Imagine earning a living as a writer, artist, freelance reporter, photographer or any other content creator trying to scratch out a living in today’s overcrowded, hyperactive digital landscape.
You may have something to say; you may have something to share. Now what? What can you do to ensure your work is discovered?
Before answering, consider these stats: Wikipedia users publish 600 new pages every minute. Meanwhile, almost 50,000 new photos are uploaded to Instagram every minute. Bundled together, this deluge of videos, posts, texts and tweets make up about 2.5 quintillion bytes of new data posted online each day.
Faced with this tsunami of information, one has to ask: What inspires content creators to share their hard work in the slim chance it will gain traction?
Obviously, sheer determination is a driver. Scrappy fortitude and confidence are necessary for those creators confident their work will be discovered.
But stick-to-itiveness is not enough.
If creators are hoping to have their work unearthed, many share their wares on popular outlets such as Facebook, YouTube, SubscribeStar, Twitter and other popular online platforms.
But this is a proverbial double-edge sword. These outlets promise creators the potential to build big followings, but – because these sites depend on advertisers, payment processors, and other third parties to pay the bills – they also demand final control over a creator’s work.
Such arrangements can get messy when it comes to revenue. Mainstream content platforms are notorious for demanding steep fees to showcase a creator’s work. (The most extreme example may be YouTube: Google – YouTube’s owner – can keep up to 45 percent of any advertising revenue a creator’s work generates.)
The arrangements can get even messier if an artist’s work leans towards controversy. The internet is littered with examples of creators who have been deplatformed – or demonetized as the practice is called. When a controversial creator is demonetized, it means the big sites that once welcomed them and their work has had a change of heart. They can be 86’d from the platform, loosing ownership rights of their own content – and their income stream.
Before signing on the dotted line with a popular content platform, creators should know there is an alternative. Blockchain technology – the decentralized tech that was famously introduced to supports bitcoin – is now be leveraged to remedy the many disparities that exist in today’s online content landscape.
Popular content platforms– Twitter, Facebook, etc. – operate using for-profit, centralized business models that are wholly dependent on third parties. They are loaded with inefficiencies; excessive fees and the threat of censorship come with the territory.
Blockchain-powered content platforms offers creators an alternative method of showcasing their work while operating under a far more equitable arrangement.
Artists, citizen journalists and other creators can use blockchain platforms as digital galleries to showcase their work directly to appreciative fans. No advertisers or payment processors are required. Conversely, blockchain permits fans to directly support the creators they prefer. They can subscribe to preferred creators, promote their work and even offer financial support directly to the creators. (Mainstream currencies aren’t even needed; fans can offer support through cryptocurrencies.)
This subscription approach enables creators to thrive, keeping the full amount of what fan compensation. However, should they post offensive content, blockchain empowers fans to immediately withhold their support. Needless middlemen – advertisers, payment processors, content watchdogs – who shudder at the thought of controversy, are all removed from the mix.
This is the beauty of blockchain technology. It fosters collaboration and cultivates trust. It’s efficient and transparent. Those who associate it strictly with bitcoin are missing the boat. Don’t take my word for it. IBM, Walmart, FedEx, Microsoft, Mastercard, Overstock, and Bank of America are just a few the corporations now using blockchain. By 2024, the global blockchain market is projected to exceed $60 billion.
The reason these name-brand companies are migrating to blockchain is because they recognize it offers a more efficient way to manage projects and tasks. It levels the playing field.
That is exactly why content creators should think twice before striking a deal with the digital devil and surrendering creative control and a significant slice of their earnings to big, centralized content heavyweights.
Blockchain technology offers an alternative path. Instead of depending on big-name content outlets, creators owe it to themselves to explore the possibilities that decentralized, ad-free platforms offer.
About the Author
Brad Robertson is the founder and CEO of Polyient Labs, a Phoenix-based blockchain incubator with offices in Denver and San Diego. Prior to launching Polyient, Robertson was the CEO and founder of CX, an early innovator in cloud computing. Before that, Robertson served in several executive roles on behalf of numerous internet startups.
Many IT executives moan about mismanagement in so many projects. In fact, even with project management applications, IT projects often end up taking much longer than anticipated and going beyond the budget.
While every project is different, the problems that may impact and possibly put projects at risk are often pretty similar. And even decent project managers make mistakes when tackling a large, complex IT project or when being barraged with change requests.
Have you got any specific concerns and issues preventing your project from being completed successfully? In this piece, we’ll take a look at nine common IT project management pitfalls that stop project teams from delivering results successfully.
