65 search results for “AJ Agrawal”

7 Reasons Your Business Should Be on Instagram

7 Reasons Your Business Should Be on Instagram

With over 500 million users, and 70 million photos per day being shared, there’s no question on whether or not Instagram is here to stay. And with Instagram just recently launching a self-serve advertising platform, there are even more possibilities for you and your business.  

1. People spend a lot of time on Instagram

In fact, next to Facebook, Instagram is one of the most popular social networks for time spent on the platform. Which means that you have more time and a better chance of getting yourself in front of your audience. Now is that something you just ignore?

2. Instagram drives sales 

Instagram has a higher conversion rate for sales then platforms like Polyvore and Pinterest. Visitors often go on to purchase items after visiting Instagram accounts and on average spend $65.00. Since Instagram is such a visual platform, it cuts through the clutter and lets your products speak for themselves.

3. Visual content dominates

Social media users want visual content. How many times have you scrolled past a million posts on your feeds and stopped at a photo or video? Visual content is said to be one of the most important components when it comes to marketing for business and optimizing their social media presence.

4. The audience on Instagram is always engaged

Although Facebook is still the most popular social media platform, Instagram followers are more likely to engage and share content. Top brands are seeing a 4.21% engagement rate on the platform, which has coined it to be the king of engagement in terms of social media.

5. It allows you to be creative

Instagram has endless possibilities for creativity. It allows you to tell stories, get creative, and create a visual identity for your brand in a more real-time, fun way. Run contests, engage with your fans, and be consistent. Instagram is a fun platform, so don’t be afraid to experiment, and show your brands personality.

6. You can leverage user-generated content

Especially if you are selling a product, your customers can be your key to success on Instagram. Encourage them to share their photos of your product, or seek out those that already are, and repurpose that content. Customers love to see brands interact and acknowledge them, so this is a win-win for the both of you. 

7. Take customers behind-the-scenes

Instagram allows you to get creative with bringing your customers to a side of your brand that they may never see. Give them sneak peeks of new products or menu items; show them what it’s like to work at your company, or what goes into making their favourite products. Even if you are sitting in an office or warehouse all day, there is still tons of content you can create; you just need to be creative.

So with millions of users, millions of photos being shared each day, and the highest engagement of any other platform, do you need any more reasons to get yourself and your business on this platform? I don’t think so.

About the Author

Lauren Marinigh is a Toronto-based online marketing and content development professional, who is completely addicted to traveling, puppies, and GIFs.

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Ever Wonder What Famous People Did for Work Before Making It Big? Read This

Ever Wonder What Famous People Did for Work Before Making It Big? Read This

Famous people weren’t always famous. Some of them were average people just like you. Many of the celebrities you see today came from humble backgrounds. For some of them, these were eye-opening experiences that helped them to reconcile themselves with their place in the world. Others just never expected to leave those jobs.

The following celebrities are just some of the famous people who had to grind and build like everyone else before they made it big.

President Obama – Ice Cream Seller

It’s hard to believe that the current president of the United States worked an unglamorous job as an ice cream seller at Baskin-Robbins, but that’s exactly what he did. For the whole summer he just scooped ice cream. He credits it not for his future career but for what it did for his jump shot in basketball. 

President Obama later wrote that his first job mattered because it taught him about the world of work and that these low ladder jobs can be harder than they look. Now President Obama looks back on his former job with fondness.

Mariah Carey – Hat Checker

Mariah Carey is like a lot of rising celebrities in that she worked a lot of jobs before she made it big. One of her stranger jobs involved her being a hat checker. She said that she didn’t manage to stay in this job, or any job, long before getting fired.

Carey was one celebrity who always wanted to get where she was today, which is why she only worked these jobs purely for the money. Most of her jobs fired her for a lack of concentration due to the fact that she was spending all her time working on becoming a singer and mixing demo tapes. 

Gerard Butler – Civil Lawyer 

Sometimes failure can turn into great success. Gerard Butler may never have become the mega star that he is today if it wasn’t for his failure as a lawyer. 

