Has Video Killed Article Writing for Your Online Business?

The debate about whether writing articles is still a key element of growing your online business rages on. For those of us who make money online from home it is an important discussion and one that merits serious consideration. The growth in popularity and use of You Tube has caused many to have the view that You Tube is the way forward and that article marketing is simply “old hat”! I don’t agree and my reasons are as follows:

  • Firstly, I do not think it is a question of either You Tube or article marketing, my belief is that it is both. None of us receive information or data from just one source or one element of the media. We get our information in hard copy, electronically, digitally and others, so why would we think that our target audience is any different?
  • The internet is the source of content for millions every day, so there is a place for good content irrespective of the media. If your articles contain good content, and you have it appropriately structured then you will be found.
  • Content that has value for its targeted audience is a much needed resource. If you are writing your article just to blast out volumes of content and hoping that you get traffic, then that is the wrong mindset. If your mindset is “what’s in it for me” then it is of little value to anyone, and you will fail. But if your mindset is “is this content adding value to my targeted audience?”, and you deliver on it, then the content will be picked up and you will succeed.
  • Relevant content is always of value. Think of this way – if my business goal is to find ways to make money online and I come across a great article on changes in world environment, I may find it interesting, and it may be very well written but it is not relevant to me right now. So, when writing make sure it is high quality, is of significant value and is relevant. Article writing is a great resource and source for relevant content.
  • Once you write an article it is there forever. I still get traffic for articles that I wrote a long time ago. Quality lasts and the time you put into writing a good article today is an investment in your future.
  • Article writing is a great way to get backlinks which are so important and very important when your aim is to make money online for free.
  • Finally, some statistics to back up my argument! I have researched randomly for some figures, so I have not conjured these up to prove my point – you know what can be done with statistics! The niche I looked at is the weight loss niche and I researched how many views random articles had got in a short period of time. To put it in context I am writing this article on 11th March 2011 and my figures are based on numbers of views at 9th March 2011. Just look at these for numbers, keeping in mind that the oldest article is only 8 weeks old!
  • An article published on 5th January 2011 got 30.128 views, one on 9th January 2011 got 46,855 views, another on 24th January 2011 got 19,016, then the one published on 2nd February 2011 got 29,928 views and the one on 14th February 2011 got 12,835

These are absolute proof that article marketing still has its place as a premier method of getting your message out on the internet. How could you not generate business with those levels of views? But please remember, you will only achieve these sorts of figures if the content is of high value and is relevant.

To my mind, forget about the debate questioning whether it is article marketing or video marketing – the truth is that it is both, and you just need to find the right balance.

I would appreciate your comments and views.

The Scariest Components of Business for Young, Hopeful Global Managers

In a world that, thanks to technology and outsourcing, only continues to get smaller how are young professionals today going to tackle the task of staying in touch with their employees in global organizations? As a young MBA student myself, I see myself as ambitious and ready to take on the world, however, only recently did I realize that this might mean actually taking on the world. How can you manage people globally when they speak another language and have completely different beliefs and customs that only add to the information challenges? Suddenly the way you assess your local employees is not going to be good enough, this is a whole new dimension to management and it’s going to be one that most ambitious young managers will get to experience firsthand. I get overwhelmed just thinking about the issues that could come up with employees in global organizations so I decided to attack the issues that scare me the most and evaluate them.

First off, having global language barriers with your employees could seem like enough to make you give up before you get started, but the way the world is today, and the way it will undoubtedly be in the future, leaves no question that language barriers are something that are going to have to be continuously managed in a successful global organization. Good communications skills have never been more critical. Highlighting the issues with language barriers, a recent article in The Rio Times states, “A report by the Economist Intelligence Unit says that Brazil is among the worst at coping with the language barrier of the English-speaking world of business, and that deals are being hindered because of it. Experts are warning that, with increased international interest in businesses based in Brazil, the need to break down the barrier has never been more acute.” (Tavener, 2012). So what are some solutions to language barriers (other than Rosetta Stone)? Offhand, I would think that trustworthy interpreters are going to take a lot of the stress out of language barriers, but other aids I’ve considered would be visual aids, technology (electronic interpreters), and body language (if present or skyping with the person you’re communicating with). Language barriers are always going to be out there, it’s finding the ways to overcome them that leads to success. “Industry experts say that despite the possible setbacks caused by inefficient language communications, a multinational approach can yield the biggest gains, as long as initial cultural misunderstandings can be overcome.” (Tavener, 2012).

