Online Reputation Management in Simple Words

Online reputation management is very critical to the long-term success of any business today.

When you’re done reading this article, I want you to take a minute and Google your name and your business name.

You’re likely going to find negative reviews about you and your business on the numerous reviews sites out there.

And hopefully, you’ll understand that your business reputation is important.

Because such negative reviews could potentially tank your business.

Additionally, you’ll want to do something about it.

This is referred to as online reputation management.

Online Reputation ManagementOn the flip side, positive reviews will be a driver for sales and leads for your business.

Did you know that the increase in revenue can be up to 9% for a one-star increase in a company’s rating?

In essence, your online reputation is how people view you, your business, and your image on the internet.

Moreover, online reputation management isn’t just about social media monitoring or public relations.

Online reputation management comprises a set of specific methods used to improve and restore your name and business, countering, weakening and eliminating the negative materials about your business on the internet.

Defeating it with positive materials and increasing your credibility so that customers can trust you.

Online reputation management (ORM) is also known as search engine reputation management(SERM), or internet reputation management(IRM).

Indeed, your online reputation will help your potential customers decide whether to do business with you or not.

In fact, take a look at these amazing statistics for a moment:

As shown above, your business is at the mercy of online communities.

In essence, you and your business cannot afford to ignore your reputation with the expanding online community.

Additionally, every business depends on its reputation for the future growth.

So don’t risk your reputation.

Customers simply don’t buy from businesses they don’t trust.

Furthermore, online reputation management is a long-term solution to building trust with your customers.

Online reputation management requires research and analysis, review building, social media profile creation and optimization.

Additionally, it also requires social media boosting and content generation.

Well, in this article, I’m going to show you how you can build an excellent online reputation.

Why You Need an Online Reputation

But before we dive into it, here are some of the reasons why you need an online reputation:

1) It Helps You Develop and Protect Your Brand.

In today’s digital world, a potential customer may decide to search the web for your products and services before making a buying decision.

And if that Customer is confronted with tons of negative reviews and comments about your business, what do you think is going to happen?

That customer will turn to your competitor instead.

It’s really that simple.

However, when you have a good online reputation management system in place, you’ll save your business from such situation.

2) It Helps You Build Trust and Credibility.

In the first place, if you want your business to succeed online or offline, then you have to earn your customers’ trust.

You’ll agree with me that customers like to share their experiences with family members, friends, and even on their social media accounts too.

If your products and services do not meet their expectations, they’re actually going to share that experience on the internet.

And trust me, you don’t want people to leave negative comments about your business on the internet because it’s going to spread really fast.

However, with online reputation management, you’ll be able to reply to those comments and show your customers that you care about them.

Eventually, this will build trust between you and customers.

3) It Helps You Drive Sales to Your Business.

These days, it’s now the habit of customers to conduct an online search for the products they want to buy.

As a matter of fact, they search the internet to look at other people’s review and comments about that product.

So it’s important that you are aware of what other people are actually saying about your business on the internet.

This will give you the opportunity to meet the needs and demands of your customers.

Similarly, it will also allow you to improve your products and services.

This will, in turn, bring new customers to your business.

On the other hand, if you don’t pay attention to the needs of your customers, it’s going to have a negative effect on your business.

You’re ultimately going to lose customers and sales.

4) It Helps You Build a Professional Image.

Existing and potential investors, banks, and even the general public will conduct an online research about your business.

Truly, this will help them gather information about your business that will help them make the right investment decisions.

And guess what, if your business name shows up with some negative reviews or comments, then you’ve lost those clients forever.

So in order to avoid this, you need a proper online reputation management.

5) Recruitment

The workforce of any business is critical to the success of that business.

In fact, anyone who needs a job is obviously going to look for a company with a good reputation in the market.

So a good online reputation will help you get talented employees that are the best fit for the job.

Also, this will help you take your business to new heights and increase your return on investment.

So if you want to know how to create an excellent online reputation management, then keep on reading this article.

How to Build an Excellent Online Reputation Management:

Here is what you can do if you like to build an excellent online reputation:

  1. Know the kind of brand that you want to build.
  2. Check your existing reputation before you launch.
  3. Create your website.
  4. Take advantage of social media.
  5. Capture reviews from your past customers.
  6. Automate the review capture
  7. Start a blog.
  8. Get listed in local directories.
  9. Create your own virtual business cards.
  10. Upload videos of your brand online
  11. Don’t ignore offline marketing.

