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27 surprising facts about collaboration in the workplace 0

Posted on October 01, 2017 by Rob Petersen

Collaboration

Collaboration is a cooperative arrangement where two or more parties (who may or may not have worked together before) work jointly toward a common goal. When collaborations works, the collective “know how” creates results not possible without the collective interaction.

With this kind of promise, is it working in the workplace?

Here are 27 surprising facts about collaboration in the workplace. They show why it works and why it is or isn’t working in our businesses today.

WHY IT WORKS

  1. Managers are the Number 1 way that people feel supported by their organization. (Forbes)
  2. 90% of employees believe that decision-makers should seek other opinions before making a final decision. (Salesforce)
  3. 88% agree that a culture of knowledge-sharing correlates to high employee morale and job satisfaction. (Oscar Berg)
  4. 88% believe collaboration accelerates decision making. (Next Plane)
  5. 75% of employers rate team work and collaboration as “very important.” (Queens University)
  6. Women are 66% more likely than men to help others in need  – an action that typically costs more time and energy than sharing knowledge and expertise. (Oscar Berg)
  7. 60% of respondents have experienced change in their way of thinking due to collaborations. (Oscar Berg)
  8. 56% pointed out collaboration-related measure as the factor that will have the greatest impact on their organization’s overall profitability. (Oscar Berg)
  9. 56% of respondents said that they were happier when they collaborated. (Oscar Berg)
  10. 53% are confident that collaborations are having a positive and tangible impact on their organization. (Oscar Berg)
  11. Compared to two decades ago, the time managers and employees spend on collaborative activities has ballooned by 50% or more. (Oscar Berg)
  12. Over 50% of employees and managers identify time saved completing tasks as a benefit of collaboration.
  13. 49% of Millennials support social tools for workplace collaboration. (Queens University)
  14. 33% of organizations are using social collaboration tools across all departments. 50% of those surveyed expect that number to increase in 2017. (Next Plane)
  15. 30% want to collaborate more, with women slightly more collaborative than men. (Oscar Berg)
  16. Men are 36% more likely to share knowledge and expertise than women. (Oscar Berg)

WHY IT IS OR ISN’T WORKING

  1. 97% of employees and executives believe lack of alignment with a team impacts the outcome of a task of project. (TINYpulse)
  2. 86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures. (Salesforce)
  3. Less than 50% say that their organizations discuss organization issues truthfully and effectively. (Salesforce)
  4. 40% of employees believe that decision makers “consistently failed” to seek another opinion. (Salesforce)
  5. 40% of organizations lack a collaboration strategy altogether. (Dimension Data)
  6. 39% of employees believe that people in their organization don’t collaborate enough (Professional Service Centre)
  7. 20% to 35% of value-added collaborations typically come from only 3% to 5% of employees. (Oscar Berg)
  8. 20% of organizational “stars” don’t contribute to the success of their colleagues after they have hit their own numbers and earned kudos for it. (Oscar Berg)
  9. Only 18% of employees get communication evaluation at their performance review. (Queens University)
  10. People tend to lie more when collaborating on a joint effort when they believe it will result in a better outcome for both, if they engage in collusion. (Oscar Berg)
  11. People primed to think of themselves in an organizational context (e.g., co-worker) felt less motivated to reciprocate and did reciprocate less than those in an otherwise parallel personal (e.g., friend or acquaintance) situation. Organizational contexts reduce people’s obligation to follow the moral imperative of the norm of reciprocity. (Oscar Berg)

The facts say to me although the vast majority of people believe there are significant benefits to collaboration, what we believe is not often what we practice and do.

What do these facts about collaboration say to you? Are they are a surprise? Does your business need help is creating a culture of collaboration?

8 surprisingly simple steps to conduct a content audit 0

Posted on June 19, 2017 by Rob Petersen

content audit

Content audit is an analysis of the all the content your organization is responsible for. A content audit is a cornerstone for content strategy, SEO, social media marketing, corporate communications, digital advertising, brand guidelines, style guide and your voice and tone.

While the analysis involves quantitative measures, much of the process is qualitative. It involves identifying high-quality content, removing low quality content and establishing guidelines and standards. The areas that usually are most inspected are the content on your website and social media pages.

The goal of a content audit is to raise your company’s profile and build trust. A few reasons why a conduct audit makes sense are:

  • 88% of B2B marketers use content marketing in their marketing strategies
  • 73% of major organizations hire someone to manage their content marketing strategy
  • 56% of marketers believe that personalized content promotes higher engagement rates (source: Content Marketing Institute)

Here are 8 surprisingly simple steps to conduct a content audit.