Not Defining the Goals
When carrying out a project, the first and most important thing to do is to know what you’re trying to accomplish. Knowing your end goal clearly makes you feel like you own it and motivates you to do all you can to get there.
But with most teams, what happens is that the objectives aren’t spelt out and the focus is on the day-day tasks instead. While it’s vital to know your short-term assignments, it’s even more critical for your team to know the end goal. That’s the only thing that will keep them motivated and focused, and drive them into the right path as far as the project is concerned.
It happens to everyone sooner or later: The tendency to underestimate the amount of resources needed to complete a project within a given deadline.
Here’s the thing: raw numbers might have supported you initially, but there are always extenuating circumstances. Employees may take a sick leave or last-minute paid time off. Other projects and tasks can stop stakeholders from finishing tasks on time. There might be data loss on your network.
Any of these circumstances might cause delays. And however minor those delays might seem initially, they can snowball and drag projects beyond their expected conclusion.
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Scope and objective statements are the basis on which every project is managed. Project teams check these documents to understand the following things about a project:
- Overall objectives and goals
- Responsible parties
When defining a project’s scope, consult with each stakeholder and the project’s sponsor to know their needs as well as expectations. This will help you:
- Avoid scope creep
- Expose missing requirements
- Reduce change orders
- Provide a more practical timeline
Once you’ve made a good scope statement, have your project sponsor and stakeholders review and approve it. Remember, your project’s success will be determined by your team’s ability to meet the requirements and deliverables as set out in the scope statement.
Effective communication is one of the most important factors when doing a project. The project manager, stakeholders, and team members need a smooth way of communicating about the project’s progress.
But what usually occurs is that communication between these parties is highly structured and delayed. Rather than communicate the issue immediately, there’s a need to go through different levels of management or wait for meetings. This means that issues which might be solved on the spot are put off until the following meeting to be sorted out. This delays the entire project itself.
Not Using Project Planning Tools
Good project management tools enable teams to remotely access information, assign tasks, monitor progress, and share project information on one platform, for example, apps such as Basecamp or Trello.
Some companies even focus on building custom project management applications to meet the needs of specific organizations. Either way, it’s important for project teams to know how to use these tools effectively and ensure efficiency.
Lack of Coordination
When doing a project, coordination is very important to a team. If the members of a team have clearly defined tasks and roles, they coordinate and run the project on their own. However, for most teams, project coordination is the responsibility of only the project manager, with the team having no say.
This causes tension in the team and makes them unable to coordinate even for minor tasks. Thus, it’s critical to assign tasks, define roles, and meet the entire team every now and then to let them know about the project’s progress.
Lack of Stakeholder Involvement
Stakeholders are interested in the successful completion of a project. Each project has various stakeholders who usually have different requirements toward the project.
Failure to balance stakeholder requirements can lead to conflict and dissatisfaction between the project manager and stakeholders. Depending on their power to make decisions, disenchanted stakeholders may have a major effect on the project. If worse comes to worst, they could withdraw their support and buy-in completely.
Having an Unrealistic Deadline
Having an unrealistic deadline is a huge risk. Unfortunately, that’s something quite often seen in IT project management.
Not giving your staff enough time to complete the project means they’ll be in a hurry. Inevitably, bigger mistakes may happen as employees will be in a rush to meet your deadline.
It’s your project manager’s duty to allocate adequate time so that everyone can feel comfortable while knowing there’s a fixed deadline keep them on their toes.
Not Monitoring Work Progress
While keeping an eye on the work done daily and how your staff performs is what most companies do nowadays, many project managers don’t track work progress.
This is a key metric as it helps you and your project team to be accountable and productive as much as possible. The first thing employees need so as to follow the guidelines given and commit to their tasks is accurate information that demonstrates how things are moving and what needs to be done.
This has also been shown to enhance communication, which is a critical part of successful project completion.
A good way to ensure accountability is to meet with your project team often and take a look at the figures. Everyone should give an update of their progress, after which the team can look into the future together.
The true measure of success in any project isn’t the absence of problems but the ability to find and resolve problems immediately. As a project team leader, knowing and avoiding common IT project management pitfalls will help you enjoy huge success while delivering your projects on time and within the scope.
Digital strategies dominate much of the marketing methods used today, and online forms of marketing are deemed to be the only way to get results. While this can be true in certain industries and specific target markets, there are also many effective offline marketing methods available for you to use that you have probably never considered.
