case studies

Case Studies and Inbound Marketing

Case studies employed as an inbound marketing component have become the source of growing confusion among both small businesses and large organizations. To place some of the key concerns into perspective, I prepared an overview entitled “Case Studies in 10 Words or Less.” This summary includes the following content:

  • Eight examples of how case studies work (all 10 words or less)
  • Explanation of customer-centric sales processes
  • Overview of anonymous case study issues
  • Summary of extended articles

case studiesAs noted in the “10 Words or Less” overview, customer-centric inbound marketing strategies include case studies, content research, SlideShare presentations, YouTube videos, white papers, press releases and extended articles. Here is a SlideShare presentation that focuses on content writing strategies featuring case studies and extended articles:

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Just the Quotes Please

While Jack Webb (of “Dragnet” fame in the 1950s) earned a very good living seemingly saying “Just the facts please” in almost every episode, today’s online quest for inspiration and information often depends on quotes more than facts. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is certainly debatable — but I must also admit to an attraction to a thought-provoking quote when I see one.

Here are a few words of wisdom expressed via quotes:

  • “Fall 7 Times, Stand Up 8” (Japanese Proverb)
  • “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” (Wayne Gretzky)
  • “Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.” (Katherine Whitehorn)
  • “Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.” (Gandhi)
  • “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” (Margaret Thatcher)
  • “Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them.” (Albert Einstein)

custom_square_discussion_box_12722(10) copy 3I recently curated a presentation on SlideShare entitled “Quotes About Choices, Risks and Being Different” — it is shown below for your information and enjoyment.

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Effective Career Training Programs

The practical need for effective career training programs has been directly impacted by disappointing results in areas such as the following examples:

  • One of the highest historical unemployment and underemployment rates for recent college graduates.
  • A volatile economy and business climate during the past few years.
  • The increased practice by employers of limiting work hours to a level that amounts to part-time.
  • A high percentage of the work force is underemployed and actively looking for realistic ways to improve their situation.
  • A growing disappointment with the exploding cost of college education combined with poor employment outcomes upon graduation.

Before addressing the five serious employment and career challenges just described above, I want to acknowledge that the financial conditions currently prevailing in the economy are still at a critical level and realistically do not appear likely to improve markedly for several years (or possibly more). Instead of a good news and bad news scenario, the candid employment assessment that I believe to be most likely is a bad news and bad news combination.

What Are We Waiting For?

My primary point in emphasizing the bad news aspects is to discourage anyone from just “waiting it out” until everything gets better because the “better” we are hoping for might not ever return. We are truly in new territory when it comes to the economy and the changing way that many/most employers are treating their workers. If anything is to get better, it will probably be because individuals take a more active role in their careers and the effective training that is needed to get them there.

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Einstein Was Right Again

A “bad news and bad news” employment and career scenario does not mean that all is lost. But it does probably mean that the old career development and training strategies will continue to have a poor record. Why continue with losing strategies? This is probably the kind of situation that Albert Einstein had in mind when he provided his definition of insanity: ”Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” So if I can be permitted to channel the wisdom of Albert Einstein, my strongest piece of career advice is to stop doing the same thing over and over again.

With Einstein probably cheering you on spiritually, your working goal when evaluating new career possibilities and career training programs will be to achieve a high level of thinking that discards the old and welcomes the new. During my own career of several decades, I have discarded ineffective strategies and have been on a constant search for career directions that take advantage of change. The various elements of “Change” have been a new constant in the economy, business and everyday life for the past 25 years. Do you think this is likely to continue or stop?

Some Contemporary Criteria for Evaluating Career Alternatives

Some of my suggested criteria for judging practical and realistic career choices include the presence of the following parameters:

  • Geographic flexibility
  • Ability to work either part-time or as second job if desired
  • Potential to work at home
  • Cost-effective
  • Availability of individualized and specialized training (in my opinion, group training only rarely works effectively)
  • Work schedules that are not rigid
  • Always having a career “Plan B”

I have produced several video presentations about career training solutions that should provide more food for thought. One is included below. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly if you would like to discuss what might be the most appropriate next step in your career.

