Rebecca Caroe Quora profile

Using Wikipedia and Quora for marketing

I recently got asked about whether Wikipedia is good for marketing. It’s a high traffic website from where backlinks could be valuable.

If you do create Wikipedia entries be aware that there are rules about businesses on the platform.

The recent history of Marketing on Wikipedia

A lot of PR agencies got publicly burned while trying to promote their clients there.
Which led to Wikipedia publishing this.
And check out the PR institute rules in the UK which followed.

Basically, don’t expect this to be an amazing source of new business.

However, I have an other option to offer you which may work.

Quora expert profile

5 Quora tips for marketing

Answering questions around your topic of expertise and interest and inspiration is definitely somewhere you can shine. It’s not open source, so nobody can edit your submissions and you can get upvoted and become an “expert” on the platform quite quickly.

The key is to start in an established niche where you are confident.
Here are 5 easy tips on writing Quora replies with a marketing slant.

  1. Read all the other answers first and upvote / or reference good parts which you agree with
  2. Then add your own slant which is hopefully something not already mentioned
  3. Find something in your own published content which could be linked from your answer and which adds more detail. This is key because a skim reader won’t follow the link, but someone who is really interested will click to follow and land on your site. So you filter out the tyre kickers quickly.
  4. If you haven’t already got something you can use from your own content write it now. Write it on your website / blog, publish it, and link it inside your Quora answer before you hit save in Quora.
  5. Use the GA campaign link tool so you can identify traffic from that article link.
  6. All Quora links are nofollow but real people will click on them – so they give you customers instead of immediate SERP rank juice.
  7. Tick the box to follow the answers and get alerted when someone else joins the thread so you can come back in later if you need.

Now what’s stopping you?

 

Oh, and if you came here from Manaaki – welcome. You’re following exactly the technique I recommend for use on Quora.

And you can use this technique on other forums relevant to your niche. I have three which send me traffic and build my profile as an expert in new business development.

National’s SME policy

The New Zealand National Party manifesto just published with some pledges to help the small business sector. We know we are important to the economy – but this really shows clarity of purpose and thinking, which I disagree with.

Read the full document

Get people back to work

Kiwisaver by New Zealand Government

One of their proposals is to provide New Zealanders who have lost their job with up to $30,000 in capital to put towards a new business idea through a BusinessStart package. Sounds good.

But won’t this be focused on people who may not be right for self-employment or business ownership? Where’s the filter?

The proposal states $1,000 for getting a business plan together…. but I think the Business Start package is going to create a raft of new revenue streams for accountants (who are not business advisors) writing those business plans. Just like the gravy train of Regional Business Partner advisors [disclosure I’m one of them].

Fund through Kiwisaver

A second layer of the programme allows folks to use their savings to fund the new business. Accessing Kiwisaver money to start a business should be contingent on there being an age sliding scale of kiwisaver deposits – this could let people spend their pension on a business which won’t fly and will leave them worse off at retirement…. And then who’s responsible?

The third layer is $10k of tax credits once profitable. This is interesting but may postpone business failure – but is a low risk strategy from a Government.

Lastly they want the fund managers of Kiwisaver funds to invest as if they were angel investors. Kiwisaver providers are not experts in private equity – so don’t let them invest their funds into areas they know little about (well – really they are OUR funds as it’s OUR savings).  I worry about this because it puts retirement savings at risk for folks like me whose savings go into other people’s businesses.

What do you think?

home office desk corner

5 Tips for Managing a Company With Remote Employees

With the availability of the internet and technology that we have today, more and more companies are operating remotely. There are plenty of advantages for employees working remotely. They can work from home and care for their family. They don’t have to deal with rush hour traffic during their daily commute. The organization also thrives from a remote work setting because they can generate more revenue without the costly overhead for brick and mortar. There can be a bit of a learning curve for businesses that are making the transition from an office setting to a fully remote environment.

home office desk corner

Thanks to Roberto Nickson for sharing their work on Unsplash

1. Logistics

There are several factors to understand when working out the logistics of creating a remote working environment for your employees. You should structure your business by keeping in mind the current market conditions. Create an operations plan for your organization including how many employees you need. You should do payroll calculations to know how much compensation the company can afford for each employee.

2. Training

Remote working is a different experience than working in an office setting. Many people have not experienced working from home and may need training in various programs and software that your business uses daily. Provide online training to your remote workers so they know what is expected. This helps to better equip them to provide their best work. By helping to improve your employees’ skills, you are also helping your business grow.