He started out working as a trainee civil lawyer. Like every other legal position, you get the job based on the assumption that you are going to pass the exams and become fully qualified. Butler was unable to pass the exams and was subsequently fired. He never tried to become a success in the legal profession again.

Kayne West – The GAP

The GAP is not exactly befitting the lifestyle of someone like Kayne West. A man who spends huge amounts of money on creating his own clothing line surely didn’t work at the GAP during his youth? And yet that’s exactly what happened.

The rapper most certainly isn’t ashamed of it because he references it in the song The College Dropout. The lyrics do make references to stealing. Although West acknowledges he used to work there, he didn’t reveal whether the stealing part was based on a true story or not. 

Conclusion – Humble Beginnings 

It’s important to mention that these celebrities weren’t necessarily following a path of rags to riches. Some of them were, but men like President Obama were gifted in the sense that they had great grades to go along with their humble beginnings. Others came from broken backgrounds, whereas others were from stable families.

The goal behind displaying such a diverse cross-section of big names is to demonstrate that it doesn’t matter where you come from. Unemployment is down 4.7% so you have every chance of success!

About the Author

I am a regular writer for Forbes, Inc., Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Media (among others), as well as CEO and Chairman of Alumnify Inc. Proud alum from 500 Startups and The University of San Diego. Follow me on Twitter @ajalumnify

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The Evolving State of Marketing Technology

The Evolving State of Marketing Technology

Marketing technology, or “martech” if you’re all about buzzwords, isn’t static. It’s constantly evolving, and this year there are some major changes happening. Right now, martech is proving to be just as crazy as the past few years, which means marketers need to hustle to keep the pace. As there are more and more martech vendors entering the market (they doubled since last year and now we have about 2,000!), with no sign of slowing, there might be more confusion than ever. How can we figure out the best strategy for us, how do we know when the “right time” is to blend the marketing and tech departments, and is martech really a necessity for all businesses anyway?

One of the biggest shifts is the fact that the decisions we have to make around martech—like the questions above—are getting more complex. There’s no way to really guess how many martech vendors will be around even by the close of the year. Technology that predicts customer demands, such as Amazon Echo and Siri, showcase the preference for how more customers want their interface and marketers have to figure out a way to make these artificially intelligence-driven devices recommend their brands, products, and services. As if marketing to humans wasn’t challenging enough!

Luckily, there are more and more guides designed for the non-techies. You can take classes, check out seminars, or simply scroll through bullet-point riddled tutorials to learn the latest about martech. Choose lessons based on your type of business, goals and more. Increasingly, the laymen is getting (mar)tech savvy.

Too Much of a Good Thing

The more hands there are in the vendor pot, the more complicated things can be for marketers. There are more people making decisions, including executives like the CMO and CDO (that’s digital officer for those who are behind in their acronyms). These leaders are straddling their roles between management, marketing reps, and IT department, which can result in quite the messy situation if not done well. It’s estimated by the Walker Sands State of Marketing Technology 2016 report that about 66 percent of marketers are able to give input in the buying decisions for products they use. In fact, over half of even entry-level marketers have played a major role in a purchase decision since 2013.

Of course, the “rise of the robots” and digital PAs like Google Now come with a slew of new obstacles. With AI and voice-based PAs predicting what customers want, marketers have to look at marketing innovations that mix messaging and AI this year. Add in the Internet of Things (IoT), which is offering up more data to process than ever, and things can really get sticky. The IoT is tossing a ton of customer data at marketers, but big data is pointless if it isn’t analyzed and put to use. According to Gartner, 30 billion “things” are going to be linked to the internet by 2020.

Planning Ahead

If wielded well, the IoT can give marketers a major advantage—or it can drown marketers who aren’t ready for the data influx. The year ahead will have marketers facing a lot of decisions, innovative technology, a confused market, and a slew of vendors. Catching up can be a challenge, but it’s a must if you want to compete. Where are you in the martech game? 

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What’s Killing Your Productivity?