 

Credit Report Repairs

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The three major U.S. credit bureaus are Equifax, Trans Union, and Experian. After reviewing your credit report from each of these three, you should have a better picture of whether there are mistakes that can be fixed. You should remember that judgments will appear on a credit report for periods up to seven years even if the judgment has been fully paid. This is not a “mistake” which can be fixed. It will simply appear until the applicable statute of limitations has expired.

Repairs to credit reports might be needed for two reasons. One is to correct mistakes on a credit report. Another is to simply improve your credit scores by various means. It has become increasingly necessary to take formal legal action to effectively repair mistakes on credit reports. The most appropriate starting point for individuals residing in the United States is to obtain a free copy of your most recent credit report from each of the three major consumer reporting companies. It is unfortunately part of the current antiquated consumer credit system that there is no centralized way to fix a credit record. In other words, if there are errors on credit records at all of the credit reporting companies, you will need to communicate separately with each one.

Other than fixing mistakes caused by financial institutions and credit bureaus, here are three actions which will help to repair your credit report scores:

  • Paying any credit card and loan accounts that are delinquent so that they are current will result in substantial improvements to credit scores.
  • You should avoid new loan applications during a period of credit repair.
  • Eliminating any unneeded lines of credit and credit cards would also be a very smart move.

It is not unusual for one or more of the credit reporting companies to refuse to correct an error even if the other credit bureaus have agreed to do so. This is where legal action might be required. In a striking recent case, a woman was awarded approximately $18 million in damages from Equifax because of their failure to take proper steps to correct their own mistakes. It is likely that many individuals have serious mistakes on their credit reports and are not even aware of it.

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Business Writing and Planning

effective business writing

Business writing involves much more than using the right keywords for inclusion in internet search results. In fact writing with Google search engine algorithm requirements in mind can be a big mistake in most cases.

It is becoming more obvious by the day that internet publishing sites are losing traffic from Google. Many sites are at risk of going out of business because of an over-dependence on Google for internet traffic.

What have they done wrong? In some situations it is obvious that writers and internet publishers have produced work that was designed to rank highly in search results by a clever use of backlinks from other sites pointing to their article or website.

Linking has been a major part of search engine optimization strategies for well over a decade. Google has apparently noticed how schemes like article spinning and blog networks like LinkVana have manipulated the process by creating paid artificial links.

Most serious and professional business writing has a specific goal to accomplish. Perhaps we all ultimately have something to market and sell, but do websites which look like a NASCAR vehicle plastered with ads really do this effectively? I think not.

Google is increasingly taking a stance that websites that have ten (or more) selling links certainly do not deserve to be indexed in any meaningful search results. As a result, sites like Squidoo might never get meaningful traffic from search engines again.

Practical business writing can be persuasive and effective without writing expressly for Google or including link after link to products. More readers have already reached the breaking point with the excessive use of misleading landing pages. Demanding and discerning internet visitors want as much information as possible prior to making any buying decisions.

Business planning involves an imposing number of important tasks. Practical and effective business writing might be the most important of all.

We Are All Writers

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I recently published an article at HubPages (where I publish as aexbush) entitled, “We Are All Economists.” The primary theme of that discussion is the importance of individuals and small business owners becoming more adept at financial and economic concepts that they would probably prefer to ignore (but should not at the risk of serious and long-term damages).

In a similar vein, writing is also simply too important to ignore at any personal or business level. While some forms of business communication such as proposals have almost become a lost art, there are multiple forms of communicating that require specialized and advanced writing skills.

We are indeed all writers.

Full Time Employment with Virtual Jobs?

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Future career possibilities are changing before our eyes. This is certainly relevant to know for the thousands of military personnel transitioning to civilian careers. But shouldn’t students currently in college and those who have recently graduated be paying closer attention to what is happening in the real employment world?

Career planning is much harder when everything is changing around you. One ongoing reason for this is the nature of technology and the internet. More and more variations of virtual employment are emerging as strong candidates for either a viable full-time career or as one of several part-time careers. These are real jobs that pay a fair wage and deserve a closer look from many prospective employees.