1) Know the Kind of Brand That You Want to Build

Indeed, your brand goals will keep you on the right track and help you target the right audience.

Before you kick off your business, you have to decide how you want your target audience to perceive your business.

So ask yourself first;

  • What kind of goods and services do I want to offer?
  • How do I intend to reach my target audience?
  • What business name do I want to use?

When you have answers to all these questions, you’ll be able to know the kind of brand that you want to build.

2) Check Your Existing Reputation Before You Launch

Indeed, it’s important that you check the online reputation of your brand name before you launch your business.

Conduct an online check to see if the term that you have chosen to be your brand name already has a negative review.

To do this, simply type in your proposed brand name into a search engine like Google and then conduct a search.

Also, scrutinize the search engine results and if you find a negative review about the name, then pick another name that doesn’t have any negative review.

3) Create Your Website

The next thing you want to do is to own your website.

Your website is your identity on the internet.

In reality, one of the fastest ways to accidentally discredit your brand is by not having a website or by using a domain name that you don’t own.

As a matter of fact, many people run into this issue by using free website builders.

The best practice is to buy a domain name that has the name of your brand or your own name if you’re an individual.

You can easily get a domain name at GoDaddy or Namecheap.

Your website should contain genuine information about you and your business such as:

  • The kind of products and services you offer.
  • Your business address.
  • Your telephone number.
  • The email address of your business.

Also, make sure your website is mobile friendly because a large number of internet users surf the internet over their mobile devices.

Additionally, you need to optimize your website for search engines.

This is because over 80% of consumers conduct an online research before purchasing a product.

When you optimize your website properly, it will indeed be easier for those customers to find your website on the search engine results pages(SERPs).

And to properly optimize your website, you need to create your content around relevant and less competitive keywords.

You can get the right keywords using Google keyword planner tool and SEM rush.

4) Take Advantage of Social Media

Indeed, social media is one of the most powerful business tools on the internet today.

Similarly, it is also one of the most effective ways to establish a new business today.

And guess what, it’s totally free.

It doesn’t cost you a dime.

But make sure you post often enough to gain attention.

Because if you’re not active on your social media accounts, your audience and customers are not going to be engaged.

Also, use social media to show your customers how you can solve their problems.

Additionally, post high quality and educational content that can help your customers and keep them coming back for more.

Obviously, search engines like Google and Yahoo like good Content.

So they’re going boost your content and your social media profile that you created on the various social media platforms.

And this will help you with your online reputation.

5) Capture Reviews from Your past Customers

Notably, this is one of the easiest ways to boost your online reputation.

So if you don’t have any review or you don’t have many reviews, the first thing you want to do is to email your past customers and ask them for feedback.

Don’t be afraid of negative reviews.

It’s not very important to have every review being 5 stars.

That is to say, it’s actually OK to have some 4 stars, or 3 stars and some lower ratings too.

This because when people are conducting a research about your business, they’re going to see that these reviews are authentic.

If all the reviews about your business are 5 stars, that might raise a red flag to your potential customers.

They’ll think you’re gaming the system somehow.

So don’t be afraid to get some low ratings too.

For the most part, if you do a great job( which I’m sure you do), you’re going to get great reviews.

And overall, you’re going to get a lot more reviews which are going to help grow your reputation.

6) Automate Your Review Capture

Ok so you’ve captured all these reviews from past customers, but what about your future customers?

Don’t just capture reviews from your past customers and then call it a day.

Certainly, the best practice is to automate your review capture the best way that you can.

So if you send out any invoices, notification, newsletters, or thank you notes after you do business, try to update those templates with a call to action asking your customers to leave a review about your business.

The call to action can say  something like:

“Hey, we appreciate your business, please take a second and give us your feedback”.

Along the way, as you’re doing business, this will help you capture reviews in an automated way.

Thereby helping you grow your online reputation.

7) Start a Blog

Certainly, blogging is a super effective way to build a strong relationship with your customers.

In fact, it may interest you to know that over 80% of online read and trust advice from blogs.

Also, 61% of online consumers make a purchase based on suggestions from blogs.

So from the statistics above, you can see that blogging is an effective way to build your online reputation.

Moreover, blogging also gives you the opportunity to share relevant and informative content with your clients and customers.

