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2017
    Laura Goldsberry
Laura Goldsberry
Marketing Manager, Wiley

Considering an MBA? Whether you're a recent graduate or an established professional, investing in yourself through a business master's degree can go a long way in producing financial, professional, and personal returns.

 

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Have you seen the benefits of an MBA first-hand? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

     Tatiana Pacheco
Tatiana Pacheco
SEO Strategy Lead, Wiley

If you are new to digital marketing, the following three letters might send shivers down your spine: S.E.O. But Search Engine Optimization is not as hard to grasp as you might think. Below are four easy steps to help you get a grip on optimizing your sites and content for search engines. SEO is not optional in today’s world of digital business, in fact, it’s more important than ever. So, let’s get started!

 

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SEO Is Not Difficult to Understand:

  • First, there are plenty of SEO resources online, and many of them are free. Take a few minutes each day to learn something new. You’ll be surprised by the amount of knowledge you’ll gain in just one week.
  • You understand SEO better than you might think. The results of SEO are seen every day when browsing online, reading articles, or looking for a new recipe.
  • SEO is a hot topic that everyone talks about, so don’t be afraid to jump in and ask a question or two

 

SEO Is More Important for Digital Business Than Ever:

  • SEO contributes to your number one business goal – revenue growth.
  • Creating digital content without SEO considerations has little to no value.
  • Creating a website without considering SEO can have an adverse effect on your site’s performance and that results in a waste of personnel and monetary resources.
  • Your online competitors are aggressive, optimizing your site is essential to stay ahead.

 

What is SEO?  SEO is a continuous process of optimizing websites visibility for Organic Search – it’s that’s simple!

 

What is SEO not? SEO is not an afterthought process; you should have an SEO strategy before creating a site, before creating a product detail page, and before deciding on the topic of any blog article.

 

How much time does the SEO process takes? SEO is a job unto itself, but understanding the basics is something every digital marketer needs to understand. Different SEO deliverables take differing amounts of time. Some can take 10 minutes, like briefly scanning through the Google Search Console, and some can take up to 50 hours, like conducting SEO Content Gap Analysis for one of the product lines on the site. Depending on the site size, how often you create content, and business needs you might need anywhere from one to ten SEO specialists serving the site.

 

How Can I Start Learning About SEO:

  1. Start at the Beginning.
    The SEO Beginners Guide is where I started learning about SEO. Read it on your commute to work, while having cup coffee or taking a break from your direct responsibilities—and if you’re a new digital marketer, SEO might very well become one of your direct responsibilities. As a digital marketer, it’s your responsibility to understand and speak the new digital language. Start reading the Beginners Guide on a Monday, and by the end of the week, your SEO knowledge will increase by up to 50%.
  2. Ask Questions
    Be brave! You may not think you can answer simple SEO questions, but if anyone asks something you don’t know how to explain, do some online research à la “Google it”! Search for articles related to SEO, learn how to apply the concepts, and then connect what you have learned with other digital marketing initiatives in which you may be involved.

    What if someone asked you about Rich Snippets. What would you do? Google it – “What are Rich Snippets?” You’ll probably get a Quick Answer. Some SEO strategist did research, tested concepts, wrote an article and optimized it for you to see the information at glance. Test this with your team and see how your SEO efforts affect your content’s organic visibility.
  3. Keep up with the latest trends
    Want to become an SEO expert? Hang around these two sites, bookmark them, and read them everyday.
    Search Engine Land https://searchengineland.com/. Here you can gain more in-depth knowledge of SEO and other digital marketing channels as well as industry updates.
    Search Engine Watch https://searchenginewatch.com/ is another excellent digital marketing resource. Check it out!
  4. Use Tools
    Finally, Download some must have SEO extensions for your Google Chrome browser:
    • MOZ Bar – this tool allows you to see SEO elements at a glance.
    • Redirect Path – enables you to view page redirects.

    • Open SEO Stats – Get site info, traffic, page speed and more.


Happy SEO Learning!

 

Image Credit: Pexels

 

    James Bowen
James Bowen
CEO, Experiential Simulations

shutterstock_62143846.jpgWhat do we mean by risks in a startup and if they ripple?

 

Over the years, I have seen my share of business plans, and in startup-speak, we often talk about calculated risks. (See my entrepreneurship simulation.)

 

Weighing risk requires asking two questions: 1) what might the impact of X be? 2) What is the likelihood of X occurring? Necessarily, every assumption in a business plan is one of risk; who will comprise the management, team? What will the pricing model be? Etc.

 

The creation of a business plan risk score has some value, but more significant value arises from understanding where within the business plan risk resides and then working to reduce it. For example, the selection of a management team is a risk, but hiring a high-quality management team tends to have an overall impact on reducing risk.

 

A calculated risk entails minimizing impact and the likelihood of each risk. How is this accomplished? Startups reduce the number of assumptions by putting them to the test, i.e., will customers pay X amount of money for this product? In this case, the entrepreneurs can reduce the risk associated with pricing assumptions by finding a sample of potential customers who are willing to commit to purchasing the product before its completion, i.e., advance sales.