The digital age means that we use the internet for most things, but successful marketing can be achieved by offline means as well. Some people assume that offline methods are now outdated and aren’t as effective as online strategies, but by being creative and carefully thinking about your methods, you can create an effective offline approach.
Offline marketing methods are sometimes more popular amongst small businesses as it allows them to promote their products and services to their local communities. However, offline marketing tactics can also be successfully used by bigger and international companies to promote what they have to offer. Here are 10 offline marketing methods you probably have never considered using before.
Don’t underestimate the power of the freebie. Whether it is a company branded pen or keyring, or even a hat or T-shirt that features your company’s logo, making your presence known physically is a great way to get information across to potential customers. People are visual beings, and 90 percent of the information our brain receives is based on what we see, so branding products is a great method of offline marketing.
By using companies such as CustomEnvy, you can brand nearly any product with your company logo and name, for example, phone cases, apple watch straps, and beach towels. You could give away branded products to your customers so that when they use their products around their friends, you are getting additional exposure for your business.
You will be surprised at how effective sponsorship is as a form of offline marketing, especially if you sponsor an individual or event that is well-known, either locally or nationally. Sponsorship is a great way to get your presence across to specific audiences and interact with your target market.
For example, if you sell sports clothing and products then you may think about sponsoring the local football team where your brand name is more likely to be witnessed by sports fans. Just like how a big company would want to sponsor an award ceremony or international event such as the Superbowl, for example, where the exposure is massive!
Creative Business Cards
A business card may sound like an old-fashioned form of marketing, but people still like to have a physical copy of a company’s details to hand. However, you should make sure that your business card is creative and different.
By investing in some quality and well-designed business cards you can stand out from any competitors and make sure that your brand sticks in their mind rather than anyone else. You should be sure that your business cards are clear and direct so that they reflect your company and values.
You can make individual business cards for each employee so that customers have a direct line to a member of staff if they need to contact them. This is not only more convenient for customers, but it also shows that you are a professionally run business.
Some of the biggest brands around are well-known because their packaging is different and stands out from other companies. For example, leading beauty company MAC has become well-known for their product packaging, and their black lipstick cases now stand out from any other beauty brand.
Similarly, if your product is to be sold on a shelf, then you want to make sure that it stands out from all the other items it is placed next to. It can sometimes be difficult to be noticed amongst hundreds of other products but aiming to be eye-catching is an important offline marketing technique.
Offering discounts is a great way to market your business offline as people love to think they are getting a good deal. You don’t have to offer too much of a discount, but sometimes it can be worth it just to get customers through your door initially.
For example, if your target audience is older people, you may consider offering senior discounts on certain days in order to get your product talked about. By providing specific clients with special discounts, you are increasing revenue while also making your customers feel special and privileged.
Networking is important in most professions nowadays, and offline marketing strategies are no exception. There are many different opportunities for business to network with potential customers, without being online. If you are based in a small town, then you should consider hosting networking events so that you get to meet the local people and make them aware of what it is your company does and what you have to offer them.
You may also consider setting up a local business group if one doesn’t already exist, where you become friendly and collaborate with other small businesses in your area. This is a great way to set up a small network of businesses and spread the brand identity and products of your business.
Provide Expert Advice
If you have a company in a field, then you can offer expert advice to help people and you should advertise this. While it may not directly create more revenue, it is likely to increase potential customers in the future. Offering expert advice is a great way to help others while also getting some attention to your business.
If you have a small local business, then you should consider going on a community radio station to answer listener questions while also getting some publicity for your brand. Similarly, you may consider establishing workshops to your customers to help them with any problems they may have. People are much more likely to buy/use your products if you are known for being a helpful company.
A good old-fashioned sign is a great offline marketing strategy as it gets you noticed by hundreds of people every day. Billboards have been used for years, by both small and big businesses, as they have proven to be successful.
By using digital techniques and creative designs, you can develop innovative signs to make people aware of your business and get them familiar with your brand identity and logo. While billboards can sometimes be a bit pricey, they are a good way to use a marketing budget, as the exposure it gives your company can be priceless.
Attend Trade Shows
Depending on what sort of industry your business is based on, you may be able to attend trade shows to get offline attention. At a trade show, you can promote your brand and the different products you have on offer. This is a great way to interact with your target audience as all the people who are most likely to buy your product are all in one place.
You can combine a trade show strategy with the use of branding products, as offering something for free is a sure way to get people to flock to your stall. Here you could provide a goody bag to give to the trade show attendees that have your logo on the side with sweets, information leaflets, and special discounts in them to encourage future customers.
