50 Shades of Office Romance

With the release of 50 Shades Darker this weekend, we thought it would be fun to examine office romances and provide a list of some films to satiate your office hookup appetite. But first, a little information and psychology behind office relationships.

Why do people find office romances so intriguing?

Psychology Today had a great write-up on the psychology behind the office romance. They bring up the intensity of a time pressured partnership working towards a common goal, and how it mirrors the intensity and synergy of sexual relationships.

On average, people spend a large majority of their time working at their office. And when you combine that time with the partnership of work-related tasks, it sets the stage for office romance. The more time they spend together, the more they start viewing themselves from the context of a relationship. I’m not saying every work partnership will turn into a scene from 50 Shades of Grey, but it happens more often than you'd think.

Statistics show that office romances and hookups are more common than ever. Apparently, 40-47% of employees surveyed have been in a workplace romance! Take a look around you, statistically, half your team has been involved "romantically." Considering the amount of popularity and the implications, I’m surprised office romances haven’t been examined at a greater level by other businesses.

The motives for office hookups range from time, love, companionship, ease of opportunity, sex, and professional motives.

1. Time

9-5PM. That’s a lot of time to spend with someone else, and naturally, you’ll share the intimate details of your life.

2. Love and Companionship

Though time plays a factor here, the more time you spend with someone the more you’ll feel a level of companionship, which is a building block for an office romance.

3. Ease of Opportunity

An office promotes close proximity to coworkers, and when you’re overloaded with work, it can be difficult to maintain a social life outside of your office. The workplace can become the next best thing to a social life that some employees may have.

4. Sex

Office hookups can be just that — hookups. Office relationships can simply be driven by two individuals wanting to cross that boundary for a physical relationship.

5. Professional Motives

The most frowned upon motive for office hookups are for professional motives. Employees desire to move up or get special perks by engaging in a physical or romantic relationship.

Now that you know the brief psychology behind office romances, here’s some of our favorite examples of office romances in film and television.

Best Movies and TV Shows With Office Romances

What Women Want

Mel Gibson before he went super "Mel Gibson" and Helen Hunt star in the romantic comedy about a mind-reading executive who starts a relationship with his boss.

500 Days of Summer

How can you not love JGL? Am I right? While the movie takes a deeper examination of true love and fate, it offers a fun story between the romance between two coworkers and it's effect on their personal and professional lives.

Anchorman

This movie really functions as a "what not to do" at an office. From the drinking to the office romance, HR managers can show this movie to their staff and just tell them to do the exact opposite of what they see and that should keep everyone in compliance.

Goliath

If you haven't watched Amazon Prime's Goliath, starring Billy Bob Thorton, then you're missing out. This show features an Executive of a legal firm who routinely takes advantage of female employees.

Love Actually

One of the all-time feel-good Christmas Rom-Coms features two office romances, one involving Alan Rickman and his assistant, and other involving Hugh Grant and his assistant.

Suits

Mike Ross and Rachel Zane. One TV couple that shows that the office romance can work out with a happy ending (well sort-of).

Grey’s Anatomy

I don't even know where to start. Every member of this staff has been romantically involved at some point.

Quantico

With national security a stake, can the country survive a relationship between two agents? Watch and find out.

Bones

Dr.Bones and Agent Boothe, a workplace romance that took years to come together.

That Awkward Moment

Zac Efron has a one night stand and soon finds out that she is the new client at his company. Things get awkward...

Scandal

Not to give too many spoilers, but you'll want to tune-in to see what happens when the President of the United States has an affair with the White House Director of Communications. Let's just say things get a little bit... scandalous.

 

Fringe

Does starting a romantic relationship with your work partner effect your ability to solve paranormal crime? Find out.

 

Arrow

As a comic book nerd, I had to include at least one show based on the comic book universe. Oliver Queen (aka Green Arrow) is also the owner of a billion dollar company. He has an office romance with employee Felicity Smoak and even one of his partners in vigilante justice in Black Canary.

Parks and Recreation

Who doesn't love shows about dysfunctional workplaces and office hijinx?