What’s Killing Your Productivity?

We are all known for losing productivity. For some of us it happens at certain times of the day or week, for others it happens unexpectedly, but usually when we can’t afford it. We can blame the loss of our productivity on certain things that come up in our lives or day-to-day, but in reality, so much of our productivity is lost on daily habits and things we do and don’t even realize it. Here are just some of those things you should reevaluate to help boost your productivity.  

Social media

Globally, people spend on average 118 minutes a day on social media alone. This doesn’t even account for all the time you spend surfing the Internet or consuming other forms of media. That’s over two hours of your day that you could be using to do other, more important things then creep the latest celebrity dog on Instagram or catch up on what Kanye is tweeting about today.

Your phone

Approximately 3.9 years of your life are spent on your phone, which equals 23 days a year and 90 minutes a day. We live in a society that depends on their phones for work, and staying connected with our loved ones, however, we all are guilty for using them more than we actually need them for. Try detoxing. Start turning your phone off when you get home from work, or leaving your phone in a different room or in your purse!

You don’t say “no”

Sometimes the people that have the least amount of time to be productive on the things they should be spending their time on are the people that have a challenge saying “no”. Instead, they say “yes” to every project, person, task, etc. and this can quickly take a toll on your productivity. Saying “yes” all the time will lead you to taking on more work or commitments, leaving you less time for those everyday things in life that need to still get done. Saying “no” isn’t always a bad thing!


Meetings don’t always need to be meetings, and many people don’t fully understand that. Many offices are guilty for making meetings for everything. That includes things that can be solved or talked about via email, and also involves inviting people to meetings that don’t need to be there. Start being more particular about the meeting requests you get. Take a look at the subject of it and see if it’s something you need to be there for, or see if it even needs to happen at all. Spending less time in meetings will give you the opportunity to spend more time on actual work and tasks.

You don’t trust your team

You have a team at work for a reason, and it’s time that you trust them to do what they are supposed to be doing. Some people often lose time to work on what they should be focusing on because they are spending too much time micro-managing their team. If you don’t trust the people that work with or for you, then maybe it’s time to reevaluate your team. By trusting your team, you’ll be able to worry less about them and worry more about what you should be focused on.

Productivity isn’t rocket science. Everyone has things in their life like the above that they can alter to help improve their productivity and make more time for the things that are important!

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You Need to Know About These Social Media Tools

You Need to Know About These Social Media Tools


Last year there was a 10% growth in the number of social media users. It only demonstrates that if you have yet to create a social media strategy that works you are falling behind. By using tools to develop your social media marketing strategy, you can save a lot of time and effort.

Becoming more efficient in this way will lead to better results and allow you to get more done in a shorter period of time. This guide is going to show you some of the best social media tools you need to know about.

1. Facebook Marketing Tool from Real Geeks

Real Geeks came up with a Facebook marketing tool designed to take much of the frustration and intimidation out of proceedings. You already know that there’s a lot of value to be had from here. Initially designed for realtors, this tool brings together your website and your ad campaign on Facebook

It pulls out the data from your website in order to generate ads that deliver results. You can still tweak these ads as much as you like, which you should already be doing. The tool comes with a range of reporting features so you can easily monitor the performance of your ads.

2. SocialOomph

The reason why SocialOomph made this list is because of its functionality and nothing else. It gives you a central dashboard where you can link your social media profiles. It’s easy to manage all your social media activities from here, such as the scheduling of posts and bulk updating your profiles. 

If you’re focusing on content marketing and social media marketing, which you absolutely should be, this is a tool you are going to get a lot out of. It’s one of the more affordable tools on this list, so you are going to get a lot of bang for your buck.

3. Sprout Social

The chances are you have heard of Sprout Social before because it’s one of the most popular social media tools on the market today. Its main competitor is Hootsuite, but we decided to name Sprout Social on this list because it edges out Hootsuite through its superior functionality.

It works alongside practically any social media platform you can think of. You can easily schedule posts, monitor performance, track points of engagement, and receive reports for how your various pieces of content are performing.

