Tips From Our Team

Our team tries to alternate each week for this column, but I was asked to write two weeks in a row because of an important change in Google's search algorithm this month. The new search algorithm is called Hummingbird, and so far the changes have been rolled out slowly to the public. In the coming weeks, however, everyone will have an altered search, and brands and businesses need to know how that is going to affect them.

According to a recent Wired.com article, the upgrade to Google's search algorithm will affect 90% of all searches, but most users will notice no visible changes in format and graphics. It's the 'back end' of the service that will change- the software and the programming language. The changes have been implemented for some users for over a month, but barely anyone noticed -- that's what Google wants, they are trying to make the change seamless. Businesses who focus on marketing content will see changes though, and big ones. Gone are the days of Web 2.0, where sharing made every piece of viral content relevant and evident. Web 3.0 has arrived, and its zeitgeist is content creation and originality - popularity factors in, but not as much as novelty.

I get excited every time I see something original and useful on social networks like Facebook and Pinterest. My first thought is to click 'share' when the content might be helpful to our clients, but I have learned over my years working in social media that sometimes sharing reduces the visibility of useful content. It seems counterintuitive, but many social media sites (like Facebook!) penalize postings that are considered reposts of information that have already made rounds on the net and through social networks. Seemingly viral posts may be useful to end users, but from the social networks point of view, the content is old and unoriginal. Discovery and novelty are the en vogue paradigms that are floating to the top of the social media depths, and if you are the creator of novel content, you will do swimmingly well.

Creation of content is the easy part -- by writing this article, I'm creating content. Creating USEFUL content is a bit harder, but if you are a focused and informed person, it can be done with a bit of effort. The hard part of creating original and useful content is doing it regularly and being consistent in quality. Quality assurance, as it's called in the production and sales industries, means an attention to detail and a reduction of errors. If every single piece of content you create is to an exacting standard, the quality of your production will speak for itself in the marketplace of ideas. Once you have content that meets the standards you set for yourself, focus on becoming a production or assembly line. Find the most effective techniques at increasing your efficiency and use them to enhance your quality and the types of content you create.

Maintaining consistent results in content creation will set you apart from the many content creators vying for attention with search engines like Google, but with social networks it will make you shine like a star. Social networks are desperate for novel content to 'go viral' and increase their page views, give them what they want and you too will benefit from increased page ranking, a boost in exposure, and engagement that translates to sales and return on investment.

Most people who have used a computer to connect to the internet know that not everything online is friendly. We've all experienced viruses, malware, adware, spyware and a variety of other things that make the internet unsavory. As a result of this most of us have some form of anti-virus and increasingly some kind of internet security. Not only are average consumers becoming more aware of their security but browser developers (from Microsoft to Google and Mozilla to name a few) are also looking to protect you on the internet before you wind up on an infected site.

Warning messages range from "Proceed with caution: this website is suspected of malware." to "Are you sure this is the site you wish to visit? It has been reported as containing unsafe materials." Either one of these messages tends to send customers scrambling to try and find another website and losing trust in the company that they just visited. These flags can be attached to your site because of an incident with hacking, a previous owner of a domain who used it for illegal activities or a bad review left on services like McAfee SiteAdvisor.

As part of my duties as a Media Manager, I research trends and news and then translate all the information I’ve learned into a usable format that can benefit our clients.  As an avid reader and technology enthusiast, I enjoy that part of my job a lot, but there are gaps in my knowledge that can only be filled by listening to my clients and communicating with them about the trends and news that they are seeing ‘on the ground’ and ‘in the thick of it’.  Active listening and client engagement are skills that I have learned over time, and as a professional I have had to hone and improve.

Active listening is the act of setting aside your thoughts and responses to input, and instead absorb what you are being told (or reading in an email, etc.).  Imagine, for instance, that you are learning a new language and are being tested on the previous conversation you had with your teacher. If you were busy formulating responses while the teacher was speaking to you, you might not be able to fully articulate the vocabulary they were using, and you might even miss the verb tenses that were used. An active listener picks up the nuances of a conversation (even in a language they are learning) by truly listening, absorbing, and reflecting.  Each part of a sentence is parsed apart and inspected for what it is, rather than for what ones’ responses might be.

