#followfriday: Companies That Care; Kickoff With Sir Richard Branson

I have been on a bit of a mission lately to work smarter, live smarter and love smarter.

The more “conscious” I am of what I am doing and how I am being; the more pride I take in myself and my ability to transfer my wisdom on to others.

My goal really is to leave this world a better place by inspiring as many of tomorrows leaders as I can.

Even if I cannot change the world all by myself, I can choose the “leaders” (students, companies / clients I work with (or support)) – and make sure that they share the same core values as I do.

I can make better life decisions that ensure balance / minimize stress & prioritize family.

& I can lead with love in everything that I do.

This is why I have made it my mission to seek out and build awareness of others that follow the same philosophies.

This is my version of #followfriday ; each Friday I will try to post something new that I think you or I should follow (as long as life doesn’t get in the way).

Some installments will feature individuals, companies, networks / organizations and possibly even entertainers or other groups.

I will aim to share what I know about them (fact checking as much as I can) OR what I “think” about them. I might even start interviewing them…and share that here.

I am sure this concept will evolve over time as well…but at least I have set my intention and I am taking action on it.

Today, I want to feature Sir Richard Branson.  Most of us know him and many of us love him and all that he stands for.   He is a true genius that believes in the greater meaning of all that he does.

If you don’t know him, here’s a little back story:

Richard Branson is the founder of the entire Virgin Empire! He is the epitome of a man who builds companies that care.

Since it was founded 29 years ago, Virgin Atlantic Airways has become one of the world’s leading airlines serving the world’s major cities. Virgin Atlantic is the quintessential Virgin story. It has every ingredient: the small newcomer taking on the giant and complacent establishment, the people’s champion introducing better service and lower costs for passengers with a reputation for quality and innovative product development.

Virgin Atlantic was developed as an offshoot of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, which was better known at the time in the world of pop and rock music. In early 1984, Branson was contacted by an Anglo-US lawyer called Randolph Fields with aproposal for involvement in a new airline.

Recognizing that, like the music business, aviation was a consumer led industry, and tired of the conveyor belt attitude to passengers, Branson decided it was time for Virgin to diversify. His fellow directors thought he was mad – particularly when he announced the new airline would begin operating in just over three months.

Never one to take ‘no’ for an answer, Branson’s infectious enthusiasm ensured that staff were hired, an aircraft was found, licenses were obtained and the uniforms were designed. It was not easy, especially with incidents such as an engine failure on the eve of the airline’s maiden flight.

On 22 June 1984 Virgin’s inaugural flight to Newark took place, a flight filled with friends,celebrities and the media. The airline’s aim was simple: “To provide the highest quality innovative service at excellent value for money for all classes of air travellers”. Hugely popular, Virgin Atlantic has won top business, consumer and trade awards from around the world. The airline has pioneered a range of innovations setting new standards of service. Despite Virgin Atlantic’s growth the service still remains customer driven with an emphasis on value for money, quality, fun and innovation.”

In this recent article of “quotes from Richard Branson” – I was reminded of this.

One of my favorite among those quotes is this one:

“This may sound like a truism … But it has to be said: It takes an engaged, motivated, and committed workforce to deliver a first-class product or service and build a successful, sustainable enterprise.” Richard Branson.

I cannot agree more with this one. It is one of the reasons I have felt so out of place in the corporate world over the years. A number of C-levels and upper management types that I have worked “under” – have proven that they don’t care whether you are engaged, motivated or committed. All they want is to meet or exceed their EBITDA goals.  It’s a numbers game to them…not only from a dollar perspective but also from an employer perspective – they see each employee as a number.

Don’t get me wrong, I get that we all need to hit quotas and aim for profitable gains – but we cannot forget along the way that WE are one human collaborative working together to achieve those goals – just as much as we are and should be uniquely valued individuals.

We have valid thoughts and feelings about where things are headed. We need to feel connected, heard, appreciated, rewarded and trusted in order to perform at our highest possible ability.

Any company that cares will know this.  Any company that cares will devote themselves OR at least a person in charge to ensure that this is taken care of.

To my understanding, Richard Branson goes out of his way to make that happen in his many companies.

Who wouldn’t love to work with Sir Richard Branson!?  I know I would – and I cannot wait until the day I can. From one entrepreneur to another, I encourage you to watch this video / interview with Richard Branson – and get inspired by him today:

You may also follow Sir Richard Branson on Social Media:
Twitter | Facebook  & LinkedIn / LinkedIn Pulse

And you may like to read one of his MANY books

He is a true hero and someone worth appreciating!

Thank you Sir Richard for being so AWESOME!


Throwback: Blogging For Dollars

blogging for dollars by derek gehl and scott paton

In honor of my first #throwbackthursday blog post…I reminisce about one of the most sought after resources for bloggers {from back in the day}; “Blogging for Dollars”.

Co-written by Derek Gehl and Scott Paton in 2006 (two of my former colleagues from the Internet Marketing Center), this Insiders Guide to Exploding your Internet Profits and Website Traffic Using WILDLY Popular Blogs – was a must have for everyone!