 

A startup, therefore, is a set of risks differing in impact and likelihood, each with unique significance. I have seen investors who refuse to invest in any company where the management team is unproven. Why? The selection of the management team is one of the highest-impact risks a startup can take.

 

What if a startup develops a two-dimensional impact versus likelihood chart and assigns values to each to derive an overall risk score? While the term impact could be interpreted broadly, it is typically understood to mean an immediate impact, such as an angel investor who decides not to invest, or a particular partner who does not align with the overall vision of the company.

 

This narrow interpretation fails to capture a more strategic impact such as the integrated nature and the system-wide impact of some risk items.

 

Returning to the example of selecting a management team and developing a pricing model, if the team is of poor quality then the ripple effects can be broad and deep, if a particular customer chooses not to buy the product, then the impact might be short-lived.

 

Generally, the guidance around startups is to reduce risk as much as possible and then proceed with launch. However, this advice is too coarse.

 

The recommendation should be more along the lines of focusing on and reducing the risk items that have the most significant ripple effect across other risk items within the business plan. In other words, startups need to consider the cause and effect of linked risks items. One risk item could increase the likelihood and impact on another risk item(s). Risks that ripple include management team selection, barriers against competition, and the shortage of financing.

 

To wrap this all up in four bullet points, here are the items to consider when devising a risk plan:

  • Understand that assumptions are risks.
  • Some risks have a ripple effect due to their systematic and integrated nature.
  • Identify ripple risks by considering their impact on other risk items.
  • Potential investors who spot ripple risks tend to shy away from financing, so reducing or eliminating them early on is in a startup’s best interest.

 

Reduce ripple risks impact by figuring out a way to decouple them from other risks; for example, create advisory panels for an unproven management team.

 

Do you see ripple risks in your organization? Share your experiences in the comments below.

 

Image Credit: BlackJack3D/iStockphoto

 

    Tara Trubela
Tara Trubela
Content Marketing, Wiley
MA, Columbia University

 

 

Trubela_Vacation_Xia Yuan_Getty Images_533807210.jpgEvery summer, I look forward to our week-long vacation at the shore. It’s a chance for me to unplug, unwind, and just be in the moment: long beach days, miniature golf, and seafood dinners followed by a glass of wine on the deck once the kids are asleep.

 

It’s a great week to reconnect with my family, and I always come back to work feeling refreshed and ready to tackle any unfinished projects that are still on my desk.

 

Most Americans get about two weeks of vacation compared to countries like Brazil that grants employees 22 days of paid leave and Australia that gives workers at least four weeks off plus ten holidays.

 

And even though we’re lagging in the rest-and-relaxation category compared to the rest of the world, Americans still don’t take all of the vacation time that’s allotted to them. In fact, 54% of employees finish off the year with unused vacation days—collectively relinquishing 662 million days.

 

The reasons employees forfeit their days range from wanting to prove their dedication (read: they don’t want to get laid off) to dreading coming back to hundreds of unanswered emails and an overwhelming workload. And some people simply feel guilty about taking a breather from work.

 

However, studies show that never coming up for air isn’t the way to get recognized—but giving yourself a break to recharge is.

 

Top Three Reasons You Need to Book That Vacay Right Away:

  1. You’ll be more productive. When my son was a newborn, I was so sleep-deprived that I crashed my car into my husband’s parked car before ever leaving our driveway (true story). Especially if you have the kind of job that requires mental agility, not getting enough rest can result in damaging consequences.

    According to Dr. Jenny Brockis, author of Future Brain, only getting four or five hours of sleep a night reduces our cognitive capacity to the equivalent of a blood alcohol level of 0.01 percent. The good news is, the Alertness Solutions fatigue management consulting firm founded by former NASA scientists discovered that the “respite effect” of a vacation can increase performance by 80%―and rested employees experience a 40% increase in reaction times once they’re back at work.
  2. You’ll be in a better mood. Harvard researchers found that going on vacation has restorative effects at the molecular level. It only took one week away from the office for the study participants to report feeling less stressed, more aware, and happier—and these positive vibes lasted for about a month. When we take time to rejuvenate, the genes that normally combat stress and heal injuries don’t have to work as hard, and this temporary decrease in the levels of stress-related genes results in a natural antidepressant.
  3. You’ll be rewarded. I admit to checking work email while I’m away, but some people identify so strongly with their jobs that they feel compelled to work all the time. This all-or-nothing attitude is not only detrimental to your health and relationships, it’s also harmful to your career.

    Up to 27% of the work-obsessed are less likely to get a promotion and 78-84% less likely to get a raise or bonus compared to employees who take their vacation days. Eventually, the constant grind will catch up to you, resulting in lack of energy, clarity, and even creativity on the job.

 

The Trend: Companies Are Giving Back Time

To motivate employees to take vacations, some U.S. companies have instituted a “use it or lose it” policy that speaks for itself—either you use your annual paid time off or it’s gone. Other organizations, like the U.S. Travel Association, give their employees bonuses (yup, you read that right) for taking their entire allotment of paid leave. Still other employers are experimenting with implementing “unlimited vacation” to mixed results.

 

Do you use your full allotment of vacation time? Share your experiences in the comments below.

 

Image Credit: Xia Yuan/Getty Images

 

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