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5 Ways To Protect Your Online Image In An Instant-Access World

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One of the most essential components of running a successful blog, brand or business is risk management, but that no longer applies strictly to financial or legal liabilities. These days, it’s also important to protect and maintain a positive professional and personal image. Financial and private scandals influence public perceptions, and they can be damaging to your brand; the proliferation of online reviews and other forums that allow information to be broadcast worldwide in a matter of seconds makes it even more imperative to take control of the narrative of public discourse.

Here are two metrics to keep in

  • 80% of potential customers were influenced not to do business with a company due to negative feedback from previous customers
  • 68% of consumers are more influenced by bad reviews than good reviews

Whether you’ve been the victim of a smear campaign or you simply want to monitor and control your public image, here are five ways to spot potential problems, do damage control and turn almost any situation into a positive reflection of you and your business.

Reputation Popular Ranking Honor Branding Concept

1. Google Yourself

One of the first things that a potential customer is going to do is search your business online, whether they’re looking up your website or reading customer reviews. In order to maintain a positive reputation, take the time to look at your business through the eyes of a consumer. You should make it a practice to Google your business at least a few times a week, even daily, if possible. Check for negative mentions in public forums, unfavorable reviews and false information.

While you can’t have negative information removed from search results, you can mitigate those negatives by creating a positive online image that will eventually sink any negative mentions lower in the rankings.

2. Take Control of Your Business Profile

While you’re in control of business information that you place on platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, there are other online consumer information sites and mentions that you have little to no control over. Platforms like Yelp and independent customer reviews may also be using false information that you can petition the site manager to correct or remove. Another great way to accomplish this, is through claiming your business in Google.

It’s a good idea to try and counteract negative mentions by engaging with the source directly, correct erroneous business info and to try and clear up any misunderstandings and make amends with customers who have had a negative interaction with you or your business whenever possible.

3. Choose Your Battles Wisely

It’s an unfortunate fact that some people live to create controversy and stir up trouble for their own amusement. Online trolls are never going to go away, and entering into a debate with them will only draw attention to what they’re saying and increase their presence. If someone has a legitimate complaint, address it quickly and diplomatically. However, when someone’s just out to make trouble, avoiding direct engagement will often diffuse the situation. People’s online attention span is short, and the occasional troll bait will disappear from the public radar as soon as the Next Big Thing takes its place.

4. Spend Time Creating Good Will

Social media isn’t a replacement for an intelligent marketing plan, but it is a great plank to add to your overall public relations platform. Businesses that are proactive and engaged online can head off potentially negative interactions by creating and maintaining an active social media presence. This will give you an opportunity to hone your public image while allowing the public to see you as a company who cares about its customers.

Setting aside even an hour a day to engage your customers, respond to their concerns and show appreciation for their patronage will go a long way toward creating a positive public perception of you and your company. It’s also a vital line to direct communication that will alert you to potential PR concerns early on and allow you to take a proactive stance to diffuse the situation.

5. Deal With Problems Honestly and Immediately

No matter how much of an effort you make toward fostering good will, you can’t make everyone happy. There will always be someone who is dissatisfied – whether or not they have a legitimate concern – and it’s up to you as a conscientious business owner to address such complaints with integrity and in a timely manner.

Even if you are at fault in the situation, taking the time to address it honestly will show that even though you’re a business owner, you’re also a human who sometimes makes mistakes, and you’re real enough to own them.

So, what do you do if someone is slamming you or your business online and you can’t handle the problem yourself? There are several companies that do nothing but perform damage control for their clients. For example, professional damage mitigation practices, like Reputation Defender tweets and others, are proactive measures that can help you head off or neutralize problems; you can also hire a full-time PR person. However, the best solution is to remain aware that anything you say or do publicly – even privately, in some cases – can come back to haunt you, and conduct yourself accordingly. Cyberspace can be a lot like Las Vegas: whatever happens there stays there.

To learn more about protecting your personal name, blog, brand or business online, I also recommend you take a look at these 97 reputation management resources that were recently featured on Zac Johnson’s blog.

