Can you put a price on your value? Your new employer will try.

Salary negotiation

If  we are being 100% honest here, no one really wants to look for a new job. It’s a lot of tedious work to update your resume, (which if you are anything like me you haven’t done in a few years), writing cover letters, and completing a lengthy online application profile (which is different every single place you apply). Then, after you get all of your materials submitted you still have to endure the gauntlet of interviews that are in front of you. However, when you finally make it past the trap doors and fire breathing dragons and receive that glorious phone call from a recruiter saying, “congratulations! We want you!”, it is often quickly soured when the salary offer comes in about 20K a year less than you were hoping. In today’s world everything is about value creation, ROI, and how your skill set will enhance your new employer. So before you say “YES I WOULD LOVE THE JOB!”, take a step back, sleep on it and see if this is truly going to be a good fit.

Getting to the final stages of a job offer can be one of the most exciting things in life, like buying a house or the new car you always wanted. However, this is also the time that you get to ask all of the questions that you didn’t get to during the interview. When the offer is on the table your potential new employer is wanting to impress you just as much as you are wanting to impress them. Now is the time to ask about the benefits package. What does it really entail and how much out of pocket is the insurance actually going to cost you? Other questions to get right before you talk about the money is how much paid leave do you accrue, are flexible schedules possible or can you telecommute, are there corporate sponsored events and how much professional development is associated with this position?

All of these areas should affect the salary you will be requiring to get started for example, if your new position starts at 70K a year, but you are shelling out $500 – $600 a month to cover your family for insurance, that can significantly impact your salary requirements if your previous employer covered 100% of the insurance premiums. Once you have a stronger insight into the benefits offered by your new employer, now is the time to talk salary. When you really start to talk about hard numbers, THE MOST IMPORTANT KEY to negotiating a fair salary, is to know your value. You can’t expect a new employer to understand what your value is if you first haven’t taken the time to measure your value. Research what your dollar amount is in comparison to this position in like industries and competitors.

... pay raise at your current company, negotiating salary is never easy

How do you find out what the competition is paying? Check out websites like Glassdoor and Salary.com. Their sole purpose of existence is to provide objective 3rd party reviews and salary comparisons. With this information, you will be equipped with the knowledge of your going rate. It is important to note that not all of the items in the benefits package will be negotiable, nor should you negotiate on all potential items. If the salary is not going to be where you need it to be, make sure that you look at increasing vacation accrual or a flexible working schedule. However, also know that you should pick your top 2-3 items going into the salary negotiations. When you try to negotiate every available option, your employer may get cold feet and jump. Keep in mind nothing is finalized until you have a written confirmation from your new employer.

If you are seeking more information about job hopping tips, how to leave your employer on a positive note, or looking for more tips on negotiating salaries, check out Forbes.com and U.S. News as they always have great articles being posted regarding these subject matter areas.

Do your research, ace the interview, get the job, and feel good about your salary when you start! Happy hunting!

Tips for negotiating a higher salary | Agile Vietnam

 

How to answer difficult interview questions

Question

Remember that moment?  Face to face with an established professional who is carefully scrutinizing your dress, your language, your facial expressions, and all of a sudden, you’re asked one of “those” questions:  what would you do during a zombie apocalypse? Or, how about this:  how long are you willing to stick out a job before you quit?  You start to shake and sweat starts to bead on your forehead; you tap the depths of your brain for the right thing to say.. assuming, of course, you want that job…with that type of thinking.

horrible-job-interview-questions-0-CopyThis dialogue connects you with resources to answer these and other types of wacky, weird, strange, bizarre and other out-of-the-box questions otherwise designed to assess your “quick on the feet,” critical-thinking skills. To accomplish this goal, we’ve listed some questions and links to the answers given by notable (okay, we really have no idea) respondents.

Here are our favorite questions with a recommended response:

  • What do you think you will hate about this job?

Really?  How do you answer this type of question?  You can’t be a Pollyanna in front of your potential employer or else they may think you don’t have a realistic grip on the real-world.   So, what does work?  While we job-interview_blog-300x149can’t predict what you aren’t going to like about any job, use this question to respond based on what you know about yourself and what you know about the job.  For example, it can be assumed that if you are applying for a job at The Gap, and you plan to be in sales, you probably shouldn’t answer this question that you hate people.  Unless you really hate working with people, in which case you should not be applying for this job.  Another example: you are applying for a job that requires a lot of travel and you say that you hate to drive or fly.

