|10 Χρόνια Global Management Challenge Ελλάδας|
|Φέτος το Global Management Challenge γιορτάζει 10 χρόνια επιτυχημένης διοργάνωσης στην Ελλάδα!Μέχρι σήμερα 8.100 φοιτητές έχουν ζήσει τη μαγική εμπειρία του GMC, 75 οργανισμοί και επιχειρήσεις έχουν συνεργαστεί ενεργά με το GMC και έχουν βοηθήσει τους φοιτητές στα πρώτα επαγγελματικά τους βήματα, 46 Πανεπιστήμια, ΑΤΕΙ και Κολλέγια, από όλη την Ελλάδα και 21 Εκπαιδευτικά Ιδρύματα του εξωτερικού έχουν εκπροσωπηθεί στο διαγωνισμό και 4 κρατικοί φορείς (Υπουργείο Παιδείας & Θρησκευμάτων, Υπουργείο Ανάπτυξης & Ανταγωνιστικότητας, Γενική Γραμματεία Νέας Γενιάς, Ειδική Γραμματεία Ψηφιακού Σχεδιασμού) έχουν υπάρξει αρωγοί της εκπαιδευτικής πρόκλησης του διαγωνισμού στην Ελλάδα.
Ακόμη, 7 διακριθέντες φοιτητές έχουν λάβει υποτροφίες πλήρους φοίτησης στο Οικονομικό Πανεπιστήμιο Αθηνών (MBA International) και στο Πανεπιστήμιο Πειραιώς (MBA TQM), 37 Laptops, SONY Vaio, έχουν προσφερθεί στους διακριθέντες φοιτητές και 26 εκδηλώσεις σύνδεσης των φοιτητών με τον επιχειρηματικό κόσμο έχουν διοργανωθεί στο πλαίσιο του GMC Ελλάδας.
Συνολικά 9 αποστολές της Ελληνικής ομάδας, έχουν εκπροσωπήσει τη χώρα μας στο Διεθνή Τελικό με 1 Ελληνική Ομάδα, την ELPE-compass να κατακτά την 5η θέση διεθνώς το 2012!
To Global Management Challenge Greece συνεχίζει δυναμικά την πορεία του στην Ελλάδα, προετοιμάζοντας τον 10ο Διαγωνισμό Ελλάδας Global Management Challenge, που θα ξεκινήσει το Φθινόπωρο του 2014 και θα κορυφωθεί τον Απρίλιο του 2015 με το Διεθνή Τελικό που θα πραγματοποιηθεί στην Πράγα της Τσεχίας.
Δηλώσεις των Συνεργατών και Φίλων του GMC Ελλάδας για τα 10 χρόνια επιτυχημένης διοργάνωσής του!
Από τον επιχειρηματικό χώρο:
“Το Global Management Challenge είναι ένας διεθνής θεσμός, που δίνει σε νέους ανθρώπους την ευκαιρία να γνωρίσουν από κοντά τον κόσμο της επιχειρηματικότητας, να κατανοήσουν τις αξίες και τις προκλήσεις της, να αναπτύξουν στρατηγική σκέψη και δεξιότητες, να κάνουν περισσότερο ενημερωμένες και συνειδητές επιλογές σταδιοδρομίας.
Ο Όμιλος ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΑ ΠΕΤΡΕΛΑΙΑ στηρίζει με συνέπεια και υπερηφάνεια τη διεξαγωγή του διαγωνισμού στην Ελλάδα. Οι εξαιρετικές συμμετοχές και οι επιτυχίες των ελληνικών ομάδων, όλα αυτά τα χρόνια, επιβεβαιώνουν την αξία αυτής της επένδυσης. Ενισχύουν τη δέσμευσή μας στη στήριξη και την ενθάρρυνση των άξιων νέων ανθρώπων, οι οποίοι προσπαθούν, διακρίνονται, φιλοδοξούν. Πιστεύουμε ότι σε αυτά ακριβώς τα παιδιά, οφείλουμε να παρέχουμε κάθε δυνατή ευκαιρία και βοήθεια, ώστε να πρωταγωνιστήσουν στην ενδυνάμωση της ελληνικής επιχειρηματικότητας, αλλά και συνολικά στην ανάπτυξη της χώρας μας.”
Ευάγγελος Στράνης, Διευθυντής Εταιρικών Σχέσεων Ομίλου ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΑ ΠΕΤΡΕΛΑΙΑ, 2014
“Η συμμετοχή στο διαγωνισμό GMC θεωρούμε ότι προσφέρει στους συμμετέχοντες φοιτητές μια δυνατή εμπειρία σύνδεσης με τον επιχειρηματικό κόσμο, εμπειρία πολύ χρήσιμη για να αποκτήσουν μια πιο στρατηγική προσέγγιση της λειτουργίας μιας εταιρείας. ΗJohnson & Johnson Hellas Consumer SA, ήταν χορηγός 3 ομάδων στον φετινό διαγωνισμό! Μέσα από αυτή τη συνεργασία, είχαμε την ευκαιρία να γνωρίσουμε ταλαντούχους νέους που επέδειξαν ιδιαίτερο ενδιαφέρον για τις επιλογές καριέρας που μπορείς να έχεις σε ένα μεγάλο οργανισμό που δραστηριοποιείται επιτυχημένα τοπικά και παγκόσμια σε καταναλωτικό, ιατρικό και φαρμακευτικό κλάδο. Οι φοιτητές φιλοξενήθηκαν στις εγκαταστάσεις μας, και ήρθαν σε επαφή με ηγετικά μας στελέχη που μίλησαν για τις προκλήσεις των ειδικοτήτων τους και τις ικανότητες που χρειάζονται στο σύγχρονο επιχειρηματικό περιβάλλον. Για εμάς, η συμμετοχή στον διαγωνισμό δεν είναι απλά μια χορηγία αλλά η καλλιέργεια μιας συμβουλευτικής σχέσης καριέρας μεταξύ εταιρείας και φοιτητών!”
Έρρικα Λαμπριανού, HR Director Johnson & Johnson Hellas Consumer SA, 2014
“Το Global Management Challenge αποτελεί μία προσπάθεια να φέρει τους νέους κοντά στην επιχειρηματικότητα και τα πανεπιστήμια κοντά στις επιχειρήσεις. Κάθε τέτοια προσπάθεια είναι καλό να στηρίζεται και να προωθείται από όλους όσους έχουν τη δυνατότητα να το κάνουν. Τα 10 χρόνια του διαγωνισμού αποδεικνύουν με τον καλύτερο τρόπο ότι στην Ελλάδα υπάρχουν πολλοί άνθρωποι που στηρίζουν τέτοιες πρωτοβουλίες, νέοι που έχουν όνειρα, πανεπιστήμια που κάνουν αξιέπαινη δουλειά και επιχειρήσεις που συμβάλλουν στην ανάπτυξη της επιχειρηματικότητας στη χώρα μας. Εύχομαι κάθε επιτυχία τόσο για το διαγωνισμό, όσο και για τους ανθρώπους που συνεχίζουν να δημιουργούν με στόχο ένα καλύτερο μέλλον για τη νεολαία μας και κατ’ επέκταση για τη χώρα μας.”
Γιάννης Κουτράκης, Area HR Leader, South East Europe, IBM, 2014
“Μέσω της συμμετοχής στο Global Management Challenge, οι φοιτητές έχουν την ευκαιρία να δοκιμάσουν τις θεωρητικές τους γνώσεις σε συνθήκες πραγματικού επιχειρηματικού περιβάλλοντος. Το περιβάλλον αυτό σήμερα χαρακτηρίζεται από αυξημένη αβεβαιότητα και πολυπλοκότητα. Δεδομένου ότι, ως Accenture, η αποστολή μας είναι να βοηθάμε τις επιχειρήσεις να βελτιστοποιούν τις επιδόσεις τους, κατανοούμε πόσο σημαντικό είναι για τους φοιτητές να αποκτήσουν εμπειρία στη διαμόρφωση στρατηγικής και στη λήψη αποφάσεων, βάσει ρεαλιστικών σεναρίων.
Στα δέκα χρόνια παρουσίας του στην Ελλάδα, ο διαγωνισμός Global Management Challenge συμβάλλει σημαντικά στην ουσιαστική εκπαίδευση των φοιτητών και στην καλύτερη προετοιμασία τους για τις απαιτήσεις της αγοράς εργασίας. Εύχομαι ολόψυχα ο διαγωνισμός να συνεχίσει να εξελίσσεται, γιατί πρωτοβουλίες όπως το Global Management Challenge μας επιτρέπουν να αναδείξουμε τη νέα γενιά managers.”
A former colleague of mine, William Davis, understands what a “web first” workflow is, and has made it happen through software at his newspaper in Maine. The Bangor Daily News announced this week that it completed its full transition to open source blogging software, WordPress. And get this: The workflow integrates seamlessly with InDesign, meaning the paper now has one content management system for both its web and print operations. And if you’re auspicious enough, you can do it too — he’s open-sourced all the code!
The video embedded above is a screencast from Davis, which outlines the new editorial workflow.
A truly web-first workflow
- Reporters and editors compose all stories in Google Docs. Using labels and native commenting, the stories get sent through the editing process.
- When a story is ready to publish, it gets sent from Google Docs to WordPress with one click.
- In WordPress, editors can publish the story to the web, then set up a print headline and print subhead.
- The story then appears in inDesign, where print designers can lay out the print newspaper.
“WordPress drives both our website and our print edition — you can’t put an article into the print edition of the paper unless it’s been put into WordPress,” Davis, the online editor of The Bangor Daily News, said.
No more copying and pasting, hallelujah!
Prior to implementing the new system, The BDN was using an ATEX system called Dewarview for print and a proprietary Web CMS called Creative Circle.
“We would have to copy and paste from Dewarview to Creative Circle, and our bureau reporters didn’t have access to Dewarview so they would have to e-mail their stories in,” Davis said of the clunky, disconnected workflow.
It’s basically free
Rather than having to pay a licensing fee to a company that runs your content management system, what The BDN has set up is essentially free to run. Of course, there were upfront costs involved withpaying freelancers to help write the plugins, and each month the website has to pay hosting fees, but the rest of the tools they use are free for everyone. WordPress is open source software that anyone can download and use. Google Docs is also a free product if your organization is small enough.
You can do it, too!
The beauty of open source is that everyone can contribute freely to the source code, making it that much more stronger and useful. Because Davis understands this, he’s open-sourced all of the software he used to build the new system and documented most of the other processes involved (liketransferring archives, for example). The only real hurdle goes beyond technology — you’ll have to get your whole newsroom to adopt the process.
“A lot of what took us so long to roll this out has been because of the complexity of the site, not the complexity of the setup. We started using the system in September and slowly moved over desks until they were all on Google Docs,” Davis said. “What was really time-consuming was rebuilding our site, which is incredibly expansive and has a lot of moving parts. We’re open-sourcing most of our work, so I really think it’d be pretty simple for another paper to adopt the same workflow.”
Davis said that for him, adoption was mostly pain-free.
“The reporters here understand what we’re trying to do and why it’s important to get the news out as quickly as possible,” he said.
Ready to get started?
If you want to take a stab at your own similar setup, here’s the baseline set of plugins to install:
- The Zoninator, which allows you to order content on your website by hand instead of chronologically.
- Edit Flow, which allows you to manage your workflow within WordPress through custom roles, statuses, and a ton of other features.
- Co-Authors Plus, which allows you to set multiple authors per post.
- Media Credit, which allows you to natively set the credit for images, instead of including the information in cutlines.
- CP Redirect, which allows you to remap URLs from your old site.
- XML import, for importing your archives into WordPress.
- Docs to WordPress, which allows you to send your Google Docs to WordPress.
Correction: An earlier version of this post said that advertising was integrated into the web system. In fact, that process is still in the works.
Full disclosure: As I mentioned at the start of this post, William Davis is a former colleague of mine from CoPress, where we worked together virtually in college to help transition college newspapers to open source software.
You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you are — and columnist Rebecca Lieb’s process for performing a content audit will help you determine just that!
A content audit is the cornerstone of content strategy, which governs content marketing. The aim is to perform a qualitative analysis of all the content on a website (or in some cases, a network of sites and/or social media presences — any content for which your organization is responsible).
Why perform a content audit, which admittedly is a painstaking and exacting exercise? Lots of reasons.
First and foremost, an audit helps determine if digital content is relevant, both to customer needs and to the goals of the organization. It can help answer important questions: Is content accurate and consistent? Does it speak in the voice of the organization? Is it optimized for search? Are tools and software, such as the content management system (CMS) up to the task of handling it?
Essentially, an audit helps assess needs, shape content governance, and help determine the feasibility of future projects.
Create A Content Inventory First
Start by recording all the content on the site into a spreadsheet or a text document by page title or by URL. Organize this information in outline form, i.e. section heading, followed by sub-sections and pages.
If it’s an e-commerce site, these headings and sub-headings might be something like: Shoes > Womens Shoes > Casual Shoes > Sandals > Dr. Scholl’s. An informational company website’s headings might look more like: X Corporation > About Us > Management > John Doe.
Content strategist Kristina Halvorson recommends assigning a unique number to each section, sub-section and page (e.g., 1.0, 1.1, 1.1.1, etc.). This can help tremendously in assigning particular pieces of content to the appropriate site section. Some content strategists also color-code different sections on spreadsheets. It gets down to a matter of personal preference, as well as the size and scale of the audit in question.
It’s also highly recommended that each section, sub-section or page contain an annotation regarding who owns each piece of content, as well as the type of content: text, image, video, PDF, press release, product page, etc. Is it created in-house? If so, by whom? Is it outsourced (third-party content, RSS feeds, blog entries, articles from periodicals)? Who’s responsible for creating, approving and publishing each piece?
The resulting document is a content inventory.
Conducting The Content Audit
Once you’ve created a content inventory, it’s time to perform the content audit. This will essentially involve digging into the quality of the content.
As you go through the audit, it’s helpful to assign a grade or ranking to every page – e.g., a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “pretty crappy” and 5 being “rockstar fantastic.”
Following are the questions you should be asking about each piece of content:
1. What’s It About?
What subjects and topics does content address? Are page and section titles, headlines and sub-heads promising what’s actually delivered in the on-page copy? Is there are good balance of content addressing products, services, customer service, and “about us” information?
2. Is It Accurate & Up-To-Date?
In other words, is the content topical? Are there outdated products, hyperlinks, or outdated and/or inaccurate information lurking in nooks and crannies of the site? As mentioned above, localities, employees, pricing, industry data and statistics and other information change over time. In addition to checking for factual accuracy, content that is outdated should be identified as “update/revise” or “remove.”
3. Does It Support Both User And Business Goals?
Many stakeholders feed into a company’s digital presence: senior management, sales, marketing, PR and customer service (to name but a few).
Different divisions may be trying to achieve varying goals in “their” section of a site or blog, but fundamentally all content must very gracefully serve two masters: the needs of the business and the needs of the customer.
This means, for example, that calls-to-action must be clear, but not so overwhelming that they get in the way of the user experience. The content audit grades content on its ability to achieve both of these goals while staying in balance.
4. Are People Finding And Using The Content?
This is where web analytics comes into play. What types of content — and what pages in particular — are the most and least popular on the site in question? Where do users spend time, and where do they go when they leave? Are they taking desired actions on a page? What search keywords and phrases bring them to the site?
It’s not enough that content is simply there. The data can reveal what’s working (and what’s not) and help inform a strategy that supports more of the types of content users prefer.
5. Is It Clean And Professional?
Is page copy consistent in tone? Are spelling, punctuation and grammar consistent and correct? Are abbreviations and acronyms standard? If the site has a style guide, is it being followed? Are images captioned in a consistent manner, and properly placed/oriented on the page? Do hyperlinks follow any predesignated rules (e.g., open a new page in a separate browser window)?
6. Is Content Logically Organized?
Does the site contain tacked-on pages that don’t follow navigational structure? Does the overall navigation make sense? Are there redundancies, such as a site that includes a “Personal Finance” section in the top-level navigation, then again lists that section in a sub-menu under the heading “Money & Careers”?
7. Does The Content Have A Consistent Voice?
Every brand or business has a distinct voice that expresses its personality. Serious, irreverent, scholarly, authoritative – all are valid, but the tone, language and mode of expression must be a fit and must be consistent with the brand. This step evaluates the content’s tendency to spill into multiple personality disorder.
8. Are Basic SEO Elements In Place?
Review the page’s title, keywords, metadata, headings and image tags.
Are target keywords and phrases used on the page? Are page descriptions and metadata employed appropriately? Are images and multimedia files captioned, and is metadata employed to make them search-engine friendly? Are headlines optimized for search?
Search engine optimization begins and ends with content, so evaluating to what extent content conforms to best practices in search is an essential part of an audit.
9. What Content Is Missing?
Conducting a content audit focuses so much attention on what’s there that it’s often too easy to overlook what’s not there. An essential step in any audit is therefore to identify weaknesses, gaps and content needs.
A site may be rich in information on how to order, for example; but, are issues surrounding shipping and order fulfillment adequately addressed? Is the press/media section strong on press releases, but weak on photos and video offerings? Does the company blog address company issues heavily, but general industry trends not at all?
What’s missing speaks volumes about the forward direction of a content strategy.
Use Your Findings To Identify Needed Changes/Actions
This is where the rubber hits the road. It’s not enough to produce a giant spreadsheet. The goal is to define gaps and problems, as well as to identify strengths, and develop specific recommendations for improvement.
Almost everyone wants to open a bar or restaurant at some point in their lives. It’s a very common dream, but the number of people who actually follow through with it and open a bar is minuscule. There are plenty of reasons for this, the biggest being MONEY!
Yep, there are a lot of things you just can’t do without money and opening a bar is one of them…or is it?
In my previous article:( http://www.squidoo.com/Open_a_bar ) I go on and on about the importance of having enough capital when opening a bar and the risk you are taking opening a bar without it. In hindsight, It was a bit of a contradiction on my part because I actually opened my bar without any money. So, while I would still like to stress the importance of being financially prepared, I thought I’d let you know how I opened my bar without money.
STEP 1 – Read, Read, Read! – Know every aspect of the bar business before you start
By reading as much as you can and talking with people who have done it before, you will be much better prepared to open your own bar. When you are trying to do it without money, you need to plan things out in advance so you are not hit with a surprise cost down the track.
STEP 2 – Plan It
Let’ face it. there are always going to be costs that you simply have to pay with real money, There is no way of getting around it. So at some stage you’ll need to convince someone to give you some cash.
To start with you’ll need to have a good idea about what type of bar you want to open. Think about all the details from theme, location, clientele, services, food, hours, potential earnings etc. etc. and put it all into a simple but attractive business plan. This doesn’t need to go into all the details of the business, think of it as a brochure for your bar. Just tell it like it is from explaining your concept to identifying your clientele. The aim is to let readers know exactly what you want to do and that you have a passion for it. A Power Point presentation may even be sufficient.
Once complete, your business plan will help you to stay focused and help you to raise money, which we’ll go into a bit later.
STEP 3 – The Big List – Write a comprehensive list.
Like I said, planning in advance is the only way to make sure there are no hidden costs that will jump out and bite you later. After reading as much as you can about the bar business, and making a simple plan, next you should write a list of things you’ll need. Include everything, from signs to drink coasters, staff to floor tiles. Make sure you put the estimated cost next to each item. If you are still unsure what goes into a bar, read some more and also try looking at photos of bar interiors. You’ll be surprised how many things you forgot.
STEP 4 – Crossing off Costs
Many things that you’ll need can be obtained for free – if you know where to look.
The aim of this step is to cross the majority of items off your list. Sounds impossible right? Well it’s not, it’s just difficult. Opening a bar without any money was never going to be easy.
This will require some extremely creative thinking. Here’s a few ideas to get you started:
* Staff – This is a comparatively easy one. Find friends and family who are willing to work nights at your bar in exchange for a piece of the company or profits. Find them and cross it off you list.
* Stock – Many liquor distributors will allow you to open a 30 or even 60 day account, enabling you to pay for your liquor later, after you’ve sold it to your customers. Find one of those distributors and cross it off your list.
* Music Equipment – Find a house DJ with their own equipment and offer them a share in the company or profits in return for their full time services and equipment. You’ll be surprised how many budding D.J.s there are out there with all the latest equipment but no where to play. Cross it off your list.
* Glassware – Another easy one. Talk with beer and liquor companies. Many will be happy to give you glasses with their logos on them. Same goes for drink coasters, cocktail stirrers, ice buckets and bar runners. Cross them off your list.
* Refrigerators – Talk with your local Coke or Pepsi distributor. They’ll loan you fridges in exchange for exclusivity. Cross it off your list.
* Ash Trays – Talk to Marlborough. Cross them off your list.
* Signs – Get a beer or liquor company to sponsor your bar. They’ll pay for signs. Cross it off your list.
As you can see, with a little creative thinking you can cross most of the items off your list, saving you thousands of dollars. Be prepared for a lot of phone calls and selling yourself though.
STEP 5 – Getting Licensed – Finding a FREE liquor license is going to be tough…
Tough, but not impossible. The only way I know of to get a free liquor license (other than being given one) is to find a premises for your bar that comes with one. This is how I did it. My liquor license was owned by my landlord and rented to me each month with my lease payment. Nothing up front. Perfect!
There is a lot you’ll need to know about the restrictions and obligations that come with holding a liquor license. Some states even require certain qualifications and training. Please read up on it so you know what you are getting into.
This one you definitely won’t get for free, unless your uncle owns the building and is prepared to give it to you rather than a paying tenant. Probably not going to happen.
You will always need to pay a deposit. This is usually the equivalent of one months rent and it must be paid upfront. If this is the only money you spend opening your bar you are doing really well. To find the money, show people your business plan, offer them a cut of the business in return for a few hundred dollars each, use a credit card or personal loan or simply ask friends and family for loans. Try selling shares in your business on EBay, post to forums and find partners. If your plan is up to scratch and you have already secured all the items from STEP 4, finding this small amount of money wont be hard.
Once you have the deposit, negotiate with the landlord to give you a few months rent free to renovate. If you get the bar built and ready before the end of the rent free period, you’ll be able to open and make some money before ever having to pay rent. Some landlords won’t give you a rent free period, but some definitely will.
STEP 7 – Design Cheap – Find inspiration keeping cost in mind
Some structural works cost more than others. Stick to simple straight lines and standard fittings. There are plenty of other ways to snazz it up later. Look at as many bar interiors as possible both for ideas and so you can get an idea of what works. I read a lot of books (listed below) which were full of great interior photos of the best bars in the world. It is surprising how simple some of them are.
Step 8 – Free Labor
Utilizing family, friends and students
This one wont be all that hard. Find friends, family, art students, trade students and artists who are willing to help you build and decorate your bar in return for free drinks, or even shares in the business. Of course, many of them will have had dreams of opening a bar themselves, so you will enable them to live out a little bit of their own dreams in helping you. They may even be willing to provide materials themselves or at deferred cost to you.
STEP 9 – Spread the word
With your bar nearing completion it is time to let the world know about it, well at least the local community. One added benefit in getting so many people involved in the design and building process is the free word of mouth promotion. If 10 people work on the bar and each of them tell 10 friends about it, you have 100 patrons for opening night right there before you even begin advertising.
Free marketing techniques is another topic all together and you will find plenty of info on it right here on Squidoo. I’ve listed a few good lenses below to get you started. One great FREE iPhone marketing tool is http://www.dreamwalkmobile.com
A Mobile App for Your Bar – Interact with your customers through their iPhones and other smart phones.
Nowadays, everyone seems to have an iPhone, Android phone or some sort of smart phone. If your bar caters to a younger crowd this will be the case for the majority of your patrons. This creates a great opportunity for you to interact with your customers. By developing a mobile app for your bar which your customer can download, you can then offer them loyalty incentives, feed them the latest news and promotions from your bar, enable them to check in at your bar, share your content on Facebook etc.etc.
Contact DreamWalk Interactive for a FREE mobile app quote.
- DreamWalk Interactive
DreamWalk Interactive is a mobile development company specializing in marketing apps, customer loyalty apps and location-based app for brands and businesses.
STEP 10 – Open and Make Money Quick
Building your bar for free was just the beginning, try running it for free…
If you manage to follow all of the previous steps without any hurdles you are doing exceptionally well and I congratulate you. Very few would have had the stamina or determination. My advice to you now would be to make money and fast! You’ll soon find that building the bar was just the beginning, running the bar will be much, much more difficult.
To find out more about how I managed to build a bar without any money you can view a documentary they made about me called No Way San Jose here athttp://www.nowaysanjose.com
You can view the trailer below.
WebEx published an interesting infographic this month, illustrating the “irony of meetings“. When done correctly, meetings can be effective for collaboration, sharing, and brainstorming. But when meetings get out of control, they waste time and cause frustration.
WebEx created the infographic based on a survey of 800 workers. Here are some of the most interesting findings:
We Say We Don’t Like Meetings, But Spend a lot of Time in Meetings
9 out of 10 workers prefer to interact in any other way than meetings. Yet we spend more time in meetings than any other form of interaction. We spend more time interacting in meetings than email, telephone, social media, and IM.
Common reasons people don’t like meetings include: Nothing getting accomplished, lack of a clear agenda, and the needed people not attending the meeting.
What People Like About Meetings
Despite these annoyances, people do find meetings helpful for some things. For example, people feel that meetings are good for: getting or sharing important information, brainstorming and problem solving, and building relationships.
What Happens When Meetings Get out of Control
Perhaps the biggest problem with meetings is that it stops us from producing. In fact, because of meeting overload people often stay at the office late to finish work, or end up having to take time to work from home, so they can minimize distractions. It’s no wonder that people have such a strong disdain for meetings.
How to Get the Most out of your Online Meetings
Meetings themselves aren’t bad, it’s meetings done poorly that tend to irk us. Here are some tips for mastering your meetings:
- Have a Clear Agenda – Don’ even announce the meeting until you have a clear idea of what you want to cover, who you want to attend, and each persons contributions. Make sure that people know what their role in the meeting is too.
- Use an Online Meeting Service – Don’t make people commute to your meeting, or go out of their way to attend. An online meeting minimizes the time that people spend away from work, keeps distractions to a minimum, and allows you to record the meeting for those who couldn’t attend. Read our reviews of online meeting services.
There’s no reason meetings have to be a waste of time and productivity. When done correctly, using the right online meeting software, meetings can help you achieve more, connect with others, and come up with better ideas.
It should be no surprise that infographics aquire links. Although they’ve quickly become a saturated tactic, they still work. I like infographics, because they’re a great intersection between traditional marketing and manual link building. In this post, I’d like to walk through my process of creating and launching a successful infographic. I’m about to tell you exactly how I’ve gotten clients hundreds of thousands of content views, thousands of social shares, and hundreds of links. It’s a long post, so grab some coffee.
The Development Process
I’d like to cover my “process” for creating an infographic. This might not be for everyone, but it works for me.
#1 Full Team Brainstorm
At this stage, I’ll pull the whole project team together for a brainstorm. I may start with a seed set of ideas, but this is a wide open brainstorm, anything goes. We’re looking for ideas that are: interesting, appeals to the linkerati / socialrati, has real data, and some type of unique hook. An idea may come directly from a specific niche we’re targeting, or may go along with an event, such as a holiday. Try to look for angles that people don’t normally take or to present boring/common info conversely or in a off-colour way. Geoff, here at Distilled, is a beast at coming up with ideas.
I may only walk from the brainstorm with a vague concept and the target audience. From this point, I’ll start to research for data that can be used to form an infographic. I have a few goals for research.
- Find information that can be organized.
- Find information that can be visually represented.
- Data does better than just information.
- Focus on verifiable statistics I can cite.
- Focus on chunkable, tweetable statements.
- Focus on content that triggers an emotional response.
The output here is a Word document of information and URLs to its source.
#3 Email Brainstorm
Unless you’re a creative genius, you’ll find value in crowdsourcing for ideas and selection of data. I will send the results of the research to the entire office and collect input on best stats, how those stats can be represented, or any other cool ideas. My job is collect this input and distill it down.
#4 Develop Concept
Next up, I’ll start developing a concept. This is when you put your creative marketing hat on.
Things to consider:
- How your data can be visually represented
- Color themes (consider you topic and target market)
- How to visually create an emotional response
- Ways to add humor
- Creating “sharable” chunks of info for easy sharing and tweeting
- Media to be added, such as images and graphs
This is a choke point where infographics can fall short. Yes, you have a cool concept, you have the data, and maybe you even nailed your title. But what I’ve seen that works, is really catering to your target market(s) in the content of the infographic. Give them very specific, for lack of a better phrase, “Easter eggs” that will be meaningful for them. This might be a meme or a concept unique to their market. Try to play on a person’s ego or emotions, or to build some form of relationship with them. This goes back to marketing and understanding the target market.
I’ll pass over all the information to our designer. I’ll touch on this more in a moment, but I’ve learned to be very clear in this communication. Working with a designer in the UK, in another time zone, whom you’ve never met, creates a unique work relationship. I think our process here though is valuable for any SEO working with a designer.
This should be simple, but likely won’t be. After getting the first draft of the design, it’ll be passed around the office for feedback. This may include typos, content errors, or design considerations. If you don’t fix, then mistakes in your graphic will be caught, and social media can be relentless in pointing them out (especially Reddit). Find the most detailed oriented person in your office and get them involved.
Next, send it off for review from your client (or boss).This is the point where your skills in getting s#!% done can make or break your linkbait. Your job is to know your client (boss) and have built enough trust with them that you can manage any pushback. Getting close to your client can be the difference between a piece of linkbait that “ok” and “awesome”.
Working with Your Designer
Infographic design is a choke point. Concepts can fall apart during the design process if not effectively managed. Tucker Cummings, at Blue Glass, recently wrote about what makes a “good” infographic. She said “if it doesn’t make you say “Wow” when you look at it, it’s probably not attractive enough”. Although an infographic needs to look good, I don’t want design requirements to scare you off. As long as the design is good, fun, and interesting – I’m more concerned about the content.
My goal when working with a designer is to get something the client will like, with minimum revisions, and without annoying the designer. This is done by doing one thing.
To assist in this communication, I send my designer two documents (these are actually the headings used in my last brief).
- Infographic Width
- Target Audience
- Client Expectations
- Images & Files
Infographic content.docx – Just the text in the infographic.
Tips for Working with Designer
- Get them involved early. I send over an email after the first brainstorm. I want them to be a part of the team, not just a tool I leverage to produce the graphic. I want them excited about it and feel a sense of ownership over the project as well.
- Don’t hinder their design. This is their job, it’s what they’re good at, so just step back and let them do it. Trust that they’re an expert at what they do (this means you have to hire a good designer in the first place.)
- Communicate clearly. Most issues can be solved with clear communication. I promise you this is important when the designer comes in while I’m asleep.
- Remember you’re a marketer. Trust your designer, but you know the market. Feel free to provide feedback to your designer if you feel the design won’t engage your audience appropriately. I’ve had a designer change the color scheme on a graphic, because I didn’t feel it’d engage the target audience in the way I wanted. I think the revision made it a lot more effective at producing an emotional response.
The On-site Stuff
Everyone has their own way of launching an infographics.
The (almost) amazing example
Around Valentine’s day, I saw what I think was an amazing infographic setup, minus one small thing. This infographic was the Valentine’s Day Spending [Infographic] by DegreeSearch.org.
This setup did a lot of things really well. It allowed the graphic to be published on the blog, but allowed them to promote it with a special landing page as well. This landing page removes almost all distractions, except for engaging with the content via social or embedding. It links back to the post and the site’s homepage. There is this wonderful share bar at the top, which allows visitors to easily share the graphic. It even sticks at the top as the user scrolls down the page.
If there is one place this page may have gone wrong, it’s right here:
After the infographic, they’ve embedded Facebook comments, but placed the link embed code below it. Every time someone comments on Facebook, the embed box is pushed further down the page, to the very bottom. Since the Facebook comment box is at the bottom anyways, I would have placed the embed above the Facebook comments (unless of course the graphic’s goal was to increase Facebook interactions).
Typically, I’ll publish an infographic as a blog post and use the following setup.
- Infographic with good file name and alt attribute
- Share buttons (I like the style shown above the most)
- Embed code box, with JavaScrpit to auto select all (will show, one second)
- Embed code with good image name and alt attribute
- Embed code links image to post and has a secondary branded link after the graphic
There are three goals: 1) ease sharing 2) ease embeding 3) make sure the embed code gives good links.
Protip: When making your embed code text area, make it autoselect all the code for easy copying. Like this:
textarea style=”font-family: monospace;” onclick=”this.select();”
Everything so far is preperation for the meat of the campaign, getting the links. Infographics depend on the success of the content’s creation, but I won’t pretend that good content gains links all by itself.
However, good content is key. Good content, like an infographic, paired with strong outreach, can produce amazing results. But enough with the content talk, let’s get to links.
I use social media advertising to help seed infographics. Facebook ads work, but I highly recommend StumbleUpon Ads. These are cheap social oriented eyeballs and you can put yourself in front of a lot of them quickly.
Do not expect much from this traffic. It tends to bounce quickly and doesn’t convert in my experience. However, once in a while, you get in front of just the right person at the right time. On my last infographic, we spent about $500 to help seed, which lead to 10,000 paid views, but we ended receiving about twice as many SU views as that due to free stumbles.
From my experience, SU ads can drive tweets and likes, which I’ve seen from running ads after tweet volume has died off.
#2 Seeding Content: Social Sites
You’ll want to submit to relevant social media sites, but put thought into these submissions. For example, Reddit has a large number of subreddits which may work better for specific types of content. Pay attention to how you tag posts on StumbleUpon. Also you can use accounts at your disposal to seed these submissions with strong early votes where possible. There may be times when you need to call in favors.
Just like other social sites, you’ll want to promote through Twitter. Leverage relationships to get tweets from prominent Twitter users.
Find twitter users for outreach, it’s pretty easy:
- Search on FollowerWonk
- Check Twitter directories
- Check niche sites for twitter accounts
- Find most influenced accounts to see who most RTs X person’s content. Use tools like Klout, TweetStats, or the Twitter API.
#4 Manual Outreach
Lastly, you need to do traditional link building outreach.
You need to do outreach.
The type of sites I’m reaching out to will be decided in the first full team brainstorm. I’ve already identified that market, and need to contact them for links. Outreach is an art and a science in its own right, but there have been several posts written on the topic.
- Outreach for Link Building
- How to Use Twitter for Link Building
- Science of Persuasion
- The Do’s & Don’ts in Link Request Emails
- 5 Fatal Flaws in a Link Request
- Art of Getting a Link
- The Perfect Link Request
- Link Request Email Template
- How to Write a Link Request based on Tips from OKCupid
Don’t be afraid of outreach. It’s a lot like dating. You have to be willing to put yourself out there. Now, if only I was as good at dating as I am link building.
The secret sauce
At the start of this post, I said I’d tell you exactly how I get links with infographics, but that’s not entirely true. I left out two parts, but that’s because I can’t teach you those, but I can tell you what they are.
Good contacts can make or break your content promotion. Do you have a PR team? Do you maintain relationships with major bloggers / journalist that can publish your content? Did you start nurturing relations with niche bloggers prior to pitching? We do.
I can’t emphasis enough the value that a handful of useful contacts, who actually reply to your emails, can have on your promotion.
I believe hustle is my most valuable skill, in both SEO and life. Tom talks about the concept of hustle as a meme on Hacker News in his post on OnStartups about Distilled culture. Hustle is something that’s hard, maybe impossible, to teach. It’s the willingness to “do whatever it takes” to get what you want.
“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle”
– Abraham Lincoln
Success often means getting lucky, but I do believe “luck is when preparation meets opportunity”. You have to be out there hustling to find those opportunities. You have to be willing to do the work. The lengths I’ll go in outreach often result in rolled-eyes and chuckles around the office, but I get links. I get lucky with a lot of links, but I’d miss them if I wasn’t out there working the process.
Hello Small Business, my how you’ve grown. Look at you, optimizing opportunities in cloud computing and capitalizing on your own big data to make more strategic decisions.
Today, businesses of all sizes are realizing the benefits of cloud technology and how it improves the efficiency, productivity and functionality of business operations. The reality is, the percentage of U.S. small businesses using cloud computing is expected to more than double during the next six years, according to a study from consulting firm Emergent Research.
Taking a look at small businesses and the cloud, the Emergent Research study revealed 78 percent of small businesses (companies with less than 50 employees) will be fully adapted to the cloud by 2020 — up from 37 percent in 2014.
Though today’s small businesses are reporting using cloud-based applications chiefly for email, online banking and social media, the expansion of the small business community’s utilization of diverse cloud applications, tools and platforms is anticipated to greatly increase. As this trend grows, Emergent Research forecasts that cloud computing will completely change how small businesses operate by 2020 — as the small business landscape fully adapts to cloud computing.
With variable instead of fixed costs, it’s cheaper for small businesses to leverage the cloud. The cloud provides a flexible and scalable platform that greatly enhances a small company’s opportunities to manage, share and control its data.
Below are ways the cloud is reshaping small business productivity today — and why cloud computing may be the coolest thing to happen to small business since the filing cabinet.
The cloud gives today’s small businesses an affordable, expansive platform to store data securely. For many small businesses, the cloud adds a security that is unmatched, resulting in data back-up, decreased hacking vulnerability and protection from the latest cyber-security woes. The cloud gives small businesses a security infrastructure that streamlines operations while keeping data safe, allowing small businesses to operate safely 24/7.
When a business runs with powerful collaboration, everything from daily operations to exceptional customer service is managed and controlled. Collaboration lets a small business operate like a Fortune 500 firm, keeping clients informed, team members on task and mobile workers functional and effective throughout the business day.
The cloud delivers this degree of collaborative functionality to small businesses. With cloud computing in place, an enterprise can track, manage and schedule tasks 24/7, expanding business productivity and customer care greatly.
Big Boy Data Control
With cloud computing, small businesses can not only collaborate better — they can control their data better in the process. Since cloud computing keeps all data in one central location, all team members can access the data and documents required to stay efficient and on task throughout the business day — and beyond. Employees and managers can analyze projects and tasks with ease to determine more streamlined ways of doing business.
Since files are no longer trapped on one team member’s computer, business productivity can rise to new levels as professionals and teams can work on projects 24/7 whether in the office or at home on their tablets or smartphones.
When a small business relies on a cloud-based service to store and manage its data, the days of complex disaster recovery headaches are over. Cloud computing adds security for small businesses, negating disasters caused by hacking and cyber threats.
In the event of a natural disaster, having data in the cloud means you don’t have to worry about power requirements, space considerations or physical barriers — your data is safe, stored and accessible from any mobile device. By migrating to the cloud, small businesses position their data to survive a disaster.