What makes it more than a mere dashboard is that you can conduct content topic research from it. By listening in to the conversations people are having on social media, you can write content that people actually want to read.

It isn’t a free tool, but it is definitely worth the investment because it combines the features that marketers have to purchase multiple tools for into one.

A Word on Using Tools

There’s no doubt that social media tools can make it easier to manage campaigns. But there’s a dark side to using tools. Automating everything and downloading too many tools can make you completely reliant on them.

You need to remember that social media is about building real human relationships. Fail to do this because you’ve automated everything and you are not going to get the results you want.

What do you think is the best tool for managing social media?

About the Author

I am a regular writer for Forbes, Inc., Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Media (among others), as well as CEO and Chairman of Alumnify Inc. Proud alum from 500 Startups and The University of San Diego. Follow me on Twitter @ajalumnify

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10 Habits of Incredibly Successful Entrepreneurs

10 Habits of Incredibly Successful Entrepreneurs

We all want to be the most successful version of ourselves, whether it be a top athlete, business owner or a good mother. The most successful people have one thing in common: good habits. Bad habits cause stagnation and a sense of dissatisfaction, whereas good habits can help create a life that is full of purpose and accomplishment.

While having good habits will not make you perfect, because, let’s face it, no one is, practicing them will get you closer to your goals more than anything else.

Here are 10 of the most important habits of successful people. (You’ll notice that none of them are expensive or require drastic life changes, but when done together can result in big payoffs toward your goals.)

1. Be Specific with Your Goals

The way you describe your goals is going to have an impact on how successful you are at reaching them. Saying “I want to be happy” or “I want to be rich” is too vague. Successful people are not afraid to dig deep. Try asking yourself “Who? What? When? Where? Why” questions about your goals to help improve their specificity.

 2. Be Persistent with Your Actions

Successful people fail. A lot. Success is not inevitable. Failure is. The more you can anticipate it, plan for it, and learn from it the more likely you are to keep going, which is the only way to succeed at anything.

 3. Be Positive in Your Day

Cynicism is easy, especially in today’s world. But, successful people practice positivity and the result is that more people want to work with them.

4. Be an Excellent Listener

Successful people listen more than they speak in an effort to continue learning about the people around them, instead of using conversations as a way of reiterating their self-worth. Try filling any awkward silences with a question, instead of a personal anecdote.

 5. Be Willing to Go Above and Beyond

If you want to meet your goals, whether it’s in business or your personal life, you’ve got to be willing to exceed expectations; go the extra mile. Thomas Edison once said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

6. Be Diligent with Your Sleep Habits

Research has found that the human brain can only be at its best after a good night’s sleep. Bad sleep habits can cause our bodies to wear out. We also can suffer memory lapses and cognitive delays, become irritable and moody, and even resort to substance abuse. There are numerous ways to get a better night’s sleep. The best place to start is to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.

 7. Be Still

Studies have shown that meditation, when done properly, can alleviate depression, anxiety, and even pain. It can also improve the ability to focus and not get overwhelmed which is a common obstacle people face when moving toward their goals.

8. Be a Bookworm

Everyone from Bill Gates to Oprah Winfrey recommends reading to increase the likelihood of success. In 2015, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg pledged to read a book each week. No time for a trip to the library? Many have digital lending programs that allow you to check out books for free that can be read across a variety of digital devices.

9. Be a Planner

Set weekly and daily goals. Write them down and cross them off. Don’t get bogged down if you get behind, just keep going. Perfection is not the goal. Consistency is. Do the hardest things when you are at peak energy and focus, which for most means in the morning right after the coffee kicks in. 

10. Be Active

Successful people from President Obama to Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour look at exercise as a way to increase focus, attention, and alertness, among numerous other benefits. They prioritize exercise by scheduling it into their day, oftentimes first thing in the morning. (See #9.) 

Not a morning person. No problem. It doesn’t matter when you exercise, what matters is that you do it consistently several times every week.