A better way to answer this question is to be honest: state that you are sure there will be things that you like more than other (use positive emotional attractors).  Restate what you know about the position that attracted you to apply. This question gives you an opportunity to show that you’ve done your homework and understand the expectations of this position.

  • If you could be any type of animal, what would you be?

This is a potential employers attempt to not use the Myers-Briggs personality assessment when they really want to. So, what do you do? This is another opportunity to promote your strengths and to downplay your weaknesses (see additional questions below) in alignment with what you know about the job.  For example, if you are applying for an engineering job, saying that you are a peacock likely isn’t going to mesh as peacocks are noted for their showy, bright and self-centered personalities whereas engineers more interview 2closely resemble an intelligent owl: quiet, reserved, speaks up when necessary only.

  • What are your greatest weaknesses?

The big pitfall here is that a zillion sites will tell you to take a strength and sell it as a weakness.  This really doesn’t pass the sniff test as most interviewers are not fooled by this strategy.  Gut check: if you don’t believe the answer you are about to give to an interviewer, they won’t either.  To move this into a realistic direction, have a short answer that doesn’t lead to more details.  Be truthful, explain how you are trying to improve and be willing to answer questions about your greatest weaknesses.  Oh yeah – by the way, we all have more than one.  Do your research about the job and the company and wrap your response to this question about something relevant to the job or organization.  Don’t eliminate yourself from the candidate pool right off the bat by offering a weakness that doesn’t jive with the needs of the organization.  For example, if your greatest weakness is that you don’t have high attention to detail, you probably aren’t suited to apply for a quality inspector position.

confused young business woman posing with a clipboardNow you try:  here are some of our favorite questions that we really couldn’t answer:

  • What would you do in the event of a zombie apocalypse?
  • Why is a man-hole cover round?

There really is no single “right” or “best” answer as all of these types of questions are intended to evaluate your critical thinking skills, most often in direct correlation to the nature of the job you are trying to land.  For example, a question about the zombie apocalypse could equally evaluate your creativity as well as your ability to respond to chaos.  This may be important if, for example, you are applying for a job where chaos reigns or you are expected to dress mannequins for Hallowe’en.

For other weird and bizarre questions, here are some additional resources:

Weird and wacky interview questions

More from Glassdoor

Tough Nickel answers

 

 

 

 

Do’s and Don’ts of Conference Behavior

We’ve all been there – work conferences.  Sure, you get to spend a few days away from home in a hotel.  And sure, your company foots the bill for overly indulgent meals.  But let’s face it – the conference itself can be long, tedious, and filled with potential professional pitfalls.  Do you sit in front or in back?  How long do you stay at the social hour?  Do you where a suit on the last day or go casual?  For the conference “newbie” these can be agonizing decisions.  But have no fear – these few tips will have you handling the next conference like a pro.

 

DO sit towards the back of the room at the end of the row

 

But didn’t the most eager students sit in front of the classroom?  Perhaps, but this isn’t school.  Think about those six cups of coffee you had during breakfast as you awkwardly stood around someone else’s conversation trying to blend in.  Do you really want to stand up in the front of the room, potentially blocking all your colleague’s views as you make towards the restroom for the third time?  Sitting in the middle of the room and at the end of the row allows you to maintain a good view of the speaker and/or any presentation being given, while still providing an easy and convenient path to exit the room for any necessary breaks.

 

DON’T forget to turn off your cell phone

 

Imagine this, they keynote speaker of the conference is standing in the front of the room.  As they ask the most poignant question about the most relevant topic (as everyone else sits on the edge of their seat), YOUR cell phone rings, playing the most recent track from Missy Elliot.  Everyone turns and stares at you – including your supervisor.  That phone call was not worth the reputation you just earned.  Take a hint from the movies – please silence all cellular devices.

 

DO go to the social hour…but be careful

 

Everyone has been the “new” employee.  It’s like being the new kid at school – you stand awkwardly in the lunchroom, nervously looking around, while trying to find a table to join.  Attending your first conference is a lot like your first day of school, but social hours are a great way to meet some of your professional colleagues without the pressure of discussing business (at least not all the time).  Don’t be afraid to walk up and introduce yourself, just be careful not to interrupt a conversation.  However, be careful to watch your alcohol intake.  While having a few beers or glasses of wine is a great way to “loosen” up a bit, it can also “loosen” your lips and affect your choice conversation topics.  My advice: have a drink in your hand, but match your pace with those around you.  And after you finish your drink, make your next one a glass of water before going back for a second round.

