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The Curious Case of Blogging Policy for Employees

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Blogging has always been a platform to discuss ideas and spark conversation about topics, even when it comes to business. Its flexibility and use-cases are what makes blogging great to begin with.

The same thing can be said with most tools available at your disposal for your business nowadays. From learning management systems to gamification platforms, they help motivate employees and encourage high levels of performance over a sustained period.

However, there are cases when technology can be harmful to your brand, even if indirectly.

For employees, blogging can be a means to to vent out their frustration at work. Some need to release the stress they’ve been keeping from their colleagues. While this process may be healthy for their well-being, the same cannot be said about the employer.

If you happen to be at the wrong end of the stick in this situation, then you’re probably suffering the aftermath of whatever they wrote on their blog.

You need to avoid any instance that your employees are expressing their resentment to their jobs using this medium.

While employees are people too, this does not absolve them from acting out of spite and recklessness. They need to be accountable for whatever they do that could affect the company they work for.

Therefore, you must set up a blogging policy to guide employees on how to conduct themselves online and outside of work.

Why do you need a blogging policy?

For business owners, a blogging policy is your safety net. You can’t control what people say or do outside of their work hours. However, what you can control is how their words and action affect your business.

A blogging policy in place will protect your business from anything defamatory your employee might say or do. Just as much as you value the work your employees do, you also need to protect the interests and image of your company.

A blogging policy doesn’t necessarily expose your employees to legal action. What the policy needs to remind your employees is accountability. What you want are not only hard-working employees but also responsible ones. You want to be working with people who respect what your company represents. If they can’t observe your blogging policy, then they might not be the people whom you want as your employees moving forwards.

Your blogging policy also applies to social media. People use social media more often than a blog as a platform to express their opinions. You can use the policy to cover the blogging and social media activities of your employees to exempt your company from their online activities.

What to include in your blogging policy

What to include in your blogging policy?

When drafting your blogging policy, you need to cover as much ground as possible. You don’t want to leave stones unturned for whatever reason. By being exhaustive in your policy, you exclude your company that you’ve worked so hard to build from sharing their opinions.

Below are the basic ones that you should cover in your policy:

Expressed consent

If your employee features your company on a blog post or a social media update, then you must require them to mention that their views were written and expressed in the content do not represent the views of the company. This rule also applies to your competitors that employees will mention on posts or updates.

At the same time, you need to request them to mention to you or the assigned managers about the post they’re writing that mentions your company. This courtesy preempts you and the higher-ups to anticipate the content and gives you a chance to visit the post at your will.

As long as the employees observe the conditions in your policy on their posts, then they should be in the clear. If they act on behalf of the company, then they cross your blogging policy, and you have grounds to take action against them. You can forbid them from using your logo without your permission to avoid the possibility that readers think that the employees represent your company on their blogs.

Confidentiality

The confidentiality clause is usually included in the contract they sign before stepping foot in your office. However, there’s no harm in reiterating the fact that they are forbidden to share sensitive information about your company to the public. Subjects that are not allowed include but are not limited to:

  • upcoming product releases
  • sales figures
  • number of products sold
  • trademarks
  • private information or those that have not been released by the company to the public

You need to be clear about the topics that employees should not discuss on a public platform to prevent them from divulging sensitive information. Encourage them to ask your PR Officer about topics that they can mention so they can avoid legal trouble.

Respect and privacy rights

If your employees paint your company in a negative light, then you have grounds for legal action against them. The last thing you want from them is a negative perception from the public, which could affect your sales performance if things escalate.

You also need to inform employees that any derogatory statements made about your company in their posts affect not only your business but also the other employees that have nothing to do with the post in the first place. Not to mention, you can terminate your contract with these employees, if push comes to shove. Surely, nobody would want that mess in their hands.

Wrapping it up

The blogging policy provisions above simply suggestions on how you approach this issues to your employees. I don’t claim to be an expert on these things. However, it doesn’t make me wrong either. The entire point of this post encourages you to cover all the bases of your business and protect it from any potential harm that your employees may commit against you. Therefore, you need to consult a professional to help you draft your policy and make it iron-clad and airtight as possible.

Also, it’s also best to mobilize employees to share content from within your company through employee advocacy. Instead of employees posting stuff on social media beyond your control, you can incentivize their social media and blogging activities to the benefit of your company.

