Tag Archive | "Valuable"

Amazon is Now Worth More Than Microsoft, Becomes the World’s Third Most Valuable Company

The race in becoming the first company to reach the trillion dollar mark in terms of market capitalization is still ongoing. However, Amazon is a strong contender as its long-running market rally continues unabated. Thanks to a sharp rise in its company’s shares on Wednesday, Amazon became the world’s third most valuable company, overtaking Microsoft for the first time.

Amazon shares surged by 2.6 percent on Wednesday—an increase of $ 36.54 a share in just a single day of trading. Closing at $ 1,451.05 per share, the online retail giant is now valued at $ 702.5 billion. Its market value went up by $ 17.69 from the previous day’s close.

While Microsoft managed to post some gains on the same day, it was not enough to offset Amazon’s increase. The software giant’s stock rose by 1.6 percent or $ 1.40 per share, translating to an increase in total market cap by $ 10.78 billion. The company is now valued at $ 699.22 billion on Wednesday’s close.

At the moment, only two companies are worth more the Amazon. Gadget maker Apple is still number one with a market valuation of $ 849.2 billion. Meanwhile, Google’s parent firm Alphabet is in the second spot currently valued at $ 746 billion.

Amazon continues to dazzle investors and has managed to post a 73 percent increase in the past year. As a result, CEO Jeff Bezos overtook Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates as the world’s richest person. Microsoft’s 41 percent increase in the past 12 months was not enough to offset the online retailer’s meteoric rise.

[Featured image via Amazon]

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Your Most Valuable Intellectual Property (Plus, How to Compensate Partners)

un-intellectual-property

We’re all in the intellectual property business now. But as business people, how much do we enforce our rights when others infringe on them?

Creative freelancers are thought of as service providers, but what they’re really selling is their copyright in the work product they create for clients. This has special implications on both sides of the transaction.

But the true area of confusion that persists is copyright when it comes to web content. Is attribution okay? What about a link? Maybe a disclaimer?

Copyright law is strict in favor of creators, and yet, a more laissez faire attitude often makes better sense. There are other IP rights, however, that you should defend with a vengeance.

In this episode of Unemployable with Brian Clark, Brian discusses:

  • The critical importance of work for hire agreements
  • The misunderstanding of content syndication
  • How to crucify a content infringer (and why you shouldn’t)
  • What to do if someone sullies your brand
  • The protect it or lose it aspect of trademark
  • Listener Question: How much equity should you give a partner?

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Click Here to Listen on Rainmaker.FM

About the author

Rainmaker.FM

Rainmaker.FM is the premier digital commerce and content marketing podcast network. Get on-demand digital business and marketing advice from experts, whenever and wherever you want it.

The post Your Most Valuable Intellectual Property (Plus, How to Compensate Partners) appeared first on Copyblogger.


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Considering Going Solar? Read This Valuable Solar Energy Advice First!

why solar energy

You may want to use solar energy at work or home, but you might not know very much about it. Do some research on the topic, and find reliable professionals who can help you with this project. Continue reading to learn more about solar energy.

Be sure the solar energy system you choose can efficiently and reliably store the energy it produces. You have two options here. You can either sell the excess power to the electric company to offset the costs during cloudy days, or you can get a bank of batteries that will allow you to get off the grid completely.

You can have solar power even in a cloudy or cold locale. Modern, high efficiency panels can produce plenty of energy even with limited sunlight. Many folks say that their top power days sometimes come on seemingly less than optimal days.

When buying solar panels, stay away from salesmen who try to pressure you into sales. Know what you’re looking for before ever setting foot in the shop. Buying on the spot from a high pressure person can mean making the wrong choice and wasting your hard earned money.

Seek out grants and rebates to assist you in paying for the installation of your solar energy system. So while theses initial costs are intimidating, know that there is help available. Look into government rebates and grants that will reward you for using a renewable energy. You might be surprised at how much you can save. There may also be a tax credit available.

Before you buy a solar energy system, be sure you have a good idea about the finances involved. After you calculate what it costs to install the solar panels where you live, you may find you will never be able to recoup your investment. If you rush into purchasing a solar power system, you may be unpleasantly surprised.

Many governments worldwide may provide credits on taxes for changing to solar power. You may receive upwards of thirty percent off the price of your system. Check the Internet to learn more.

If you have installed solar panels, check the inverter regularly. You should see a green light which means all is in order. Call your technician if you see some blinking lights or notice some lights are off. It’s unlikely you have the knowledge to take care of this problem yourself. If your panels are still under warranty, most technician’s visits should not cost you one red cent.