 

DON’T watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones

 

 Or any other form of media on your computer!  If your eyes are starting to wander and glaze over, so are others.  Playing a game of solitaire on your computer, streaming a basketball game online, or playing candy crush might keep you awake, but chances are, you AND your computer screen are being watched by others.  This isn’t to say the occasional Internet surf for headlines or email check isn’t appropriate.  After all, if you’re doing it, no doubt others aren’t as well.  Just be aware of the content you’re looking at (i.e., no NSFW viewing).

 

DON’T under dress

 

Why wear a suit when you’re not at the office?  Remember the saying “dress to impress”? It’s not just something your mom told you before your first interview.  It’s always better to overdress then show up in jeans and flips flops while everyone else is in business attire.  Your attire demonstrates your attitude towards the event – are you taking it seriously? Or are you treating it as a day off from the office?  Believe me, professional colleagues (and potential future employers) will remember the one person who showed up in a Grateful Dead t-shirt.  The best way to avoid this clothing faux pas is to ask your office co-workers what the appropriate attire is.  If they’re unable to shed light on the expected dress code, play it safe and dress like you would for any day at the office.

 

Finally… DO enjoy yourself

 

Conferences are a great way to network and meet colleagues within your profession.  Sure, it might be intimidating walking into a room of a thousand people, but remember – you’re all there because you’re interested in the topics being discussed (or, at least most of the topics).  Don’t get so overwhelmed with the social aspect that you completely ignore the reason you’re there in the first place – to learn!  You’ll have a great time AND meet new professional contacts if you remember to be yourself, try to relax, and keep in mind the few lessons mentioned here.

How Can Consumers Resist the Siren Call of Direct Marketing of Pharmaceuticals?

How Can Consumers Resist the Siren Call of Direct Marketing of Pharmaceuticals?

Background Information

In 1997, the Food and Drug Administration issued guidance that made it easier for pharmaceutical companies to market direct to consumers. Following this guidance, annual spending on direct to consumer marketing exploded, reaching a peak of $5.6 billion dollars in 2006. With a few minutes of contemplation, many of us can identify three or four pharmaceutical marketing campaigns from recent memory.

New Zealand and the United States are the only countries in the world that allow direct marketing of pharmaceuticals to consumers. Both the American Medical Association (AMA) and World Health Organization (WHO) have expressed concerns about direct to consumer marketing.

How Much Is Spent, and What Is Advertised?

Direct to consumer marketing efforts account for approximately 10% of the total dollars spent on advertising and marketing of pharmaceuticals in the U.S. After peaking at $5.6 billion in 2006, pharmaceutical companies $3.4 billion marketing to consumers in 2012. That number increased to $4.53 billion in 2014 and $5.17 billion in 2015. Direct to consumer marketing is a fraction of the total annual spending by pharmaceutical companies.

2012 Pharmaceutical Marketing

While much of the advertising that is purchased is to promote newly-released drugs, some of the advertising is focused on advertising existing drugs that may have expiring patents. All categories of drugs, including new treatments for rare conditions, newer medications for diabetes and hepatitis, allergy medicines, and even “lifestyle enhancement” drugs are advertised.

What Are The Concerns?

In November 2015, the AMA issued a press release calling for a ban on direct to consumer advertising. The AMA cited physician concerns that advertising is driving demand for higher-priced medications despite the clinical effectiveness of less costly alternatives.

6 years earlier, in 2009, the WHO reached a similar conclusion in its call to limit direct to consumer advertising. An additional concern voiced by WHO: “off-label” marketing, where a medication is advertised for treatment of a condition for which the medication was not approved.

Some websites are more critical of direct to consumer advertising. DrugWatch (https://www.drugwatch.com) expressed concerns about dishonest advertising, citing a Pfizer advertisement for Lipitor from 2008 that raised concerns from both the U.S. Congress and WHO for misleading information.

What Can Consumers Do?

Direct to consumer advertising of prescriptions will not be going away, and it is important for consumers to be informed. There are several things that consumers can do to learn more.

First, if you have a medical condition that requires medication for treatment, become informed about your condition and the available treatment options. Online research is the most popular approach, although information from the latest articles and studies may take several months to propagate from paid sources to free sources.