What do you think of our list? Have any other examples you think should be added? Let us know in the comments!

 


lunch at billion dollar startups

What Lunch is Like at Billion Dollar Tech Companies...

Ever wonder what it’s like to have lunch at a startup valued in the billions? I did too. So I made a call to a friend who showed me around the lunch room at Dropbox. And then I called him again, and again. What makes Dropbox HQ lunches so great is they have something for everyone. Multiple entree stations, burger bar, vegetarian options, ice cream station, and multiple dessert trays.

Below you’ll see a series of lunches I had when visiting the Dropbox headquarters. Prepare to drool.

Because a single pig isn't enough. Dropbox had to have multiple roasted pigs for Chinese New Year.

Unleashing my inner Mongol.

A photo posted by Ronny Cheng 🍔 (@ronnyfcheng) on

Their catered lunches are as good as some Michelin star restaurants!

Needed a break from the brisket and dumpling diet. Avocado toast with radish

A photo posted by Ronny Cheng 🍔 (@ronnyfcheng) on

We all need a healthy break from pigs and lamb shanks every now and then right?

Dropbox should just open a restaurant already because this is ridiculous ... thanks again for the meal @the_benstagram

A photo posted by Ronny Cheng 🍔 (@ronnyfcheng) on

It's as ridiculous as you thought isn't it?

Are you full yet?

Hopefully Dropbox has some good fitness programs...

Not sure how @the_benstagram isn't fat working here every day... Beef bulgogi bahn mi and two hot wings #notdoneyet

A photo posted by Ronny Cheng 🍔 (@ronnyfcheng) on

Drool...

Cannot believe they feed their employees like this... Shrimp okonomiyaki

A photo posted by Ronny Cheng 🍔 (@ronnyfcheng) on

Seared pork chop for company lunch!

A photo posted by Ronny Cheng 🍔 (@ronnyfcheng) on


Chief Diversity Officer Job Description

Chief Diversity Officer Job Description Sample

This Chief Diversity Officer job description template is optimized for posting on job boards. Each section is designed to help increase your visibility on job board search engines by leveraging SEO best practices.

A Chief Diversity Officer is responsible for creating an inclusive environment for all employees. Usually, good Chief Diversity Officers will focus on building recruiting, training, and activities that make employees feel comfortable regardless of race, gender, age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or disability.

Below you’ll find a sample job description for a Chief Diversity Officer. You can copy the Chief Diversity Officer job description, but make sure to add your own information for company culture, perks/benefits, as well as double-check that the skills match your exact requirements.

Company Culture/Introduction:

{{This is where you’ll write a short introduction about your company and describe the culture. This is one of the most important sections, as it will be a key selling point for top candidates. Emphasize the company culture, perks, benefits, and anything else that makes your company amazing.}}

Job Description/ Why We’re Hiring:

We’re looking for a CTO who will take a key role on our team. Our CTO will be responsible for the technical vision and development of our {product/services}. You’ll be managing other engineers and developers, collaborating on the various layers of the infrastructure for our {{platform/application/etc.}}.

Chief Diversity Officer Duties, Responsibilities, and Expertise

{Below is a list of several skills and responsibilities of Chief Diversity Officers. Remember to remove any that do not fit your specific role}:

  • Serve as the key strategist responsible for guiding efforts and creating opportunities to define, assess and promote diversity and inclusive excellence, educational and employment opportunity, and cultural proficiency.
  • Work with all stakeholders to build a long-term plan for implementing plans and the metrics to measure success.
  • Create a vision for company's growth and how it will foster an environment of inclusiveness in relation to race, ethnicity, culture, gender, sexuality, nationality, ability, etc.
  • Ensure recruiting processes to promote diversity, and acceptance for all people regardless of race, ethnicity, culture, gender, sexuality, nationality, ability, etc.
  • In-depth knowledge of issues of access, inclusion, diversity, equity, and multiculturalism in business settings.
  • Understanding of the various laws and regulations, as well as policies related to equality and diversity.
  • Successful track record with building high-performance teams.
  • Conflict resolution skills and ability to find solutions to complex problems.
  • {{Make sure to mention any additional knowledge or technology that is  relevant to your product/company}}

Benefits and Perks

{{Insert the benefits or company perks here. You’ll want to emphasize health, any fitness perks, flexible work schedule, stock, company catered lunches, etc}}.