  1. START WITH A SPREADSHEET OR LIST: In order to do any audit, you have to begin with an inventory. A spreadsheet or list is what you’ll need. A simple set up is create column for: 1) Webpage URL’s, 2) Page Titles, 3) Descriptions or snippet of essential text, 4) Date published or created and 5) Actions (whether, at the end of the audit, the page  stay, goes or is reworked).
  2. IDENTIFY WHAT’S UNIQUE AND DIFFERENTIATING: Look at your inventory and see what your content  says about you, your company and your products or services. What’s unique and differentiating? Why should your audience take note and care? How do you keep it fresh? Avoid being repetitive. Add news?
  3. MEASURE INTEREST AND APPEAL: Objective measurements such as Pageviews, Search Rank, Links and Shares, Comments, Likes, Views and Re-Tweets for social media pages are considerations to measuer. They can all be found in a web analytics tool like Google Analytics or through search queries and review of your social media pages.
  4. ASSESS ACCURACY, DATE AND WRITING PROFESSIONALISM: The relevance of your content is influenced by its recency, reliability and writing. Examine content by how often you write about it, what is included (e.g. images, video, charts, contact forms) and how well it’s written. Ask yourself if your believe your company is publishing quality content?
  5. EXAMINE SEO ELEMENTS: Review the Page Titles, Keywords, Meta Descriptions, Headings and Alt Image Tags. Are target keywords and phrases used on the page? Are page descriptions and metadata employed appropriately? Are headlines optimized for search? Search engine optimization (SEO) begins and ends with content. So evaluating to what extent content conforms to best practices in search is an essential part of an audit.
  6. EVALUATE WHAT NEEDS TO BE ADDED AND REMOVED: Now, you are ready to determine what stays, goes, is reworked as well as any organization or reorganization. If you are revising or refreshing a website, a content audit provides learning for site architecture, navigation tabs and drop-down menus.
  7. JUDGE FOR CONSISTENCY OF VOICE AND TONE: How do you express yourself? What is your attitude to people know something about you?. They are essential qualities that should be consistent because they create trust and help others determine if they would like to get to know you better.
  8. PLAN FOR SUCCESS: Now you’ve done the hard work. And you have a template, game plan and actionable scorecard for seeing improvement and success. Examine progress periodically. Once a quarter or even twice a year is a good schedule for reviewing your content audit.

Once it’s done, a content audit is a valuable company asset. A great piece for learning, insights and actions.

Do these steps convince you of the value of a content audit? Are they simple enough to follow? Do you need help conducting one for your company?

 

 

14 key facts on website speed. 4 top tips when it’s slow 1

Posted on October 24, 2016 by Rob Petersen

website speed

Website speed has long been recognized as a important factor that impacts search engine rankings. And a top factor in Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Slow website speed creates a bad user experience, one that may result in visitors not coming back to your website or going to your competition. And that it even more important than search rank because search engines don’t buy products, people do.

Is website speed a concern for your site? If it is, what can you do about it?

Here are 14 key facts on website speed. And 4 top fixes when it’s slow.

14 KEY FACTS ON WEBSITE SPEED

  1. 80% of a Web page’s load time is spent downloading the different pieces-parts of the page: images, stylesheets, scripts, Flash, etc. (Yahoo)
  2. 79% of web shoppers who have trouble with website performance say they won’t return to the site again. (KissMetrics)
  3. 73% of mobile internet users say that they’ve encountered a website that is too slow to load. (Fiverr)
  4. 51% of mobile internet users say that they’ve encountered a website that crashed, froze, or received an error. (Raven)
  5. 47% of consumers expect a website speed page load in 2 seconds or less. (Innovation Insights)
  6. 44% of them would tell a friend if they had a poor experience shopping online. (GlobalDots)
  7. 40% abandon websites that take more than 3 seconds to load. (KissMetrics)
  8. 38% of mobile internet users say that they’ve encountered a website that wasn’t available. (Shoprocket)
  9. 22% is the average increase in website load speed per year. (Radware)
  10. 18% of mobile users will abandon a website if it doesn’t load in less than five seconds. If it takes more than 10 seconds to load, 30% will abandon the site. (KissMetrics)
  11. 5 seconds is the average page load time this year (Pingdom)
  12. A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. (Econsultancy)
  13. If an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales every year. (Amazon)
  14. Users begin to drop off a site when its response time is longer than 2.5 seconds. (Forrester)

