The introvert's guide to working in communications

Posted in Tips on 30 July 2014
I have a confession: I am an introvert, and, to top it off, I am shy.
People can't believe it: "But you work in communications, you go on camera, you have to be a people person to be in communications!" Not true. It's my job to tell stories, deliver the message, and help connect the dots for people. It's not my job to be the life of the party.
It's dinged me on performance reviews: "Be more assertive!" It's dinged me in relationship building: "Catherine is a bit aloof." It's dinged my own self confidence: "Why won't any words come out of my mouth right now?" But it hasn't dinged my ability to do my job.
This is how I have managed my introverted self in an extroverted world:
1. I take walks—a lot of them throughout the day. My energy gets zapped by people (classic description of an introvert), and the way I rejuvenate my energy is to walk alone. I have had fabulous brainstorms by myself on the path outside our office.
2. I grin and bear it. I have about a 45-minute window when I can fake it. If I have a networking event to go to and I really have to be on, I don't schedule drinks with someone beforehand nor dinner afterward, because I know it will stress me out.
3. I order room service. When I travel, I make sure I have at least one night to myself. If I don't, it wrecks me for the week.
4. I do coffee. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner meetings can be stressful: "What will we talk about before the food comes? What if they order dessert?"
5. I devour pop culture. I'm a pop culture junkie, and it's my golden ticket for conversation starters. Who doesn't want to talk about "Game of Thrones"? (No, really, who doesn't?) Who doesn't adore Jimmy Fallon, and who hasn't heard the song, "Let it Go?"
6. I build relationships 1:1: I don't do well in large groups, but I put a lot of time and energy into building and maintaining relationships one to one. I want to get to know people and truly value all my relationships. Once someone knows me and I know them, I relax. You might even say I become an extrovert.
And with that, I am going to go take a walk.


Seven Basic (Yet Important) Things Your WordPress Blog Should Have

Posted in Tips on 30 July 2014
When you are first starting a blog, it is quite easy to forget about the basics. Your focus is churning out post after post, sharing the posts on social media, creating links to the posts and monetizing the blog.
Most new bloggers completely forget about the most basic yet important lements that make up a great blog.
To help you get your blog off on the right foot, I’m going to share some of the important things that your WordPress blog should have.
1. Social Share Buttons
Social share buttons must be the most underrated evolution on the Web. Social share buttons allow your readers to help you promote your content — without ever leaving your blog.
Why you need social share buttons:
- Good use experience. The share buttons make sharing easy.
- When your readers share your content, you gain free exposure. Your content will reach a wider audience.
- SEO. It’s 2014 and search engines are now factoring in social signals when raking sites.
- More traffic. When your content is shared on social media, you have the chance to siphon traffic from social media networks to your site.
2. Social Follow Buttons
While social share buttons let your readers share your content with their circles, social follow buttons allow your blog readers to follow you on social networks.
Chances are that you already have social share buttons on your blog, but don’t have social follow buttons.
Social follow buttons can help you increase your blog’s readership base. When you have many people following you on social networks, there is an increased likelihood of people consistently seeing your content and visiting your blog.
How many times have you visited a blog you loved and wanted to connect  further, but you couldn’t find accessible social media follow buttons? Make sure the follow buttons are accessible — but not interfering.
3. Call-To-Actions on the Blog’s Sidebar
To get your readers to take action, include CTAs on the blog’s sidebar. You can tell your readers to download an eBook or check out a service you’re offering or even check out your other post(s).
With the CTAs, you’ll not only keep your readers engaged but also increase the chances of turning readers into buyers.
Instead of cluttering the whole blog with CTAs, have a few on the blog’s sidebar. Why the sidebar and not the footer or the content area? When on the sidebar, the call-to-action is least disruptive yet noticeable. CTAs on footer widgets are not as noticeable (one would have to scroll to the bottom of the page); and those in the content area can be distracting.
4. A Clean and Accessible Navigation Bar
To improve on user experience, make it easy for your readers to navigate. A navigation bar allows readers to move from one part of the blog to another.
If you’re using WordPress, creating a navigation bar is as simple as creating a menu bar. To create a menu in WordPress, visit Appearance then Menus and create a new menu.
5. Visuals: Make Your Blog Visual
To capture your reader’s attention (especially first-time readers) make the blog visually appealing. To do this, add an image or two to your blog posts.
Visuals like flow charts, screenshots and infographics make it easier for your readers to understand your content.
6. Opt-in box: Let Readers Subscribe via E-mail
The money is in the list. I’m sure you have heard this Internet marketing saying before.
If you want to create a loyal and engaged readership base, consider creating a list of subscribers. To create the list, encourage your readers to subscribe to your blog via e-mail.
With a list, you’re guaranteed of instant traffic every time you create a new post and e-mail a link to your subscribers. By sending links of your new posts to your list, you’ll be getting people back to your blog again and again.
To increase the rate of subscription, offer an incentive and place the opt-in boxes (one is not enough) in strategic locations on your blog. Also make the opt-in form simple, short and easy to read.
7. Recent Posts and Popular Posts Widgets
To keep your website visitors engaged, maintain accessible recent posts and popular posts widgets. You can have these widgets on the side bar, or below the posts.
An easily accessible list of recent posts tells your visitors what you’ve been up to lately (in terms of content creation). As for the popular posts – people are likely to click on them to see what made/makes them so enticing. Both widgets will help keep your readers on your blog longer.
To add recent posts and popular posts widgets in your WordPress blog, head to Appearance then Widgets. Choose the location you want the widgets to appear and drag and drop the widgets into the widgets area.