Examples of Company Fitness Challenges

Many companies like to talk big. They make a big deal of how they try to create an amazing company culture and they respect work/life balance, but the truth is, most businesses fail at promoting a healthy lifestyle for employees.

While it’s one thing to talk the talk, offer gym stipends, healthy office snacks, etc. it’s still not enough. I’m not saying that you need to go the extent of forcing people to be active or take breaks, but you need to do something to promote healthier behavior in employees.

But why do you want healthier employees?

Here’s a look at some pretty awesome stats collected by Zane Benefits.

  • Employees who eat healthy are 25% more likely have higher job performance.
  • Employees who exercise for at least 30 minutes, three times/week, are 15% more likely to have higher job performance.
  • Healthy employees take fewer sick days as absenteeism is 27% lower for workers who eat healthy and exercise regularly.
  • Overweight employees cost their employers at least $73.1 billion a year.
  • Employees are 14% more engaged when provided time off to recharge, 10% more engaged when provided healthy food options, 18% more engaged when provided time for healthy activities, and 18% more engaged when provided a flexible schedule.
  • 93% of employers believe healthier employees are more productive

So, if healthy employees are such a big benefit for employers, what can they do to better promote healthy lifestyles for employees?

Examples of Company Fitness Challenges

Outside of providing onsite fitness centers, businesses should be implementing workplace fitness challenges to promote a more active lifestyle for employees.

Step Challenge

What better way to get your team moving than with some fitness challenges? Using programs like step challenges will have your team competing for prizes. Step challenges are a simple, very low barrier way to get your team active.

Wall Sit/Plank Challenge

What about a wall sit or plank challenge? Take 5 minutes out of the day to have every employee participate in a wall sit or plank challenge like FitBug. The goal is to have everyone do it for a set time, and increase the time for the challenge by 10 seconds each day.

Mile-A-Day Challenge

Each month challenge employees to track how many days they run at east 1 mile. The winner at the end of each month gets a prize.

Biggest Loser Challenge

12-week weight loss competition, based on a percentage of weight loss, not actual pounds. NutraClick offered a similar challenge but also provided employees with free personal training services to get them even more engaged.

Physical Activity Challenge

Employees set their own personal goals each week for physical activity. Track everyone and see who’s able to hit their goals. Offer some cool incentives like new gear, electronics, meal subscriptions, free maid service, etc.

Daily Workout Incentive Challenge 

Incentivize your employees to workout! Seems simple right? Well, for a personal fitness challenge you can have employees receive PTO credits for each time they workout for at least an hour.

Train for a 5K Program

Every city has a 5K walk/run. Get your team together to train every day leading up to the event. Make sure to make the training during regular office hours to prevent employees from having to do it on their own time. We’ve found that participation is best either at the end of the day before everyone heads home, early in the morning, or during lunch hours. Oh, and make sure to cover the signup costs for the 5K. The last thing you want is to have to make them pay for it on their own.

Company fitness challenges and programs are a great way to keep your team active and build camaraderie. Do you know of any other fitness challenges or have details on how it worked for your company? Let us know in the comments and we'll add it to our list.


Hulk Out at these Companies with Onsite Gyms

Since employer branding became a “thing”, countless businesses have done everything that can to outdo each other. One company offers Unlimited PTO, the next offers that plus Nap Pods at the office.

However, one of my favorite perks that companies started to offer were Gym/Fitness Stipends to pay for your wellness. I always thought this was an incredibly valuable perk, as it shows a company’s want for you to have a good work/life balance and healthy lifestyle. After all, we spend so many hours at work, screwing up our posture, they should invest in the health of their employees — Right?

But then companies tried to go bigger and better again, offering full-scale onsite gyms at the workplace. That’s pretty crazy — don’t you think?

