Monday, March 20, 2017

Content Marketing: 6 Steps to Building Your Editorial Calendar

I've seen content marketers in a state of paralysis, overwhelmed with the responsibility to create a constant stream of quality content. I get it. It's daunting to even get started because it’s not just about churning out blog posts, either; part of content creation is fitting each piece into an overall strategy. 
In the last B2B Content Marketing benchmarks, nearly half of those with stagnant programs said content creation was a major factor. Which makes sense. I get questions from marketers who ask me, "where do I even start?" Or claim, "we just don't have enough content.
Let's conquer this together. 
It all starts with an editorial calendar. An editorial calendar is a tool you and your team can use to map out content for the entire year. Building out your calendar naturally focuses your strategy, ensuring that you have the right mix of content types, the right topics covered, and enough content for each stage of the buyer’s journey.
Now that you know where to start, here’s just 6 steps to building out your editorial calendar that I guarantee we relieve any paralyzed marketers. 

1. Find Your Topics

First things first -- it's your job to identify the most relevant topics for your audience. You’re looking for the sweet spot where your audience’s needs and your brand’s expertise overlap. But don't lock yourself in a room and stare at a blank whiteboard. Act like an investigative reporter and hit the streets, if you will, to understand what resonates most with your audience. 
  • The Field: What are the conversations they're having with prospects -- what are their pain points, what keeps them up at night?
  • Buyer Personas: Assuming you have these already, use these as a catalyst to understanding what's important to them. 
  • Social Media: What content topics and thought leaders are your audience engaging with the most?
  • Keyword Research: Leverage Google Adwords to understand the key phrases around your brand's expertise, their search volume and competitiveness. 
  • Forums: Find where your audience goes to get answers and consume content. 
Basically, anywhere your customers are talking is a place your brand can listen. All of these sources will help identify the broad topics that will shape your calendar.

2. Audit Existing Content

When marketers tell me, "we just don't have enough content" for a content strategy, I quickly dismiss their argument. Sure, if you're literally launching your business today, chances are you don't have much content. But in most cases, your marketing team has been sending emails, promoting eBooks and whitepapers and publishing blogs for some time now -- perhaps just not at the always-on pace and volume of an effective content strategy.
So start your quest for sourcing more content by auditing the work you have already spent resources creating. Once you have your topics in place based on your research conducted in step 1, check your back catalog for content that fits. 
I always say if you have a 20 page eBook, you can squeeze 20 blogs from it. Or if you have just 5 blogs on a similar topic, you have an eBook. If you want to test me, find me on LinkedIn -- happy to prove my theory. 
Dig into your Big Rock assets and slice and dice. Look for older blog posts that still have value but are due for a makeover and re-launch. Find successful email content and convert into a blog. Turn webinars into Q&A blogs and presentations into SlideShare decks.
Odds are even your most popular content last year still didn’t reach your entire potential audience. So don’t be shy about adding new value and republishing.

3. Plan Content throughout the Buyer’s Journey

Once you have identified some re-purposed content that can act as tent poles to your calendar, it's now time to work on the gaps. Make sure each piece is targeted at a specific stage of the buyer’s journey, and aim for a healthy mix of early and late stage content.
Many marketers focus their content on the late stages, because perception is that this content is contributing more directly to revenue. But without a healthy proportion of early-stage content, you won’t be building an audience for the late-stage stuff -- a cart before the horse issue, if you will. 
For help turning your topics into blog posts, try HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator, or Portent’s Content Idea Generator.

4. Set Your Cadence

Is it better to publish daily, three times a week, once a fortnight? Plenty of research has been conducted to find the perfect publishing cadence. But I'm sorry to say, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The one thing we do know is that consistency is far more important than frequency.
So as you plan your calendar, plan to publish as frequently as you can reliably create high-quality content. Your audience may prefer short-form content every day or more substantial pieces weekly. Use your best-performing pieces from the past year, as well as your current capacity, to set a sustainable cadence.

