Joy” premiered in theaters on Christmas Day. The film, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Robert DeNiro, details the life of entrepreneur Joy Mangano, inventor of the Miracle Mop.

Retail Trends

Ebay Has Begun Editing Seller Listings for “Brand Name Misuse”

Instead of removing seller listings for brand name misuse (in other words, keyword spamming) eBay has resorted to editing listings, observers have reported. Previously, eBay simply removed listings that violated its policy and would send out an email to the seller notifying them of the same. However, editing a seller’s listings to fit its policy has been unheard of up until now.

Church Attendance Surges, Food Trucks Decline, Says Foursquare

For the past year, the tastes of Americans have been changing. Trends in everything from food preferences to religious practice are in flux. And, as a small businesses owner, depending upon your market, it may not hurt to get ahead of some of these shifting interests. Some of the most interesting changes are reflected in a recent infographic from Foursquare (see below).

Small Biz Spotlight

Spotlight: Avanoo Trains Employees in Three Minutes a Day

Training and educating team members can seem like a tedious task for any business. But Avanoo does employees  training in small increments so that it can actually be effective and helpful, without stealing away hours of productivity. Read more about Avanoo and the training the company offers in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

Social Media

The Next Logical Step In Facebook’s Video March?

Facebook has been increasing its video content features in an effort to compete with rival YouTube. And that includes Facebook video advertising. As a next logical step in Facebook’s video march, the company has now launched a new option for advertisers to bid for 10-second video views on a cost-per-view basis.

Facebook Professional Services Find Plumbers, Others by Ratings

Looking for a good plumber or a highly recommended wedding photographer? You will soon be able to find local service providers on Facebook. The social networking giant has quietly launched a new feature called Facebook Professional Services that directs you to the best rated and reviewed service providers in your area.

Finance

Recent IRS Case Highlights Need for “Sophisticated” Small Business Management

Nick’s Roast Beef celebrated its 40th year in operation in 2015, something about which most mom-and-pop shops can only dream. It wasn’t long after the birthday celebration, however, that the owners were forced to wake up from that dream when they were indicted on 17 federal criminal counts.

The Valuation of Early Stage Companies has Risen Sharply

The valuation of early stage venture capital-backed startups jumped dramatically in 2013 and 2014, after modest increases over the previous nine years, data from law firm Cooley LLP reveals. Cooley reports the typical valuation of companies in transactions in which the firm served as issuing counsel either to the investors or to the company raising money.

Drone and Operator Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "In The News: AdSense Updates Mobile Ads, FAA Requires Drone Registration" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

Last Chance to Save $150 Instantly: Get Pro Plus Before It Becomes Recurring

lock in the pro plus all-theme pack today (and save big)

This is it …

Time is running out to get our Pro Plus All-Theme Pack for WordPress before the new recurring element is added at the end of January 2016. (Here’s what that means.)

It’s also your last chance to get $150 off.

And it’s your last chance to book the expense on your 2015 taxes.

If you’ve waited until the last minute, wait no more.

Click here to claim your $150 Pro Plus discount, lock in your account before recurring payments are added, and book it on this year’s taxes

This offer expires today, December 31, 2015, at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time.

And if you’re feeling at all rushed because it’s New Year’s Eve and your head is already in the clouds getting ready for tonight … don’t. :-)

We offer a no-questions-asked, 30-day, money-back guarantee. We do this to make your decision as easy as possible.

Get started with Pro Plus today and take all of January to decide if you want to keep it. If you decide you don’t, just email our Support team and we’ll issue you a full refund.

You don’t even need to give a reason.

We just want you to have the StudioPress design you need for your WordPress website when you need it … for as long as you choose to maintain an account. Pro Plus gives you that, and so much more (and you don’t pay another dime after today).

Click here to find out about everything Pro Plus has to offer and get started risk-free today

Remember: This offer expires today (12/31/15) at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time.

Then after you get started with Pro Plus, go be safe and have fun tonight. :-)

Tomorrow it’s time to start working on our goals for 2016.