Search Engines - What's In and What's Out

Posted in Tips on 30 July 2014
There’s lots of chatter in my industry about the future of search engines and how Google’s new algorithms are changing the landscape of how business owners work to keep and improve their website’s placement on Google. What seems apparent to me is that the following important trends are surfacing and impacting what we see in the organic results.
What’s In?
1. Search results returned by location specificity. But not only your preference location that you have set, but by your mobile search history and actual Google recorded locations over time.
2. Search results returned by click-through rate and bounce rate gathered by Google by users of the Chrome browser and Android tablet and Smartphone operating systems. Anything Google can track it is and it appears to be using this aggregate information in returning search results.
What’s Out?
1. The ability to impact search results by building links and enhancing on-site keyword density.
2. The ability to impact search results by crafting title tags and H1 tags by page to try to boost search rankings.
3. Links from social media and activity on social media. Google is appearing to devalue these types of signals, which is a reversal from their announcement that they were using them in their search algorithm more than a year ago.
My Conclusion
As social activity can be spammed just like link building, Google appears to be devaluing these items in favor of location specificity through concrete user tracking based on search history and location. Just try to turn off Wi-Fi on your Smartphone and you’ll see what I mean. In your Android system, Google keeps turning it back on as it uses Wi-Fi to track your location in order to know where you are so as to develop a better profile on you to determine what results to show you. Even if you turn it off, it will go back on.
Keep in mind that Google has now actively worked to tie your Smartphone number to your desktop, tablet and Google account so it now understands the full picture of who you are, where you live, and what you do based on your activity online and offline.
Google is using all this data on you to serve search results tailored just to your needs. It’s all about relevancy.
What Can You Do?
Based on what search engines are valuing and devaluing for organic placement what’s a business owner to do with optimizing their website to try to garner top organic search placement?
1. Build your site and create your content as if there were no search engines. Over time, organic search results will become so unique and so personalized, there will be no way to beat the system in the future. So instead, it is by far better to start now focusing on creating a winning online presence that caters to your local users and focuses on creating your business as an authority in your industry.
2. Look for more ways to promote your business and website in ways other than just in the organic search results. Consider pay per click advertising promotion, newsworthy press releases, writing articles for industry magazines and creating question and answer articles for your local newspaper.
3. Focus on location specificity in your content and on your website. Work to own your local marketplace. Make sure your phone number and address with full location and zip code are placed on every site of your website.
4. Work to connect with local resources like the Chamber of Commerce and other local business organizations. You can participate plus show a link to your website when you become a member. But remember this is way more than just building local links; this is about working your local network and building a location specific base. If you are a brick and mortar store, building loyalty programs with a Smartphone app now becomes incredibly important because Google will use the data from Smartphone users who actually visit your location to boost your results in the organic search results both in mobile and on desktops.
5. Watch the bounce rates on your website pages. It used to be a good strategy to include a lot of informational content on your website to build traffic numbers, but now that strategy may be driving a 70 percent to 80 percent bounce rate on your site which you must now work actively to lower to the industry average of about 46 percent. That may mean getting rid of articles and informational content that had been built before to solely establish industry authority.
Many of the things that search engines are now valuing to provide tailored organic search results are simply not scammable. It is becoming very difficult to garner search placement based on a strategy of serving content to please search engines. Instead, I recommend the tactic of becoming meaningful to your location specific users and supplement national visibility with pay per click advertising.