5. Fill in Your Blanks

Now it’s time to actually fill out your calendar. This is the fun part because you start to really see your content strategy come alive. Start with your broad topics, then fill each of your content slots with related posts from your existing content and your idea generation sessions. Aim for a mix of content types for variety, and make sure to vary the stage of the buyer’s journey.
A few recurring series can help fill out the calendar, and can give your audience something to look forward to every month. For example, on the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog we do a Marketing Book Worth a Look and Millennial Minute each month, and a Trending Content roundup weekly.
It’s also a good idea to leave an open slot or two each month for timely posts, new turkey slices, guest posts, or news jacking—anything that would add value but is hard to plan in advance.

6. Adjust As Needed

Once your calendar is complete, it can guide you throughout the year. But don’t carve it in stone—it should be a living document, evolving and iterating. Evaluate how each piece of content performs, and use that data to make strategic tweaks to the calendar. The focus should always be on what is resonating with your audience, not what you planned six months ago.
Creating a year’s worth of content is a hefty challenge for marketers. Start with a quarter or just the next two months. Leverage your research to generate broad themes and then build out secondary and tertiary topics based on those broad themes. Add existing content, recurring series, and a few wild cards, and you will find your calendar starting to fill up in no time.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Top 13 SEO Resources: Become a SEO Expert

Being a SEO Expert means understanding how skills such as SEO, content, social media savvy, and other skills impact our ability to move the needle for ourselves and the organizations we work for.

When it comes to SEO, marketers don’t need to gain an intimate understanding of search engine algorithms. Rather, marketers simply need to have a basic understanding of how SEO impacts the “findability” of content. The following ten resources will get you there, and then some.

For Beginners: If you’re completely new to SEO, building a sound foundation of knowledge is your first step. Check out these three resources to get up to speed on the basics.

1. Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide (pdf). While I wouldn’t tell anyone to do “Whatever Google says” to do to get your website to rank, it’s important to know what Google’s public position is on a variety of tactics/techniques you might employ.

2. The Beginners Guide to SEO by Moz. This classic resource from Moz includes chapters on how search engines work, keyword research, analytics, and other SEO topics. Check out the ground-level introduction to discover best practices you can put to immediate use in your content marketing.

3. Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors.
Get in the know about on-the-page and off-the-page elements that impact your SEO with this SlideShare presentation from Search Engine Land. Discover how content quality, keyword use, site architecture, and other factors influence search engine results pages (SERPs).

4. An Introductory Guide to PPC by HubSpot.
This eBook outlines the potential benefits of paid search and how campaigns work. Find information on creating a keyword strategy, setting a PPC budget, optimizing ad copy, measuring performance, and other aspects of campaigns.

Taking to the Next Level: Tips and Tools from the Experts: Take your knowledge to the next level with specific tactics and tool recommendations from well-known SEO experts. These next four search resources are chock-full of insights you can use to optimize content.

5. Google SEO Guide: The Ultimate Resource by WordStream is one of the best SEO resource available online. It covers Keyword Research to How to get authority backlinks.

6. Learning SEO from the Experts “Solve for the humans!” Another HubSpot Guide.
This touchstone advice from HubSpot CTO Dharmesh Shah kicks off an eBook that provides SEO direction from the pros. Chapters from search authorities address keyword fundamentals, on and off-page SEO techniques, and link building best practices.

7. 21 Simple and Free SEO Tools to Instantly Improve Your Marketing By Buffer.
Buffer Content Crafter Kevan Lee observes in his blog post, “It’s amazing the difference a good tool can make.” Kevan goes on to provide resources for tasks that include checking the speed and usability of your site, analyzing links, and identifying duplicate content.

8. 37 Awesome Tools to Get the Most from Your SEO Campaigns by SEJ.
Because search engine optimization is so tool-dependent, there seems no better way to cap things off than with this listicle from Search Engine Land. Access tools that can immediately make you better at SEO analysis, link prospecting, and measurement.

Becoming Your Organization's Resident SEO Expert: How would you like to become the go-to SEO resource at your organization? Get there with the help of these final three advanced SEO resources.

9. The Advanced Guide to SEO by Neil Patel.
Go beyond the basics with Neil Patel and Sujan Patel in this Quick Sprout resource for getting more out of SEO initiatives. The infographic-style presentation provides a deep dive look at topics like indexation, accessibility, site performance, and advanced data research.