About the author

Brian Gardner


Starbucks addict. Sarah McLachlan fan. Maker of Rain.
Founder of StudioPress. CPO and Partner at Rainmaker Digital.

No Sidebar / Twitter / Instagram

The post Last Chance to Save $150 Instantly: Get Pro Plus Before It Becomes Recurring appeared first on Copyblogger.



RSS Business Feeds

3 Digital Security Predictions for 2016

digital security

Digital security is a mess. An absolute mess.

This past year saw the affair-finding website Ashley Madison have their user base exposed; the second largest health insurer, Anthem, got hacked and their clients medical and personal information was stolen; and cars were hacked which allowed for the car to be remotely driven off the road and have air bags deployed. Even hackers got hacked!

What does that mean for the future?

So with all of these blunders and mess ups in mind, let’s take a look at the coming year ahead and predict what security is going to look like in 2016.

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

Despite all the high profile breaches in 2015, there will still be more. Why? Because people are still following poor security practices. Back in 2014, security researchers at IBM did a study on cyber attacks. They found that 95 percent of successful hack attacks were because of human error. It doesn’t matter if the software itself continues to evolve to higher levels of security such as better encryption and compliance certifications, the people using the software are going to make mistakes.  

To put it another way: you could have the strongest and most uncrackable safe in the world, but that won’t stop an intruder if it’s left unlocked.

Yes, there have been and will be greater efforts from both governments and private organizations to secure data. For example, Google is testing the option of using your phone as an alternative to remembering your password. It’s a step in the right direction, but education is one of the strongest defenses against a hack and that is woefully lacking. Employees still open dodgy attachments, companies don’t update their systems, and people just can’t seem to stop using “123456” as a password. 

For that reason, 2016 will likely see the news dominated by reports of hack attacks.

Malware on Mobile

With over a billion Android users worldwide, it should come as no surprise that there will be lots of problems with security for mobile devices in 2016. As more businesses continue to use their mobile devices as indispensable tools for their business, they will also risk putting more sensitive company data on their phones. As mentioned above, human error is going to play significant part in this. 

However, human error with mobile devices is a little bit more forgivable because their app stores are still somewhat of a digital Wild West. Just in time for the holiday season, cyber security firms spotted that Bible and Quran apps are actually hiding malicious malware in them. It’s not the first time the Google Play store has had problems with malware and to a degree, it’s understandable that users might not be able to tell if an app is dodgy. Apple’s “walled garden” also isn’t immune to dodgy software.

XCode, the programming framework that Apple and developers use to design apps, was spoofed and used to put dodgy apps on China’s App Store. Regardless of whether it’s Apple or Android, they will be a target for hackers. Although some of this can be prevented by MDM (Mobile Device Management) software that allows for companies to monitor all phones on their network, companies in 2016 need to keep an eye on work devices and make sure that their data isn’t running the risk of being exposed.

If You Wear It, They will Hack It

Even though the Apple Watch wasn’t the game changer that lots of people expected it to be, it still was an accurate reflection of the coming future of wearables. These (often) little devices are a treasure trove of sensitive data. And I’m not just talking about watches that have access to company emails or contacts.

The rise of health-related wearables, such as the Fitbit, are going to be targets of attacks. Those wristbands monitoring health provide valuable info such as your medical state (your heart rate) and GPS info. What makes it worse is that wearable software (and IoT devices, for that matter) doesn’t necessarily have a unified design framework and is still in the early stages when integrations can be clumsy and lead to vulnerabilities.

Unless a wearable device is absolutely vital to your business, it’s probably a good idea to hold off incorporating one into your company.

Be Smart, Be Practical

This isn’t meant to scare you like so many security articles do, but to give you an idea of what to expect and what you should consider when it comes to your company.Moving forward into 2016, the best advice I can give you is to make sure that your company’s software is up-to-date, keep up on the latest news regarding security (but don’t let it scare you), and please oh please, don’t store your customers data somewhere that’s not secure.