This will signal your clients and customers that you’re an expert and a leader in your industry.

Through blogging, you can deal with any misconception or rumor about you or your brand.

8) Get Listed in Local Directories

Indeed, there are tons of local directories on the internet where businesses can be listed on.

Include the following details about you and your business on such directories:

  • Your business name, contact information, address
  • Your opening hours

In addition, ensure that your details are consistent on all these local directories.

Also, include positive Content about your business such as customer testimonials and the number of your star rating on review sites.

9) Create Your Own Virtual Business Cards

Once you create your own virtual business card and somebody Google’s your name or business name, your profile is going to show up.

And guess what, you could add content, images, and even videos about your brand to your profile.

You can also link this profile to your social media channels in order to get maximum exposure.

To create your virtual business card, visit sites like about.me, bvcardsevaunt, etc.

10) Upload Videos of Your Brand Online

Have you heard of YouTube?

Well, obviously you have.

Some other free video publishing channels include Vimeo, vuclip, Tubidy, etc.

If you publish videos of your brand on a video publishing channel like YouTube, then your business is going to get a lot of exposure to your target customers.

And with proper video optimization, your videos are going to rank high on the search engine result pages of YouTube and Google.

Consequently, this will make your business become visible to your potential customers and also increase your online reputation.

11) Don’t Ignore Offline Marketing

Even though you are focused online, your offline presence has a huge impact on your brand reputation.

Boost your online reputation by leveraging offline marketing.

Establish face-to-face connections with your target audience offline and ask them to engage with you online as well.

Real life events have more ability to influence the decisions of online users than digital marketing.

You can reach out to a large number of your target audience offline by:

  • Speaking at events.
  • Local print publications.
  • Trade shows.
  • Cold Calls.
  • Sponsoring a community event.

The ultimate goal here is to strengthen your public relations activities, ensure that you build trust with your offline audience, and also let them engage with you online.

How to Get More Followers on Instagram: Tactics That Actually Work

So, you want to learn how to get more followers on Instagram.

Right?

Well, if you answered yes to this question, then this article is for you.

Because in this article, I’m going to share with you the tactics that can actually help you get more followers on Instagram.

So stick with me here.

We all want to build our Instagram audience and get more followers.

But let me be honest with you, it takes some experimenting and some hit and misses.

It’s not the easiest thing in the world.

But in this article, you’re going to learn how to grow your audience and get more followers on Instagram.

You’ll agree with me that Instagram is not just a fun app for kids.

It has now become a very effective content marketing and networking channel that allows individuals and businesses to grow their brand.

In fact, approximately 80% of Instagram users follow a business today.

This is because people come to Instagram to follow businesses and content that is interesting to them.

Through Instagram, businesses can showcase their products, delight customers, and even recruit future employees.

It may surprise you to know that Instagram has over 700 million monthly users.

This makes Instagram about two times bigger than Twitter.

Also, Instagram users are 58 times more likely to comment, like, or share Instagram posts than Facebook users.

Furthermore, Instagram users are more like to engage Instagram posts than Twitter users.

In fact, Instagram users spend an average of 3.2 minutes on an engagement.

This is more than the time users spend on any other social platform.

All the above statistics show that users are shifting from Facebook and Twitter and actually spending more time on Instagram.

This absolutely makes Instagram the best social and mobile platform for individuals and brands to reach their target audience.

So you should work actively to get more Instagram followers and a passionate fan base that wants to connect and learn more.

You just need to know where to invest your time and effort.

Anyone can do it.

So, let’s jump right into the tactics that can help you get more followers on Instagram.

Get More Followers On Instagram

How To Get More Followers On Instagram:

Here is what you have to do if you like to get more followers on Instagram:

  1. Understand the Algorithm
  2. Establish an Instagram Marketing Plan
  3. Create and Optimize Your Profile
  4. Post High-Quality Pictures
  5. Stay on Topic
  6. Geotag Your Images
  7. Engage and Socialize
  8. Be Active on Your Account and Keep a Constant Schedule
  9. Create Engaging Captions
  10. Use the Right Hashtags
  11. Get Featured on a Feature Account
  12. Don’t Try to Cheat the System

1) Understand the Algorithm

Right now, the algorithm of Instagram has changed from reverse-chronological order to curated content.

What does this mean?

Well, this basically means that Instagram now chooses what kind of content to show you first as soon as you log in to Instagram.