Most people will read this, get excited, and try doing all of these at once. Then they will get discouraged and give up, because it’s impossible to implement 10 new things simultaneously. The best way to achieve success at changing habits (after you’ve clearly defined what your goal is) is to implement them, one at a time, then build on it. Goal stacking, if you will.

For example, pick a goal from the list, like #6 “Be Diligent About Your Sleep Habits.” Let’s say you’ve decided to start waking up at 6 AM every day. Once you feel like you’ve mastered that - it takes three weeks or more - try stacking another goal on top of it, such as exercise, eating a healthy breakfast, or meditation.

Bottom line – It’s common to get frustrated at all that needs to be done to reach any large goal. If you focus on building good habits every day, you have a much better chance at success. Use these 10 habits to build whatever success means to you.

About the Author

I am a regular writer for Forbes, Inc., Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Media (among others), as well as CEO and Chairman of Alumnify Inc. Proud alum from 500 Startups and The University of San Diego. Follow me on Twitter @ajalumnify

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10 Habits of Persuasive People

10 Habits of Persuasive People

Persuasive individuals possess an uncanny ability to incline one’s thinking. They have the upper hand since they can use their persuasiveness for their success or happiness.

Persuasiveness has become crucial for any career or business. In fact, it has become a managerial tool in business today.

Persuasive people can get you to like their ideas and to like them, all at the same time. Here are some of the habits that persuasive people possess:

They are bold in their position

People prefer advice from a confident source, and when a speaker is able to stand behind his/her position. He/she will naturally persuade the masses.

Confident speakers have the ability to convince even the most skeptical person, sometimes to the extent where their poor track record is overlooked. They know they have the ideas and tools to take a position.

They connect

They will let people know the kind of person they are before conveying their message. In a study that required students to reach an agreement in class, 55% of them reached an agreement without instruction. However, after the students interacted (shared their background and introduced themselves), 90% of them agreed successfully.

Persuasive people try as much to connect to the person they are speaking to. After all, the person that you need to talk to is not your enemy.

They know their audience

They have an extensive understanding of their audience, and they use this knowledge to speak to their audience in the right language.

They know when they need to tone down their assertiveness or when they need to be aggressive.

Choosing the right medium will win you more trust. According to research, women tend to focus on relationships, and in-person communication is effective for them. However, men tend to feel competitive in person and can turn a conversation into a contest.

Therefore, if your audience consists of men, you need to tread careful or look at other options.

They employ a positive body language

You need to be aware of your expressions, gestures, and tone of voice if you are looking to engage people with your arguments.

Persuasive people will maintain eye contact, use a positive tone, and uncross their arms as a way of winning their listeners. A positive body language convinces your audience that whatever you are saying is genuine.

How they say it is more important than what they say.

They acknowledge other points of view

Admitting other people’s point of view is a powerful tactic for winning their trust. Persuasive people agree that their arguments are not perfect, hinting that they are open minded and ready to make adjustments.

Sticking to your position means you do not have your audiences interest at heart and you are forcing your ideas on them. Persuasive people allow other parties to share their opinions and treat those opinions as valid. It is also a way of showing respect and encouraging others to talk.

Persuasive people understand that pushing their ideas without concern will make their points less likely to be accepted.

Make others feel important

Persuasive people will make others people feel important as a way of winning their trust. If you can show others that they are equally important, they are more likely to be persuaded by your arguments.

They are genuine

Everyone hates fake, and people are more inclined towards genuine people because they can be trusted. People will believe you if they know who you really are and how you feel.

Persuasive people understand themselves and are comfortable in their position. For this reason, they are perceived as trustworthy.

They are motivated

Persuasive individuals tend to be self-motivated and resilient. Since their mission is to convince others in what they believe in, they strive to be better every day. They are determined to fight for what is right.

Apart from being motivated, they are determined and prepare beforehand to fight any adversity or negativity.

They communicate clearly

They know what they are talking about and they are good at explaining in a way that is easy to grasp. They do not just speak without a clear message.