Remember that remote working also involves remote communication.  Staff can talk to each other but group messages may get overlooked with email. A better solution is a desktop system like SnapComms which enables a diverse range of getting employee attention when everyone is busy.

SnapComms features include alerts, desktop tickers, wallpaper, lock screens and the important panic button.

snapcomms features

SnapComms features for employee comms and remote working effectiveness

3. Team Building

It is beneficial to the company to develop a team mentality among coworkers. Businesses that have a cohesive attitude tend to become more successful in meeting their objectives. It can be more difficult to build strong bonds among online personnel because they lack the one-on-one in-person face time that people have in a traditional office setting. It is helpful to provide online team-building exercises to help create a stronger bond among your personnel. A cohesive team works effectively and efficiently.

4. Communication

Good communication is key to a successful organization. Be sure that every employee you hire has exceptional communication skills. An online business needs to run their operations in a way that is conducive to good communication channels. Provide communication tools that provide an interactive platform for employees to easily correspond. Make a clear structure for the chain of command so that everyone knows how to properly escalate items as they arise.

5. Efficiency

A strong work-life balance provides employees with peace of mind which helps them to work more efficiently. Remote workers do their best work when they can work a flexible schedule that enables them to meets personal needs. Keep your employees’ mental and emotional health in mind, as people that work from home often have less personal interaction in general which can cause stress. Implement an environment that is conducive to the mental and emotional health of your staff.

It is important for workers to feel valued for their hard work. This is particularly true for remote workers since they do not have the same interaction with employers as office workers. Show gratitude towards your employees for their hard work frequently by rewarding them with recognition.

spam SEO linkback example

Getting linkbacks for SEO

<Rant warning begins>

Do you regularly check your website links?

I found comments in my site back end today which made me spit tacks.

And so I wrote to the business who was linked from the commenter.

Do you know your SEO agency are making spammy comments on blogs in order to get you linkbacks? It doesn’t work and gives you a bad name.

So don’t do it.

AI written comment is spam

 

Using bots for marketing

And another thing – using AI to write comments creates inhuman weirdness.

Read the text in the image above. This is clearly not written by a human; not written by a human who speaks English as a second language.

This is a bot.

AI comment spam

Writing comments on blogs can be a nice way to get linkbacks – but most popular sites now set all comments to be [nofollow] links and so it’s not very beneficial. Clearly some agencies have decided that cutting costs by using artificial intelligence tools is worthwhile.

I am not against experimentation. BUT check the outputs match your expectations.

The comments on my site just scream LOW QUALITY SPAM.

Who seriously thinks that bots can make good marketers for B2B is just plain WRONG.

 

<Rant over>

Slideshare got sold

Today’s discovery. Slideshare got sold.

scribd and slideshare

Slideshare header about Scribd

I was a very early Scribd user…. now I find they’ve bought Slideshare from LinkedIn.

This will change things for many of us who love Slideshare.

  • What happens to my slide decks shared into LinkedIn? [they stay]
  • Who still uses Slideshare [me and my clients]
  • Why is Scribd such a great platform? [sharing document images – especially long ones.]

Why I loved Slideshare

It was the first and most easy way to share decks – create embeddable and downloadable links and also do lead generation from a single place. For folks in professional services this was great if you were using education as a B2B marketing tool. I frequently recommended this strategy for my clients and it remains very effective.

What changes now?

Well, tools come and go all the time. I spend a lot of time cataloguing new marketing software and services which could be useful for me or my clients,  That’s one of the reasons why I’m often such an early adopter of these services [checkout when I joined Twitter for example].

Slides featured on my LinkedIn Profile

The functionality for slide embeds will continue to rest with Slideshare for the time being. But its utility is now altered.

Where and how expertise is shared is not the same and will continue to evolve.  And so, for now, I’m going to be looking closely at Scribd and its functionality.

And don’t forget LinkedIn – what will happen to future slide decks? Will there be alternative software for uploading them? What are the Slideshare alternatives and do they work on the LinkedIn platform?

What does Scribd do for me?

Scribd now also has functionality for reading magazines and books and audiobooks as well as slide decks.  It’s a competitor to Audible, Google Books, Kindle, Flip, Isuue and news or magazine aggregators.

All Slideshare users are automatically given a Scribd login.  Sadly they are only offering 2 months free use to Slideshare customers.