As an active entrepreneur and blogger, my topics of discussion are mainly on business strategy, tech startups and motivating others to succeed. You can read up on my latest content at BlogReign.com.

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YouTube vs Blogging: How to Determine Which One is Best For You

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Content marketing of all types is only continuing to grow in popularity, and if you haven’t started jumping on the content bandwagon yet, it’s time. The major issue that most people have is where to start making their content. 

When it comes to starting your content marketing efforts, there are two major mediums you should look into using when you are starting off: blogs and videos. These are the two easiest places to start that show the highest engagement, but which one do you choose? 

Let’s take a look at the differences with video content and blogging, to figure out which one you should jump into first. 

Video Content on YouTube

Making video content is a great place to start your content creation, but there is a catch. Making high-quality video can be expensive and time-consuming. Most of the expense comes upfront in the form of buying a quality camera and editing software. If you already have those, congratulations, the bar of entry just dropped. Video is a great way to connect with your viewers in one of the most personal formats available online. On top of that, video is one of those mediums that keeps growing year after year. 

However, if the idea of getting in front of the camera and being the face and sound of your brand, there are plenty of other alternatives as well. For example, explainer videos works extremely well on both YouTube, social media, and as blog content. And what’s even better, is that there are plenty of low cost and reliable drag and drop solutions out there for creating your own short black and white videos in just a few minutes time.

No matter what type of videos you want to create, the growth of video keeps going up because of the rise in smartphone use. These little devices make it easier for people to connect with the internet because the access is in their pocket. 

When you start making videos, you want to create a video production timeline. This includes everything from finding the right people to the video storyboard and production to final edits. 

Formatting Your Video Content

There is a great format that big agencies and companies use to create their videos, and if you plan to make video content, you should use this format too.

The best video format looks like this:

  • The Hook (10 seconds of something later in the video to interest viewers)
    • This can also be replaced with an introduction.
  • An Intro (A recurring introduction you use for all your videos)
  • Pose a Problem (show a general problem that many people have that your product or services fixes)
  • Show the Solution (show how your product or service takes care of the problem)
  • Ask for Action (tell them how to take the next steps in case they are already sold)
  • Destroy Doubt with Testimonials (take the time to fill in holes that people might see in the pitch. This can be done with testimonials, footage of the item being used in different ways, or explaining further detail about the potential you are offering)
  • Sign of by Asking for More Action (again tell them where to go or what to do)

If you format your videos in the manner, you are more likely to develop an interest in engagement from your customer. If your goal is to create one of the most viewed YouTube videos this year, you should really look into this format. Think about it, if you have ever seen an infomercial, you have seen this format, and it’s proven to work with the test of time.

Blogging

Blogging is another great place to start, and it has one major advantage over video, the cost of entry. If you can write, you can blog. All it takes is a place to showcase those blogs, and that is ultimately cheaper than any camera you can buy for video production. 

The only major downside to blogging is not having the knowledge or knowhow to make those posts rank organically. The biggest things you can learn to help your blogging succeed are keyword research, blog style, keeping it simple. 

Keyword Research

There are specific keywords that relate to your post that will give your blog more potential to pull organic traffic. Basically, if the term is highly searched and you use it in your post, you have the opportunity to rank for that term as the search engine bots index your page. This can also be done for your video titles. 

Blog Style

Style is important when you are trying to set up a successful blog post. If you just write a block of content and post it online, it might be hard for search engine bots to determine it’s meaning and value. You want to break up your content with headings that describe the sections readers are about to read.

If you are wondering what that looks like, you can look at this post. If you really want to know what it takes to have the best setup possible for a post, you want to look into something like HubSpot’s inbound marketing course. This course will take you through the requirements and styles of great content, and it gives you a great framework to build your blog posts with. The best part of this course is the price: free.

Keeping it Simple

Remember, you are being ranked by robots, and although they can do some amazing things with the information they are given, robots perform better with simple tasks. That means keeping your writing simple will help the bots rank your content easier. If you can explain the topic the best with the easiest to understand terminology, you are likely to rank higher than using complex sentence structures and words. The rule of thumb you should shoot for is writing at a 5th-grade level when possible. 