10. Search Engine Journal YouTube Channel.
Another must-subscribe for anyone interested in what’s next in SEO, Search Engine Journal’s YouTube channel offers frequent posts with industry newsmakers. Hundreds of archived videos cover SEO strategy, local search, and much more.

11. 58 Resources to Help You Learn and MasterSEO by KOSSmetrics.
Dig into this KISSmetrics post for a nice blend of quick tips, resources, and insights. Explore information on Google and Bing Webmaster Tools, review industry-specific SEO best practices, and get a list of bookmark-worthy blogs on content marketing.

12. Webmaster World.
Most SEO bloggers are guilty of writing too much theory and too little in the way of concrete examples. As a result, we’re often left thinking, “sounds good, but how do I know this really works?”

Webmaster World is one of the oldest and most trusted forums on topics related to web development and marketing online as a whole. These are real webmasters sharing their thoughts and issues in an environment conducive to open discussion. As a result, the threads often involve specific issues, a variety of voices and, most importantly, no-holds-barred discussion of the issue at hand.

13. The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Search Engine.
This the legendary paper submitted by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin during their Ph.D. work at Stanford. It is a blueprint of sorts of the original working model for Google.

While in its current form Google in many ways dwarfs the original concept, the original Google concept was truly an engineering work of art – and reading the paper above will take you a long way in understanding the processes that are at the core of the search engines we know today.

Improving your SEO is a great way to make sure your hard work gets noticed by the right people. Rounding out your knowledge doesn’t need to be hard; just nailing the basics can do wonders for your brand’s visibility. Use insights, practices, and tools from these resources and you’ll be well on your way to earning your “SEO savvy” label.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Top Marketers Say: Stop Doing These Things for Greater Success in 2017

It’s always easy to find advice on what new strategies, tactics, and tools marketers should add to their mix. Especially this time of year, the internet overflows with advice. Start this new habit. Try this browser extension. Use this time management plan.
It’s good to learn and grow, of course. It’s great to add to your skill set or your toolbox. You can’t add on forever, though—eventually you need to take a few things out to stop from getting in your own way.
We asked some of our favorite marketing experts what you should stop doing in 2017 to be more productive, more efficient, and achieve better results. Here’s what they had to say.