This makes me suspect that the acquisition was just to buy a user base. Sharing your slides isn’t exactly the same use case as using Scribd.

What do you think about this acquisition? Useful? Waste of Time? Who does slides today anyway?

water data visualisation

Marketing perception versus reality

I love my profession. Marketers come in all stripes and sizes. Some are shysters and others are hard graft honest workers.

We use a lot of techniques to advantage the brands we are working for. Some are sly and dishonest and others are honourable.

And today I am focusing on two different ways to influence the customer’s perception versus the reality.

Pricing perception & reality

You may know that there is a “Left Digit Bias” which is well documented in the psychology literature.

This means when we read a price, the numbers before the decimal point get more attention from us than those to the right. And so if a price is slightly below a threshold number like $29.99 as opposed to $30.00 our perception of good or best value goes with the lower left hand number, 29 in this case.

Marketers advise on pricing. And it’s worth reading this recent research about when to use the left digit bias tactic and when not to use it.

If your product is normally priced $2.00 and your net margin is 9% and the price is lowered to $1.99 the net margin drops to 6%. That’s a lot of profit left on the table just for one cent of discount.

A better tactic is to show the Before and Now price. So the relative prices are known by the consumer.

By playing with the pricing you can advance a marketing perception which is less obvious than the reality and which delivers a better outcome for your client brand’s profitability.

Data visualisation perception & reality

I have a tiny obsession at the moment with water. We have a local hose pipe ban – it’s the middle of winter and has been

water data visualisation

Auckland Watercare data

raining heavily most days this month. So why the ban?

I investigated and found the local water company publishes daily updates on the water level in local dams, the volume of water consumed per week and the weekly rainfall compared to the long term mean.

We are currently at 64.95% water storage compared to a historical average level of 88.77% at this time of year. And they illustrate this in a handy graphic, updated daily.

Now I know why there’s a hosepipe ban.

Marketers could use images and data visualisations more often. They offer an easy way to explain things quickly to your customers and prospects.

Geeking out on data summaries isn’t everyone’s hobby of choice. Yet I was drawn into a very detailed analysis of what “good” actually looks like in data visualisation and ways to use this to advance your marketing reality compared to customer perception.

Define good data imagery

Avinash is a data geek – he works for Google. And he shares his expertise in a wonderful weekly email.

Here is a comparison of 4 data visualisations about Covid19. Timely, yes – and each trying to convey a lot of information to the public about what is and is not “safe” to do.

Which of these 4 do you prefer? Which can you ‘understand’ fastest? What is each trying to explain?

Is there a perception and reality gap in these four images? Which is best at showing Covid19 risk?

Avinash Kaushik data visualisation

Comparisons of 4 data visualisations for Covid19

Avinash writes a detailed analysis of his personal scoring system to appraise each image against 8 criteria.

He creates a weighted scoring for each so that a total score is out of 66.

The scoring is on a three point scale “Perfect” scores 3; “Could be optimised” scores 1 and “Reboot” scores minus -2. As you can see the weighting he applies rewards perfect far more than the midlevel score. But hey, that’s his choice. When you do well your score easily out-strips the others.

Which image got which score? [ For answers scroll down.]

  • 23
  • 7
  • 50
  • 64

How were they so different? Isn’t Avinash’s judgement seriously wrong? They all look great to me.

First understand the qualities he is seeking to appraise.

  1. Time to the most important insight.
  2. The effort to understand the whole graphic.
  3. Trust marks.
  4. Rank-ordering of key messages.
  5. Explaining the key logic powering the graphic.
  6. Exposing nuance.
  7. Visualizer trying to be too clever.
  8. Likely to recommend to influential leaders.

And now we can better understand the relative effectiveness of the designs against these criteria.

Read the full article – warning, it’s 6000 words long.

[Scoring – list top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right.]

Copywrite a marketing brief

Briefing is everything.

If you ask the right questions you get the brief right. Then you’re most likely to get the best answer / output to suit your goals.

Knowing your success criteria and metrics are important and also defining what ‘success’ looks like. This is a great methodology of writing the brief from the end back to the beginning.  Try writing the ‘conclusion’ statement as your opening paragraph.

We need customers to understand a Covid19 activity risk matrix. We will have succeeded if fewer people undertake risky activities as measured by…..

One of the things I admire about Avinash is his consistent support for people in the same line of work – how to impress your boss is a key theme. Hence item 8 on his list above.