Fortune Teller Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "3 Digital Security Predictions for 2016" was first published on Small Business Trends



RSS Business Feeds

3 Digital Security Predictions for 2016

digital security

Digital security is a mess. An absolute mess.

This past year saw the affair-finding website Ashley Madison have their user base exposed; the second largest health insurer, Anthem, got hacked and their clients medical and personal information was stolen; and cars were hacked which allowed for the car to be remotely driven off the road and have air bags deployed. Even hackers got hacked!

What does that mean for the future?

So with all of these blunders and mess ups in mind, let’s take a look at the coming year ahead and predict what security is going to look like in 2016.

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

Despite all the high profile breaches in 2015, there will still be more. Why? Because people are still following poor security practices. Back in 2014, security researchers at IBM did a study on cyber attacks. They found that 95 percent of successful hack attacks were because of human error. It doesn’t matter if the software itself continues to evolve to higher levels of security such as better encryption and compliance certifications, the people using the software are going to make mistakes.  

To put it another way: you could have the strongest and most uncrackable safe in the world, but that won’t stop an intruder if it’s left unlocked.

Yes, there have been and will be greater efforts from both governments and private organizations to secure data. For example, Google is testing the option of using your phone as an alternative to remembering your password. It’s a step in the right direction, but education is one of the strongest defenses against a hack and that is woefully lacking. Employees still open dodgy attachments, companies don’t update their systems, and people just can’t seem to stop using “123456” as a password. 

For that reason, 2016 will likely see the news dominated by reports of hack attacks.

Malware on Mobile

With over a billion Android users worldwide, it should come as no surprise that there will be lots of problems with security for mobile devices in 2016. As more businesses continue to use their mobile devices as indispensable tools for their business, they will also risk putting more sensitive company data on their phones. As mentioned above, human error is going to play significant part in this. 

However, human error with mobile devices is a little bit more forgivable because their app stores are still somewhat of a digital Wild West. Just in time for the holiday season, cyber security firms spotted that Bible and Quran apps are actually hiding malicious malware in them. It’s not the first time the Google Play store has had problems with malware and to a degree, it’s understandable that users might not be able to tell if an app is dodgy. Apple’s “walled garden” also isn’t immune to dodgy software.

XCode, the programming framework that Apple and developers use to design apps, was spoofed and used to put dodgy apps on China’s App Store. Regardless of whether it’s Apple or Android, they will be a target for hackers. Although some of this can be prevented by MDM (Mobile Device Management) software that allows for companies to monitor all phones on their network, companies in 2016 need to keep an eye on work devices and make sure that their data isn’t running the risk of being exposed.

If You Wear It, They will Hack It

Even though the Apple Watch wasn’t the game changer that lots of people expected it to be, it still was an accurate reflection of the coming future of wearables. These (often) little devices are a treasure trove of sensitive data. And I’m not just talking about watches that have access to company emails or contacts.

The rise of health-related wearables, such as the Fitbit, are going to be targets of attacks. Those wristbands monitoring health provide valuable info such as your medical state (your heart rate) and GPS info. What makes it worse is that wearable software (and IoT devices, for that matter) doesn’t necessarily have a unified design framework and is still in the early stages when integrations can be clumsy and lead to vulnerabilities.

Unless a wearable device is absolutely vital to your business, it’s probably a good idea to hold off incorporating one into your company.

Be Smart, Be Practical

This isn’t meant to scare you like so many security articles do, but to give you an idea of what to expect and what you should consider when it comes to your company.Moving forward into 2016, the best advice I can give you is to make sure that your company’s software is up-to-date, keep up on the latest news regarding security (but don’t let it scare you), and please oh please, don’t store your customers data somewhere that’s not secure.

Fortune Teller Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "3 Digital Security Predictions for 2016" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

How to Earn Free Press for Your Business When You Have No Connections

Free_Press_For_Your_Business.jpg

"Is that guy wearing leggings?"