LinkedIn Makes Mobile Profiles More Tantalizing

Posted in News on 30 July 2014
LinkedIn is making introductions a little more personable via mobile with amped up profiles that it promises will make you “look ridiculously good.”
The new profile styles tells your story to anyone who searches for you on their Smartphone or iPad. And, if there are some holes in your profile, LinkedIn will let you know what’s missing and tell you how you can add it. The new profile includes professional and personal details as well as “in common” and endorsements sections.
“What if, minutes before you met me for the first time, someone whispered in your ear and reminded you not only where I work (LinkedIn) and what I do (product management), but also who we both know in common, whether we overlapped any years in school, or if we worked at the same company?” LinkedIn mobile product manager Charlton Soesanto said in a blog post.
“If you knew what we had in common or any of my interests (say biking or Latin poetry), chances are that we’ll probably have a pretty great first conversation.”
The new profile, Soesanto said, is a “great ice breaker” because you can actually learn a bit about a colleague before meeting him or her for the first time — meaning you can “talk about something other than the weather.”
The new profile experience is coming to mobile first, accommodating the 43 percent of members using their Smartphones to access the professional social network. It is available to English speaking Android and iPhone users and across all languages for iPad users.


BlackBerry to Acquire German Encryption Firm Secusmart GmbH

Posted in News on 30 July 2014
BlackBerry’s security offerings are receiving a boost as the Canadian Smartphone maker prepares to purchase German voice and data encryption specialist Secusmart GmbH.
The acquisition is a good move for BlackBerry, which is renewing its focus on clients such as government agencies that require top-notch security.
According to BlackBerry CEO John Chen, the deal is proof positive of the firm’s commitment to being the best in enterprise mobile security.
Secusmart is known globally for its anti-eavesdropping solutions for government organizations, enterprises and telecommunications service providers.
“We are always improving our security solutions to keep up with the growing complexity of enterprise mobility, with devices being used for more critical tasks and to store more critical information, and security attacks becoming more sophisticated,” Chen said in a press release. “The acquisition of Secusmart underscores our focus on addressing growing security costs and threats ranging from individual privacy to national security. This acquisition bolsters our security solutions with leading voice and data encryption and anti-eavesdropping technologies, and furthers BlackBerry’s security leadership in end-to-end mobile solutions.”
BlackBerry and Secusmart have partnered in the past and last year offered the SecuSUITE for BlackBerry 10 — a solution used by Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security for classified communications for the country’s highest public officials, including Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“This transaction is a fantastic opportunity to accelerate growth in the market for high-end secure communications solutions, driven by the need to combat electronic eavesdropping and data theft,” said managing director Secusmart Dr. Hans-Christoph Quelle. “Secusmart and BlackBerry’s solution already meets the highest security requirements of the German federal authorities and NATO for restricted communications. We see significant opportunities to introduce Secusmart’s solutions to more of BlackBerry’s government and enterprise customers around the world.”
The deal, the terms of which were not revealed, must still receive regulatory approvals before being finalized.


