Content Marketing is defined by me as using communication to further your product by providing value to your community. It's ok to 'subtly sell' however there's a delicate line. I think of it as a panting dog. You know type, you can feel that a sales rep needs to make a sales goal or earn a commission and is just not going to let you walk out of the door.
It takes courage to let your content sell. It takes courage to share information you know you should be charging for.
Let me help you to look at content marketing in a new way. Consider that it is relationship building. Relationships are built on trust and have a delicate balance. When you give away valuable information you are trusting that your audience will use it properly. You are trusting that when the time is right, and when you ask in an inviting and engaging way, the customer will buy from you. You take the risk that they may not.
How do you build that courage? Know your value and know your audience. If you are truly building a sound relationship with your audience it is highly unlikely your target customer will buy from someone else.
As you continue to give valuable information away you are building a relationship, a partnership so to speak. In our fluid world of constant change there is a pretty high likelihood something may not go perfectly. If your audience is engaged, they know it was a blip and you'll fix it.
These are the kinds of customers you want, partners that are in for the long haul. Invest in your relationships by having the courage to use content marketing wisely. As you start building and sustaining a solid customer base, it won't feel courageous anymore, it'll seem smart -- because it is.
I saw a car accident yesterday. It came out of no where. A vehicle seemed to cross several lanes to turn on a side street. He cut another vehicle off that was proceeding straight ahead in their own lane, as they should. The loud crash made me stop and look in wonder "what could've happened" It's as if this guy thought he had the whole lane to himself and just decided to take the turn. He got the worst of the accident. The front of his vehicle was laying in the street. The woman who was hit out of no where was wondering what I was wondering "how did this happen?" Except she was angry, she opened her door slowly and headed toward the man, I could see an angry confrontation was about to take place.
As the man was exiting his vehicle, something odd happened. I saw them both slow down and look at each other. They knew each other. They stopped to embrace. At this point I moved on.
The minimum wage has increased, there's high employee turnover, you do your best to attract long-term employees that will help grow your business. How do you manage the risk of ensuring your new hire has the right to work in your state?
Some restaurateurs do their own background checks, verifying the data that was supplied to them and then have the new hire sign documentation ensuring that all of the information they have provided is accurate to the best of their knowledge. This process will likely involve the participation of an attorney and any associated costs that are included in that process.
Other restaurateurs outsource verifying employment application information to local employment agencies that charge a monthly, annual or per-use fee.
Another perhaps less well-known service is provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (USDOHS) which offers E-Verify service. The impressively thorough website lists that "E-Verify is a web-based system that allows enrolled employers to confirm the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. E-Verify employers verify the identity and employment eligibility of newly hired employees by electronically matching information provided by employees on the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, against records available to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)."
E-Verify is the only free, fast, online service of its kind that electronically confirms an employee’s information against millions of government records and provides results within as little as three to five seconds. As of March 31, 2018 722 food services and drinking places around the country have enrolled. A list of currently enrolled employers can be found on the USDOH website and even downloaded in an excel spreadsheet.
The services available to get any employer started are local outreach offices, webinars, a very robust website, a customer service number and an online assistant, Emma, that is available and ready to chat with you providing answers to your questions any time.
According to Jennifer Nelson, Management and Program Analyst Outreach Branch Verification Division in Lincoln, NE, whom I met at the National Restaurant Association Show, “Some might consider the greatest benefit of using E-Verify is that when used correctly it lessens the risk of liability because they are checking government records and getting a response from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to make sure an employee is authorized to work.”
"Wise use of money is more important than it's possession" - Fortune Cookie
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
To blame the poor for subsisting on welfare has no justice unless we are also willing to judge every rich member of society by how productive he or she is. Taken individual by individual, it is likely that there's more idleness and abuse of government favors among the economically privileged than among the ranks of the disadvantaged. -Norman Mailer, author (31 Jan 1923-2007)
Two weeks ago I'm pretty sure we had snow on the ground, or at least torrential downpours. Our ability to deal with inclement and constantly changing weather is probably why Chicagoans are such hearty and resilient stock. Are you listening @amazon? There's nothing we can't accomplish in this town. Some of us even sail in all of these conditions @3rdcoastcruisin.
Because it is going to be incredibly hot and humid day, I decided to take my 2 chihuahuas out on a nice long walk early in the a.m. That way they'll veg all day as I go on about all the things I have to do. As I crossed a small almost empty street in downtown Chicago I was witness to another bicycle/black suv incident. I was crossing in accordance with the suggestion of the 'walk' street line, something that is generally optional, for commuters of any kind, in this town.
