Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Five Trusted Link Building Techniques that Work in 2015


Photo Credit: Baitong333 via freedigitalphotos.net

Internet marketers are always searching for the latest, greatest technique to boost numbers. While it’s important, especially in digital marketing, to always keep one eye on what lies ahead, it’s also equally (if not more) important to remain focused on what has and currently is working for you.

When it comes to link building, lots of things have changed over the years. As search engines have cracked down on spammy and automated techniques, it’s important now more than ever to be using trusted and true strategies that actually work. While there are lots of new creative link building techniques, there are also the powerful strategies that have been around for sometime and are continuing to produce great results.

So, what are the five most trusted link building techniques that you can count on in 2015 (and beyond)? Check them out here.

Guest Posting
The most tried and true of all techniques lives on!
Yes, it’s 2015, and yes, guest posting is still one of the most tried and true link building techniques. Don’t let people tell you guest posting is dead, because it’s not. While it’s quite clear and obvious that guest posting has significantly changed from what it used to be, it’s by no means dead, and in fact it’s alive and well.

In terms of how guest posting has changed, it’s in fact become a much more legit form of link building than it used to be. While what once might’ve been easily automated and done in large scale numbers is now pretty much unattainable unless completed on a more personal level. Conducting real outreach to quality blogs, with real accomplished writers and journalists, is how you’re going to get links in today’s digital marketing climate.

Guest posting in 2015 is less about the link you’re getting, and more about the quality blog post you’re posting. The link is an added benefit!

How-To Guides
Become an information powerhouse, and get links while you’re at it!

Creating informative, niche how-to guides and hosting them on your website or blog is another great step to take in order to start gaining valuable links. It might take a significant amount of time or a lot of effort to create a guide valuable enough to really help you get good links, but the time and effort you put in will come back to you tenfold.

Using videos, images, quotes, and more in your how-to guides is imperative if you want to see them turn into link building powerhouses. Once you’ve built up a solid guide (or, for best results, multiple guides) it’s time to start promoting them. Conduct blogger and influencer outreach to a variety of different outlets, and share the guide with them. Share it constantly on social media, and be sure to target niche specific people and blogs.

Building how-to guides is a link building strategy that, with enough effort put in now, will pay off for many years to come.

Expert Interviews
Be the source of expert information, and the links will follow.

Conducting interviews with experts in the niche you’re link building continues to be one of the greatest ways to gain a high number of valuable links. While it’s a strategy that requires a lot of waiting, and a lot of time to put together and finally get live, it’s something that is almost a sure-fire bet to get a number of great links while at the same time networking with some of the more known names in the industry.

Craft a personal email with a number of questions for the expert that you’d like to interview. If you want this piece to just focus on one expert, that’s fine, but ideally you’ll craft a blog post or content page with quotes and analysis from a handful of experts, as this will likely get you the most links. Once you’ve collected the answers and quotes, and have packaged the content together, reach back out to the expert with what you’ve come up with. If you put a lot of work into it, it will show, and you’ll likely get some social shares and a link back to your work.

Consider reaching out to many more experts than you want or think you’ll need, because chances are many will flat or ignore your emails for whatever reason.

Event Sponsorships
Look to find sponsorship opportunities in your niche, and you’ll get relevant links.

Sponsoring events is another excellent link building strategy that companies across many niches are utilizing in 2015. Depending on the size of the event and level of sponsorship, the potential of gaining a huge number of quality links is substantial. Events such as conferences typically list every single sponsor, and as other blogs start writing about the event there’s a chance you’ll get some links back that way too.

While sponsoring events is a great way to get links, it’s important to keep in mind that there is a chance these links will eventually get removed. Use various search queries to find good events that you can sponsor.


One of the more up and coming link building techniques that more and more companies are starting to utilize is offering scholarships. Offering scholarships sort of follows the same idea as sponsoring an event, but scholarships will likely result in more links from more higher quality sites (and possibly for a cheaper price, too).