Below is a list of some of the companies with onsite gyms that encourage you to workout at the workplace.

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Companies with Onsite Gyms at the Workplace

Genentech

The Genentech gym, or “Club Genentech” as they call it, is a fully stocked gym with free acai bowls!

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TRX

As a fitness brand, you’d expect TRX to have a pretty kickass workplace gym. The onsite TRX gym features all of the latest TRX equipment, personal training courses and more.

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SAS Institute

Not only are the recognized as the Best Place to Work, but SAS has an amazing gym and fitness programs daily at work. Keeping employees healthy and engaged is clearly a priority for this company.

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General Mills

The General Mills HQ features a gym at the workplace and what I can assume is a never ending supply of Honey Nut Cheerios.

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Facebook

Put them right up there with Google, Facebook is known for some awesome perks. But how does their gym hold up? Well, it features two full rooms of well-maintained machines, weight equipment, and even a third room for free fitness classes! Hell, they even have a rock wall outside and fields for team sports.

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Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants

Not all Kimptons are created equal. But some of the gyms they have at their hotels worldwide are just incredible.

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Red Ventures

Employees at Red Ventures have a pretty great setup. A complete onsite gym, workplace basketball court, onsite bowling alley, and a health center.

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Zappos

We love gyms, but we love gyms with some character more. Zappos took an old city jail and converted it to a gym decorated in prison style.

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Verizon Wireless

Verizon has over 30 onsite gyms across the country, and even offer health care screenings, discounted weight loss programs and more.

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Chick-Fil-A

I bet you didn’t expect to see Chick-Fil-A on this list did you?  Chick-Fil-A has a complete wellness center, think weights, machines, cardio equipment galore. Oh, and they have a rooftop basketball court.

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MindBody

MindBody provides software for the wellness industry. They provide an onsite fitness center and wellness programs to drive home their core values of wellness of : mind, body and spirit.

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Weebly

95% of people probably don’t even know what Weebly does (they provide a website building platform), but that hasn’t stopped them from providing their employees with a pretty amazing gym.

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Honeywell

Honeywell employees cursh it at the office and at the gym with a fully stocked weight and cardio center at their multiple office locations.

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Rodale Inc.

You may not recognize the name, but Rodale is the owner of popular magazines like “Men’s Fitness.” They have an entire training center called the Rodale Energy Center that features full weight machines, cardio, spin classes and more.

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ExxonMobil

When it came to an onsite fitness center, ExxonMobil spared no expense. They provide employees with a 130,000 square foot Wellness Center with a three-story glass atrium, basketball court, fitness center, personal training service, and healthy dining service.

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Herbalife

When I think of Herbalife, the first I think of is a pyramid scheme. But besides their often controversial form of “Direct Selling,” they also have a great gym at the workplace for their employees.

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Apple

Apple is known for providing their employees with some great perks. Workplace gyms are just one of many perks that they offer their employees.

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Reebok

It should be a standard for performance brands like Reebok to provide great workplace gyms. The UFC sponsor spares no expense in giving employees a great onsite fitness option.

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Under Armour

Just like Reebok, Under Armour provides an amazing workplace fitness center.

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What do you think of our list? Are we missing any offices with sweet gyms? Let us know in the comments below!


email tracking

MixMax vs Bananatag

I love playing with new toys. It’s kind of an addiction. When it comes to productivity tools, there are so many options that it can be difficult to choose. I've had this problem with project management software, and I've had this problem with email tracking tools.

But I recently kicked the email tracking software hopping habit. I was an active user of Bananatag when I was first looking for a tool, and then I moved on to Sidekick by Hubspot. Afterward, I moved back to Bananatag and then switched to MixMax.

Overall, I've seen my sales close rates increase by at least 75% by just adding these tools to the mix. The reason why? Knowing how many times a prospect has read your email or clickedthrough a link gives you direct insight into interest. If a prospect opens an email 17 times, then chances are they're interested in your services. This lets you quickly craft follow-ups specifically for them.