If You Can, Do Both YouTube and Blog Content

If you are wondering which is better than the other, there is no right answer when it comes to creating quality content for your audience.

The only truly right answer is that doing both together will create a better user experience than one or the other. When you put the power of video with the organic rankings of keywords in blog content, you get a more developed piece of content that has a higher potential to net you rankings in the search engine results.

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14 Social Media Tips For Attracting Gen Z Audiences in 2019

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As the workforce and consumer market’s next up-and-coming demographic, Gen Z is an attractive target audience for many businesses. Depending on your company, you may want to consider this audience in your social media efforts to engage prospective customers and employees. However, it’s important to remember that each generation has their own unique preferences — what worked in attracting millennials, for instance, won’t necessarily work for Gen Z.

To help you target Generation Z on social media, we asked a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council members for some tips they’ve used to successful appeal to this audience. Here is what they advise:

1. Personalization

I think that personalization is one of the best ways to appeal to Gen Z on social media. Studies show that more people want to see personalized content and advertisements than ever before, starting with Gen Z. We can use this love of personalized experiences to create content playlists and advertisements that appeal to this crowd.

Blair Williams, MemberPress

2. Influencer Marketing

Studies have shown that the Gen Z audience relates more to influencers than celebrities, so influencer marketing on social media is a great way to connect with them. When they see someone that they can relate to using a product, they’re more likely to buy that product too. Influencer marketing is a form of social proof that the Gen Z audience can trust.

Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

3. Chatbots

One of the best ways to generate leads for your business, especially with the Gen Z crowd, is by having a chatbot available on your social media account to answer any questions. Live chat reps are good for some tasks, but if a customer has a common inquiry, you could implement a chatbot to help resolve these questions or concerns in seconds.

Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

4. Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are widely popular with the Gen Z audience. Instagram Stories are great because they’re short and engaging, which is perfect for an audience with a shorter attention span. With so much content on the internet, it’s important to get information across quickly and in an entertaining way.

John Turner, SeedProd LLC

5. Answer Their Questions

Gen Z prefers to engage with businesses on a more personal level, so taking time to answer their hard-pressed questions when other brands ignore them can set you apart from the rest. Try to solve their pain points and figure out what they need help with so they look to you as an expert and appreciate what you can give them.

Jared Atchison, WPForms

6. Video Content

Blog content is great and capable of getting millions of views, but Gen Z seems to prefer video content over traditional text. I like to mix it up by creating a blog post, then creating a short video version of the article for people who prefer this format.

David Henzel, LTVPlus

7. Leverage FOMO

People, especially in the younger crowd, hate to feel like they’re missing out on anything important going on. That’s why using FOMO, or fear of missing out, is such an effective method to get their attention on social media. Make it sound urgent that they take some sort of action beneficial to your business. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

8. Focus Your Efforts

Facebook is trending towards the millennial and older group, while Tik Tok, Snapchat and even Instagram are much more appealing to Generation Z. Make sure you focus your efforts on the channels in which your audience exist, then produce content that resonates with them. Short videos, in particular, are very powerful for interacting with this audience.

Andy Karuza, Relm Wellness

9. Value-Driven Content

When communicating with Gen Z through my social platforms, I focus on providing some form of value in the content that I share. There is no audience as tech-savvy or as fluent and comfortable with different online platforms as Gen Z, and in turn, they will not be impressed by or respond to something that is not of value to them. Providing value allows you to cut through the clutter and resonate.

Adam Mendler, The Veloz Group

10. Mobile Experiences

Go mobile, because that’s where the Gen Z audience is. Smartphones are what they live by. This can supersede other strategies that might seem effective because, in the interests of the demographics, you have to go to the device where they’re at the most. On that note, your website should be perfectly optimized to mobile.

Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

11. No Filters

If you’ve been following Gen Z on Instagram and other social media, you might have noticed that they don’t spend nearly as much time as, say, millennials to make their feed look polished. Many of them specifically bypass Snapseed and post straight from their phone. The “realness” of this world is what really attracts young people from this generation, so just be real and capitalize on imperfection.

Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

12. Images and Memes

The younger generation has a short attention span. Get your message across quickly by using images and memes. Avoid any marketing message that takes more than 10 seconds to initially consume.

Brian Greenberg, True Blue Life Insurance

13. Behind-the-Scenes Content

Gen Z is a more self-aware generation. They use social media for entertainment as well as learning. Using video content to give them behind-the-scenes glimpses into the brand, creating how-to videos and using social media for telling compelling stories is the best method to boost engagement. They don’t want to be sold to, so brands need to forge organic connections through their content.

Rahul Varshneya, ResumeSeed

14. Corporate Social Responsibility

Use a social cause to drive your brand and product mission forward. Create social media campaigns and profiles that are associated with improving life. The majority of Gen Z care deeply about making an impact and they want to be aligned with brands and products that do just that. Do this in an engaging way, like through Instagram story, to build a more personal connection this generation craves.

Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.

Social Media is the Path to Generation Z

In addition to the many tips and marketing methods listed above, it’s also important to have an effective content creation and marketing strategy in place.

To learn more about what’s working best for bloggers, brands and content marketers on social media, click here for more tips and actionable methods you can start implementing today.

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#1 YouTube Banner Template: How to Create a Custom Banner for Free

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The world’s population watches almost 5 billion YouTube videos every single day. That means YouTube is a massive market that you’re most likely not utilizing.

But don’t worry, it doesn’t take much to get a professional footprint on YouTube. When you’re getting started, one of the most important features to focus on is your YouTube banner.

We’ll go into everything you need to know about creating a YouTube banner. Towards the end, we’ll recommend a few YouTube banner templates to get you started.

What is a YouTube Banner?

When you click on any given YouTube user’s name, YouTube brings you to that user’s channel. Here you can see all their videos and playlists. At the top of the screen is a banner with the YouTuber’s brand. This is a YouTube banner.

Click around on a few different users you follow to get a good idea about the different banners on the market. See what draws your eye and what you do and do not like.

If you’d like to find more tips on how to effectively create and use your YouTube profile page and videos for branding, be sure to check out these quick tips.

What are the Banner Specifications?

When you’re designing your banner, it’s important you follow the right specifications. People are watching YouTube on their phones, tablets, laptops, and even their TV’s. You need to make sure your banner renders properly on all these different screen sizes. You can make sure you get it right by following the specifications.

According to Google, your banner should meet the following specifications:

  • Recommended: 2560 x 1440 px
  • Minimum for upload: 2048 x 1152 px
  • Minimum “safe area” where text and logos are ensured not to be cut off: 1546 x 423 px
  • Maximum width: 2560 x 423 px
  • File size: 4MB or smaller

What Should I Include in My Banner?

Your banner is a representation of your brand. It should intrigue viewers, and give them a snapshot of what to expect from your channel. Make sure to include your brand name.

Here are the Best YouTube Banner Templates

There are several places you can get a high-quality YouTube banner template for free. Here are a few of our favorites.

Google

Google has its own template designs for YouTube. Makes sense, after all, they do own YouTube.

Adobe

Adobe is perhaps the best YouTube banner maker app available on the market. They let you create a design for free in minutes with no previous experience.

Canva

Canva offers several different template designs. They have available stock photography you can use, or you can use your own images.

It’s Easy and Vital To Get A Quality YouTube Banner

We’ve covered all the basics you need to know to get a quality YouTube banner. We’ve also listed some of the best places to get a YouTube banner template.

Getting a YouTube banner is an important start in a quality YouTube channel, but it’s only the start. Now you have a professional YouTube appearance!

The banner is vital for a professional appearance. But that alone isn’t enough. Regularly post quality videos to build traction for your YouTube presence.

I make over six figures every month and so can you. Sign up below to get instant access to my exact blogging strategy!

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