"We should start a business selling male leggings."

That's all it took. One week later my business partners and I stood freezing in London's Brick Lane Market with 22 pairs of female leggings "branded" with our male leggings brand.

But after eight hours in the cold, we saw zero sales. 

Fast forward two years, and sTitch Leggings was being prominently featured on the Daily Mail -- an article from which we're still converting traffic.

So how do you build press for a startup when you have no connections? 

I'll walk you through some tips and examples below to help you learn how to get started and earn some recognition for your product or service. 

How To Get Free Press For Your Startup When You Have No Connections

1) Be remarkable.

We've all heard people use the word "remarkable" before, but what does it really mean? According to Merriam-Webster, being remarkable means being "unusual or surprising" or "likely to be noticed."

In modern day society, male leggings are remarkable.

The man who sold his life on eBay is remarkable:

man_who_sold_his_life_on_ebay.png

The Ryanair CEO announcing that they will introduce standing seats to charge for toilets is remarkable:

ryanair_standing.png

"But what if my startup is inherently unremarkable?"

Great question. And a question that we were forced to ask ourselves in preparation for the upcoming launch of a startup that we are working on.

While preparing for the launch of Virtual Valley, software that connects entrepreneurs with virtual team members such as assistants, we found ourselves struggling to differentiate it from Upwork -- a freelancing platform that operates very similarly.

Considering sources such as TechCrunch are unlikely to cover your startup launch if you don't have some new, exciting technology (or one million dollars in funding), the odds that Virtual Valley would get featured were slim.

Sometimes, being remarkable doesn't mean your product or service has to be truly unique. You can leverage remarkability to receive press by doing something remarkable. 

This could mean experimenting with a bold design on your website, developing a witty personality for your brand on Twitter, taking risks with your website copy, etc. These "outside-of-the-box" efforts might be received really well ... or they might not. Either way, you're getting people talking about your product or service. 

So what approach did I take to help Virtual Valley stand out? Well, that takes us to our next tip.

2) Piggyback on popular trends. 

Trends emerge is every industry that can help propel your search for free press without connections. Trouble is, you have to jump on them at the right time.

Fortunately for us, men wearing leggings had actually been covered by a number of popular sites -- The Telegraph, Fashionista, etc. -- prior to the launch of our company. 

When it came time to pitch journalists, we could reinforce the fact that "men wearing leggings" was newsworthy, as the topic had already been covered by other reputable sources.

So when deciding on an angle to pitch the press for our new startup Virtual Valley, we spent some time reviewing popular blogs in the startup world to spot any current trends.

One of which that really stood out was transparency:

During this time, we were also defining our company goals for the next two years, one of which being a seven-figure exit.

Would announcing this to the press be remarkable and connected to a recent trend? Would this story have a better chance of being published in TechCrunch than just writing a dull press release on the features of our product?

I guess we'll find out ...

3) Consider different perspectives.

When approaching anyone that has something you want -- in this case, a potential audience -- you need to understand their perspective and incentives. This will help increase your chances of them actually taking the action that you want them to take. 

In the two sections above we have already been thinking from the perspective of the reporter. (Reporters are interested in remarkable stories connected to a relevant industry trend, right?) Now, you need to communicate your story in a way that speaks directly to the incentives of the reporter.

Here's an example of an email I sent to The Daily Express, which ultimately lead to the Daily Mail article referenced above:

meggings_news.png

Why did this approach work?

  • It mentions a recent trend: "Meggings into the Mainstream"
  • It provides social proof by mentioning the publications that had already covered the topic, as well as the number of times the Daily Mail article had been shared.
  • It adds a personal touch by noting that the other articles touch on a Chicago-based male leggings company, and suggests they feature a brand "a little closer to home."
  • It states that I'm happy to do the heavy lifting/content creation at the end.

With all of that in mind, it is not surprising that the reporter took on the story.