As exciting as it would be to have solar powered card to decrease pollution, technology hasn’t come that far yet. But, there are other devices that work well on solar energy. A solar-powered generator could be the answer to your personal energy woes, and who’s to say it won’t someday solve the world’s energy crisis?

You do not have to purchase an entire solar energy system at once. Sometimes it is more economical to start small. Solar-powered attic fans have temperature sensors that will turn your fan on and off automatically based on the attic’s temperature. It will help to bring down your air conditioning bill. It’s also solar powered, so you don’t have to pay to power it.

Once you buy a home, you should explore the option of installing a full solar energy system. If you have to make payments on your house still, you will have to pay extra for your solar energy system and could lose it if you fall behind on your payments.

If you like the idea of solar power, research what types of panels your potential vendors are peddling. While there are certainly more efficient methods in the works, most solar panel manufacturers offer relatively new technology. It may be cheaper upfront to buy older panels, but it will be more costly in the long run.

Before installing your solar energy system, you should check out your local and state regulations. Certain locations require permits in order to install a system. You may have to remove your solar panels if you install them without a proper permit.

Shade areas around your home and property must be a consideration when deciding if you should convert to solar power. If your home is fully shaded most of the day, solar panels might not be the best option. If a shadow is case over your solar panels, their efficiency could drop by as much as 80%, which means you should consider other forms of green energy.

Installing solar energy panels is a pretty big improvement project for your home. You should always make sure you do your research, seek out references, and do your price checking. Read any contracts carefully and if you need to, ask a legal specialist to look at it and make sure you get the most from your money.

By making use of the great tips provided here, you can create a better plan to install solar energy into your living space. Hopefully, this article has helped to educate you and motivate you into choosing solar power. But turning to the sun is a natural and earth friendly way to generate energy.

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The Pain-Free Guide to Generating Valuable Leads From Online Forums

large concrete sculpture of two hands shaking

Serious about making your living via the Web?

Then you’ve likely shelled out good money for an online course or subscription that includes access to a forum.

And if you’re anything like me, you eagerly devour the webinars, worksheets, and ebooks … but avoid the forum, as you would the pee-smelling seat on the train.

I’ve seen forums more tedious than an office cocktail party — chock-full of people who want to talk about themselves and cozy up to important people.

Not to mention it’s a total time suck to wade through all the threads before you find anything interesting.

But it turns out, my attitude was a bit cynical.

I recently found a different type of forum — one that changed my mind.

When I ventured into Copyblogger’s Authority community, something caught my eye: Someone had created a thread called “Looking for great writers for my team.”

Hello.

You can find substantial leads on forums?

Yes, you can — quickly and easily.

So, here’s your pain-free guide to using forums for finding great leads and converting them into clients.

Why forums?

Forums are the first place many smart people look when they want to find someone competent.

Think about it — if you need an experienced writer, where should you look: Craigslist, or a forum populated with Copyblogger readers?

The choice of venue speaks volumes about the potential client.

And when you contact a prospect you found in a forum, you already have a connection — “Hey, we’re both in this great forum!” — as opposed to cold calling or sending an unsolicited email.

What types of forums work for lead generation?

Some forums make more sense for hunting leads than others.

When you’re considering joining a forum, ask yourself these key questions:

  1. Who’s in there?
  2. What are the chances they need my services?
  3. How much did they pay to get in?

Let’s apply these questions to some examples.

Example 1: The Freelance Writer’s Den

This forum is part of a subscription service for freelance writers. It’s fantastic for getting advice and swapping war stories. However, leads in the forum are sporadic, with stiff competition, since it’s populated mainly with other professional writers, not people looking to hire writers. It’s a great site with a lot to offer, just not necessarily the right place to prospect for clients.

Evaluate the forum’s participants and focus before you spend time looking for leads.

Example 2: Authority

This is Copyblogger’s subscription service that offers scads of content marketing resources like ebooks, seminars, and webinars. The forum is populated with plenty of other copywriters like me, but also with entrepreneurs who understand the importance of good content. And some of those people need writers.

If access to a forum requires a subscription fee, that’s a good sign someone is willing to invest in her business. Asking “how much did they pay to get in?” is a measure of seriousness when considering whether or not to use a forum.