What I loved about Bananatag

 

Bananatag email tracking

 

Simplicity. It tracked my emails and did it well. It also had one of the key features I wanted - email scheduling. This made it easy for me to set follow-up emails, and track A|B email tests. Definitely, recommend Bananatag as a simple email tracking tool that you can install and forget about. But as much as I liked Bananatag, I still wanted more.

Why I Switched to MixMax

 

First, there was nothing wrong with Bananatag. I made the switch purely out of preference. MixMax had all of the things I loved about Bananatag, but added some other cool tools. Just like Bananatag, I could install MixMax and forget about it, but the UI was a little more to my liking. The added features are what really won me over. Being able to send emails with embedded surveys, polls, and calendar invites was clutch for me.

 

 

In terms of their impact on sales, both MixMax and Bananatag had the same results. The major difference for me was in time saved through calendaring and internal communications. MixMax polls and surveys make it easy to ask questions to your team and get quick feedback that is collected through a centralized system, and the calendar feature removed back and forth emails to set meeting times for all parties involved. You wouldn't expect to utilize the surveys and polls often, but I found myself using them more and more. If I needed my team to choose between two landing page designs, then I could send the images and ask them to click a button on the poll signaling which one they liked more. It resulted in much higher engagement rates from my team and faster response times.

MixMax vs Bananatag: who wins?

 

It depends on what you want. If all you need is email tracking and scheduling, then Bananatag is a good option. Me, I prefer MixMax. I think they have stronger functionality and I prefer the UI. The calendar scheduling is a can't-miss feature for me, as it makes it that much easier to schedule meetings with prospects. They both have free options, so I suggest trying them out and seeing which works best for you.


marketing bullshit

Seeing Past the Marketing BS

In the marketing and services game, we go head-to-head against several firms. It’s the nature of the game. Most businesses understand that they need help, but aren’t marketing experts so they reach out to several firms for proposals. I’ve seen more than one company fall for the marketing BS that some of these organizations/consultants spout off. They'll often start by telling you how “your marketing is in peril” and “you’re falling behind because you’re not using the latest technology”, and “have you heard of trend X, it’s completely changing marketing!”

Warning Signs that the Marketing Firm You’re speaking with is a SCAM

They follow a fad. At the end of the day, marketing is marketing. Real pros will use all of the tools at their disposal to create programs for you that drive revenue. Yes, we each may have some specialties, but our businesses are not built on QR Codes or a single fad.

They make impossible promises. I’m sure you get those emails. You know the ones I’m talking about right?

If the marketing consultant you’re speaking with is making promises of number 1 position on Google within 90 days, then they’re scam artists. Search engines are like living entities, while online marketers can influence them in a positive way, search engines can also react in unpredictable ways. It’s like training a dog. You may be able to create positive behavior that you want, but your dog will always have his own personality that causes him to act differently given different environmental and local factors. There’s a lot of factors that can impact search engine rankings at any given time.

Deals too good to be true. Why would you pay thousands for a web developer to do your site when this guy in India is promising to do it for $250? You get what you pay for. What ends up happening is this guy in India builds you a website that is one sneeze away from collapsing. Same goes for paying for writers on the cheap. $5/article sounds good, but then you have to factor the time it takes you to read the content, make edits, and publish. Overall, it costs you way more of your time, then having a high-quality writer create it from the start!

Over emphasis of Technical SEO. Yes, technical SEO is important. Depending on your site you may even have hundreds of issues. But firms or consultants that overemphasize this and avoid discussing your website messaging, user experience, and overall content are definitely not focusing on the issues that will reap some of the biggest rewards.

Pre-packaged or Bundled Plans. If the firm you’re considering has an "add to cart" or checkout process, then you’re probably dealing with scam artists. Every business is unique and requires different strategies. You can’t just prescribe 1 Facebook post a day, 1 email/month, and a “gold” or “silver” SEO package and call it a day. True marketing firms and consultants need to understand your business, your market, and goals to create a strategy that encompasses the key areas of focus to help you get results.