You’d no longer see the most recent post first.

You see those posts at the top of your Instagram feed when you’re scrolling?, Instagram decides what to put there.

A lot of people don’t like the new algorithm on Instagram today.

But Instagram created this algorithm to help users have a better experience on the platform.

This algorithm helps Instagram to learn the kind of content you like and the kind of content you like to see.

The algorithm then gives you more of that content so that your experience is more relevant.

Factors That Influence Instagram Algorithm:

A) Engagement

This is how popular a post is.

Basically, when you publish a post, Instagram will show the post to an only small percentage of your total audience.

This allows Instagram evaluate how your audience reacts to your post.

If your audience reacts positively to your post, then the algorithm will show the post to many Instagram users.

The Instagram algorithm engagement factors include:

  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Video views
  • Shares
  • Saves
  • Story views
  • Live video views

Summary?

If your post has a high engagement, it’s likely going to rank higher on users’ home feed.

This will help more people to see your post and also discover your page.

B) Relevancy

This is the genre of content you are interested in or interact with often.

These genres may include food, fashion, travel, etc.

Instagram said on their blog that the new algorithm will show users content that they are interested in first.

This implies that content that you’re interested in will likely rank higher on your feed.

C) Timeliness

This has to do with how recent your posts are.

Instagram wants to show recent and relevant posts to its users.

A post from last week may not be as interesting as a post from an hour ago.

So recent posts will likely rank higher in your feed.

D) Profile Searches

As you may have guessed, this has to do with the accounts you check out often.

When you search for certain profiles regularly, it signals Instagram that you are interested in the posts that are in those accounts.

Instagram might then rank those posts on your feed so that you can easily see them without searching.

So Instagram uses this signal to decide what kind of post to rank on your feed.

E) Direct shares

These are the posts you’re sharing.

When you share a post on Instagram, it signals the algorithm that you’re interested in the posts on that account.

The Instagram algorithm would then use this signal to rank those posts on your feed.

F) Relationships

This has to do with the accounts you regularly interact with.

Instagram has said that you’ll be able to see content from your best friend no matter how many accounts you follow.

This means that you’ll be able to see posts from the accounts that you regularly interact with.

So Instagram wants you to see important posts from your friends and family.

Now that you know how the Instagram algorithm works, I’m going to show you how to use it to advantage.

This will help you build your audience and get more followers.

So keep on reading this article.

2) Establish an Instagram Marketing Plan

If you use any marketing platform without a plan, you’re ultimately going to waste resources, lose money and make no or a very low profit.

The same thing applies to Instagram.

You need a clear Instagram marketing plan if you want to succeed on Instagram.

It will also help you grow your audience and target the right followers that are in your niche.

Whether it’s blogging, photography, travel or anything.

Investigate About the Other Instagram Marketers

When you analyze what your competitors are doing on Instagram, you will be able to know:

  • The kind of content that works for other businesses in your industry.
  • How to engage with your audience the right way.
  • The best time of the day to post content.
  • How often your audience will expect you to post content.
  • The right hashtags that work in your niche.

Have a Unique and Consistent Focal Point

An attractive focal point will distinguish your channel from other channels.

So you need to post content in a niche that you have knowledge in.

This will make your audience see you as an authority in that niche.

Set Realistic Goals

Your Instagram strategy is only as effective as the goals you designed it to achieve.

Have a picture of what you want to achieve.

It’s the best practice to align your Instagram goals with your overall business or marketing strategy.

This will help you target the right followers that will also compliment your business goals.

3) Create and Optimize Your Profile

Create a compelling profile and make it look good.

Your profile should tell your potential followers who you are and what your account is all about.

Here’s how to go about it:

Firstly, choose a username that users can easily recognize and search for.

You could use your business name as your username.

And if another user has already used your username, it’s the best practice to keep your business name as the first part of your username.

This will make it easy for people to discover your account when they search for your business.

Next, choose a profile picture that’s unique to your business.

You can either use a company logo or a stock photo.

Then, write a bio that contains actionable, delightful and detailed information about you or your brand.

Your bio is the first thing that people see when they come to your profile.

So you need to let people know who you are and what you post on Instagram.

Make it fun, memorable, and snappy.

Your bio should also give users a reason to follow you.

In fact, research has shown that it takes about two-tenths of a second for an online visitor to form a first impression of your account.