4 TOP TIPS WHEN IT’S SLOW

  1. WEBSITE HOSTING: The website hosting provider and technology you choose can have a significant effect on your page load times. Dedicated hosting solutions are preferable over shared hosting so you do not have to worry about other websites on the same server as yours slowing your website down.
  2. ENABLE BROWSER CACHING: The first time someone comes to your website, they have to download the HTML document, stylesheets, javascript files and images before being able to use your page. That may be as many as 30 components and 2.4 seconds. Fortunately, certain website platform like WordPress offer caching plug-ins. They require set up and testing but can be a big help with your website recognizing and quickly processing the many elements it has to.
  3. OPTIMIZE IMAGES: Oversized images take longer to load, so it’s important that you keep your images as small as possible. Use image editing tools to: 1) Crop your images to the correct size. For instance, if your page is 570px wide, resize the image to that width. 2) reduce color depth to the lowest acceptable level and 3) remove image comments.
  4. OPTIMIZE CSS DELIVERY: CSS holds the style requirements for your page. Generally, your website accesses this information in one of two ways: in an external file, which loads before your page renders, and inline, which is inserted in the HTML document itself. When setting up your styles, only use one external CSS stylesheet since additional stylesheets increase HTTP requests. Two resources to help are: 1) CSS Delivery Tool. It tells you how many external stylesheets your website is using and 2) instructions for combining external CSS files.

If website speed is important for you, a good tool to examine website speed for your site is Google PageSpeed Insights. This is a good resource to get started, help understand your website speed and what top tips will be the biggest help if your website speed is slow.

Did this teach you something new about website speed? Do your need help with yours?

What I learned from (at least) 14 social media mistakes 6

Posted on July 21, 2013 by Rob Petersen

 

 

 

Social Media mistakes

  •  90% (over 9,000,000) businesses say they actively engage on social networking sites
  • 74% find it valuable
  • 42% say 25% of new customers  find out about their business from social networking sites  (Source: Mantra)

The numbers indicate businesses find value in social media.

My experiences started a few years ago when the numbers were lower. I didn’t have a guidebook. My most valuable lessons came from mistakes.

Now, I teach social media at both Rutgers CMD and the University of California. I have an ebook, 166 Case Studies Prove Social Media Marketing ROI (downloaded by 55,000+ on the sidebar of this website. it’s free). A decent portion of company revenue at BarnRaisers comes from social media related activities.

I’m still learning from mistakes.

Here’s what I learned from (at least) 14 social media mistakes I’ve made.

  1. TO BUILD AN AUDIENCE TAKES TIME: Social media is “earned” media (not “paid”). It takes more time to build an audience you earn. Most people, including myself, underestimate. But an “earned” audience stays with you longer than one you pay for and is worth the effort.
  2. GRATITUDE TO OTHERS WORKS MUCH FASTER THAN TALKING ABOUT YOURSELF: It was humbling at the start to look at how slow an audience builds until I stopped telling and started thanking others. Chris Brogan said to talk about others 3X as talking about yourself. It was very good advice.
  3. YOU CAN’T BE GOOD OR BAD AT SOCIAL MEDIA; YOU CAN ONLY BE YOURSELF. Initially, I wondered if my contributions were good or bad. It would have been better if I wondered if I was being myself.
  4. RELEVANT CONTENT IS A BRAND’S 2nd MOST VALUABLE ASSET: After a product of service, relevant content is a business’ most relevant asset. I found the valuable posts came from people who were able to teach someone something new.
  5. LISTEN TO THE RIGHT METRICS: There was a time when I thought a Klout or Kred score was worth pursuing. Now I know the metrics in the Google Analytics of your website that show the social networks (Traffic Sources) where your audience comes from is a much more valuable guide.
  6. TECH DOESN’T WORK AS WELL AS TOUCH: I’ve never relied on automated posts. There nothing wrong with sending the same message out on different social networks. But I was concerned that it relied too much on tech, I would miss the opportunity to touch.
  7. SHOW UP CONSISTENTLY: You don’t have to be on social networks 24/7. You do have to be there consistently and at the same time usually helps. You’ll find your audience looks forward, even relies, on seeing you and that’s a way to earn their trust.
  8. RE-PURPOSE YOUR CONTENT: You’re going to be putting in time so why not make the most of it. The time you put into your content can be re-purposed. For example, a blog can be re-purposed as an email newsletter. A series of blogs on the same topic can be made into an e-book.
  9. SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT FREE: The commodity in social media is time, not money. I didn’t realized how valuable that commodity was until I had less of time because of social media. Value your time appropriately.
  10. LOOK FOR HOW YOUR AUDIENCE EVOLVES: Foiled Cupcakes owner Mari Luangrath built her cupcake business to +600% above forecast by building relationships on Facebook and Twitter. As her audience evolved to corporate accounts, her attention went more to LinkedIn.
  11. ALL COMMENTS ARE NOT EQUAL: When I initially got comments like “I’ve bookmarked your blog” I thought I was doing something right. It was actually spammer trying to get links. You have to look at the email address of someone writing a comment.
  12. DON’T BE AN OBSESSIVE EDITOR: I’ve spent, and spend, way more time editing than the attention the obsession to editing yields in visitors. I’m not discouraging people to pay attention to details. But, if you wait for everything to be perfect, you’re likely not to start.
  13. DO IT FOR THE FRIENDS: Fellow Rutgers CMD faculty and friend, Mark Schaefer, is a well known name in social media. When he started, he did it for the friends. Why wouldn’t you. Your friend can come from any social network and from all over the world.
  14. INVITE MORE OFTEN: I thought if I invited people to join my networks, it might seem as if I’m too pushy. Now, I realize that, without actively inviting others, I just have less fans and followers.