They share both the positives and the negatives

Daniel O’Keefe, University of Illinois professor, revealed that sharing opposing views is more persuasive than sticking to a single argument.

Persuasive people talk about the things that their audiences are already considering (bad or good). They will discuss all the negatives and advise on how to overcome them.


Persuasive people do these ten things, and they do them on a regular basis. If you start practicing these principles, you will become persuasive over time and your conclusions will be irreproachable.

About the Author

I am a regular writer for Forbes, Inc., Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Media (among others), as well as CEO and Chairman of Alumnify Inc. Proud alum from 500 Startups and The University of San Diego. Follow me on Twitter @ajalumnify

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10 Persuasive Words to Use in Crucial Conversations

10 Persuasive Words to Use in Crucial Conversations

In business, you have to know how to persuade your customers, your competition, and those you have other business relationships with. You have to be able to tell people why they need to buy from you or why they have to work with your company. The number one thing you need to remember, always answer the “why” of things.

You can use an approach similar to “Why is our product top of the line? We use [insert reason here]” and in that reason, include a powerful keyword to draw in the attention of your audience.

1. Because

The word because generates context that answers the “why” in conversations. A study showed that 93-percent of participants responded positively to context including the word because. You are providing a reason, which takes out part of the guessing of your audience.

2. Free

The word free, in general, is persuasive. Using it in business conversations tells your audience that they will be spending money; there is something they will obtain at no cost. Society likes free things and some consider anything free to be better simply because it was free. The actual value is psychologically increased in an individual’s mind because it was a zero-cost expense.

3. Fact

Using the word fact in conversations can help you get what that you want. Saying something is a fact solidifies that what is being said is truthful. Consumers, and businesspersons alike, prefer information. Statistics and facts are common deciding factors in regards to forming business relationships and generating sales.

4. Believe

Believe is a bit trickier to implement into crucial conversations in a persuasive way. You can tell your audience that you believe in a product and believe in your company. This persuades the audience to consider working with your company, or you exclusively, because you have pride and stand behind what you are describing to them.

5. Limited

Limited is a very special word. It means that something is obscure, small quantity, or is not intended to last. This immediately draws attention to the product, service, or brand. In business discussions, using terminology regarding a product being limited to one exclusive company only is likely to start a contract bidding war. This can help your company achieve large sales numbers and increased client opportunities.

The use of the word limited helps you get more people to say yes more often as they see the product as more in-demand with a smaller supply.

6. Simple

The word simple tells an audience that the process to use, construct, or install a product or service can be done by anyone. The word simple works into sneaky strategy speak to make sales, helping consumers become informed, and generating more interest in a specific product.

7. Save

Every consumer and every company likes to hear the word save. Saving time and/or money are both important. Spending less money on your product or service with the same features/performance as the competition helps consumers make informed decisions. It can also help you generate more business relationships as company owners learn that your product/service can reduce spending overall.

8. Guaranteed

Guarantees sell items. When consumers notice that something comes with a guarantee for performance, durability, or overall use, they are more likely to listen to information about it. The word guaranteed can get your company more sales as it comes across as a limited risk.

9. Now

Now generates action. It tells people that they need to make a decision now, rather than later. A missed opportunity comes from waiting too long to make a decision. The word now is a powerful word that almost instantly gets you what you want. When society is commanded to take action, most will at least make the effort to look into what you have to offer.

10. Open

Open is a persuasive word that can be used in several different methods. First, it can be directed to tell people to open a pamphlet or presentation. A command is persuasive because the entire group will follow suit. It also tells your audience, when used in alternate context, that your brand is “open” for business, accepting new clients, and is approachable. It also displays the character of an open-minded person.

Closing Thoughts

Some of these persuasive words can be highlight in written speeches or presentation notes as keywords. These keywords should be used more than once if you really want to reel in your audience. Do not stuff your presentation full of these persuasive words. It will leave your audience feeling hoodwinked and it may actually work against you. The art of persuasion is learning how far is too far without crossing the line.