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Christopher Jan Benitez is a freelance writer for hire who provides actionable and useful web content to small businesses and startups. In his spare time, he religiously watches professional wrestling and finds solace in listening to '80s speed metal.

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Oh, Now I Get It! How to Explain Complex Topics to Your Audience

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Technical writers have a great number of skills, but perhaps the most important is the ability to adapt your language to the level of comprehension your audience has. A highly technical and complex article can overwhelm readers or even bore them.

“But it’s impossible to delight my readers and keep them engaged when I’m talking about the

IEEE 802.11ac principle of broadband technology,” We hear you cry. And, we get it. Turning a technical article into a sexy piece of content can feel like a daunting task, but it’s not mission impossible.

Here are a few content creation tips that will help you explain complex topics to your audience in a delightful manner.

Imagine That You Are Explaining the Subject to a Non-Tech-Savvy Friend

One of the most important things when creating technical content for a more broad audience is consistency. So, as much as possible try to use the same tone, level of knowledge, complexity of vocabulary, and so on. The easiest way to calibrate your writing style is to imagine that you are writing for a friend or a relative that has nothing to do with your area of expertise.

Imagine you are trying to explain a particularly complex topic to them, in a friendly and light discussion. How would you approach the subject? What elements you think would bore or frustrate them?

What helps you in the real world is adapting your style and vocabulary to the other person’s knowledge. You know that you don’t have to explain what an Internet browser does, but you might have to tell them more about the coding behind it when discussing responsive web design, for instance. Use common words and keep them engaged with a lighter, friendly style.

Adapt Your Vocabulary and Structure

Let’s take a look at how you can flip your technical writing to be more approachable. First of all: use concepts that your audience is familiar with or at least has a general idea about them.

A good start is to check what search words visitors use when browsing your website. You will identify commonly used terms that are related to the technology that interests them. Use those keywords yourself to keep visitors on your page.

Also, be careful about the structure of the text when writing online, especially when you are trying to explain something complex. Make sure to split your text into readable chunks. You can also help the reader understand the subject better by using titles and subtitles to separate the main ideas of your article.

Build up the Knowledge of Your Audience, from General to Detailed

Once you have established a common language and vocabulary between you and your target audience, start methodically presenting your topic, from general level information to more detailed aspects. Applying this rule will help you readers understand the topic better without wasting too much time. Online readers tend to ignore content that is, irrelevant or hard to understand.

While it is important to get the basics straight before getting deeper into your subject, make sure to summarize the purpose of your article at the very beginning, as it will let your audience know what they will learn about after going through it.

Use Style Tools That Help Your Audience Relate to the Topic

The fun part of writing about technical topics for a general audience is getting creative with it. Because you can’t use the “boring,” “stiff” technical jargon, you must come up with expressive comparisons, examples, and analogies. You can even evoke anecdotal evidence to support the facts since they are highly relevant for many of the users.

Helping them relate to the topic you are writing about is the key to grabbing their attention. Use day to day examples for the systems and processes you are describing, or mention the best-known similar thing. Give them examples of possible situations when they can come across the topic you are writing about and enable them to talk about it themselves.

Ultimately, is all about correctly identifying the level of knowledge your audience has. Encourage them to comment and ask any questions and keep the conversations alive.

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IT Management Solutions: What is the Key to Improving Employee Efficiency?

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There are many ways you can improve your employees’ efficiency. From decluttering the workspace to encouraging a stress-free environment, there is a whole range of things you can do to make your work life run smoother. One such technique you need to adopt for your company is an IT management solution.

What Does It Do?

An IT management solution such as SysAid takes all of the day-to-day programs that a business will use and consolidates them into one easy-to-use package. Every employee should be able to log on and complete all their work without having to leave the initial program.

It can contain such subsections as project management, customer relationship management, billing and invoicing, and a whole host of other features.

Why Should Employers Implement Such a Solution?

A system such as this allows managers to have better visibility over the company as a whole. They will be able to tell if an employee is completing their daily tasks to the best of their ability and will also allow them to see where they are lacking.

The data from the completion of these daily tasks can easily be tracked and analyzed to see where employees are struggling with efficiency. With some adjustments, efficiency can then be improved in these areas.