When you started in social media, did you make the same mistake I did? What have you learned? Have you learned more from your our successes? Or your mistakes?

12 tips. How to write for your audience and search engines 3

Posted on May 12, 2013 by Rob Petersen

 

 

writing for your audience

  • 80% of people find a website by typing keywords into the query box of a search engine
  • 42% click on the website in the #1 organic search position
  • 90% click on a website on the 1st page (Source: SEO Book)

These facts show, for any company doing business on the internet, search engine optimization (SEO) is a requirement.

But search engines don’t buy, don’t download and don’t fill out requests for more information. People do. That’s why, although search rank is important, a top rank is only as good as the content on the website at getting visitors to take the action you want.

How do you accomplish both? Here are 12 tips on how to write for your audience and search engines.

KEYWORDS

  • DO KEYWORD RESEARCH: Keywords are the currency of the internet. They establish relevance to both your audience and the search engines. So look for the words consumers use to express their unmet need; how many express it and how often. Two tools that are a valuable guide in this discovery are Google Trends and Google Adwords Keyword Tool.
  • CREATE SITE ARCHITECTURE: When search engines crawl your site, they are trying to give your audience the best match for the words that express their unmet need. So give both your audience and the search engines something to work with and make it easy on them. Organize your keywords and content to create a more complete picture.

Site architecture map

  • DIFFERENTIATE BY BEING SPECIFIC: The people who are most ready to take action are most likely going to be more specifics about what they need and less willing to wade through a lot of information. So help them on their journey with content that includes “long-tail” phrases, not just “short tail” keywords. If you were in the market for a digital camera and ready to buy, wouldn’t you be looking for the brand and model, not just the category?

Short tail vs long tail keywords

LINKS

  • IDENTIFY AUTHORITIES: “It”s not what you know, it’s who you know.” This truth applies to life and doing business on the internet. That’s why hyperlinks (the blue text that goes to other websites) play a pivotal role. They connect you with authorities on your topic. If  the search engines determine, through links, you are connected to authorities, they raise your rank. There are many link tracking services. Options range from free to subscription services. A few to consider are: Alexa, ClixTrack and Linktrack and Linktrackr and options from free to subscription.
  • WRITE HYPERLINKS INTO SITE CONTENT: The search engine are cracking down on websites that load backlinks into the back end of their websites but they are rewarding websites that do it, authentically, by featuring relevant links in content like suggested above. Also, consider social network pages as links and build your “social authority.” This is increasing greatly in importance.
  • USE INTERNAL LINKS THROUGHOUT YOUR SITE:  Hyperlinks are also good for connecting pages within your site. This give both your audience and the search engine the opportunity to spend more time with your business and get to know you better. And that’s always a good thing.
  • CHECK FOR BROKEN LINKS: Make sure everything is working as it should. A website analytics tool, like Google Analytics  is your GPS system. Google offers Google Webmaster Tools for spotting any critical issues.

WRITING CONTENT

  • TITLE YOUR KEYWORDS IN THE URL, TITLES AND HEADERS: The reason for being for each page is a key consideration for you, for your audience and the search engines. Put your keywords in url’s, and titles. Here is where you need to include them.

keywords in url, titles and headlines

 

  • WRITE MORE THAN 200 WORDS ON EVERY PAGE: Your audience and the search engines want to get to know you. Although there are  a number of opinions, at least 200 words per page is a good rule of thumb.
  • WRITE FOR 3 TYPES OF VISITORS: Regardless of the website, there will always be 3 types of visitors. “Researchers,” who expect to be educated and want lots of information. Reviews and testimonials are important. “Shoppers” look for comparisons. They want to know the facts, but they want the Cliff Notes version. “Buyers” are ready to take action but they want the specifics, as clearly called out as possible. All are important. They also are not mutually exclusive either. One can move  from one stage to another.

TRACKING

  • KEYWORDS: Now that you have your plan in place, track your progress is raising your rank every month. A good tool to track your progress is SEO Book Rank Checker (Firefox Extension).  
  • INDEXING: The more search pages your are on, the better so know how many search pages you are “indexed” and work to increase the number. Marketing Grader from HubSpot lets you see how your doing.

To write for your audience is as important, if not more, as writing for the search engines. Do these 12 tips help teach you how to do it?

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    BarnRaisers builds brands with proven relationship principles and ROI. We are a full service digital marketing agency. Our expertise is strategy, search and data-driven results.



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