Second, understand the side effects of any medications that you learn about. Also pay attention to drug interactions, since some prescription medications may interact with over-the-counter vitamins and herbal supplements.

Finally, communicate with your doctor, physician’s assistant, or nurse practitioner. If your care provider is prescribing a new drug – particularly a name-brand – ask why your provider is prescribing this drug. For many health conditions, there are usually lower-cost generic medications that are effective.

John Oliver had this to say about pharmaceuticals marketing:

 

What are The Right Questions and how does strategic planning link to decision making and achieving goals?

So, having established in previous posts some of the backgrounds behind The Right Questions and an idea of their importance, we can now get an overview of The Right Questions and how they are applied to strategic planning and achieving goals, both in a personal or business context. The questions come in an order of sorts but the process of asking The Right Questions is also iterative and cyclical. In other words, the answer to one question is likely to inform an answer to another, and even after we have worked through all the questions we will generally go back and revisit the others to refine our answers.

It is beneficial to explore the questions in two broad groups. The first is comprised of the where, what and why, and these encompass the strategic framing of a situation. The second group is made up of the questions how, when, and who and these help us develop a specific plan within the aforementioned strategic frame.

The two groups are joined by ‘which’ as this question deals with the concepts of options and risk. After looking at the overall strategic picture we use ‘which’ to explore courses of action from which we can choose an option to develop into a more detailed plan. We then return to this same question to weigh the risks as the plan progresses. Looking at these options and risks are the key decision points and can lead us to return through the strategic framing or planning loops again.

Taken all together these seven questions create a template for strategic planning and also become a decision-making process that follows a figure of eight cycles, as demonstrated in the diagram below.

The-Right-Questions-Decision-Making-Cycle.001

STRATEGIC FRAMING

Where? (Situation and Vision)

‘Where?’ is the present location and the future destination, the situation and the vision. We look at whence we have come from and whither are we going as our journey is bracketed by these ideas of ‘where’. When you get out a map the first thing you do is identify where you are and get your bearings; only once you have done this do you plan to move. And when you move, you don’t want to wander aimlessly (as movement in itself is not progress), there needs to be a destination, something we are aiming for. This destination is the dream, the thing that stokes our passion and gives us our drive.

What? (Mission)

‘What?’ represents the mission, the reality of what we are going to do. The mission is the bottom line, the tangible measured difference that we are to make. To work out the mission we need to define success so that we know our finish line. We can then sum this up in a pithy and memorable way to get our mission statement.

Why? (Values and Priorities)

The ‘Why?’ represents our values. Our values are our identity; the things at our centre that define why we have the vision in the first place, why we do the things we do, why we attract certain people. They are our beliefs and worldview. These are often things we hold in to common with others at one level but the particular combination and application of the values makes them unique to us. Knowing our principles shows us what we value most and therefore it also helps us to prioritise and make good decisions.

PLANNING

How? (Strategy, Goals, Planning and Resources)

‘How?’ is the method or plan by which we achieve the mission. The overall strategy consists of goals and activities that are needed to propel us towards our dream. Breaking down the route into manageable steps gives us the basis of an action plan and makes the dream an achievable reality. Once we have worked out the detail of each task it is much easier to assess the correct resources we need for each step and therefore, by adding up these resources, we can get a better estimate of the total resources we need to achieve the whole mission.

When? (Timing and Programming)

It is no surprise that ‘When?’ refers to time. Timing is critical. Timing makes the difference between success and failure and it takes an equal measure of planning and wisdom to know when to implement strategies, to go for goals and ultimately achieve missions. Timing is key to planning and is the one truly limited resource. As we overlay our plan with time we create a programme with milestones that help us to measure our progress towards our goal.

Who? (Roles, Team, Structure and Network)

The ‘Who?’ is primarily about the roles different people fulfil, the makeup of our team, the structure of our organisation and the people we connect with in our personal network. Sometimes we have a mission and then we go out and put together a team and therefore we need to know what we are looking for. At other times we may need an existing team to adopt a new strategy. In this case we need to know how best to place people as we re-structure the existing team. Even if we are operating alone, not having a specific team or organisation, we always have a unique network of contacts to draw upon. People are always involved one way or another on our journey and they are the most important resource that we can draw upon.