Project Management

One of the key reasons to install an IT management solution is for the project management aspects. A good project management program lets all employees know where they are with their projects at all times. Whether you are just working on the project or a project manager, you will be able to see the stage that the project is at and all the steps and processes that still need to be completed.

This collaborative nature helps improve speed and efficiency and stops the project becoming grounded in a lack of communication. If you are not yet using a project management system, you will notice that many small but important problems like misuse of resources will be greatly reduced.

Customer Relationship Management

By having your customer service staff use one portal for all their needs, you will see a great improvement in efficiency when it comes to handling customer enquiries. An IT management solution can contain a database with all your customer’s information. This means that if a case needs to be passed from one team member to another, there is little to no chance of any relevant information being lost in the transfer. Everything should be in place in the one database.

Invoicing and Billing

Keeping your various accounts and invoices in different places can lead to items being forgotten or double-charged. By using an IT management software, your managers and accountants will be able to successfully keep track of all costs and reduce unnecessary spending. This will improve efficiency as multiple enquires are not being made to complete invoices and other reports.

There are just some of the ways an IT management solution can improve your business. If you feel you need to improve your company’s efficiency, consider implementing one today.

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7 Less Obvious Keyword Research and Content Analytics Tools

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Digital content has several powerful benefits over print content: It’s cheaper to distribute, it’s open and global (especially when it’s in English which most of the world can understand) and it offers an unprecedented opportunity to understand your audience better.

Actually, technology and digital content do wonders: Having both you can target your customers precisely when and where they are most willing to engage.

“Content and technology are strange bed fellows. We are joined together. Sometimes we misunderstand each other. But isn’t that after all the definition of marriage?”

To get an idea of how powerful digital content metrics can be, read and bookmark these articles:

Here are a few free or cheap content analytics options any blogger can afford:

1. UberSuggest

UberSuggest

UberSuggest is a free keyword research tool that offers quite a few cool content analytics features.

This tool is a bit broad but I felt it deserved a place on the list. It works by letting you put in key phrases and then gives you data on that and alternatives, including the power of that phrase on Google. You will be getting an idea of what phrases are already being cornered by competitors, as well as which ones are easier for you to target.

I also like this one as a content planning tool as I can find ideas for content related to an idea I had. I have come away from UberSuggest with my editorial calendar full many times.

2. Cyfe

Cyfe web analytics

Cyfe is not just analytics tool. In fact, you can use for anything under the sun, it’s a Swiss knife of business monitoring. And it has some cool analytics integrations that will make your analytics reports much faster and easier to access.

Use Cyfe to integrate your favorite Google analytics reports, monitor your social media growth, traffic spikes and more.

3. Tweriod

Tweriod might not be quite as relevant as it once was, but it is still a useful tool if you post a lot of content on Twitter. Find out what times your followers are most active. Discover optimal posting time. See what content was most popular and when.

All of this will help you use Twitter more effectively as a content marketing platform, as well as an engagement platform for one on one and influencer marketing.

4. Scoop.it

Scoop.it is pretty cool but the free plan is very limited. Basically you get a single page and up to ten “scoops” per day. Basically it is going to curate relevant content to give you insights into what is working well within your industry.

As an overall marketing tool, the professional version is a pretty cheap way to improve your ROI and get more bites when it comes to clicks. It is worth signing up for a free account and getting a taste of what they are about.

5. HotJar

HotJar

HotJar is a cool heat map generator allowing you to clearly see which parts of your content attract most attention.

Heat maps are pretty cool. They work by tracking what visitors to your site are spending the most time looking at and clicking on. Then it gives you a visual of hot and cold areas of your site, which can point to anything from design flaws to lackluster or thin content. You can try them out for free and get a more complete picture from both a website and content perspective.

Here are more options for data visualization which will help you understand your audience and analytics reports better.

6. Social Mention

Is your content being shared or talked about? Is your brand being mentioned? You can find out on Social Mention, which allows you to search for proof of that very thing and find out what people are saying about you and what you post.

It is a bit simplistic, but very helpful.

7. iSpionage

ispionage

Adwords and SEO keywords are a bit part of what you and other brands on competing for, not just customers. iSpionage gives you a look at what it is that those competitors are using and how it is working for them.

It is surprisingly affordable compared to many other similar tools and has a decent features list. I would definitely give this one a try.

Are there any other affordable content analytics tools except for the most obvious ones (like Google Analytics)? Please share them in the comments!

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