There are a myriad of locations out on the web that compile lists of scholarships available to high school or college students, as a helpful resource. Sponsoring a scholarship by offering, say, $1,000 to the winner will help your company appear on these lists. You build a page on your website with all the information needed to apply for the scholarship, and promote that page out to the scholarship aggregators.

While the initial startup cost of offering a scholarship might be high, chances are you’ll see a nice return on investment due to the number of high quality EDU links you’ll be getting.

What works for you?

All in all, these five strategies have worked for businesses small and large, for many years. Unless something dramatically changes, they’ll continue working in the future, too. But, just like with any online marketing strategy, it really boils down to what works best for you and your business, as it might vary dramatically from another business!

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Monday, September 28, 2015

How To Ensure New Employees Perform Well

If you want new employees to perform well, you have to get them off to a good start. This means getting help from your team. Assign them the task of bringing their new teammate up to speed, and have them share “collective responsibility” for his success. Ask one person to act as a sponsor, and designate her to be the go-to person for when the new teammate runs into problems. This is good for the sponsor, who gets an opportunity to demonstrate leadership skills, and the new employee, who can get feedback without having to worry about asking his new manager questions. Remember that the smallest things count. You want to make the onboarding experience memorable in a positive way — ask team members to coordinate so the new teammate doesn’t eat lunch alone the first week.

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Sunday, September 27, 2015

How to Tell a Good Failure from a Bad One

Not all failures are bad — some of them are actually good because of the valuable learning opportunities they present. Dividing your organization’s failures into three categories will help you distinguish the good, useful failures from the bad, useless ones:
  • Preventable failures in predictable operations. These are caused by inadequate training, inattention, or lack of ability. They’re easy to diagnose and fix — by using a checklist, for example — but they’re not very useful.
  • Unavoidable failures in complex systems. Small process setbacks are inevitable, so considering them failures is counterproductive. They can usually be averted by following best practices for safety and risk.
  • Intelligent failures at the frontier. These good failures happen as a result of forward-thinking innovation. They provide valuable knowledge that can help you get ahead of the competition. But they can become bad failures if your organization starts working at a larger scale than is necessary.

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How To Become a Better Learner at Work

Research has found that learning agility — the ability to grow and to use new strategies — is a good indicator of whether someone can be a high performer. Learning-agile employees are able to jettison skills and ideas that are no longer relevant and learn new ones that are. To cultivate learning agility in yourself, try

  • Innovating. Seek out new solutions. Repeatedly ask yourself “What else?” and “What are more ways I could approach this?”
  • Performing. When faced with complex situations, look for similarities to your past projects. Practice calming techniques, and listen instead of simply reacting.
  • Reflecting. Seek out input from others. Ask colleagues what you could have done better.
  • Risking. Look for “stretch assignments” where success isn’t a given.
  • Avoid defending. Acknowledge your failures and capture the lessons you’ve learned.

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Saturday, September 26, 2015

How To Recognize When You’re Being Too Stubborn

Being stubborn isn’t always a bad thing. But if you’re standing your ground for the wrong reasons (like if you hate to be wrong), you’ll do more damage than good. Since it’s hard to recognize stubbornness in yourself, look out for these signs that you’re being inflexible:

  • You keep at an idea or plan, or insist on making your point, even when you know you’re wrong.
  • You do what you want to do even if no one else wants you to do it.
  • When others present an idea, you tend to point out all the reasons it won’t work.
  • You visibly feel anger, frustration, and impatience when others try to persuade you of something you don’t agree with.
  • You commit halfheartedly to others’ requests because you know you’re going to do something entirely different.

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Friday, September 25, 2015

How To Recognize Your Employees' Achievements

One of the top complaints we have about executives is that they don't recognize our achievements. Leaders have to actively build a sense of connectedness with their employees, and this starts with expressing appreciation.