Apple Makes Upgrades, Lowers Price

Posted in News on 30 July 2014
Faster, more memory and cheaper.
It’s not the slogan but it’s a pretty accurate summary on Apple’s news regarding MacBooks as the new 15-inch model Retina’s were given a bit of an overhaul and the non-Retina MacBook Pro 13-inch model received a $100 price slash.
In a press release issued Tuesday, Apple’s senior vice-president of worldwide marketing said the popular computers will only get better as upgrades roll out in the fall.
“People love their MacBook Pro because of the thin and light, aluminum unibody design, beautiful Retina display, all day battery life and deep integration with OS X,” said Philip Schiller. “The MacBook Pro with Retina display gets even better with faster processors, more memory, more affordable configurations and a free upgrade to OS X Yosemite this fall.”
The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display features dual-core Intel Core i5 processors up to 2.8 GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.3 GHz and 8GB of memory, up from 4GB in the entry-level notebook. The 13-inch model can also be configured with faster dual-core Intel Core i7 processors up to 3.0 GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.5 GHz. The top-of-the-line 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display has a new, lower starting price of $2,499. The 15-inch model features faster quad-core Intel Core i7 processors up to 2.5 GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.7 GHz, 16GB of memory, up from 8GB in the entry-level notebook, and can be configured with quad-core Intel Core i7 processors up to 2.8 GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 4.0 GHz.
As reported by The Register, the timing of the news could be linked with the end of summer nearing.
The updated models are scheduled to arrive just in time for school bells to begin ringing again meaning many students will be asking their parents for a new computer.
This summer has seen Apple working behind the scenes to upgrade a variety of its hardware and products. On top of the MacBook Pro update, Apple has improved the iPod Touch and worked on an option on the iMac desktop which is cheaper.


Marketing Intern

Posted in Volunteer Opportunities on 30 July 2014

TRC Solutions are a dynamic and innovative IT provider to the Retail and Small Business sectors in Ireland and the UK. We have been in business for over 20 years and are experiencing a period of unprecedented growth. In response we are developing our marketing and sales capabilities to capitalise on new opportunities. We are looking for a bright and enthusiastic marketing intern to work alongside our marketing manager and assist in all areas of marketing and lead generation development.


Areas for involvement will include:


  • New Website Development 
  • Database cleansing and creation
  • Content Marketing 
  • Digital Marketing 
  • Lead Generation and Direct Mail activity
  • SEO and Adwords
  • Google Analytics


Skill required:

  • Fluent English
  • Good standard of written English
  • Familiarity with Wordpress
  • Good knowledge of social media platforms and digital engagement
  • Innovative and keen to bring new ideas
  • Reliable and hard working
  • A multi-tasker - ability to handle a few projects 


Benefits to you:

  • Exposure to all areas of marketing in a dynamic and fast paced environment
  • Hands on experience in digital and social media marketing
  • A high level of understanding of lead generation activities and database marketing
  • Learn how to grow social media channels in B2B environment
  • Exposure to all the tools required to run multi channel marketing campaigns
  • Ability to work from home
  • Weekly remuneration of €100 

To apply please contact Cathy Gilmartin

Digital Marketing Coordinator

Posted in Jobs on 29 July 2014

Location: Cork

Profile: You will have a solid background in traditional marketing but be equally experience and competent in digital marketing, you will be a confident person with excellent people skills and a strong track record.
You will have a strong record of both working on your own initiative as well as collaborating on team projects. You are likely to have a number of very positive results and achievement in your career today.
Key Responsibilities & Competencies
Implement and lead online and offline marketing strategy to promote and increase awareness of key services for an international services company. Develop online search marketing strategy and campaigns.


Wedding Coordinator

Posted in Jobs on 29 July 2014
Red D are recruiting a Wedding Coordinator for a beautiful 4* luxury Hotel in North Dublin. 
The successful candidate will have previous experience working as a Wedding / Events or Conference & Banqueting Coordinator in luxury hotels. 
Along with weddings this position will also be involved with other social booking for the property including birthdays, communions, confirmations, festive days and product launches etc. 
Knowledge of Opera (hotel software) would be an advantage.

Digital Marketing Assistant

Posted in Jobs on 29 July 2014
Seeking to recruit a Digital Marketing Assistant to support Horse Racing Ireland’s (HRI) current website redevelopment project. This is a six month position providing support to the HRI marketing team with specific emphasis on digital media.
Key Responsibilities:
- Monitor online and social media communications across multiple platforms
- Update and monitor multiple websites
- Work with the marketing team to liaise with racecourses to create and publish a weekly newsletter
- Prepare web and social platform traffic analysis and reports leading to actionable recommendations
- Inbound and outbound marketing assistance
- Assist the Press Officer with press release distribution
- Assist with event planning
The Person Should:
Possess a third-level qualification in marketing or equivalent, preferably with a focus on digital marketing. Have an excellent understanding of PPC, SEO, social media, web analytics and content marketing with knowledge of digital marketing strategies, tactics and best practice. Have a deep understanding of online and social media in the context of consumer marketing. Possess the ability to handle multiple projects simultaneously while meeting tight deadlines. Have some knowledge of the horse racing industry and the racing product.


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