A relevant model on human behaviour which supports this theory is the Fogg Behavioural Model:

behaviour.jpg

Image Source: Behavior Model 

In order to increase the chances of a reporter taking on your story, we must consider the following three factors: 

  • Motivation. What is the reason that a reporter would publish your story? Will make them look good in front of their boss? Will it help them get promoted? Will it perform well in terms of views, comments, and shares? Once you understand their potential motivation, you will find it easier to communicate this to them.
  • Trigger. Triggers aim to capture a person's attention. For example, Facebook uses notifications that trigger us to come back to the platform -- whether it be to see that picture we have just been tagged in or what our friend just posted. In this case, the email being sent to the reporter serves as a trigger to incite action.
  • Ability. People are less likely to complete an action if the ability to take that action has been placed behind a barrier. In other words, you need to lower the effort barrier as much as possible to increase your chances of receiving press. (This is why I offered to create the content at the end of my email.)

4) Target specific publications.

Remember the motivation trigger above?

Well, there are certain journalists that will be more motivated to cover your story than others. This often falls back on their personal interests or responsibility for their media organisation. And these are the people to want to target. 

To find them, head to Google, Twitter, and LinkedIn to conduct some research. The key is to become more aware of each and every publication and journalist that covers your niche.

Record every potential publication and reporter in a Google Sheet that includes their average article social share counts and followers on Twitter, as this will help you prioritise.

Once you have a list of 20 potential reporters, follow each one on Twitter and engage with their content to get on their radar. 

5) Prepare necessary press assets in advance.

When your targeted reporter opens your pitch and scans your email you have one chance, as this is probably the 50th pitch he/she has read that day.

This reporter needs to access all the information they require to make a decision ... or they may just move on to the next email.

To increase the reporters ability to make a decision in your favor, consider attaching these assets in an email or creating a dedicated press page on your website. 

Regardless of which option you choose, you will need to include the following:

  • Contact information
  • Company overview
  • Media mentions
  • New and existing press releases
  • Media assets -- logos, screenshots, headshots, etc.

For more on how to put together an effective press page, check out this post. And to help you get started with creating an actual press release, use this template.

6) Be persistent. 

Here's the thing about hunting for free press: you are going to get ignored, and you are going to get rejected.

What you do not see in the section above is the list of emails to every fashion reporter for national publications in the UK in my sent items that got rejected or no response:

stitch_email.png

Rather than let it discourage you, set realistic expectations. You might only get one response for every 20 emails you send. That's okay. Keep hustling. 

Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, uses a concept called "the Flywheel Effect" to describe the effort it takes to build momentum for something. While the wheel is heavy and difficult to push, once you get it going, it will begin to turn itself. 

In terms of press, each feature that you receive will build the likelihood that you will receive more features in the future.

At sTitch Leggings, we would not have been featured in the Daily Mail if we did not land the feature in the Daily Express. And it's likely that we wouldn't have appeared on the UK television series, Dragons' Den, unless we had been featured in the Daily Mail. And after being featured on the Dragons' Den, we decided it was time to try to earn a spot on the HubSpot blog. And here we are.

Every press opportunity must be sought out through hustle, and celebrated once achieved. As the more press you receive, the more likely you will be to receive additional press, etc.

Still feeling unsure of how to get started with building free press for your business? Tell me about your product or service in the comments section below and I'll see if I can help.

  free press release template



via Business Feeds

New Year’s Resolution Checklist for Small Businesses

checklist for small businesses

I know, I know. It’s hard to start thinking about the New Year when we’re stuck in the middle of the hectic holidays. But with January 1 right around the corner, now is the perfect time to reflect on how to grow your business in 2016.

As a fellow small business owners and solopreneur, I know first-hand how tricky it can be to even find the time to think about business development. Some days we’re so busy juggling our current client demands, big picture goals — publishing great thought leadership articles, going after a dream client — take a back seat to a ringing phone or email deluge. One trick I’ve learned the hard way over the years? Taking advantage of free or low-cost apps and services to manage the “background noise” associated with day-to-day operations.