Which? (Options and Risk)

We have to choose which way to go and therefore ‘Which?’ deals with the idea of selection. First we have to generate a range of courses of options we can choose from. This is a creative process, requiring divergent thinking, and taking time to step out of the purely logical process in order to examine unorthodox ways of problem solving. Generating these options is something we can do before looking at the how, when and who questions. We are generally faced with various strategy options and we have to select a route by assessing all the factors.

One of the major factors affecting a decision is risk. If a venture is deemed too risky it is the surest thing that will stop us acting, no matter how attractive the option first seemed. Therefore risks need to be identified, assessed, mitigated and managed so that we are in the best possible place to make our decisions. Capacity for risk varies between people and situations so it is important to remember that this is an on-going process of management. At the same time we don’t want to become defensive, timid or risk averse; achieving bold visions means taking risks. We just need to make sure we have counted the cost before we commit ourselves. Therefore it is good to revisit the ‘which’ question at the end of the process and delve more deeply into risk before fully committing to a project plan.

Now that we have looked at an overview of The Right Questions we will look at each one in greater detail in future posts. Do leave a comment and let me know which question you would like to know more about.

Written by

Reference: http://www.therightquestions.org/what-are-the-right-questions-for-decision-making-strategic-planning/

Behold, The Last Gasp from the Republican Party

 

Evolution

This is it. The last gasp of breath from the Republican Party. The long standing cancer plaguing the party has finally overcome all the remaining vestiges of conservatism and replaced with a group of media hungry side show freaks. Enamored by their antics and hurting from being passed over in the new economy, angry and under-educated people of the U.S. flock to the loudest and most obscene of individuals because they are just desperate for a change. Sick of being talked down to and with the realization that the fruits of their labor will never be rewarded in this lifetime, many have nothing left to lose as they have already lost their American dream. This current situation should not be a surprise to anyone who has paid attention in the last decade to the advancing drumbeat of anger after the election of President Obama alongside a Libertarian undercurrent.

Columbia Daily Tribune

So how did the Republican Party get here? The 2008 election of Barack Obama stunned the Republican Party and shook it to it’s core as the outdated polling mechanisms predicted a win for Mitt Romney. The hard-line focus on socially conservative values and oppressive stances left many bored and uninspired within the walls of the party. Licking their wounds after the election, the Republican plan was to obstruct all federal government activities and to take on libertarian causes at the behest of the loudest factions of the party. In a true Machiavellian fashion, far right libertarians then asserted their power over the party through the intimidation and threat of establishment party leaders.  Enabling  libertarians to speak for and through the Republican establishment allowed the sentiment to get stronger as anti-government claims were repeated through conservative echo chambers on the internet and within the free media outlets catering to this narrative. This allowed the disease to fester and gain political ballot legitimization and momentum under the protection of a lifeless and gutless party. The Republican Party could have evicted these extreme members and their ideas and forced them to find their own platform and party ticket for discourse, but alas the Republican message was non-existent and over time a new conservative narrative was written for them.

Libertarian factions in the Republican Party have steamrolled members of the establishment.

The Tea Party Patriots, Minutemen, 9/12 groups, Birthers or the Sovereign Citizens have now taken over the Republican Party and devolved it into an Libertarian movement with lots of guns and whole lot of anger. This is no longer just a Libertarian movement, it may further devolve into Fascist revolutionary movement where the cult of personality of a single leader is actively encouraging the overthrowing of democratically held positions through threats, intimidation and violence. These are not just coming from a few fringe characters anymore, these are widely discussed topics about how to remove democratically elected people from public office. These Machiavellian beliefs where the ends justify the means are dangerous to democracy and to anyone who stands in their way, including other established members of the Republican Party.

With the changing demographics and global mindset of the electorate, the Republican Party may no longer be able to actively compete in national elections for president. Essentially, the Republican Party has been castrated from within because they fed a terminal cancer for years and now party insiders wondering why the treatment is not working. Go ahead and bring forth the priest for the last rites of the Republican Party. Behold, the last gasp.

 

Team Ruckus

When is the last time you went fishing?

When is the last time you went fishing?

9 REASONS YOU NEED MORE FISHING IN YOUR LIFE
How to Reconnect to Your Heart, Your Purpose, and More

Fiahing

Ever since I was a boy, I’ve enjoyed fishing. But the older I get the more I realize I don’t just enjoy it. I really need fishing.
Working full time and studying for my MBA I don’t have the time I would like to follow my passion of fishing. Last year, I was lucky to go with my best friend Steve at our secrete fishing hole right there between Astoria, Oregon and the I-205 bridge, “you didn’t think I would actually tell you where our secrete fishing spot is, did you?” It was fun, restorative, even magical, and oh yeah, we caught a lot of fish in those three days.