Example 3: Seth Godin’s Modern Marketing Workshop

This is a class forum populated with budding entrepreneurs. Seth teaches them that good writing is essential, so they may be the right audience for you. You can explore the forum for leads, but always qualify prospects carefully to make sure they have a budget for your services.

Now that you know how to find the right types of forums, it’s time to log on.

How do you interact in a forum?

Once you’re in a forum, you may not know where to start.

Follow these tips:

  • Focus: Check for a topic or thread called “Community” (or something like it) that is specifically designed for networking. There may even be a “Help Wanted” thread — if there is, subscribe to it!
  • Search: Use the search function, and type phrases such as “looking for writers” or “need freelancers.”
  • Mingle: Find threads that genuinely interest you, read them, and add to the conversation in a meaningful way.
  • Contribute: Post a link to a great free resource you just discovered. Answer someone’s pressing question. Make yourself useful.
  • Participate: When you leave a post, check the “notify me of follow-up replies via email” box. It’s rude to start a conversation and then walk away.
  • Stay vigilant: If you get flaky vibes from someone, steer clear of offering your services, or at least carefully qualify them.
  • Strategize: Get involved during peak times. For example, forums may have more activity shortly after a class launches. You can usually see the last time there was activity on a given thread.

Here are some actions to avoid:

  • Hitting and running: Don’t log on, post a thread that says “Hey, I’m a great writer looking for work. You should hire me,” and then leave your email address and log off, never to return.
  • Brown-nosing: Don’t suck up to the person who runs the forum. Yuck. People who run forums want them to be useful places for their audience to connect, not a venue for empty flattery. You will make them happy by engaging others.

How do you approach leads?

Let’s say you find a fresh “help wanted’ post. You may be excited, but slow down and do your homework. Google the prospect and review his or her website.

Do you like the person’s website?

If so, craft a friendly email.

You may be tempted to respond to the forum post itself, but email is more direct and effective. I’ve never seen a “help wanted” post that didn’t include an email address, but it could happen. Look at the prospect’s website to get the correct email address or perform another Google search.

Keep the email short and include these elements:

  • Reference the forum where you found the “help wanted” post
  • Demonstrate why you’re a good fit for the position
  • Provide a link to samples
  • Say “thank you”
  • Close with a non-pushy invitation to contact you

Here’s the type of email that works for me:

Subject: Your forum post on Authority and your writing needs

Hi _______,

I was excited to see your post on the Copyblogger Authority forum about your need for writers. I want to throw my hat in the ring, as I believe my skills would be a great fit for your agency.

I’ve been a freelance writer since 2010, and I’ve recently deepened my love for content marketing by joining Copyblogger’s content certification program and taking a workshop on modern marketing from the incomparable Seth Godin.

If you want to know what it’s like to work with me, here’s what one client has to say about my abilities: “[succinct, descriptive testimonial]” ~ [testimonial provider's name and company]

You can read some of my work on my website: [your website URL].

I’m truly excited about helping you [meet specific goal from the forum post]. Thanks so much for your time and reviewing my qualifications. I can be reached by phone or email: [your contact info].

Best,

[your name]

The first time I used this method, I got a reply back two days later. We had a follow-up phone conversation, hit it off, and launched a long-term working relationship.

I’m now hooked on using forums to find valuable prospects.

What methods have helped you get the most value out of your time spent in forums? Let’s discuss over at Google+.

Explore the Authority forum for yourself …

Ready to get exclusive content marketing training and generate new leads for your business?

Try the Authority community risk-free for 30 days.

Flickr Creative Commons Image via Nicola Corboy.

About the Author: Sue Campbell is a copywriter and Copyblogger certified content marketer. A former business systems analyst, she always avoided office cocktail parties, but loves an honest, cozy conversation. Follow her on Twitter or Google+.

The post The Pain-Free Guide to Generating Valuable Leads From Online Forums appeared first on Copyblogger.

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Gender Bias in Marketing: Women Seen as Less Valuable Than Men [Research]

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Google Webmaster Tools Search Query Data is Accurate (and Valuable)

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Get Valuable Work Done

I run my own business, but I’ve just completed a short stint working on-site at another company.

And after a few months working for another company, I realized that, at my own company, I had fallen into routines and work habits not all of which could be considered productive.

Procrastination, which some argue can be beneficial, can also be a problem when we really need to get things done. So, it was refreshing to see how other people organize their work, and an opportunity to reflect upon, and improve, my own work approach.

In short, I really needed a way of getting more valuable stuff done each day.

How Often Do We Produce Business Value?