So make sure that the first impression is a good one.

If you have a website, add the link to your bio.

It will make it easy for people to go your website directly from Instagram if they want to.

This will increase your brand awareness and also give people more insight into your business.

4) Post High-Quality Pictures

And I know that this is probably not a very popular tip because it sounds so obvious.

Right?

But Instagram is such a visual platform that if your photos aren’t beautiful, you’re probably never going to succeed.

When you post high-quality photos, it will attract more people to your profile.

On the other hand, a blurry image will make your account look unprofessional and unappealing.

And nobody is going to follow you if your Instagram account looks unappealing.

You really don’t need a DSLR camera( even though this will help) to succeed on Instagram.

You just need a smartphone that has a good camera and a little bit of knowledge about editing.

5) Stay on Topic

This is where choosing your focal point comes into play.

I know this can be difficult for a lot of people because as humans, we are very multifaceted.

We have many different varying interests.

But on Instagram, you really need to narrow down to at most 2 interests that you’ll be covering your account.

And if you have one that’s incompatible with those two, just create a different account for it.

Honestly, I know it may feel very limiting but it’s definitely worth it.

Because if you suddenly start posting photos of hoverboards when you’ve been sharing photos of your food and cutlery, people are going to be really confused.

And they might unfollow you.

So, it’s not just worth doing.

6) Geotag Your Images

Geotagging your images on Instagram is a very effective way to generate traffic to your profile.

Studies have shown that Instagram posts that have locations included achieves 79% more achievement.

Other users will be able to find your profile and even discover your older content when they search by location.

7) Engage and Socialize

Since Instagram is a social media platform, you need to engage a little bit with other users in your niche.

Be social.

This is as important gaining followers.

If you see another photo in an account that you really like, take a second and comment your thoughts.

Instagram highlights certain comments on a photo underneath that photo.

This is another feature of the Instagram algorithm.

So if you comment on a post that’s having hundreds of thousands of likes and your comment appears underneath that photo, that’s free promotion right away.

When your username and comments pop up on a popular post, it’ll lead to more engagement with your account and more followers.

So next time you see a post that is amazing, post a comment.

8) Be Active on Your Account and Keep a Constant Schedule

It’s the best practice to post once or twice a day.

Three times should be the cutoff.

However, if you post more than once a day( which most people do), make sure you space out those posts.

Don’t post content right after each other.

If you post too often, you may annoy your followers and appear as a spammer.

Trust me, this is not good for Instagram presence because you can lose some of your followers

You should also post content at similar times every day.

This will let your followers know what to expect and when to expect your photos so that they can go to your account.

Your followers want to see content from you so meet their expectations by posting on a consistent basis.

9) Create Engaging Captions

Make sure you write a caption that will encourage your followers to engage with your post.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions in your captions.

Even if you’re a new Instagram user and you’re worried about not getting any response, just do it.

You can even make your caption more engaging by including a call to action.

For example, you might say, “ share this video with a friend if you find it helpful”

Or you can say “double-tap if you find this helpful”.

Don’t be afraid to make your captions longer or shorter than usual.

There are no stats really about how caption length impacts your engagement levels.

Just don’t be afraid to experiment a little bit.

10) Use the Right Hashtags

Don’t just post a photo on Instagram and call it a day.

Hashtags are probably the best secrets on Instagram right now.

Instagram has a specific page for each individual hashtag with a story for that hashtag.

This means that hashtags will expose your content to a large number of your target audience.

Thereby giving you a chance to increase engagement, get more likes and followers.

How to Add Hashtags to Your Post:

1.Go to “post my photos” on Instagram

2. upload a photo or video

3 .put in your caption and type # followed by text in the caption field.

Here are some examples:

  • #foodie
  • #foodporn
  • #food

As you start typing a hashtag, you’ll see the hashtag suggestions with the number of posts that other users have uploaded using that hashtag.

That’s how competitive that hashtag is.

It’s the best practice to use hashtags that are less competitive so that your posts can get into the top post section of Instagram.

This is where a little bit of research comes in.

But trust me, the time you’ll spend doing this is going to be really worth it.

Because hashtags are one is the best ways right now to grow on Instagram.

Even though you can use up to 30 tags in a single post, it’s the best practice to let your post determine the number of tags to use.