About the Author

I am a regular writer for Forbes, Inc., Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Media (among others), as well as CEO and Chairman of Alumnify Inc. Proud alum from 500 Startups and The University of San Diego. Follow me on Twitter @ajalumnify


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11 Ways to Become a Better Blogger Now

11 Ways to Become a Better Blogger Now

Blogging can be a full-time job that can come with a lucrative income. It takes time to get to this point, of course, but you can get started now by making a few changes to your current blogging strategy. The eleven tips here will help you rethink your strategy and create content that grows audiences.

1. Start an Ideas List

If you want to become a better blogger, you need to have a list of topics available. You need to start an ideas list if you do not have one already. When you are drawing a blank, visit your list and come up with a content strategy for that specific topic.

2. Create a Content Calendar

A content calendar will help you organize your posts for a week or month at a time. If you have a specific topic that you need to publish on a specific day, complete it ahead of time and schedule it. A content calendar helps you keep your blog updated routinely and will help you stay on top of important topics.

3. Be Consistent

Some bloggers like to throw in a random post every now and then. This is not the best thing to do. Readers expect consistency. Your voice, all of the time.

About 54-percent of bloggers spend less than 2 hours creating their content. This can lead to inconsistencies in voice, presentation, and blog theme.

4. Schedule Posts for the Right Time

Part of becoming a better blogger is changing some of your posting habits. The time of day that you post matters. It is important to know when the majority of your audience is online and viewing social media networks. Run a test with two important topics. Post one before 8 a.m. and another around 7 p.m. See which post performs better.

5. Be Unique

You cannot attempt to compete with or copy another blogger. Your blog has to be unique, so you should have at least one feature that sets you apart from other bloggers to increase your readership. It is important to work on creating a unique voice and a unique way of delivering your content.

6. Build your Audience

Building an audience takes time, but you need to work at it. This means that you will want to encourage your readers to share content. You could also create a contest and reward the user that brings the most followers with a small gift too.

7. Pay Attention to Topic Selection

You may have a great idea for a blog post, but what do you do if it doesn’t fit your theme? Network, and consider trading posts with another blogger while giving credit to each other on your respective blogs. If you go off-theme, it may confuse your audience and may cause some of them to stop following you.

8. Market Everything You Post

A good tip for part-time bloggers is do not forget to market your own content. This means that you should be using social media advertising opportunities and should promote/boost your posts. Doing so helps you build your audience and improve your blogger reputation.

9. Become an Influencer

Consider becoming an online influencer to transform your blog. There are several angles to take, as you could be a niche influencer, trend influencer, or industry-expert influencer. Audiences are more likely to follow those that are considered to be influencers than simple bloggers.

10. Use One Display Avatar

Whatever profile picture you use on your main blog, should be used on all channels where your content is published. For serious, full-time bloggers, this should be your logo. Your logo is part of your online identity.

When you have your display images created, make sure to request a thumbnail size file to use on social media profiles for consistency while posting on multiple networks. Using larger images may cause your logo to stretch or distort making it unrecognizable to your audience.

11. Branding

If your blog does not have a logo or other visual identifier, it may hurt you if you are trying to survive an economic recession when sponsors are spending less money. Your brand should be identified by one logo across all channels, including letterhead or contracts. Your audience and potential sponsors should be able to look at your logo and immediately recognise you.

Final Thoughts

You must realise that focusing your blog on a single niche or topic is necessary. Too many different topics leave audiences confused as to who you are. If you aren’t a great self-editor, hire one because a human editor is always better than a program. Take your time on your content and make sure it delivers the message you need or want it to.

About the Author

I am a regular writer for Forbes, Inc., Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Media (among others), as well as CEO and Chairman of Alumnify Inc. Proud alum from 500 Startups and The University of San Diego. Follow me on Twitter @ajalumnify

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13 Essential Tools to Being a Successful Entrepreneur

13 Essential Tools to Being a Successful Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs have limited resources - regardless of how successful they are. When just starting out, your money supply may be low. Even after launching a successful business, time becomes a concern.