Marketing Experts Say: Stop Doing These Things in 2017

1. Ardath Albee, CEO & B2B Marketing Strategist, Marketing Interactions
In 2017, marketers should stop thinking in terms of campaigns. Every time a campaign ends you give your audience a reason to reconsider how relevant your company is to their needs. This is especially true if the campaign ends before they know everything they need to make a buying decision. Most B2B campaigns do, forcing your buyers to go find someone else who’s telling the rest of the story they want to hear.
Marketers who choose campaigns are also choosing to alienate their audiences when the campaign ends. Instead, focus on a continuum of engagement that builds momentum over the course of the customer relationship— at a minimum from prospect to customer, and if possible through to advocate. This requires the continuity, compassion, and commitment that campaigns inherently lack.
2. Gini Dietrich, CEO, Arment Dietrich, Inc.
The one thing marketers should stop doing in 2017 is THE WRONG MARKETING AUTOMATION. Sorry, I didn’t mean to yell that, but let’s get real. Just because you CAN send multiple emails if someone doesn’t open a previous one, doesn’t mean you should.
I’ve seen two big trends this year: 1) The email that says, on the third or fourth try, “You haven’t responded to me, which means you a) must be rude; b) must not need us; c) must be trapped under something heavy and can’t call for help.” And 2) The email that says, “You must be busy so I’m popping this at the top of your inbox so you can get to it more quickly.”
Both of these approaches assume marketers have the correct list and the people they are emailing are, at best, warm leads. When, in fact, most are cold leads and are from purchased lists. This strategy does not work. So stop it. Stop it now!
3. Amy Higgins, Strategic Marketing Consultant
I wish marketers would stop deciding on their tracking parameters as the last step to their marketing campaigns. Many marketers will publish and promote content without adding trackable data parameters. Or, they add one-off trackable data parameters that are not related to a high-arching goal or campaign metric.
Worse, many add the tracking parameters at the last stage. This is where mistakes can happen in a last-minute effort to getting a campaign launched. You could even end up with trackable data that goes nowhere or adds extra complexity to your data reports.
If you develop your data strategy while you are developing the campaign, you can map the customer journey and decide what metrics you need and do not need to track.  Ask yourself, what's the main goal of the campaign? What journey do you want your customers to follow? What are you trying to get your audience to do at each stage?
4. Doug Kessler, Creative Director & Co-Founder, Velocity Partners, Ltd
Marketers should stop kissing the asses of our executive 'stakeholders' and start standing up for what we know to be great marketing.
A dumb idea from a Senior VP is still a dumb idea.
Marketers need the backbone to point that out, instead of rushing off to execute it.
They know their stuff. We respect that. We need to start insisting that we know ours.
5. John Lincoln, CEO, Ignite Visibility
I can give you a long list of things that marketers should not do next year. There's so many ineffective strategies that people are wasting their money on right now. It's really sad to see. That being said, the one thing that really resonates with me is that marketers should absolutely not be blogging without any clear goals in mind. I cannot tell you how many blogs I see out there with absolutely no purpose.
What these people do not realize is that their blog traffic can be used for remarketing, it can be used to capture email addresses, it can be used to push people into their sales funnel, it can be used to strategically target large keywords on the internet that have buying intent, it can be used to grow the size of your social media community significantly, it can be used to create ecourses and it is the single most important part of your business for thought leadership (in most cases).
If you know how to blog correctly and you're adding something new to the conversation it can dramatically increase the size of your business. It is at the heart of your entire marketing strategy and most people are doing it just dead wrong. In 2017 I encourage everybody to really define their goals for blogging and study up on how to get there and really maximize the potential of their blog. Most marketers are leaving money on the table there. They don't realize the power that their blog has and next year they really need to grab a hold of it and not continue to make this mistake.
6. Katie Martell, Marketing Consultant
Please, stop buying technology when you really need to solve your strategy problems. Many tools create efficiency, many tools make you more effective, but no tool will help you if you are lacking a foundational strategy. Invest in understanding your customers. Invest in improving your story and your content. Invest in aligning with sales.
With so many options in MarTech, many teams face a new challenge: managing their existing tech stack. Don't get caught up in the hype and when you do make a purchase, hold your vendors accountable to helping you get the most out of your money spent. 
7. Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute
According to CMI/MarketingProfs latest research, 70% of marketers are planning to create more content in 2017.  For most companies, I believe this is a mistake.  The majority of enterprise content does nothing for the intended audience. 
I would focus on creating less, but more impactful content on fewer channels...on initiatives that are truly differentiated and truly help us to create better customers.  Consolidate what you are doing so that what you keep makes the most impact possible.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Why do most startups fail?

If you stop to think about it, this is quite surprising. After all, entrepreneurs who choose to found a startup are usually bright, confident, and willing to take on risks . Even though they know that the startup mortality rate is so high, they are happy to challenge the existing players in the market, because they feel they can do a better job than the incumbents.

They're well-informed and expert, and the very fact that they've been able to raise money from funders means they are charismatic and can do a good job convincing mature investors that they have a dream which is worth backing. Also, one would expect that the combination of an accomplished , ambitious hard-working founder who has considerable domain expertise, along with seasoned investors with deep pockets should make for a winning combination !

Reason 1: Market Problems

A major reason why companies fail, is that they run into the problem of their being little or no market for the product that they have built. Here are some common symptoms:

There is not a compelling enough value proposition, or compelling event, to cause the buyer to actually commit to purchasing. Good sales reps will tell you that to get an order in today’s tough conditions, you have to find buyers that have their “hair on fire”, or are “in extreme pain”. You also hear people talking about whether a product is a Vitamin (nice to have), or an Aspirin (must have).

The market timing is wrong. You could be ahead of your market by a few years, and they are not ready for your particular solution at this stage. For example when EqualLogic first launched their product, iSCSI was still very early, and it needed the arrival of VMWare which required a storage area network to do VMotion to really kick their market into gear. Fortunately they had the funding to last through the early years.