4. After you’ve chosen your hashtags, tap OK and then select SHARE.

11) Get Featured on a Feature Account

A feature or a compilation account is exactly what it sounds like.

It combines a bunch of different Instagram users photos that fit into a particular niche or category.

It features them on a page.

Now, do not go and just beg for a feature.

That is one sure fire way not to get featured on a feature page.

But you can go to their Bio or recent posts to see what the rules are before you submit your content to be considered.

There are thousands of different feature pages that have over 100,000 followers on that page.

If you get featured on that page, you get instant access to thousands of potential Instagram followers.

12) Don’t Try to Cheat the System

If you buy followers, likes, or if you play the whole “follow-to-unfollow” game, it will bite you in the butt.

Now let’s go back to the Instagram algorithm for a second.

Let’s say you bought 25,000 followers then you go on and post your best photo but you get only 125 likes.

What do you think that says to the Instagram’s algorithm?

That obviously tells the Instagram algorithm that your photo sucks.

This is because the photo has very little engagement, no comments, and no shares.

The algorithm is not going to push that content anywhere else on Instagram.

Summary?

100 active followers that are interested in your content is are ten times better than a thousand inactive followers that are nothing more than just numbers.

You want the active followers, not the inactive followers.

Instagram is really cracking down shady activities right now.

So if you get caught in that web, Instagram might delete or deactivate your account.

YouTube SEO Best Practices to Drive More Traffic to Your Videos

For you to drive more traffic to your videos on YouTube, you need to know the ins and outs of YouTube SEO.

We all know what it feels like to create a video, upload it, and then nobody views it.

Trust me, I’ve been in that situation before and it’s not fun.

If you’re reading this article, you probably already know that video is a very powerful tool for marketing your business.

In fact, almost one-third of the internet are YouTube users (over one billion users).

And this is the kind of traffic you do not want to ignore.

It may also surprise you to know that:

  • Viewers watch over one billion hours of videos on YouTube daily.
  • 45% is people watch over an hour of YouTube or Facebook Videos weekly.
  • About 72 hours of video are uploaded on YouTube every 60 seconds.
  • 55% of people watch online videos daily.

The importance of video in digital marketing cannot be overstated.

But the problem is that most people don’t see results because nobody sees their videos.

They just upload a video on YouTube and hope that one day it’ll go viral.

Unfortunately, this hardly works out.

Well, if you’re also a victim of this practice, fret not!

Because in this article, I’m going to show you the best practices to optimize your videos on YouTube and other search engines like Google, Yahoo, etc.

What you learn here helps you to become a highly profitable YouTuber.

In addition, you’ll be able to boost brand awareness and recognition.

So stick with me here.

Firstly, What Is YouTube SEO?

Search engine optimization is a marketing discipline focused on creating web content that will rank highly in Organic (non-paid) search engine result pages (SERPs).

YouTube SEO involves optimizing your videos, description, metadata, playlist, and your channel.

But before we go into details, let’s quickly look at some of the YouTube ranking factors.

These are optimization factors that can affect the visibility of your videos on YouTube.

They include:

  1. Title tag information
  2. Views
  3. Likes
  4. Keywords in description tag
  5. Tags
  6. Shares
  7. Comments
  8. Video length
  9. Number of subscribers after watching
  10. Exact keyword match in the title
  11. Video quality
  12. The size of your audience
  13. Watch time
  14. Video quality

With that, it’s time to show you how to leverage these signals so that you can drive more traffic to your videos and also increase brand awareness.

Let’s jump right in.

What Is YouTube SEO?

YouTube SEO Best Practices:

1. Find the Perfect Keyword for Your Video

Keywords are those words or phrases that internet users type into the search box of search engines to find relevant information that matches what they are looking for.

So first, brainstorm a whole bunch of different ideas about what people might be searching for.

Think about real words that people would use if they were looking for videos like yours.

Ideally, you want to target long tail keywords.

These are keywords or phrases that contain at least three words.

Here’s an example of a long tail keyword:

Typical keyword: Digital marketing
Long tail keyword: Best digital marketing agencies in Los Angeles.

This is so important because the “typical keyword” would be too competitive to rank for.

But the long tail keyword would be less competitive because it is much more targeted.

It is also likely to yield the best click-throughs.

Secondly, conduct a research to figure out which of those words are actually most popular.

An easy way to do this is to just type these different keywords into the search bar of YouTube or Google.