This year, resolve to minimize stress and make your life that much easier. Get started with this handy New Year’s Resolutions checklist for small businesses:

Resolution #1: Do More with Social Media

Have a Facebook account but rarely use it? Wish you had time to actually respond to customer tweets or finally get your Instagram up and running? Take the pain out of social media management with Hootsuite Pro. Designed specifically for small and medium-sized businesses, Hootsuite Pro is packed with intuitive features that make it simple to manage, engage and measure your social media activity without losing a huge chunk of your day to the Twittersphere.

Your to-do: Getting active on multiple social media channels at once can be overwhelming. Start by focusing your attention on one network. Sign up for Hootsuite’s free, 30-day trial. Use the service to schedule your posts in advance and hone in on relevant conversations about your brand. Analyze campaign performance: which posts resulted in the most follower engagement? How can you use this feedback to strengthen your social media activity?

Resolution #2: Stop Wasting Time and Money on Ad Hoc Accounting

This is a big one, folks. Do you find yourself scrambling for receipts come tax time? Are you still manually tracking expenses in a Google doc or Excel chart? Do you promise every year to finally get a better system in place but never seem to get around to hiring an accountant? Put an end to the bookkeeping madness with affordable (or free!) accounting solutions. Both Wave and Freshbooks are simple and intuitive to use with thousands of satisfied small business customers.

Your to-do: Get started with either Wave or Freshbooks (I’m a fan of both). These cloud-based accounting solutions are built specifically to make life easier for small business owners, helping us stay organized and get paid. Track time, log expenses, send automatic client invoices, and more. Plus, both Wave and Freshbooks offer credit card processing for even faster payment.

Resolution #3: Get a Leg Up on the Competition with Continuing Education

Continuing education is a must for small business owners, but unless there’s a certification renewal required for our jobs, most of us put these classes off on the back burner. The result: from accounting to marketing, we keep doing things the same way we always have– oftentimes missing out on better, easier solutions. From public speaking to grant writing, make this the year you conquer a professional fear, learn a new skill, and grow your professional network while doing so.

Your to-do: What skill would you most like to improve? What is your weakest spot as a small business owner? Maybe you’d like to brush up on your accounting basics, take an industry mastery class, or finally master the basics of online marketing. Start by committing to learn one new skill. Sign up for a class at a local community college or enroll in an online training course. Challenge friends or colleagues to expand their skillset by taking the class with you. It’s great to have an accountability partner!

Resolution #4: Put an End to Project Collaboration Woes

When your small business team of freelancers and telecommuters is spread out over several time zones (and not several cubicles), minor project miscommunications can snowball into major problems, throwing the entire team off track. This year, resolve to get everyone on the same page from day one with an easy-to-use project collaboration platform. Two of my personal favorites are Wrike and Trello, both of which make the on-boarding process a piece of cake.

Your to-do: Get the whole team set up from the beginning of January to use your preferred project management app. Set priorities and monitor your team’s progress. Review and approve completed tasks and assign new ones. Use the real-time workspace for document sharing and dynamic collaboration. Stay on track with a birds-eye-view of your team’s workload and deadlines, so you know weeks out (rather than hours out) if a delay will affect an on-time and on-budget project completion. Happier clients and happier team members make for a much more enjoyable work environment.

Bottom Line

In 2016, my business resolution is to improve my bookkeeping process, put more focus on email marketing, and help a new charity/nonprofit. What are your professional resolutions for 2016? I invite you to share them in the comments section below.

New Year’s Goals Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "New Year’s Resolution Checklist for Small Businesses" was first published on Small Business Trends



RSS Business Feeds

New Year’s Resolution Checklist for Small Businesses

checklist for small businesses

I know, I know. It’s hard to start thinking about the New Year when we’re stuck in the middle of the hectic holidays. But with January 1 right around the corner, now is the perfect time to reflect on how to grow your business in 2016.