Advertise in Printed Media
Many people still look in their local newspaper for services and products that they require, so using printed media to promote your business is an effective offline marketing strategy. Similarly, you could ask your local paper to feature events you are holding as well as discounts and write-ups about what your business does.
Local print publications are still popular forms of communication and media, especially amongst communities, so it is a simple but effective way to get you valuable and needed attention. You should try to develop a good relationship between you and the media because it may come in handy in the future.
Whereas marketing has shifted to online and digital forms of promotion, there are many effective ways that you can develop your offline marketing strategy as well. While it is important that you have a strong online presence, you shouldn’t neglect your offline attempts at marketing either.
Older people tend to be more susceptible to offline marketing tactics, as they spend less time online than young people do. However, if you are advertising at local events or international occasions, then you can be sure to get exposure to a range of different people who may be interested in what you have to offer.
The key to a good marketing strategy, whether online or offline, is to spend some time considering where your target audience is most likely to see your adverts and focus your time and money on those environments. Interacting with potential customers is also important, as it will make your business stick in their mind for the future.
People rarely donate money to charities they’ve never heard of, and they certainly won’t donate to causes they don’t know about. This is why raising awareness is essential for fundraising. The standard methods of raising awareness include sending out mailers and hosting events, but these can be expensive, and you’re competing in a crowded sphere. The best solutions are affordable and unusual. Here are five ways to raise awareness about your non-profit organization.
Make Use of Social Media
Social media has an incredibly wide reach. Nearly three billion people use social media daily, and more than four fifths of Americans have at least once social media account.
Dust off your organization’s social media profiles and start posting stories about what you’re doing. One of the best things about social media is that you don’t have to get in the business of creating new content. You can maintain an active feed by sharing news related to your cause and any mentions of your charity in the news. This means that when school kids wear your shirts at a fundraiser for your charity, or a celebrity brags about donating to your charity, share the story on social media to help get the word out.
Get – and Give – Some Swag
One way to reward donors is to thank them for their donations. A better solution is to give them swag like T-shirts, key chains and bags branded with your charity’s logo. They’ll feel appreciated. And when they wear it, they’ll be promoting awareness of your charity. You can build awareness of your charity and your swag by taking pictures of your employees, your donors and your volunteers carrying it. Giving swag could create more visibility than you may imagine and even generate a lot of interest for your cause completely by accident.
One example was when PGA star Rickie Fowler wore a custom button to honor a young fan that died of a rare disorder. He wore the pin every day of the PGA tour, resulting in many photos of him and the pin showing up in media. You can learn more about this story and how a simple custom button could help your business get tons of attention not only online, but from everyday people wearing them as well.
Don’t forget to give away branded swag at community events to raise awareness too. This will attract people to your booth, and you can use the give-away as a way to discuss your charitable cause. Give your volunteers custom buttons to show that they’re members of your team, and encourage them to give away buttons as a way to create awareness. Make sure that the buttons are attractive too so that people will actually want to wear them.
Have a Photo/Video Contest
A photo contest or video competition can build awareness by generating social media attention with relatively little effort on your part. Just give people a topic and the rules for entry, such as asking them to wear a custom button with the charity’s logo on it in an unusual place or in a major public event. You can generate interest and entries by offering a cash prize for the top entries or giving away free swag to creators of the most creative entries. You’ll get extra points if you link the contest with a hashtag so that it can get trending in its own right. Funny or outrageous content could go viral simply for the entertainment value.
You could get the ball rolling by making it a challenge, getting people to compete with each other for a cause. You can combine this with a photo contest, such as showing how much food they collected for your charity or the number of volunteers they could get to come to an event. Make it a competition to do as much as possible for charity.
Provide Valuable Content
Search engines give extra weight to valuable content. One way to keep social media followers engaged is to offer them valuable content aside simply soliciting for money. They may share valuable content about the cause that your charity supports with friends and family. Informational articles could become highly trafficked content in its own right, while the mention of your charity on the page increases awareness of it. Create how-to videos or infographics, and they could be widely shared by people who simply want to educate others. Note that when you create this content, you should share it via your organization’s social media accounts.
Publish a Press Release
You should also never overlook the power of press releases. While they’ve been around for a while and are certainly not flashing, just a professionally written and enticing press release could give your charity a lot of visibility, especially on the local level. This is why it’s very important that you include the name of your municipality in the title so that local media might pick it up. Also, try to have a special event or achievement attached to it to create more buzz.
Organize or Sponsor Live Events
Just like press releases, live events are a great way to build a relationship with members of your community. Check what type of events perform the best where you are and create your own. Also, make sure that it aligns with your cause.