When you do this, you’ll see a number of suggested searches pop up.

These are the things that people are searching for most often.

Basically, you need to look for keywords that have lots of searches but aren’t very competitive.

But the reality is that most keywords that people are searching for are going to be fairly competitive.

You just need to find a good balance.

A good keyword is one that is moderately popular and moderately competitive.

As your YouTube channel becomes more popular, you’ll be able to rank for more competitive keywords and also get better rankings for your videos.

So when you start out, it’s better to target those less competitive keywords.

This will enable you to rank higher on YouTube.

2. Front-Load Keywords

It is a common practice to put target keywords in a video title.

But what you should know is that videos that have their keywords at the beginning of their title rank higher on YouTube.

Okay, great, front-load keywords.

Now, how do you actually do that?

Here’s how:

If you want to rank your video for the keyword “email marketing campaign”.

Most people will use a title like this:

“My top 7 tips for email marketing campaign”.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with that title but you can make that title, even more, SEO friendly by putting your keywords at the beginning.

A title with a front-loaded keyword will look like this:

“Email marketing campaign: my top 7 tips”.

3. Mention Your Keywords in Your Video

Now, when you find these words that people are using a whole lot, the best practice is to mention those words verbally in your videos.

When implementing this strategy, you need to mention these keywords only a few times.

Think of it as keyword density for video.

Just say those keywords naturally and do not stuff your videos with keywords.

The key here is to use your keywords strategically without spamming.

4. Use Your Keywords as Your File Name

One of the most common optimization mistakes that I see is improper naming structure.

This happens both in raw video files and video title.

Before you upload your video to YouTube, make sure the name of the video file is related to the information that is contained in the video itself.

The best practice is to use your keyword as your file name.

So here’s how to go about it:

if your keywords are “digital marketing”, then your video file name should be “digital marketing.mp4”.

It’s really that simple.

This may seem obvious but most people give their video files names like:

“Untitled.mp4”
“Mov123.mov”
“Video.mp4”

This is a bad practice.

Your video file name has to reflect the information contained in the video itself.

This is so important because YouTube indexes the file name along with the other metadata you include.

5. Use Keywords in Your Title

Now, this shouldn’t come as a news to you.

Everyone kind of knows this because using keywords in your title has been around for a really long time.

You’re going to have a difficult time ranking your videos is your keywords are not in your title.

Your title helps YouTube understand what your video is all about.

Also, this is what viewers look at to evaluate whether your video will provide the answers they’re looking for.

So when you create a video, write an enticing title that includes your keywords.

Show the value of your video in a clear and concise way.

The limit for titles on YouTube is 100 characters.

But the best practice is to write a title that contains about 70 characters( including spaces).

Summarily, make sure your title caters for both your prospective viewers and YouTube’s ranking system.

6. Write a Long Video Description

Long descriptions help videos rank better on YouTube.

This is because longer descriptions help YouTube better understand what your video is all about.

Maximize the 5000 characters that YouTube gives you to play with in the description field.

Make your video description unique.

Don’t recycle content from your previous videos because this will result in duplicate content.

And trust me, YouTube and Google will hold it against you.

Treat each of your videos as separate and write a different description for each of them.

It is the best practice to make your video description at least 200 words long.

Use keywords variations in your video description so that YouTube does not penalize you for keyword stuffing.

For example, if your main keywords are “business continuity plan”, you can use keyword variations such as:

You might be wondering:

“What do I actually write in my description?”

Well, in your description, you need to give an overview of your video.

Make it compelling so that when someone reads the description, they still need to watch the video to see the actual content.

Make sense?

7. Place Tags in the Tag Box

Tags are as important as they used to be.

They still make a difference.

So it’s important to spend some time on them.

Sadly, many people on YouTube use tags in a very wrong way.

Remember, your video tags are designed to help YouTube understand the content of your video.

So, you don’t need too many tags to get the job done.

In fact, if you use too many tags, you’re just going to confuse YouTube and Google.

They’ll have no idea what your video is all about.

And when this happens, they’re not going to rank your video for anything.

That’s why it’s important to use a small number of highly specific tags.

So here’s how to go about it:

Firstly, make sure your first tag is your target keyword.

For example, if your target keyword is “email marketing”, make your first tag “email marketing”.

Secondly, create 2-3 tags that are closely related to your main keyword.