The second thing that scares me to death about global management is differences in ethics, beliefs, and customs. While I think that cultural differences among people are beautiful, the thought of offending or not comprehending the ethics of those I’m managing simply terrifies me. There’s no playbook for this. “Many of the ethical issues in international business are rooted in the fact that political systems, law, economic development, and culture vary significantly from nation to nation.” (Hill, 2010, p.136) As a manager, you’re going to have to make yourself particularly sensitive to and aware of these differences. The way you navigate differences in customs and beliefs is going to vary based on what part of the world you’re dealing with and defining ethical business conduct will more than likely be dependent upon that as well. As a young, unworldly MBA student this topic perplexes me, but I would have to think that there is a global ethical standard to be defined when it comes to business. Without one, we would restrict our ability to do business effectively in a world where borders have become less and less meaningful. As an effective global manager I would think my first step would be to define this shared set of global ethical values and capitalize on it.

After overcoming language barriers and ethical differences, how do you evaluate the employees at hand? However unfamiliar global business practices may seem at first, mangers with global responsibilities must be able to make a fair and accurate assessment of employees from other countries. What’s most scary about this for me is the issue of trust. Who can you trust do assess employee performance for you from overseas? You’re going to have to find dependable people to get things done, ones who can give you valuable insight into organizational issues. Personally, one of my biggest fears and biggest challenges in this scenario would be my dependence on the people immediately surrounding me to form judgments regarding employees’ performances. This, for me, would be the biggest obstacle of all in global management, and it’s probably the issue that is dealt with more often. I would imagine that communication barriers between overseas management and home base management are some of the largest factors hindering the success of global business.

As I’ve pondered the most concerning issues for myself in becoming a global manager, I’ve learned that one thing is clear; success in global management begins with an attitude of acceptance, a willingness to learn, and an eye for problem solving. I’m hoping that I, along with other up-and-coming managers alike can dominate these key issues and the infinite possibilities that come with the world’s current globalization and the management opportunities it affords us.

References:

Hill, C. W. (2011). International Business: Competing in the global marketplace (9th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

Tavener, B. (2012, May 15). Language Barriers in Brazil Business. The Rio Times. Retrieved July 21, 2012, from http://riotimesonline.com/brazil-news/rio-business/language-barriers-in-brazil-business/#

The Twelve Days of Business Act One

Here we are at the end of 2010. What has 2010 shown us in the business world? In the UK, there’s been a definitive and frantic up and down pace mixed with a struggling economy and a new government at the helm. Next question then: What’s in store for 2011?

Right now at the close of another working year in your life, what prospects or potential redundancy are you facing in 2011? Are you just starting out in business, or thinking of going into business for yourself?

To help you get a positive view of setting up in business for yourself, to allow you to look at your career and business options, here are The Twelve Days of Business 2010.

1st Day

Explore your Options. Before you rush into setting up a new business, even if your business idea is something you’ve been passionate about for sometime, consider why you are doing this. Think about your current situation – Do you really want to do this? What will happen if it doesn’t work out? Give yourself a good amount of time to mull over your ideas and reasons for embarking on this journey.

2nd Day

What is your USP? Being clear about what you will offer is of vital importance. Will you offer a product or service? Are you the product or service as a sole trader? Who is your target audience, in other words who are you selling to? Research and establish if there is a need for what you want to promote and deliver. Yes, competition in your marketplace is positive for growth, however what makes you different from others in the same or similar sector? Know what your Unique Selling Point is i.e. What are the benefits you can offer to your market? How will your product or service make a difference to their life or business?

3rd Day

Goals and Ambitions. During this research and discovery stage ask yourself what do I want to achieve and how am I going to get there? Setting goals with realistic objectives to help you achieve them is the most commonsense approach to growing your vision into reality. Create a business and marketing plan to keep you on track and focussed, plus it helps to prevent you from rushing headlong into grabbing every opportunity that may present itself. Seek help and advice to put together concise plans. Make sure your goals are measurable and meet with what your business represents, what you wish to achieve and are set to a suitable time frame.