If you were around the internet marketing world in 2006, you would have recognized that this was the first time Blogging had become a traffic generation strategy that early adopters HAD TO take advantage of – and this book lead the way for many.

The crazy thing is, a fair amount of content in this book would be just as relevant today as it was in 2006.

The benefits are similar, the uses (for traffic and monetization) are similar, the 7 key strategies that drive every successful blog are still bang on and while a few of the resources mentioned in this book are long gone, some are still around and even better than before!

PLUS: the authors were once, very close colleagues of mine and we still stay in touch when opportunity presents itself. They were incredibly smart and savvy business men back then and they are even BETTER now.

If you are interested in a little history lesson and some tried and true strategies that can still give you the visibility you need – this may be a good read.

(NOTE: If you do read this book, be mindful of the SEO stuff as alot has changed over the years and you don’t want to slip into old habits that could get you in trouble. Also, I might suggest that you supplement this read with some good education on tracking / monitoring results as well – as we now have the ability to collect so much data from our visitors that even blogs of yesterday couldn’t provide us with).

All that aside, what I love about Blogging for Dollars is the stats!

The stats in support of blogs back then were staggering – but where we are today seem’s just as amazing.

A few cited in this book and my sidenotes (being a speaker – in promotion of the book at the time); blog visitors / readers were:

  • Spending TWICE as much time online than any other internet users. (Spending approx. 23 hours / week online)
  • 30% more likely to buy products or services online than the average internet user.
  • 11% more likely to earn more than $75,000/year
  • Spending an average of $199 online every 3 months {as reported during the first quarter of 2005}

Today, roughly two-thirds of consumers who visit or read blogs say that their purchasing decisions are influenced by brand mentions or promotions within the blog’s content, according to [pdf] survey results released in June 2012 by Burst Media.

The 18-34-year-old age group proves most swayed, with about 8 in 10 readers of both genders saying they are influenced by brand mentions in blog content.

blog visitors buying stats

Some other cool stats on Blogging today that we cannot ignore are as follows:

  • Blogs are at min. 6.2% higher and as much as 22.8% higher  / more likely than any other “primary” channel to generate traffic. (As seen in the image below).
  • More than 37.1% of the survey respondents report spending all or most of their online time on content sites, compared to 16% who say they spend most of their time on social media sites. Among mothers, the gap is narrower (29.2% vs. 21.7%).
  • 31.1% of consumers are most likely influenced by blogs to purchase (which outperforms Facebook, Groups/Forums, Youtube, LinkedIn, Google+, Online Magazines and even News Sites).  (According to Technorati Media’s 2013 Digital Influence Report).
  • According to Joel Brown from Addicted2Success.com – the top 10 most successful multimillion dollar blogs in 2012 were the Huffington Post, Tech Crunch, Gawker, LifeHacker, Mashable, Fail Blog, Smashing Magazine, Business Insider, Engadget and the Daily Beast. “The net worth of Arianna Huffington and her blog as of 2012 was $35 million USD.”

inbound marketing success factors

In my professional opinion Blogs are still a major asset to any business.

That is why I focus so much attention in my curriculum on topical research, content planning / editorial calendars, blog / story telling, finding your voice, optimization and so on. It’s also why I STILL share this post on the Best Blog Content Ideas I have Seen Yet with my students.

Blogging is just smart marketing!

For more great stats on purchase influence by channel marketing  – today, you may wish to review this Marketing Charts report.

Hope to see you next Thursday for another throwback.

P.S. If you have a resource that you still think is applicable to tomorrows leaders and you would like for me to consider it in a future throwback, please leave your comments below or use my contact form. I look forward to connecting with you.

Reflecting on early education; 38 ways to change it

As I lay in bed the other morning browsing my @imcijaye twitter feed I realized that I follow a lot of educators and / or advocates for change in education.  I follow them because I am a teacher myself and from them, I receive all sorts of inspirational messages but also some heart breaking ones — some of which make me want to do more to be a better teacher myself and make our education system better.


How to get an ROI from LinkedIn Pulse Articles

A few weeks ago, I published an article on LinkedIn about the #1 Mistake Most Business Owners Make that I felt was simply not in their best interest to keep allowing.

Since posting it, the article has received a nice amount of views (212 so far), a few likes (5) and a couple of comments (2) – but low numbers compared to some of the top articles on LinkedIn. That said, between that article and the two others that I have written on LinkedIn (before and after it), I have already amassed 1427 followers!

If I compare those numbers to those of my blog posts…they are fantastic!

It’s not that my blog posts are any LESS valuable to you, but this is the first year I have really been able to spend time on my blog, building my personal brand up etc  AND I don’t have anywhere near that amount of active visitors / day on my blog yet. {Yet being the operative word of course}. Nor do I have the reach LinkedIn has for it’s articles {not sure if I ever will}.