The market size of people that have pain, and have funds is simply not large enough

Reason 2: Business Model Failure

As outlined in the introduction to Business Models section, after spending time with hundreds of startups, I realized that one of the most common causes of failure in the startup world is that entrepreneurs are too optimistic about how easy it will be to acquire customers. They assume that because they will build an interesting web site, product, or service, that customers will beat a path to their door. That may happen with the first few customers, but after that, it rapidly becomes an expensive task to attract and win customers, and in many cases the cost of acquiring the customer (CAC) is actually higher than the lifetime value of that customer (LTV).

The observation that you have to be able to acquire your customers for less money than they will generate in value of the lifetime of your relationship with them is stunningly obvious. Yet despite that, I see the vast majority of entrepreneurs failing to pay adequate attention to figuring out a realistic cost of customer acquisition. A very large number of the business plans that I see as a venture capitalist have no thought given to this critical number, and as I work through the topic with the entrepreneur, they often begin to realize that their business model may not work because CAC will be greater than LTV.

The Essence of a Business Model

As outlined in the Business Models introduction, a simple way to focus on what matters in your business model is look at these two questions:

  • Can you find a scalable way to acquire customers
  • Can you then monetize those customers at a significantly higher level than your cost of acquisition

Thinking about things in such simple terms can be very helpful. I have also developed two “rules” around the business model, which are less hard and fast “rules, but more guidelines. These are outlined below:

The CAC / LTV “Rule”

The rule is extremely simple:

CAC must be less than LTV

To compute CAC, you should take the entire cost of your sales and marketing functions, (including salaries, marketing programs, lead generation, travel, etc.) and divide it by the number of customers that you closed during that period of time. So for example, if your total sales and marketing spend in Q1 was $1m, and you closed 1000 customers, then your average cost to acquire a customer (CAC) is $1,000.

To compute LTV, you will want to look at the gross margin associated with the customer (net of all installation, support, and operational expenses) over their lifetime. For businesses with one time fees, this is pretty simple. For businesses that have recurring subscription revenue, this is computed by taking the monthly recurring revenue, and dividing that by the monthly churn rate.

Because most businesses have a series of other functions such as G&A, and Product Development that are additional expenses beyond sales and marketing, and delivering the product, for a profitable business, you will want CAC to be less than LTV by some significant multiple. For SaaS businesses, it seems that to break even, that multiple is around three, and that to be really profitable and generate the cash needed to grow, the number may need to be closer to five. But here I am interested in getting feedback from the community on their experiences to test these numbers.

The Capital Efficiency “Rule”

If you would like to have a capital efficient business, I believe it is also important to recover the cost of acquiring your customers in under 12 months. Wireless carriers and banks break this rule, but they have the luxury of access to cheap capital. So stated simply, the “rule” is:

Reason 3: Poor Management Team

An incredibly common problem that causes startups to fail is a weak management team. A good management team will be smart enough to avoid Reasons 2, 4, and 5. Weak management teams make mistakes in multiple areas:

  • They are often weak on strategy, building a product that no-one wants to buy as they failed to do enough work to validate the ideas before and during development. This can carry through to poorly thought through go-to-market strategies.
  • They are usually poor at execution, which leads to issues with the product not getting built correctly or on time, and the go-to market execution will be poorly implemented.
  • They will build weak teams below them. There is the well proven saying: A players hire A players, and B players only get to hire C players (because B players don’t want to work for other B players). So the rest of the company will end up as weak, and poor execution will be rampant.

Reason 4: Running out of Cash

A fourth major reason that startups fail is because they ran out of cash. A key job of the CEO is to understand how much cash is left and whether that will carry the company to a milestone that can lead to a successful financing, or to cash flow positive.

Milestones for Raising Cash

The valuations of a startup don’t change in a linear fashion over time. Simply because it was twelve months since you raised your Series A round, does not mean that you are now worth more money. To reach an increase in valuation, a company must achieve certain key milestones.

What goes wrong

What frequently goes wrong, and leads to a company running out of cash, and unable to raise more, is that management failed to achieve the next milestone before cash ran out. Many times it is still possible to raise cash, but the valuation will be significantly lower.