As a fellow small business owners and solopreneur, I know first-hand how tricky it can be to even find the time to think about business development. Some days we’re so busy juggling our current client demands, big picture goals — publishing great thought leadership articles, going after a dream client — take a back seat to a ringing phone or email deluge. One trick I’ve learned the hard way over the years? Taking advantage of free or low-cost apps and services to manage the “background noise” associated with day-to-day operations.

This year, resolve to minimize stress and make your life that much easier. Get started with this handy New Year’s Resolutions checklist for small businesses:

Resolution #1: Do More with Social Media

Have a Facebook account but rarely use it? Wish you had time to actually respond to customer tweets or finally get your Instagram up and running? Take the pain out of social media management with Hootsuite Pro. Designed specifically for small and medium-sized businesses, Hootsuite Pro is packed with intuitive features that make it simple to manage, engage and measure your social media activity without losing a huge chunk of your day to the Twittersphere.

Your to-do: Getting active on multiple social media channels at once can be overwhelming. Start by focusing your attention on one network. Sign up for Hootsuite’s free, 30-day trial. Use the service to schedule your posts in advance and hone in on relevant conversations about your brand. Analyze campaign performance: which posts resulted in the most follower engagement? How can you use this feedback to strengthen your social media activity?

Resolution #2: Stop Wasting Time and Money on Ad Hoc Accounting

This is a big one, folks. Do you find yourself scrambling for receipts come tax time? Are you still manually tracking expenses in a Google doc or Excel chart? Do you promise every year to finally get a better system in place but never seem to get around to hiring an accountant? Put an end to the bookkeeping madness with affordable (or free!) accounting solutions. Both Wave and Freshbooks are simple and intuitive to use with thousands of satisfied small business customers.

Your to-do: Get started with either Wave or Freshbooks (I’m a fan of both). These cloud-based accounting solutions are built specifically to make life easier for small business owners, helping us stay organized and get paid. Track time, log expenses, send automatic client invoices, and more. Plus, both Wave and Freshbooks offer credit card processing for even faster payment.

Resolution #3: Get a Leg Up on the Competition with Continuing Education

Continuing education is a must for small business owners, but unless there’s a certification renewal required for our jobs, most of us put these classes off on the back burner. The result: from accounting to marketing, we keep doing things the same way we always have– oftentimes missing out on better, easier solutions. From public speaking to grant writing, make this the year you conquer a professional fear, learn a new skill, and grow your professional network while doing so.

Your to-do: What skill would you most like to improve? What is your weakest spot as a small business owner? Maybe you’d like to brush up on your accounting basics, take an industry mastery class, or finally master the basics of online marketing. Start by committing to learn one new skill. Sign up for a class at a local community college or enroll in an online training course. Challenge friends or colleagues to expand their skillset by taking the class with you. It’s great to have an accountability partner!

Resolution #4: Put an End to Project Collaboration Woes

When your small business team of freelancers and telecommuters is spread out over several time zones (and not several cubicles), minor project miscommunications can snowball into major problems, throwing the entire team off track. This year, resolve to get everyone on the same page from day one with an easy-to-use project collaboration platform. Two of my personal favorites are Wrike and Trello, both of which make the on-boarding process a piece of cake.

Your to-do: Get the whole team set up from the beginning of January to use your preferred project management app. Set priorities and monitor your team’s progress. Review and approve completed tasks and assign new ones. Use the real-time workspace for document sharing and dynamic collaboration. Stay on track with a birds-eye-view of your team’s workload and deadlines, so you know weeks out (rather than hours out) if a delay will affect an on-time and on-budget project completion. Happier clients and happier team members make for a much more enjoyable work environment.

Bottom Line

In 2016, my business resolution is to improve my bookkeeping process, put more focus on email marketing, and help a new charity/nonprofit. What are your professional resolutions for 2016? I invite you to share them in the comments section below.

New Year’s Goals Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "New Year’s Resolution Checklist for Small Businesses" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds