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Are you making the most of your content?

Optimizing Content Marketing

Old-fashioned SEO tactics DO NOT WORK. You will get you sanctioned by Google. Every optimization effort you make needs to be above-board and carefully planned to ensure you are using tactics that will help you gain visibility.

The main focus of your content marketing should be exceptional writing.

DaSh factor advice for exceptional content marketing:

  1. Don’t focus on SEO first.
  2. Write content that answers questions your audience asks.
  3. Make your content informative.
  4. Proofread and polish your content.
  5. Do not hire “SEO” firms who use archaic tactics.
  6. Reuse content in multiple ways on multiple platforms.
  7. Leverage WordPress tools and plugins to make your optimization work for you.
  8. Do not use poorly-written, keyword-stuffed garbage to try to increase your SEO.
  9. Do not try to game the system.
  10. Publish well-written content frequently.

We like this infographic from contentmarketinginstitute.com.

SEO CLUES

 

Are you missing out on ONE TRILLION DOLLARS in potential growth?

DaSh factor Report: Why Every CEO Should be on Social Media

DaSh factor LLC has published a new report: Why Every CEO Should be on Social Media. CEOs, especially those in the B2B space, have shown a reluctance to embrace social media beyond the standard LinkedIn profile, but this report demonstrates the countless benefits afforded the CEO on social media.

CEOs on social media in B2B, B2C, and B2B2C provide the industry-specific, trust-based, personal interaction that customers seek.

The pressure for CEOs to be accessible on social media is growing; more than half of millennial B2B decision makers’ purchasing decisions are influenced by social media and more than 80% of B2B customers expect real-time interaction with the companies they do business with. CEOs on social media amplify the brand and lend credibility to the messaging.

This report details how CEOs on social media benefit from:

  • Increased customer engagement
  • Better brand awareness
  • Enhanced brand visibility
  • Credibility as thought leaders
  • Improved employee engagement

The report provides a guideline for getting started and examples of CEOs who are leveraging the power of social media to make a difference for themselves and their organizations.

Request a free copy of this new report from DaSh factor by subscribing below.

Get our free report, Why Every CEO Should be on Social Media, when you subscribe to our newsletter.

LinkedIn and Twitter Make Big Improvements

Hashtags on LinkedIn, Twitter Character Counts, and More!

Great new changes are rolling out on social media that will have a positive impact for many business users. We’re excited because of the way it allows us to achieve even better visibility for our clients.

What Do These Changes Mean?

All of these changes are designed to make it easier for you to engage with, share to, and reach more people. These are positive changes that will allow us to better amplify and magnify your visibility and enhance your digital footprint.

Read more below for details on the individual changes being rolled out to LinkedIn and Twitter:

LinkedIn Pulse: The New Format

The new LinkedIn publishing format is rolling out, and it gives publishers a lot more control over their content. What we love:

Header images can now be the full page width.

LI Header Image

You can toggle to the standard image if your image doesn’t work:

LI Header Image 2

However, the wider image provides much more flexibility for branding and visual magnificence!

LI header image 3

Other changes to the publishing experience on LinkedIn are just as great and possibly even more powerful in terms of increasing visibility. LinkedIn has made it easier to add images, video (supporting YouTube, Vimeo, and other platforms), and slideshows (supporting SlideShare, Prezi, and other platforms) right into the body of your articles. You can even embed a tweet easily, simply by adding the link:

linkedin twitter

Most importantly, LinkedIn is ending the requirement of using the three tags to categorize your article. The tag choices were often limited and narrowing, preventing the article from reaching its full audience. The tagging system is being replaced with a content- and hashtag-driven introduction:

publishing on linkedin

This brings us to the next fabulous change on LinkedIn:

LinkedIn Now Supports Hashtags

Hint: We’ve anticipated this change for some time and have used hashtags in our client posts regularly.

LinkedIn has finally given in: After removing support for hashtags in 2013 because of “poor response,” they’ve finally realized that hashtags are the most practical tool for making content searchable. It’s already been rolled out on the mobile app, with desktop support coming soon.

Twitter Updates Character Count Rules

In a move that completely delights us, Twitter will no longer count links or images as part of the 140-character restriction for tweets. They will also stop counting the characters of the user in a reply. This means we can craft even more exceptional messages without losing a good chunk of the space to an image or link. Twitter is also removing the requirement to add a . before a mention to make sure it is seen by all. (In the past, if you wanted to complain, say, about poor service at the Courtyard Marriott, and you wanted to make sure the whole world saw it, you would have to write .@CourtyardHotels, or it would be treated like a direct message and go only to the user.

courtyard tweet

Further enhancing the platform, Twitter is now allowing users to retweet and quote themselves, providing an opportunity to be more engaging. Read more on the Twitter blog.

 

 

Take a page from Arlo Guthrie and connect with your audience by telling stories.

To Make It Memorable, Tell a Story

Last year on this day, we were in Boise, Idaho (the town Shadra spent most of her life) to see Arlo Guthrie in concert. We go to a lot of concerts, but this was a bucket-list kind of show – the 50th anniversary of Arlo’s song, “Alice’s Restaurant.” It was an important tour to catch for those of us who were too young to see him perform the song the first time around. Arlo tends to avoid playing “Alice’s Restaurant” unless it is the 10th anniversary of the song, so if you want to hear it live, you may need to wait until the 60th anniversary.

The concert was an incredible experience. We walked out of the venue feeling we’d spent the evening sitting across from Arlo. It wasn’t simply the songs that left an indelible impression; we’d heard most of them before, many times. And we have faithfully watched the movie, Alice’s Restaurant, every year at Thanksgiving.

So what made the performance memorable?

It wasn’t simply Arlo’s singing that made his performance “stick to [our] bones,” as our Boise State poetry professor might say.

What made Arlo’s performance memorable was the stories he told.

The man can tell a story! And as he weaves a narrative, you’re pulled into the time and place he’s revealing, and the people in the story become tangible. And as he speaks, you feel like he is talking only to you – that if you were not sitting there listening, the story would not be worth the telling.

We can all take a page out of Arlo’s book when it comes to engaging with our audiences. Whether you’re writing, giving a speech, or meeting with a client, it’s the stories you tell and the attention you give to your audience that are going to plant you and your message firmly in their memory, not your presentation, pitch, or hard sell.

Tell a story. That’s how to connect with your audience.

We love the freedom we have to control how and when we work, where we work, and who we work with.

5 Entrepreneurship Tips to Live By

We have been running our own business for nearly a decade, and we love the freedom we have to control how and when we work, where we work, and who we work with. These tips have helped us enjoy more success and enjoy the work more, too.

  1. Go out every day. It doesn’t matter where you go – even going to the post office counts. Why? It forces you to get yourself out of your comfortable environment, and yes, get dressed if you’re otherwise tempted to work in your pjs all day. It’s a great way to connect with people in your community. You’ll find inspiration, have conversations, and be energized.
  1. Do something for yourself every day. The big benefit of being an entrepreneur is that you are the boss. You might also be the employee, the administrative assistant, and the maintenance crew, but you’re the boss. It means you can step away and go for a walk, exercise, take a class you’ve always wanted to take, spend time with your kids, or travel through Europe for a month. Being an entrepreneur is hard work, but it is also exhilarating and freeing.
  1. Embrace new experiences. Having new experiences is how we grow and expand. So volunteer, feed the homeless, do a community project, or attend a networking meeting. Do something new.
  1. Take a lunch break. Yes, we entrepreneurs tend to work more than we ever thought we would. It is easier to work hard when you’re working for yourself. But it is important to stand up, step away, take a break, feed your soul and nourish your body. Take breaks.
  1. Do what you want to do, when you want to do it. We are 24/7, tethered to some digital device anyway, whether we work at home or in an office, so we might as well enjoy the freedom entrepreneurship affords us.

To succeed as entrepreneurs, you need to focus on your accomplishments. From traveling and living around the world to working as leaders in your corporate lives, you have fabulous skills that translate very well into running your own businesses.

The best way to prevent being sued for the images you use is to make sure you have the proper licensing for them.

Don’t Get Sued for the Images You Use

It happens with alarming regularity: bloggers, writers, and businesses are being sued for the images they use on their websites and in their print marketing. The most notorious company to go after even the smallest blogger who doesn’t even have an income from their blog is Getty. Getty can be a nightmare to deal with. Women in Business offers a guideline for handling a Settlement Demand Letter from Getty.