Do you sometimes find that you’ve been working all day, but end with a sneaking suspicion you didn’t create a lot of actual value? Are you sometimes busy for the sake of being busy?

That was true in my case.

But now I organize my work to ensure I deliver something of real value – every day.

I discovered a method of working that has been around for a while, called Agile. Agile is a software development process incorporating a number of elegant concepts that can help skyrocket personal productivity. It is used by companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, Yahoo and Salesforce.

Agile is a huge topic, and there are many flavors of Agile, but I’ve picked out the one key feature that can be very effective for individuals and small companies working in areas beyond software development.

But first, let’s talk about how a bunch of amateurs built a supercar in under three months.

Really?

Really.

Wikispeed are a group of part-time volunteers. They built a 0-60mph-in-under-five-seconds supercar, that can do 100mpg, and they did so in under three months. What is more astonishing is that the people building the car often weren’t in the same room, city or even country.

But with very little money, no factories, and little formal car-building experience they built something astonishing in a very short space of time. Currently, they’re building a full production car suitable for the mass market, and if you want to help build it, well, you can!

That’s quite some feat in terms of both organisation and personal productivity.

Some people would be forgiven for assuming that the process must have been meticulously planned in advance, laying out precise complex technical and procedural detail, but that wasn’t the case. The project was broken down into very simple concepts even a child could understand

The work was broken down into stories

What Is A Story?

In Agile, a “story” is short, simple description of a feature told from the perspective of the person who will use the capability being created. It also defines the business value.

Here’s a template for a story:

As a (type of user), I want (some goal) so that (some reason).

An example might be:

As a marketer, I want a report that shows the number of links coming to my site from Twitter so that I can measure if my Twitter experiment resulted in over 1000 links

We then create a list of tasks needed to accomplish the story.

For example:

  • Investigate software solutions for Twitter link measurement
  • Implement software solution
  • Run report

We then create success criteria to measure if the story has been completed i.e. what output of business value is created?

I can see a report that shows how many links are coming into my site from Twitter

Simple.

Ensure You’re Focused On Delivering Value

On a Monday, I write a set of stories about what I’m going to do that week. I estimate how long each story will take, and then I arrange them in a hierarchy. The order of the hierarchy is determined by which stories produce the most business value.

Next, I count up the hours involved, and if the hours involved exceed the number of hours I have available, the story gets put on the backburner for consideration next week.

I define tasks for each story, and then systematically work through them. It’s like a to-do list, but richer and more valuable because each story forces me to think in terms of delivering something of measurable, business value relative to each other unit of work I need to do. Needless to say, engaging with Facebook doesn’t appear often in my stories.

Big projects, such as entire search marketing campaigns, can be broken down into multiple stories, spread over multiple weeks, chunked into tasks, and then timeboxed as a means of project management. In plain, simple language, everyone can see what needs to be done.

If you have trouble determining the business value of a chunk of work you’re doing, chances are it isn’t producing much value, so you should ditch it and find something that does. In this way, you fill your day with the things that matter most.

Satisfaction In a Job Well Done

There are, of course, many ways to manage projects, and many different ways to use Agile. Most companies adopt different flavours of Agile, or use only bits and pieces as it suits.

Personally, I have little use in my own business for the numerous meetings and the often tedious ritualistic activity Agile can involve. I’m also wary of over-hyped–latest-greatest-thing-since-sliced-bread work systems, but I do find stories a great way of deciding what work is most valuable to do at any given time.

I use this chart tool, called LeanKit, to align the story tasks into pre-set columns of “defined” (meaning I’ve written the story and estimated how long it will take), “in-progress” (meaning “I’m working on it”) and “done” (yay!). You can also use sticky notes on a board if you prefer a more tactile approach

I work on one story at a time (the most important first), see it through to “done” status before I start the next one. If I underestimated how long the stories would take, then at least I can be assured I’ve done the most important work first. If time runs out, the low priority stories simply drop off the end for reconsideration next week.

Click the image for slideshow:

The chart, called a Kanban, is a nice visual representation of how work is progressing, and if other people need to see what I’m working on, and where I’m up to, they can do so at a glance.

As a bonus, it feels very satisfying to move each task across into the done “column”.

Do you use any systems to help ensure you get valuable work done? Please tell us about them in the comments!

PS: I’ve barely touched on Agile, and its many, many variants – a lot of it is more applicable to production processes rather than marketing – but if you want to read more, see the links below.

Further reading:

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