When to hit Accelerator Pedal

One of a CEO’s most important jobs is knowing how to regulate the accelerator pedal. In the early stages of a business, while the product is being developed, and the business model refined, the pedal needs to be set very lightly to conserve cash. There is no point hiring lots of sales and marketing people if the company is still in the process of finishing the product to the point where it really meets the market need. This is a really common mistake, and will just result in a fast burn, and lots of frustration.

However, on the flip side of this coin, there comes a time when it finally becomes apparent that the business model has been proven, and that is the time when the accelerator pedal should be pressed down hard. As hard as the capital resources available to the company permit. By “business model has been proven”, I mean that the data is available that conclusively shows the cost to acquire a customer, (and that this cost can be maintained as you scale), and that you are able to monetize those customers at a rate which is significantly higher than CAC (as a rough starting point, three times higher). And that CAC can be recovered in under 12 months.

Reason 5: Product Problems

Another reason that companies fail is because they fail to develop a product that meets the market need. This can either be due to simple execution. Or it can be a far more strategic problem, which is a failure to achieve Product/Market fit.

Most of the time the first product that a startup brings to market won’t meet the market need. In the best cases, it will take a few revisions to get the product/market fit right. In the worst cases, the product will be way off base, and a complete re-think is required. If this happens it is a clear indication of a team that didn’t do the work to get out and validate their ideas with customers before, and during, development.

Reason 6: Ignoring Prospective Customers

It has always been difficult for startups to decide on whether to work on their product towards perfection or let the market test it first. Well, talking to customers about ideas and improvements is always going to work to some extent, but this might lead startups to having almost no profit at all.

The foundation of startup-success is based on validating the market and if you fail to come up with a good product, your startup is surely going to fail. The best possible way to make sure everything works well is by measuring, tracking, validating and optimizing the data that you receive from your customers or clients.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Future of Work is the Freelancer

There is no doubt that being an entrepreneur is hard work, the hardest I’ve had to work in my whole career. Corporate life was, by comparison, easy. However the rewards have been plentiful, and entirely within my control and influence. I can’t imagine returning to the insecurity of a corporate role.

Yes, you read that right, the insecurity of a corporate role. Why do I say that? Because the regular paycheck that employees receive gives the illusion of security. When you realize that many states in the USA operate an “at will” employment relationship, you understand that this “security” is merely an illusion. You could walk into the office tomorrow and find yourself without a job for any reason; not a heinous mistake; not a poor performance review; simply because.

The reality is we are all insecure workers in the 21st Century workplace.

It’s reported that more than 40% of the workforce is likely to be an independent worker by 2020 it’s apparent that legislation will need to move quickly in order to keep up. In the book The Alliance, Reid Hoffman (Cofounder of LinkedIn), shares his vision for the future of work. He states that the days of the career for life are gone, instead it’s the concept of “tours of duty” where the nature of work is becoming more fluid, and where individuals with specific skills are hired to complete a specific project.

Work has come full circle

In many ways the freelance workforce is old news. Look back two-hundred years, before the industrial revolution that brought about the modern workplace, and you’d find a freelance economy where work was a 24x7 endeavor. In fact, the very word “freelance” is from medieval times when knights, who had not pledged loyalty to one family, were available to fight, whether in tournaments or in battle, for those willing to pay for their service—the ultimate Free-Lancers.

Prior to the Industrial Revolution people worked for themselves or in small family groups, and usually out of their home or nearby. The proverbial butcher, baker, and candlestick maker were the industries of their day. People's relationship with work was fluid, and integrated into their lifestyle. The Industrial revolution brought about automation which centralized production, brought the individual worker out of their weaving loft into the factories, and brought the farm workers to the burgeoning towns to seek a different type of employment, as the hired hands within the factories.

We're all 21st Century Freelancers
These times were not all idyllic and painless. There were riots, there was resistance, and there were even organized protests. “Luddites” were real people, textile workers, who saw the newfangled factories and massive looms as a threat to their existence and way of life. It's safe to say the stress-management industry we know today was not yet in existence.

The Luddite of today may not be smashing equipment with hammers or throwing clogs into the machinery, but their concerns are very real. Warnings of driverless cars and advances in artificial intelligence fuel a new fear, a fear of the unknown impact on how we interact as human beings.