Your website is being penalized or is not ranking in Google. If the consultant you’re working with sent you an email like this, then there’s a 99.9% chance you have a scam on your hands. True marketers don’t need to employ scare tactics like this or scream “DANGER! Will Robinson! DANGER!” to win your business. They understand you may have a need and will cite examples of areas that you can improve whether it’s through content strategy, keyword-driven SEO plans, more well-optimized landing pages, etc.

Questions to ask a marketing consultant or firm before you make your decision on who to hire:

  • What is your marketing background and qualifications?
  • What are some recent projects that you’ve worked?
  • What are your areas of focus?
  • What industries do you traditionally serve?
  • What do you think of our current marketing efforts?

nick fury giph

The Fury-ous Case for Storytelling in Marketing

Experience is everything. These days you hear marketers talk constantly about experiential marketing and storytelling as if they're brand new concepts.

Marketing in B2B has primarily been all about push, push, push. Take your product and messaging and just stuff it in the face of your prospects. This strategy worked. But as technology and people have evolved, we’ve also grown more numb to this form of blatant marketing. The newest craze — Marketing through Storytelling and Experiences.

But what does that mean? By storytelling am I talking about literally writing a Harry Potter novel? No. Marketing through storytelling is the art of using content to take your prospects through a journey that eventually leads them to perform a desired action (or you can refer to this as a conversion point). The use of experiences has added to the various marketing channels as companies seek the latest “it thing” to go “viral."

What About Content Marketing?

However, content marketing was once bastardized by SEO. People viewed content as a 350-word post that focused solely on keyword density and proper H-tag usage. You can still find search engines littered with hundreds of posts titled “Best CRM Software” or “Best Project Management Software”, etc. with it literally been written with little to no English knowledge.

Content Marketing has made a comeback but the new buzz is around storytelling. There are tons of examples of storytelling done right, but I’m going to share one of my favorite examples — Comic books. Most comic books can be seen as engaging stories but few create interactive experiences. In the late 1950’s through the 1960’s, Jim Steranko was the writer for the comic book that I believe sets the tone for experiential marketing through storytelling.

That comic was Nick Fury and the Agents of Shield as well as Strange Tales featuring none other than, Nick Fury. From a marketing perspective what made Nick Fury so unique? For one, Steranko was capitalizing on the popularity of James Bond (Dr.No was released in 1963) and tailored Fury to be Marvel’s eye-patch wearing super spy.

Interactive Storytelling

What Steranko accomplished with his run of Nick Fury was an incredible example of creating an interactive experience. In my favorite example, Nick Fury is trapped in a maze, and to continue reading the comic you were forced to physically rotate the page as if you were working your way through the maze, placing you in the same position as Nick Fury in the comic.

Nick Fury Steranko storytelling

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words.. or is it a Million?

As marketers what have we learned about the use imagery? The use of imagery has higher metrics for engagement, social posts that use imagery have statistically higher CTR. So if we see these positive metrics, then imagine what a two-page spread in a comic can do. But how else can you stand out? Steranko being the storytelling pioneer with DGAF attitude, created a not one, not two, but a three-page spread of just images. During this time, this was considered crazy. But the images on those pages created a powerful experience that words couldn’t describe.
Screen Shot 2016-12-10 at 11.42.09 AM

nick fury moment of silence
This sequence shows Agent Nick Fury, stealthily moving through enemy headquarters. The lack of any words or narration added the to stealth experience, as the reader is meant to experience the silence. This section gets readers to interact with the comic by piecing the narrative together from images and gets the reader to engage by leading them to an exciting twist with this storytelling tool.

Spread 'Em

Another great example is the epic 4-page spread. Again something that had never been done before, but would ensure that comic book readers would purchase two issues of the Nick Fury comic to see the entire spread.


This was marketing through storytelling at its finest.

And the result of these stories of engagement? Strange Tales gained enough popularity for a spin-off comic of Nick Fury Agents of Shield, which led to increased revenue at Marvel Comics, and Steranko became one of the three highest-paid employees at Marvel. I’d say his storytelling converted pretty well...

What Lessons Can We Learn About Marketing through Storytelling?