Some of my favorite moments in nature have been on the water with a rod and reel. I just love being outside, testing my luck, and hooking my lunch. It might sound like a humble time, but there’s hardly anything better.

“I enjoyed fishing as a boy. Today I don’t just enjoy it. I also really need fishing.”

I’ll be the first to admit it’s not for everyone. But I’ve found even people who come to it late in life love fishing more than most any other hobby. Why? There are a least nine reasons most of us—leaders, entrepreneurs, really anyone—need more fishing in our lives.

  1. It gives you a chance to really detach from your work. I almost totally unplug when I’m fishing. And one of the thing that lets me disconnect is stepping out back and throwing a line in the lake. I get lost in the experience, and work feels a million miles away.
  2. It enables you to shift your focus to the present.The thing about fishing is that you’re doing something—but not much. Whether it’s stringing a hook or casting a line, fishing can draw your mind away from past and future and bring you fully into the present.
  3. It enables you to reconnect with your heart.When we’re anxious or consumed with work, it’s hard to attend to our hearts. At least that’s true for me. But once I get fully present, I start hearing my heart again. Solomon’s advice at the end of Ecclesiastes is that we remember God. For me that’s always easier when I’m fishing. I’m reconnecting with the natural order of things.
  4. It enables you to reconnect with your childhood.When I was younger my dad would take my little Fishing Youngbrother and me to the river to catch trout. I started my daughter out fishing at a young age. We started in the trout ponds where she was fascinated by the experience and into her teens where we now have a natural competition about who is going to catch the biggest or the most fish. It was like reliving part of my childhood. But the fun thing for me is that fishing always helps me reconnect with those years and build a unique bond with my daughter.
  1. It enables quality time with your buddies.I don’t get to see my buddies that often because of work, school, family and life, but I truly cherish doing the thing I love best, outside with my friends while reconnecting with my soul. Once we’re detached from work and more connected to our hearts, I find we usually talk about the things that matter most.
  2. It gives you time to think.What if you’re not with your friends? If you need to get time to think, there’s almost no better place than while fishing. It can be a powerful time for reflection and meditation. When I’m alone by a stream, my mind and body relax, and I’m free to connect ideas, follow random trains of thought, and dream. To clear my mind, reconnect with my soul and really be alive.
  3. It provides an opportunity to put things into perspective.Part of what comes with all that think-time is perspective. When we’re in the thick of life—rushing deadlines, finalizing products, closing sales—it’s easy to lose perspective. But when we’re finally off the treadmill, it’s easy to reconnect with the big picture.
  4. It provides a different set of challenges.We need to be challenged, but if we’re always challenged by the same thing—like work—it can wear us down and burn us out. The great thing about fishing is that it calls on other skills and demands something entirely different from us. We get the satisfaction of rising to the occasion without flexing the same set of muscles.
  5. It provides a singular focal point.Reason No. 9 just sums up the first eight. As Arthur Boers would say, fishing is a focal activity. It “centers, balances, focuses, and orients one’s life.” If you’re feeling distracted, lost, or disconnected from your purpose, fishing is a simple way to get back on track.

I’m not saying fishing will solve all your problems. But it’ll sure take care of a bunch. We already know about the tremendous benefits of being out in nature. Fishing magnifies the experience and the benefits.

Reference:

9 Reasons You Need More Fishing in Your Life. (n.d.). Retrieved July 23, 2016, from http://michaelhyatt.com/more-fishing.html

 

Take a few moments to read some of the other past Blogs from SocialMBAs team Medellin

A Marketer’s Guide to Content Curation

Digital Marketing and the Mobile Platform – It’s Always On

The complete guide to optimizing the content marketing lifecycle

Free From Fear

Elon Musk teases new master plan for Tesla

Google Analytics: How to Know If Your Marketing is Working : Social Media Examiner

Leveling the Paying Field for Track and Field Athletes

5 Ways to Improve Customer Loyalty With Social Media : Social Media Examiner

Equal Pay for Men and Women in 2016? Keep dreaming.

A Marketer’s Guide to Content Curation

Here’s how marketers can get started with content curation to improve lead generation, increase trust, and reduce content development costs.