The rapid acceleration of new technologies is having a direct impact on how and where work is done, and a transformational impact that far surpasses the impact of the Industrial Revolution. We’re now in the midst of the digital revolution, one that requires not just hired hands, but the hired minds and hired hearts that fuel creativity and innovation.,, and are platforms connecting a global army of freelancers with opportunities that match their skills. Tapping into the flexible economy will allow companies to scale up and down rapidly in response to market and project needs. Tapping into the flexible economy allows each of us to augment our ‘day-job’ with part time, in the moment work that supplements our income or taps into our creative passions through our shopfronts on It is also the launching point for many start-up service businesses, easing the transition for the founder from employee to solopreneur.

Make sure you pack your waterwings.

The 21st century workplace makes it much harder to be the big fish in a small pond. No longer are individual employees competing in a local market for the next opportunity, instead we’re all swimming in the Global Talent Pool.

When it comes to finding new sources of talent it seems that 21st Century companies are destined to play a never-ending game of global whack-a-mole. As fast as a new talent hot spot pops up, whether it’s a city or a country, other companies quickly follow—draining the pond and market of talent. Everyon then rushes off to anticipate and capture the next talent hot spot.

Transparency and opportunity on the Internet means we are now competing with an unseen colleague who may be thousands of miles, and many time zones, away. When you’re sleeping, they’re working.

Work is no longer the mythical 9-5 office-bound activity. In today’s world, work can happen anytime, anyplace, and with anyone. The lines between work-time and personal-time are blurred. It’s no longer a question of work-life balance and trying to fit everything else around a standard workday. Rather, the evolving expectation is how work and life are a braided system, blended, overlapping, and seamless.

The future of work will center on the fluid workforce, the gig economy, and the freelancer. As such we all need to embrace the insecure workplace, and change our mindset from “I’m an employee” to “I’m a freelancer who is currently retained by this company.”

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Google's Mobile-Friendly Test API

Google Mobile-Friendly Test API
Google Introducing the Mobile-Friendly Test API

Tuesday, January 31, 2017 at Webmaster Central Blog Google Introduced the Mobile-Friendly Test API. As You already know that from last year, Google is pushing to promote and reward mobile-friendly websites continues today with the news that it’s opening up its mobile-friendly test tool to developers via an application programming interface (API).

Google first launched the tool back in 2014 as an easy way to help businesses, bloggers, and developers figure out whether their website fit Google’s “mobile friendly” criteria. These include whether the site avoids software such as Flash, uses text that can be easily read on a small screen, and has content that adapts to suit a screen without requiring the user to “scroll” horizontally or zoom. With the mobile-friendly test tool, all you need to do is plug your web address into the search box, and Google will tell you if it passes the Google’s “mobile friendly” criteria.

Google’s John Mueller Wrote,
"With so many users on mobile devices, having a mobile-friendly web is important to us all. The Mobile-Friendly Test is a great way to check individual pages manually. We're happy to announce that this test is now available via API as well. 
The Mobile-Friendly Test API lets you test URLs using automated tools. For example, you could use it to monitor important pages in your website in order to prevent accidental regressions in templates that you use. The API method runs all tests, and returns the same information - including a list of the blocked URLs - as the manual test. The documentation includes simple samples to help get you started quickly.  
We hope this API makes it easier to check your pages for mobile-friendliness and to get any such issues resolved faster. We'd love to hear how you use the API -- leave us a comment here, and feel free to link to any code or implementation that you've set up! As always, if you have any questions, feel free to drop by our webmaster help forum."
The testing tool is a useful way to manually check whether a specific Website or URL plays nice with mobile phones, but by introducing an API, Google is enabling webmasters and developers to integrate the tool with automated software. So, for example, this could be used to automatically track specific pages on a website to avert accidental changes that make a page not-so-suitable for small screens.

The API launch fits in with Google’s broader push to treat websites that have been built with mobile users in mind more favorably. Last year, the search giant revealed it would begin ranking “mobile-friendly” sites even higher in their organic search results, though it had been labeling sites as mobile-friendly for some time already. And back in November, Google announced it would “eventually” switch to using the mobile versions of websites, rather than desktop versions, in search result rankings.