While most marketers still look at content from an SEO perspective, the fact is the landscape has evolved. People want more than 350 words on the best practices for Online Marketing. Your audience is demanding to be engaged through stories and experiences. And what better medium to analyze than comic books? Comics are the definition of what marketers strive to achieve — content that engages and captivates users and drives them to convert to company revenue.


make more money from airbnb

How Big Data Will Help You Make More Money From Your Airbnb

wheelhouse big data optimization to make more moneyEvery now and then I come across a product and think to myself “Damn, that’s cool.”

I had one of those moments recently when I stumbled on a service called Wheelhouse that specializes in helping customers maximize how much money they make from short-term rentals like HomeAway and Airbnb's (more on that in a minute).

Brief Intro to Big Data

When working with businesses, the use of big data for decision-making is common. You have it in advertising tools that are used on a daily basis, sales force intelligence tools, and Business intelligence tools. It’s everywhere in business already and with good reason. It decreases the time you need to spend on completing tasks and making decisions.

As a marketer, I see intelligence tools every day. Every time I fire up Google Adwords on Facebook Ads, there’s some intelligence at work there. Both platforms offer bid optimization to help me maximize my advertising spend based on other users, time of day, and search.

But big data in the consumer market? You see it, but you may not realize it. Whenever you use shopping sites like Amazon and you get a popular recommendation based on past purchases, that’s marketing intelligence in action. However, that form of marketing intelligence is being used by businesses to make money from you, not help you make more money. This is why I find Wheelhouse so awesome.

It represents the transition of big data analytics to benefit the consumer market, not just businesses.

Make More Money from Your Airbnb

wheelhouse short term rental price optimizationOkay—if I have an Airbnb or HomeAway, then why would I use this? I think the better question is why wouldn’t you?

Products like Wheelhouse let users automate pricing based on neighborhood and area comps, as well as give you valuable insight into your metrics. This saves you hours of time managing your short-term rental and analyzing trends. As an Airbnb or HomeAway host, you have to love this. You’re literally able to make more money from your short term rental while spending less time managing it.

And if you start to rent out multiple units/homes, then leveraging big data like Wheelhouse will let you run your little rental operation like a big business. Putting the power big data analytics in your hands.

Where Else Do We See Big Data for Consumers?

If you run automated social media programs to manage your Twitter, then you’re seeing Big Data being used there. Programs like MeetEdgar.com automatically republish posts based on engagement, time, etc to maximize traffic to your account.

Another example would be algorithm-based tools like Google and Kayak. Every time you do a search, Google takes the context of your search to give you the result that will (hopefully) match what you’re searching. It then increases/decreases rankings based on activity. Kayak will look through all available flights to give you the cheapest options. While not nearly as intelligent as Google or other products, Kayak uses some level of intelligence to take your query and provide the most desired results.

With big data making its rounds to everyday users, what’s next? An intelligence tool that stores all of the meals you’ve eaten and suggests what restaurant and cuisine you’ll want to eat at in that exact moment - finally ending the hour long scroll through Yelp trying to figure out where to grub. Imagine if based on tagged friends the app could predict what cuisine and restaurant both parties would like in that exact moment. Finally ending the dreaded back and forth of “where do you want to eat?"

If someone takes my above idea and makes it a reality, then please let me know. I'd love to be able to end those long debates about where to eat...


building an seo strategy the right way

SEO or S-E-NO? Building an SEO Strategy That Works

Check your inbox. How many emails have you received in the last week telling you that your SEO is terrible and you’re missing out on opportunities? Odds are you’ll need more than two hands to count all those terrible SEO consultant emails.

But is that a reason to turn your back on SEO? Numerous articles always claim that SEO is dead, but is it really? Even though there are countless phonies and wannabe SEO experts out there, that’s no reason to think you won’t get value from leveraging an SEO strategy.

Think of SEO as the gift that keeps on giving. If you put together a sound strategy that leverages keywords and topics based around specific targets, and tie it all in to specific offers that drive revenue, then you’ll reap the rewards. But that’s easier said than done.