Here’s how marketers can get started with content curation to improve lead generation, increase trust, and reduce content development costs.

Have you been sold on the benefits of content curation and decided to make it an integral part of your content marketing strategy? Welcome to the club. After all, curation is an excellent way to augment content marketing investments and supplement original content assets. Content curation accelerates marketing initiatives, increases trust, and improves lead generation, while also reducing content development costs.

When making the transition from theory to action, what is required to curate content? There are five key steps for successful content curation:

  1. Identify the topic area
  2. Find relevant sources
  3. Curate assets
  4. Share results
  5. Analyze outcomes

Let’s highlight what each step entails.

1. Identify the Topic Area

First, it is essential to identify a relevant topic area. It should be related to your area of expertise, as well as your target market and value proposition. When identifying the types of content to curate, focus on three perspectives.

  • Audience interest: The best place to start is to consider your audience, and what you consider relevant to meet your customers’ and prospects’ needs.
  • Content: Consider the overall landscape, and make sure there is sufficient third-party content in a topic area to be worth the effort to organize it.
  • Competitor landscape: Consider what your competitors are doing. You want to ensure assets are curated in a relevant area that your audience finds valuable and that competitors have not (yet, or adequately) addressed.

Curation allows anyone to bring in the best content industry experts have to offer. The topic area should be broad enough to encompass a range of perspectives, while also sufficiently focused to address key concerns.

2. Find Relevant Sources

Once the topic is selected, identify relevant and trusted sources as candidates for content curation. Sources can include:

  • Trade publications
  • News sites
  • RSS feeds
  • Industry blogs
  • Electronic journals, and more.

With a well-chosen topic, it should be easy to identify at least a dozen sources by reviewing content you already consume. Be prepared to add new sources, particularly if you are part of a fast-changing marketplace.

Curation exploits the link power of the web, so link to related articles on an ongoing basis. Provide a balanced mix of experts, dissenters, and up-and-comers (different views and perspectives) in order to optimize value for your audience.

3. Curate Assets

Curating entails organizing content assets and adding value to them. Curating content is, by definition, a human process. Think like a librarian when setting up your categories; tag and group assets, and develop indices about the collections.

Remember, unlike physical collections, digital collections can be organized according to multiple criteria. In addition:

  • Be sure to add value to curated collections.
  • Annotate individual items, analyze trends, summarize, ask questions, and provide both insights and guidance.
  • Always attribute sources and provide the links so your audience can easily access them.

Set up a process and task somebody with reviewing sources on a periodic basis—daily or weekly, depending on the frequency of your curated postings. This can be quite simple when using one of the many tools available for automating your curation process. Crowdsourcing may also be relevant. Curation is more efficient and effective when your organization considers it a cross-functional practice instead of the exclusive domain of the marketing department.

4. Share Results

The next step is sharing results with your target audience, utilizing whatever communications channels they prefer. Remember, they have choices. Different segments of any target audience consume content in different ways.

  • Some people go to their inbox first thing in the morning or choose content to read through a newsletter in their spare time.
  • Others rely on Twitter, LinkedIn, or a feed reader to stay abreast of current events.
  • Web sites and microsites that focus on a particular topic are also relevant. Often people will want to browse through entries and summaries to find relevant information.

As a content curator, find which channels best suit your audience’s content consumption habits and preferences. Often it pays to invest in a multi-channel strategy, optimized for the strength of each channel. For instance, trends can be summarized in a tweet, and the audience referred to the complete article on a microsite.

5. Analyze Outcomes

As a content marketing strategy, content curation is unique because it relies on third-party content developed by external parties. As a result, audience behavior is different from traditional online marketing campaigns where all content is consumed within a brand’s online properties.

When it comes to websites and blog posts, it’s still important to track page views and visitor growth to determine the size of your audience and whether it is increasing. But total site visits and length of site visits may be misleading. This is because a few people with a passionate interest are more valuable than many people with a general concern. (highlight to tweet) Similarly, if audience members are clicking through to the third party content, their time onsite does not reflect their actual interest.

Similarly, subscriber growth rates and click-through rates are important metrics for email newsletters. Open rates are less relevant, as they do not capture all activity.

There are many social media metrics to watch, including followers, fan growth, and retweets. These help to gauge popularity. By using these metrics to assess the performance of content curation initiatives, they can be ranked in terms of reach, conversion, and ROI against your specific business goals.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.convinceandconvert.com