There are thousands of tool out there that can help solve most of your startup problems or daily business headaches. But, here are my fifteen personal favorites that I’ve found to be essential.

1. Canva

Do you want a custom Twitter header, business card, infographic, or slideshow, but don’t have the design skills to do accomplish these tasks? Canva takes care of these problems by offering a wide variety of templates for free - there some templates and features that cost $1.

2. Slack

Communication is vital for businesses. In the past, we relied on emails and instant/direct messages, but now there’s Slack. This tool is basically a virtual chat room where you can send messages, notifications, or files to individuals or the entire group. You can try Slack for free, but after that, monthly plans start at just $6.67.

3. Insightly

Inisghtly is an easy to use Customer Relationship & Project Management Software that helps small businesses run their businesses smoother. Now at the flip of a button you can manage leads, contacts, organizations, partners, vendors and suppliers. See everything from background, email history, events, projects or opportunities.

4. UpWork

As you get your startup up and running, you’ll have to give-up control on certain tasks and hand over the reigns to people who have the skills that you may not possess. If you’re not in the situation to hire even part-time employees then you can use UpWork to locate talented freelancers in fields like writing, web design, customer service reps, or virtual assistants. If you can’t find a freelancer on UpWork, there are hundreds of other freelance marketplaces to explore.

5. Inspectlet

This is a popular tool that records how visitors are using your website by seeing task like mouse movement or scrolling. This gives you a better understanding about what users are looking for and which parts of your site they’re looking at. It may not seem like a big deal, making small changes on your site that your customers prefer, but these are the small and fairly easy changes which can eventually lead to revenue growth for your business.

6. SaneBox

Staying productive as an entrepreneur can get challenging when you’re busy going through non-essential emails like social media notifications. SaneBox allows you to create separate folders for various recipients. You could create a folder for investors, family members, and employees. This allows you to prioritize your emails so you know which messages deserve your immediate attention and which once you can delete or ignore.

7. Intercom

Intercom is a handy tools that actually gives you the opportunity to talk with your customers and potential customers. It comes equipped with features like a live chat, marketing automation, and customer support. You can try Intercom for free for 14 days. After that, you’ll have to select a package, such as the cometel set for $61 per month.

8. Surveymonkey

With Surveymonkey you can can send out survey's to your customers or leads so that you can gain valuable feedback on your products or services. Even after you’re used Surveymonkey to conduct market research, you can keep using it for things like determining customer satisfaction. You can send 10 questions for free and plans then start at $26 per month.


This awesome service creates “recipes” for you that end-up saving you a ton of time and money. For example, if you wanted to keep track of new contacts then every time you add a new contact into your iPhone it will automatically add that contact to a Google Spreadsheet. Another “recipe” would be whenever you add a new Facebook profile image it will automatically change your Twitter profile image to the new image.

10. SEMrush

SEMrush is one of the most popular and recommended tools for online marketers because it allows them to conduct an SEO audit, provides social media analytics, monitor brand mentions, and find the keywords that competitors are ranking for. For entrepreneurs, all of this information can be used for research and how to determine the effects of a marketing campaign.

11. Gusto

Formerly known as Zenpayroll, Gusto takes care of payroll, employee on-boarding, and tax-filing in one location. It was designed specifically with small businesses in mind so it’s affordable ($36 per month plus $6 per employee), easy-to-use, and handles all of your payroll, benefits, and HR needs so that you can focus on growing your business.

12. Google Docs

Google’s office suite includes a word processor, spreadsheet, slides, and forms so that you can create, share, and collaborate with others on files. It’s basically free, secure, and allows you to store files, photos, and videos in one convenient location. By downloading the app, you can also work from any device so that you can continue working no matter where you are in the world.

13. Typeform

As you grow, it’s harder to stay close to your customers. That’s where Typeform comes in. Conduct market research, execute a lead generation campaign, or tell a captivating story. Add some personality using images, gifs, and video to keep people hooked. The beautiful chat-like interface engages people in a conversational way. Data collection never looked so good. Explore it for free—no email required.

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