Most so-called “SEO experts” will use the Google Adwords tool, pull a list of relevant keywords, and tell you to create a single article for each keyword. But that kind of strategy is so 2009. SEO should be a foundational element of your greater marketing efforts. Meaning, when you build your content and social media plan, the content should be rooted in SEO. Same goes for your outbound email campaigns. You’ll want to build them out based on the existing content you have, your calendar, and what’s being searched by your audience.

I’m going to show you how to build an SEO strategy the Astronaut way. Yes, it’ll take you more time to put together, but it’s worth it if you care about results.

How to Build an SEO Strategy

It all starts by thinking like an astronaut — aim high. This means looking at your product or service with a 1000 foot view. Typically what you'll see bottom-feeder "SEO" consultants do is take your main product keyword and run Google Adwords keyword tool for that. For example, if you're an IT Service firm, then your consultant would run a search on "IT Services" and "IT solutions." However, they'll fail at considering several thousands of other relevant and amazing opportunities for revenue.

To get started on the right foot with your SEO Strategy you'll need to ask yourself a few questions:

What is it that you do? What are your features? Who are your competitors? What are the differences in your products/services and theirs? How do you describe your product/service? What pain points does your product/service resolve?

You’re building this strategy because you want it to be your golden goose, but it doesn’t just happen overnight. Use the words you use to describe your product/service and the benefits to build a spreadsheet and list out phrases and words that address each of those. This should take you at least an hour.

1. Use Google Adwords Tool the Right Way

After you’ve done this, then go ahead and load those into Google Adwords to get a rough idea of other related keywords. You should have at least 1000 relevant search terms. You’ll want to export that to an Excel file. If you hate spreadsheets, then you’re in for a world of hurt.

2. Competitor Keyword Research

Next, fire up a competitor keyword tracking tool (we like SEM Rush). Use SEM Rush to analyze the keywords of your top competitors. Also, take a look at complimentary products and services. If you’re an IT service firm, then also look at what keywords are being used from top IT software providers. The reason why: There will be significant overlap in terms of keywords that are used, and you’re both targeting very similar markets. When it comes to building an SEO strategy from scratch, you’ll want to make sure you have great coverage into areas that your target market are interested in.

3. Categorize and De-Dupe

After running SEM Rush on a few competitors and your initial Google Adwords list, you should have 10,000 or more keywords in your spreadsheet. It’s a lot I know. Now comes the very manual and frustrating part. You’re going to want to go through that entire list of keywords and start categorizing them by topic and stage of the funnel/buyer’s journey. Keep a key of your topics handy so you don’t double categorize or create multiple similar categories. Once you’ve made it through the entire list give yourself a high-five!

4. Pivot Table Your Way to Estimated Revenue

Now, you can go through and pivot each set of categories to get estimated traffic volume from each grouping. With this level of detail you can even see which categories create the most opportunities at each stage of the buyer’s journey. Pretty awesome right!

5. Asset and Content Optimization and Creation

But the fun doesn’t stop there. Once you have your categories and estimated search volumes, you’ll want to look at which categories have the highest volume of search and where they are in the customer lifecycle or buyer’s journey. You’ll want to create a downloadable asset for that category, and use all of the content you create for those keywords to drive traffic to that asset. What this does is create a focal point for your traffic to turn into leads.

Using the IT service firm example, I may determine that the most trafficked category is "IT Problems.” A great lead magnet for this may be something titled “99 Common IT Problems and How to Solve Them.” Then, for every blog post written under the category of “IT Problems” I would add links and content ads that drive visitors to the landing page for “99 Common IT Problems and How to Solve Them.” The result would be several leads at an early stage in the funnel where visitors are aware of the problems they’re experiencing.

From here, you’re going to replicate this across all of your categories. This is what I like to call Stage 1 of your SEO strategy. It will set up a good foundation for you to continue to build and learn from. You’ll need to continuously check your Webmaster tools and SEM Rush accounts to see what keywords you’re picking up traction with, and spot new opportunities for growth. If an SEO firm doesn't take this kind of approach with their keyword and content strategy, then RUN. They don't have a clue what they're doing.