Being in contact with your customers is beneficial not just for you, but for your customers as well. It enables you to provide information about your services to people that are looking for them and you can become a trusted authority on the subject of your business and reinforce your brand in people's minds. On their end your customers will get information from a professional in the field and potentially get access to sales or special discounts provided to readers. There's plenty of ways that you can keep in contact but we'll focus on two today: comments and a newsletter.

Promoting posts that you've written by linking to them on Facebook is a great way to get your content in front of your customers but it also provides an amazing opportunity for communicating with them about their questions or concerns by commenting. Why limit the amount of interaction you can have to Facebook though? The two primary Content Management Systems, Joomla & Wordpress, both have built-in systems to handle comments and by utilizing them you make it so those that find your articles from different places than Facebook have the same ability to interact with you that those that have liked your page do.

When English scientist Sir Isaac Newton experimented with prisms in 1666 and discovered that white light passing through the prism could be separated into the distinct colors of the rainbow, he discovered a natural phenomenon that continues to amaze and inspire people from every culture in the world. Color theory, as the science behind coloration and its psychological effects has come to be called, is one of the most complex of the humanities and of the physical sciences. It’s component theories and findings inform the most complex designs of architecture (such as the International Space Station, Nuclear Submarines, and even the oval office in the White House), to the most basic marketing techniques used by businesses and brands (such as McDonalds, Home Depot, and Mountain Dew). Color influences human behavior, and ignoring that fact can be the difference between success and failure for your advertisements and branding.

Did you know that preventing high blood pressure can cut your risk of stroke and heart disease by 50% or more? Two recent studies indicate that keeping a low blood pressure can also protect you from dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and osteoporosis! Follow these steps to a more healthy you.

1. Taming Stress by Tapping your Toes.

Rap your toes, bounce a leg or do any other rhythmic motion when you’re feeling edgy, and you’ll lower your blood pressure as much as four (4) points.

2. Relaxing Arteries with Alcohol-free Wine.

Previous research suggests that sipping up to two drinks (that’s 10 oz. of wine, 24 oz. of beer or 3 oz. of spirits) each day relaxes your central nervous system and your arteries, trimming three points off your blood pressure in two weeks.

 

 1.     WEAR EARPLUGS WHEN VACUUMING

 People frequently exposed to harsh noise are twice as likely to develop heart disease! Noise increases your levels of heart-damaging stress hormones.

When exposed to racket from vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers and the like, wear inexpensive soft-foam earplugs found in drugstore.

2. FLOSS TO REDUCE YOUR RISK BY 41%

Daily flossing to keep your teeth and gums in tiptop shape helps block inflammation from spreading through the bloodstream, causing damage to your muscles, including the heart. It also helps prevent plaque buildup in the arteries.

3. POP EXTRA VITAMIN C

Supplementing with at least 360 mg. of vitamin C daily could send your risk of heart disease plunging 30%. C helps keep your blood vessels flexible.

I recently took a 5 day vacation to Cedar Key and got back to my office to find my email box nearly empty – I was shocked! In the past, every vacation has come at a price – a loaded inbox, a desk covered in memos and notes, and a headache by lunchtime on my first day back. What happened this time that was different?


Well, I planned and pre-empted anything that might need my attention – that’s the first thing. I also communicated with my co-workers about my limited in-office time during the week, and so worked in concert with them to accomplish any group tasks. It’s not that I haven’t done that before, but this time I focused on the big picture rather than the big stack of papers piling up. I made lists, I crossed off the completed tasks, and I used retrospection at the end of the day to review my progress. I still had work to complete when I left for vacation, but it was the work that didn’t have pressing deadlines and wasn’t vital to business while I was away.

Obviously, volumes have been written about business relationships by scholars, business journalists, and management consultants. The focus of this brief article is to highlight some tips about the importance of securing and maintaining solid business relationships.

Businesses, large and small, often focus so intently on their customer base, employee relations issues, acquisition/mergers, financial reports and a plethora of other management concerns that they lose sight of business-to-business relationships. It is certainly easy to overlook this very important constituency. Virtually every business has suppliers, vendors and other businesses that they routinely do business with. At the local level the list is almost endless: your banker, CPA, realtor, security company, pest management business, ad agency or graphic designer, auto dealer, insurance agents, and so on.

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