LinkedIn is simply a better source for ME to get my name out there {until I hit critical mass on my own blog, or with my own name}.

cijaye depradine marketing expert vancouver bc, linked in profile

I would assume that the benefits of LinkedIn would be the same for you.  IMPO, it’s a channel definitely worth leveraging.

But how do you leverage LinkedIn exactly?

What happens when we have a growing number of followers on LinkedIn (or any social media channel) and want to turn them into customers OR advocates of our brand.

How do we translate that into new business?

This post – answers a few of those questions for you…just in case you are posting to LinkedIn but not seeing the ROI yet.

Step #1: Get that TRACKING in place!

As I wrote about in my previous article (on LinkedIn) there is nothing worse than NOT tracking your efforts. This is your ONLY listening post – that can tell you statistically speaking what is working and what is not working.

Not tracking is like not taking your business seriously.

You simply need to do it.  The Centre For Arts and Technology has a fantastic 2.5 week course on Reporting and Metrics, where you can set up AND understand the stats that matter most to you.  I highly recommend that you consider it!

Step #2 Post to LinkedIn

I had to include this one because it’s a clear winner as far as marketing strategies go (and I don’t want you to forget this step).  If you are in business, especially a B2B business, LinkedIn is a rock solid resource for you that you need to tap into.

NOTE: I have discovered since posting my articles that LinkedIn has a weird quirk (may be a browser compatibility issue, I am not sure), when you draft your post and try to add images in the same go, it tells you there is an error; but when you draft the text, save it as a draft and then edit it to add pictures, it works.   Not sure why, but that’s the only way I can get my photo’s in there…so you may need to do the same.

Step #3: Compliment the Article, With a Blog Post.

feedrssSince your post on LinkedIn, only lives on LinkedIn, you are giving LinkedIn all the juice for your work. All those great keywords and fantastic words of wisdom are being credited to their property and not yours. PLUS you are not getting that well sought after Google Authorship credit (until Google drops it – assuming they do).

You will need to compliment the LinkedIn post with a follow up to it – ON YOUR OWN BLOG (just like I am doing here).  You can even schedule that complimentary post for a “later date” release (like I have done here).

There is little value in posting two great posts on the same day; instead, posting one a few days or weeks apart gives a refresh to the old one – and expands the longevity of both.

Step #3: Make The Path To Action Clear.

Top 10 tips to market yourselfI know there are many experts that say you cannot / should not “sell” from your blog, but we all have to fund our efforts. Even if we are giving everything away for free, it’s a must.

Don’t be afraid to do it, just do it in such a way that does not devalue the knowledge you are sharing.

And remember that no one likes to be sold to…if your “sales” pitches are about the reader and what’s in it for them, the right readers will be drawn to the right sales pitches for them.

Can you see mine here?  Are they too “selly sell” for you?  My guess is – you didn’t notice them right away – but when you did they weren’t offensive.  Maybe my guess is wrong – and if it is, please let me know…my aim is NOT to pitch you – but to teach you (even with the offers I make on my site(s)).

Step #4: Link the Posts Together.

how to write articles for linkedinI know that “reciprocal linking” has received a super bad rap over the years, but linking one quality resource to another (especially if they compliment each other and add more value to the topic) is not exactly the same. At least not according to Matt Cutts (the Google Anti-Spam lead). Matt said good quality content needs to be shared and sharing happens with links and references to pages.

What is bad is linking low quality content or sites with the intention of sucking up link juice or link authority for a new site / page. It’s spam and should be devalued / penalized.

What you want to do to stay out of trouble when considering link building in this way is make sure the content you are linking is uniquely valuable on both sides (not duplicating titles, headers, images, body copy, keyword anchors or anything else). THEN you can invite people back to your website / blog from within.

Step #5: Promote.

There is nothing wrong with distributing your great content across the net, especially if it is valuable to your audiences. Just make sure that you are cognizant of the channels you use, the unique way that they work and the audiences you are mostly speaking to in them (as they will differ).

Below is a slide that I share with my coaching clients in need of some channel guidance. It’s a short overview of your core marketing channels (online) and how best to “connect” with them.  It takes a few sessions to truly cover the key benefits of all these, but you should get the high level picture at least.

how to promote your website

When you repeat this cycle enough (on LinkedIn, or anywhere else (swapping out LinkedIn for the other source), you will start to hear people say that they read your article(s), they followed you, they signed up for your newsletters OR even took you up on your offers. Even if they NEVER commented online.

No matter how small or large the action is, it is ROI (return on investment) and it proves that your efforts are worth your time and money.

And believe me, some people will remain silent for a long time as they observe what you write, how valuable your content is, how it will impact them etc. They may not let you know right away but they ARE there and they do want you to keep posting great stuff.

So stick with it and you will see.

It is possible to turn all that effort into something very rewarding in the end!

P.S.  Tuesdays from now on (as long as time and life permits), will be dedicated to #marketingtactics.  Hence the nickname #tacticaltuesdays. (If you want to tweet that please do copy me via @imcijaye — I would love to know that this is circulating); if you wish to start requesting a tactic overview, please post a comment to ask for it.

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