Yet again, I see a black SUV turning left. A bicyclist comes whizzing by and almost gets creamed by the SUV. The bicyclist screams at the SUV - I turn around and yell at the bicyclist 'he had the right of way!' Admittedly the signage for bicyclists, pedestrians and vehicles is not intuitive. It's getting better as people grasp concept that the street sign will not flash at the same time for bikes as the sign for vehicles. There will be a handful of casualties no doubt as it continues to get ironed out.
Two days ago I feared getting shot. Today, I could have had to live with the horror of seeing a young man hit, thrown from has bicycle and attempt to calm the hysteria of the driver who unknowingly him it. Again, I didn't bring my phone. I just need a break from my digital leash sometimes. I didn't want to hear it pinging while walking my dogs on a pleasant Sunday morning.
What's different in these two stories? The first bicyclist was riding a really old bike, he had no helmet. His total investment was probably $50 bucks. The second bicyclist was totally sculpted, he was wearing a spandex body suit with shorts that came to the knee. He had a helmet. His investment was probably $10k. They were both whizzing around with no attention to traffic or their surroundings. The first black SUV was driven by an angry man, mad at the world for some reason. The second black SUV was driven by, I think a woman, (can't verify as I was visually seeing the bicyclist thrown from his bike while I was screaming) who was totally unaware.
So how do we govern for lack of awareness, dismissal of rules, apathy, anger, manipulation? Right now, I think the answer is 'we don't'. There's no way we could create any set of stringent rules that could possibly cover every situation. We each have to do the best we can in the moment and hope for the best from there.
I saw a road rage incident yesterday. An angry man driving a black SUV was arguing with a bicyclist whizzing around him. The SUV was bobbing and weaving through traffic on a busy Chicago street. The bicyclist could've easily gotten killed. I watched in horror screaming "NO!" Another car got involved, a little brown sedan. The man in the sedan was now driving side by side with the SUV. They were shouting at each other as they waived their free arm out the window. All during rush hour traffic as the constant commuting for the long Memorial Holiday weekend was about to begin. I didn't have my phone. As the crowd gathered around, I asked 'can anyone call 911?' A woman with her family, her mother and a child in a wheelchair, shouted "don't get involved!" I responded? "WHY?!" Sirens started to blare. The SUV dodged and weaved, he got in front of the little brown sedan and slammed on his breaks. The little car couldn't do much damage to his massive vehicle. The sedan crashed into the SUV. The men jumped out of the car and chased each other. As I watched, I thought 'if one of those guys has a gun, today could be my last day." The SUV driver threw his body on the ground and rolled. He accused the other man of having a knife. The other man did not have a knife.
When the police arrived the sedan took off. The SUV driver was waiving his arms with great drama telling the story of how he was victimized. As more officers walked toward him, I said "I saw the whole thing. What he's saying is not true.' An officer stopped to listen telling me I was being recorded. I agreed.
On paper the SUV driver was a victim. He was clearly hit by another car. If the sedan driver would've stayed would he have gotten a ticket?
How can we govern for manipulation? How do we hold people accountable when their story seems plausible? When the facts as they are documented seem to indicate a clear path -- when the path is not so clear? What if the bicyclist was severely injured? Or died? I saw what I saw but could I be wrong? Sure I could. I don't think so but it's possible. Faced with documented facts and a constant barrage of alternative opinions and arguments, could my story be changed? Possibly. How can we influence the SUV driver not to do what he did?
I meet a lot of people. I have many interests. I've worked in many capacities, in many roles throughout the hierarchies of an organization as well as created independent businesses from the ground up. The first block in the building block of any initiative I have worked on, has always been an idea. This blog is to capture those fleeting images and store them somewhere. Somewhere I can go when I need to remember 'who was that person that shared that . . ." You'll likely see musings here, more questions and I can't ever imagine having an answer at this stage in the game, but ya never know. Explorations of thought, insights of opportunities, forewarnings of process breakdowns might be posted here. When I'm looking, I'll know where I filed that last insight! Join me on this winding, twisting, hilly, shady, sunny, rainy, broad and bright path if you like to think about what you see and experience from many perspectives.
Alicia Dale is a strategic thinking Creative that understands the power of words to influence, change and build new infrastructures. This Blog is to capture ideas that have no where else to go at this very moment. Who knows how they will be developed? Or where they will go? For now they are sparkles of light easily stored where I can search and find them when they call my name again.