As a marketer, it really MATTERS that you get noticed for doing good work. Learning some of these things I’m writing about could help your career.

  • Do good marketing
  • Get noticed
  • Get the next job / pay rise / promotion you deserve

If you would like to know how I would copywrite a marketing brief for this job – just email me. Happy to share.

 

objectives and key results

Tips on Getting Things Done

Getting things done is the difference between the successful and the rest.

objectives and key results

Book on Objectives and Key Results

I like to prioritise tasks for myself on a grid or importance and urgency – but this is just a short term day task management tool.  If you have big projects that will achieve your goals, you need a better system.

A workable workflow

Introducing OKRs – Objectives and Key Results – a toolset that will help you align focus, engagement and get the team aligned.

Working within a team is challenging because each person can contribute massively as either an accelerant or a brake on progress.

I’m a rower and the sport of rowing is often used as a metaphor for workplace teamwork. The lessons I learned from sport carry through into my working life. I’ve enjoyed hiring sportspeople because they understand many of these techniques already.

Pick a toolset that works

Rebecca’s rowing business Faster Masters Rowing

Having a hierarchy of tools helps you both in the day to day and also in the longer term. The bigger a project the easier it is to lose focus and direction as you dive into detail, it’s hard to see the bigger picture of your overall progress…. or lack.

An important feature of OKRs is pacing. Setting the speed of work that is manageable.

This book explains what OKRs are and also a detailed example of ways to set them up which you can copy in your business.

Now, get going…!

 

churchill, union jack flags,

The new Covid – a battle not the whole war

The announcement of a renewed Covid lockdown to Level 3 in Auckland – which affects me and many of my clients seems to be a mixture of ‘here we go round the mulberry bush’ and ‘once more into the breach, dear Friends.’

I can’t decide if it’s Shakespeare or a child’s nursery tale.

Be obedient and diligent

I was reminded this week by Trish Love that Churchill didn’t know how many battles it would take to win a war.  And neither do we.

She wrote

In 1939 nobody knew how long the war was going to last.  But, they did know there would be more than one major battle to finish it.  At every stage, Churchill and others had to navigate with the then current set of circumstances.  They did so with courage and steel resolve.  Our Covid-19 situation is not dissimilar.  It will only be with hindsight that we find its’ full impact and duration.  

If from the future looking back, you were to know that we are currently entering the very early stages of a second major “battle”, what would you do differently if you had that benefit of hindsight?  Consciously consider this now, because we have been told that further lock-downs are a case of when, not if.  Plan for your business needs from the perspective of many potential major economic battles occurring in this war.  Work with us to do so, it is crucial to have external help on your team.  Nobody can do this alone.

And what if, this were to be only the second major economic battle of many, over the next few years?  What if we had 7-8 further lock-downs heading their way towards us?  You might need to change what you do, by further investing in some areas of your business, but ration other areas.  The rationing may need to be on your discretionary spending, subject to your business needs.  

Covid is our modern day battleground.

Our goal is survival, thrive if possible, and adapt and renew.

All big ‘asks’ for a business community under pressure.

What we learned already

From the last lockdown we all learned fast. Take a look back at the recession marketing video articles I wrote if you need a refresher.

  • Use what we learned already
  • Look out for each other – help, offer, support
  • Don’t be ashamed to ask for help
  • And consider Scenario Planning as a tool for your future outlook

Please NOT another covid email

I just sent this message to my clients.

There’s an overload of businesses sending unnecessary emails about the New Zealand Covid-19 alert level change.

May I suggest we simply put something on the website home page?

And telephone anyone who’s coming in for a meeting.

And maybe the team add a note to their email signatures….

Covid Alert Email – is it necessary?

The customer is SMART

Interrupting with email is not respectful of people’s time… they will probably guess what you’ll be doing because, let’s face it, compliance has been exemplary through lockdown.

Virtue signalling emails are self-serving and easy to see through. Do you really need to send that message?

Our clients and customers aren’t stupid.

The Exception

One of my clients sells PPE gear – for them this email is useful – because they can communicate product stock levels and ordering information to bulk-buying customers who are probably already working on stocking up.

Be sensible, just think it through from the recipient’s point of view.

One thing to DO NOW

Update your Google Business Listing status.  There’s already a Covid notification “post” option. Google my business Covid

Good.  Sorted in 10 minutes work.