4th Day

What are your Values? Going into business for yourself brings with it one major constant – your reputation. Consider what you want you business to stand for or represent. How do you want to be seen in your marketplace, in the eyes of your competitors? Core values set the foundation for any business and without them a business will not succeed. Remember too, your brand is your reputation and vice versa. Every telephone call or email, every client meeting and every piece of work or product you deliver, will be preceded by your values.

5th Day

What is your Financial Situation? A thorough assessment of your financial pot so to speak, is one of the primary things you must look at. If you are facing redundancy and you receive a good remuneration, how will long will it last if you set up a business? Likewise, if you leave your current job and start over, how long will your savings cover your costs? Work out exactly how much money you have at the start, how much you will need to cover personal expenses such as mortgage and living, as well as start up costs, to give you a clear picture of how long your finances will carry you. Alternatively look into options of ways to get support finance, either from your bank or an angel investor?

6th Day

Sole Trader vs Limited Company. The best source of professional advice about the type of taxation structure most suited to your business is a qualified accountant. If you have no access to an accountant at this early stage, you can visit the HMRC website, which is full of helpful advice, support and downloadable forms etc From here, other legal matters to consider include registration/non registration for VAT, employee rights, responsibilities and roles, and personal and public liability insurances.

7th Day

Legal Decisions. Early in your setting up stage you will need to register for tax, once you’ve decided what type of entity you will be i.e. sole trader or limited company, register your company name and consider trade marking, open a business banking account and arrange a business loan (if required) to cover set up and initial ongoing costs, buy a domain name(s), and hire an accountant or bookkeeper (or use online accountancy software such as Kashflow).

8th Day

Do I work at home or rent an office? Wherever you choose your business to be based from, there is an extensive list of office requirements to think about. Plan to work from home? Do you have suitable office space such as a spare room? What will you need to set up your office – a PC, printer, a good sized desk, filing cabinet, shelving, cupboards, broadband, a telephone or mobile connection? Ask your accountant for advice about claiming expenses on your spare room office or rented office space and other related costs.

9th Day

To Market, To Market. How will you market your business? Writing a marketing plan is a good way to get your ideas down on paper, to give you a clear focus about what you want to achieve. Marketing wears many different hats, from online e shots and direct mail shots, to websites and online social networking. Therefore, have a good brainstorm about what your business message is, and then work out the best approach to sharing your message. A website is your most important “shop window” for your business, so make sure you find a web designer who understands what you want to achieve. Talk to small business owners about how they market their business, to discover new ways.

10th Day

What is Networking? Networking is all about having conversations with others, to build relationships; with your ultimate aims being to do business and to help others do business. Next the big question: Do you network online or face to face? Online social networking is one of the fastest growing industries today however this style does not suit everyone. Take a look at Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and decide if these meet with who you are and what you represent. These online platforms are an excellent way to build a database of contacts, have conversations, do business and recommend other businesses, however weighing up your time spent on social media is also important. Have you thought about attending face to face networking events? After all your business is you and you are best placed to sell yourself as your brand. Find a network event near you, go along and start up a conversation. The great thing about networking is you never know where a conversation will lead and what opportunities will be presented, for you or others.

11th Day

PR and Promoting Yourself. Get to know your local and national journalists. Making positive connections with the media can be a highly effective way to promote and grow your business. As a new enterprise you are in a perfect situation to be of high interest to your local and national press. Have you taken on new staff, won an award, or are you supporting a local charity? Journalists love to write about human interest stories and your business can provide them with great column material. Good PR doesn’t have to cost you the earth, you can do it yourself. However if you want to remove the hassle so you can get on with developing your brand, speak to a PR agency.

12th Day

Professional Support and Advice. Setting up a new business or improving an existing business involves a lot of effort and hard work. It can take up so much of your time that you forget about giving yourself a chance to step back and actually see your business progression or stagnation. Don’t give up at this stage. Do get yourself a mentor or hire a coach to help you through the rocky stages, to inspire and motivate you, and to help you move both you and your business forward. A coach or mentor, as someone removed from your business, will listen to you and help you realise what options you have, or ways to change or improve what you are doing. Give yourself an opportunity to share your challenges and celebrations with a coach or mentor, and watch as you grow, personally and professionally.