However, you don’t want to focus solely on lecturing people about your cause. Try to make the event as enjoyable as possible so that people will create a positive connection between the event and your charity. People are also more likely to give if they don’t feel like they’re getting pressured. And they’ll also be much more likely to post pictures of your event on social media, creating even more attention for your cause.
Managing a nonprofit is tough, and finding ways to raise awareness – and money – without spending a lot of money is a challenge in its own right. However, there are things you can do to raise awareness of both your cause and your charity without spending a fortune.
When you find a job that you love, it is only natural to want to progress through its ranks as fast as you can. If you are willing and able to put in the hours, you can one day make it to the level of manager. This will give you an opportunity to oversee a new generation of workers in your industry and pass on the skills and experience that you have developed over the years.
But no matter how good you are at your job, and how naturally-suited you might be to the role of manager, managing a business for the first time is always going to present a significant challenge. Of course, you won’t be the first manager to find themselves thrown in at the deep end when they first take on the role. Even with preparation, you will inevitably make some mistakes during the early days of your tenure as manager.
By preparing adequately beforehand, you can significantly reduce the chances of you running into unexpected but avoidable problems. Avoiding these common mistakes will make it easier for you to establish your authority and your management style as soon as possible after you take over. They will also help you to bond with your team and foster a mutual respect, something that will make your life as a manager much easier.
Don’t Feel Pressured to Know Everything
Many managers hold themselves up to very high standards. This can include feeling as if they should be able to handle every single issue that comes their way with barely a second’s thought. However, this is an impossible standard to try and reach. Even if you are being promoted within a business that you already have plenty of experience with, that doesn’t mean that you will know everything there is to know about being a manager.
You should never be afraid to admit when you don’t know something. Instead, you should focus on showing your employees that you can still effectively solve any issues that do crop up. When you encounter issues that you don’t know how to solve, working out solutions will be a valuable learning experience. It is also important to show your employees that it is ok to not know things.
An important part of your role as manager will be nurturing the efforts of those that work beneath you. Some of this will come from your own past work experience, but as with any role, you will also need to do a fair amount of learning while on the job. When you encounter things you don’t know, use them as learning opportunities and encourage your workers to do the same.
The best leaders are those that others would follow even if they didn’t hold a more senior position than them professionally. An important part of nurturing this kind of relationship is showing your workers that you value their opinions, skills and experience. Encouraging them to think for themselves as much as possible is an effective way of doing this.
You shouldn’t be looking to stamp on everyone with your newfound authority; if you set up a hostile atmosphere from the beginning, you will never be able to win them back around. One of the most common mistakes that new managers often make is in trying to control every aspect of what goes on during their watch. If your workers find you overbearing, they will be less likely to respond to your demands.
It is much better to gently guide your team, while encouraging their natural talents to shine through. What matters is that your team are able to navigate through most challenges on their own. Again, remember that when you don’t know how to do something, it is an opportunity to learn it. When your team don’t know what to do, encourage them to formulate and evaluate their own solutions to problems.
Don’t Change Everything Overnight
If you come into a new role with the attitude that everything that was done before you arrived was wrong, you will be instantly setting yourself up for confrontation. Instead, you should show respect for the existing procedures and techniques that those working under you have grown accustomed to. It is likely that some of those who now work beneath you will have been involved in formulating the processes that are in place when you arrive.
If you arrive and instantly dismiss everything that was done before, this is unlikely to win you respect. Instead, look for existing processes and procedures that you can get behind. Instead of aiming to make your mark by changing as many things as possible, look to make the most difference with the least amount of changes.
Don’t be Indecisive
In business, decisions often need to be made relatively quickly. A quick decision in business isn’t necessarily one that has to be made right now. In some cases, a quick decision for your business will be a decision that needs to be made in a few days, but requires back and forth communications within the business. If this is the case, there may be very little time to spare.
Similarly, when you are looking for ways to improve efficiency and save money in your new role, show that you are able to make and execute solid plans. For example, if your business needs to ship goods to consumers, don’t be afraid to ask what does it cost to ship each item. There is a plethora of different shipping types out there, each best suited to different cargo. Identifying the right service providers for your business is essential to its long-term success.
Taking on a managerial role is a big responsibility. However, for the most ambitious members of the workforce, rising up to the level of manager is a natural progression. As a new manager, you will face some significant challenges but, with the right preparation, these can be mitigated or overcome. Do everything you can to avoid making any of the above mistakes.