Image Licensing and Copyright

Using someone else’s image for your commercial work (even if it’s not making money) is considered theft. It is really no different than someone copying pages out of your book or off your website and selling them as their own work. The best way to prevent being sued for the images you use is to make sure you have the proper licensing for them. Better yet, choose the following types of images:

  • Public domain images. These images have been used on a government website or have been released by the artist to be used for any reason without credit. You can easily find public domain images (or easily attributable images) at Wikimedia Commons.
  • Free images. There are a number of sources for images that have come about almost as a response to the stranglehold Getty is attempting to have over stock images. One of our favorites is the work of Ryan McGuire at Gratisography (the creator of the image used on this blog). Additional free image sources appear at the end of this article.
  • Your own images. Grab your phone and snap a photo! There’s nothing more satisfying than taking the precise picture you want to accompany your own words and deliver the message you want to deliver.

If you do have to use a licensed image, there are cost-effective stock images available from reliable companies who aren’t sue-happy.

Our Favorite Paid Image Sources:

Bigstock Photo
Shutterstock

Our Favorite Free Image Sources:

Gratisography
Pixabay
MorgueFile
Stock Snap
Je Shoots

We can elevate our level of leadership by leading with maturity, resilience, accountability, and doing good.

What We’ve Learned About Leadership

We work with some of the most inspiring entrepreneurs and business leaders around. Many of them, in addition to being excellent clients and partners are also mentors. We have learned from them what leadership really is. Leadership is an art. Becoming a better leader is a continual learning process, and we can elevate our level of leadership by leading with maturity, resilience, accountability, and doing good.

Leading with maturity means not overreacting but making thoughtful and informed choices. Mature leaders don’t seek glory but are happy to give credit to others who helped them achieve the goal.

Leading with resilience means not allowing setbacks to thwart you. Resilient leaders are optimistic and see difficulties as challenges they can overcome.

Leading with accountability means taking responsibility for missteps. An accountable leader is comfortable with the idea that being human means being imperfect and is ok acknowledging, apologizing for, and owning his or her mistakes.

Leading by doing good means having a focus beyond profit. Leaders who do good choose to personally and professionally donate time, money, and visibility to helping make the world a better place.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” —Maya Angelou

People will instinctively turn toward brands who are purposeful, genuine, and trustworthy.

Achieving Authenticity


Open, honest communication is the best foundation for any relationship, but remember that at the end of the day it’s not what you say or what you do, but how you make people feel that matters the most.
–Tony Hsieh

Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, understands something that every brand needs to realize: the only question you need to be able to answer as a brand is, “How do you make people feel?” The engagement and experience every brand is desperately seeking cannot be attained appealing to the rationale of the consumer; it can only be reached by tapping into their emotions and senses.

Achieving Authenticity

The problem with trying to appeal to a consumer through emotion is that people don’t like being manipulated. They are quick to recognize – and condemn – a company or celebrity (or famous athlete) who is being less than genuine in their approach simply to attain a goal. To appeal to your customer authentically requires you to be honest and open in your approach.

Authenticity is a commitment from the brand to remain true to what your organization promises to be. Brands that succeed at achieving authenticity have worked to communicate a clear sense of what their brand stands for.

Truth is a point of view, but authenticity can’t be faked. -Peter Guber

People will instinctively turn toward brands who are purposeful, genuine, and trustworthy. When given the option, consumers will seek out brands born of a company’s authentic passions versus a desire to simply move merchandise.

Authenticity is the alignment of head, mouth, heart, and feet – thinking, saying, feeling, and doing the same thing – consistently. This builds trust, and followers love leaders they can trust. – Lance Secretan

 

Should I Offer Internships to Students?

by Shadra Bruce

I had a very positive experience as an intern when I was going to school at Alfred University. I worked in the student affairs office and helped them revise their student adjudication system and digitize all of the records. It was fascinating work that not only gave me experience I could build on but also connected me with people in the university with whom I still maintain a relationship.

As our business expands, we have often considered the need for another person to help us move things forward. According to Mark McFadden, Director of the Alfred University Career Development Center,

“Internships are always beneficial to students and can/should be for employers as well. If you are a non-profit or the federal government, you don’t have to pay interns. However, if you are a for profit company, you are required to pay interns as per the Fair Labor Standards Act. A lot of employers think they can get around payment by offering credit, but that is not the case. Internships vary in terms of hours and pay. For example, we offer a number of internships here at the CDC. All are in the five hour a week range and we pay minimum wage.”

Internships CAN be a great way to introduce new talent and innovative ideas, but if you are a for-profit business, you need to budget for the service these students provide.

We opted to postpone hiring interns until we’ve moved forward with securing legal entity status for our business so that we can avoid any tax headaches. But we are excited about the ability to offer this win-win opportunity to a fellow Saxon. If you’re ready to hire an intern, reach out to your alma mater or a local university’s career center to get started.