  • Notice employees’ unique contributions. Say something that highlights something specific: “I appreciate the way you pull in people from other departments to reach your team goals — you’re a connector.”
  • Thank people personally and publicly. Daily interactions — from the elevator to the parking lot — are opportunities to show appreciation for your employees’ efforts. Public recognition at a staff meeting, or a thoughtful “thank you” in a newsletter or e-mail, are also meaningful.
  • Ask, "What do you think?" Give people the opportunity to express themselves and be recognized for their ideas. Proactively ask employees, “How do you think we could improve?” and “What is keeping us stuck?”

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

How to Plan a Team Offsite That Actually Works

A successful team-building offsite can help employees develop new ways of communicating and collaborating. But many of these meetings are ineffective. To create an offsite that will have positive, enduring effects:
  • Create an agenda. For example, 1) We'll reflect on past performance to consider what the team has done well and what we could have done better, 2) Discuss current opportunities and challenges, and 3) Create strategic plans for the future.
  • Set ground rules. People should be able to speak up and constructively challenge one another without any fear of reprisal.
  • Plan activities that actually build the team. Cooking a meal together, for example, genuinely builds a sense of interdependence and collaboration, as does public service and volunteer projects.
  • Schedule follow-up. A subsequent offsite or check-in meeting can help ensure that the team stays focused on making progress and sustaining positive change.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

How to Keep High Deductible Health Plan Patients Coming to Your Practice

How will the trend for more and more people with high-deductible health insurance plans affect your physician practice? After all, some experts predict patients paying a greater share of medical expenses could hesitate to come for care as often if — financially speaking — there’s more on the line for them.

Education is a great strategy to keep these patients healthy and engaged in their care.
The time you put into informing patients could pay off in the long term for their outcomes, as well as for the health of your medical business. Remember these high-deductible plans are new to many people, including the estimated 17 million more Americans with insurance since passage of the Affordable Care Act.

First off, the traditional question for patients is changing from ‘Do you have insurance?’ to ‘What kind of insurance do you have?’ as Medical Economics points out.

When you find out they have a high-deductible plan, keep these strategies in mind:

#1. Be as transparent as possible on pricing. Train your staff on how you want them to answer questions about pricing of your services over the telephone and in person. In the era of consumer-driven healthcare, more patients will be “shopping around” based on price. And when they’re in your exam room, patients are more likely to ask for a comparison of charges if you recommend different diagnostic or treatment options.

#2. Collect Co-Pay or Co-Insurance at Point of Care. When patients ask how much a service will cost and agree to go forward, it’s a perfect opportunity for your staff to ask how they’d like to pay for their co-pay or co-insurance. Collecting up front will also save you from sending patient statements and collection reminders. It can also help keep your medical group revenue strong.

#3. Stress the Importance of Regular Healthcare. Research from the Rand Corporation suggests high deductible plans prevent some patients from seeking preventive care. Even though you already counsel patients on wellness and prevention, you may need to really emphasize the importance of regular screenings and annual exams. Point out that many of these plans cover preventive services regardless of the deductible, including cancer screenings, diabetes testing and childhood immunizations.

If you’re experiencing a higher number than usual of appointment cancellations, check your practice data to find out if a high percentage carry high-deductible plans. If this is the case, emphasize the importance of regular health monitoring when you send out appointment reminders.

#4. Be ready When They Ask for a Discount or Payment Plan. Many web sites suggest self-pay consumers and those with high-deductible plan patients ask for a negotiated fee. Generally, you have more freedom on what to charge cash-paying patients. In contrast, most insurance contracts state physicians must charge a negotiated rate for services. Some insured patients might even present themselves as uninsured to pay less, according to SelfPayPatient.com. Also, decide in advance how and when you want to offer a payment plan to patients if they ask.

#5. Continue the Education. Recommend reputable sites to help patients navigate the complexities of their high deductible plan features. For example, fairhealthconsumer.org offers this easy-to-understand information for patients: Understanding High Deductible Health Plans. MVP Health Care’s consumer-friendly video helps people understand the differences between a deductible, copay and co-insurance in less than three minutes. Forbes also includes useful answers in their ‘Should I Chose a High or Low Deductible Insurance Plan?’ article.

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