For example, use variations of “email marketing” such as:

  • Email marketing for beginners
  • Email marketing techniques
  • Best email marketing campaign etc.

You can easily find these variations when you type your main keyword into YouTube’s search field.

You will get a list of suggestions which are perfect variations of your keywords to use as tags.

Finally, your last set of tags should be one or two broad terms of your main keywords.

Use these tags to describe the overall topic of your video or industry.

Broad keywords for email marketing can be “content marketing”, “digital marketing” etc.

9. Use Custom Thumbnails to Increase Click-Through Rates (CTR)

It’s no news that YouTube uses click-through rates to rank videos.

Now, how can you get more clicks?

Well, you can get more clicks and subscribers by just optimizing your thumbnails.

This will, in turn, increase your video ranking on search engines.

YouTube immediately uploads a default thumbnail image whenever you upload a video.

Often this image is neither appealing nor truly reflects the information contained in your video.

Below are a few things you should do to optimize your thumbnails:

Use Non-YouTube Colors in Your Thumbnails:

So what are non-work YouTube colors?

Well, I’m sure you already know that the main colors on YouTube’s website are white, red, and black.

It’s the best practice to use colors that contrast with YouTube’s color scheme.

Some of these colors include blue, green, purple, grey and orange.

These colors will help your results stand out from others which will, in turn, give you more clicks.

Include an image that reflects the content of your video

If your thumbnail does not make any sense to the viewer, you’re not going to have any clicks.

Your thumbnail should show the viewer that your video has the information they’re looking for.

choose images that meet the expectations of the viewer.

Have a Consistent YouTube Thumbnail Design and Font:

This can be a very effective way to make your audience familiar with your brand.

To begin, choose a professional image from a stock photo website or you can use an image of yourself.

Secondly, you can add a text to the image with a font style that represents your brand.

Now, this is everything you need to do to rank your videos on YouTube and other search engines.

But in the next few steps, I’m going to show you how to get a flood of traffic to your videos.

So stick with me here.

10. Publish Videos on a Regular Schedule

Releasing videos at regular intervals will strengthen your YouTube channel.

This is because your subscribers know when to return to your channel for new content.

It is easier for newly published videos to rank higher during the first week they’re published because they get an SEO boost.

So publishing content regularly will help you get a video higher up in the search engine result pages.

This can also result in regular views and repeated visits.

Regular views and visits signal YouTube that your channel is active, has valuable content, and deserves a higher search rank.

11. Build Your Channels and Use Playlists

So the stronger your channel is, the easier it’s going to be for you to rank your videos.

Now the question is, how can you increase the power of your channel?

Well, you can increase the power of your channel when you keep it active by uploading content regularly.

When you keep your channel active, you’ll be able to:

  • Get more real views
  • Increase the number of your real subscribers
  • Get more real comments and likes on your videos.

All these factors will help your videos rank higher on the SERPs.

Think of it this way:

If Moz publishes an article about video marketing, and I set up a website, 2 days later I publish an article about video marketing.

Who do you think Google will rank higher?

Of course, they’re going to rank Moz’s article higher.

But why is it so?

Well, it is because Moz is a big site and they’re always uploading content.

The same process goes for YouTube channel.

The more active your channel is, the easier it will be for your videos to rank.

Now when it comes to playlist, all you need do is to create a playlist using your main keywords and then put your videos in there.

This will send a signal to YouTube that the videos in that playlist are related to your keywords.

And then YouTube is going to rank your videos for those keywords

12. Include the Current Year in Your YouTube Video Title

No YouTube user wants to see content that is outdated or irrelevant.

When you include the current year in your video title, it tells the viewer that your content is current and relevant.

This will help your video stand out in the search engine result pages and suggested video sidebar.

And you’ll also get more clicks and views because many people search for keywords and the year on YouTube.

So here’s how to go about it:

Keyword: “email marketing campaign”
Keyword + Year: “email marketing campaign for 2017”.

Summarily, a YouTube video title with the current year will instantly give you a higher click-through rate.

13. Get More Social Indicators

Social indicators are quickly becoming important ranking factors to your video.

Things like Facebook likes, Twitter shares, and pins are very important for your videos.

If you have a Facebook profile, Pinterest board, or Twitter profile, just upload your videos there and share it with your audience.

When you do this, encourage your audience to hit the like and share button so that you can maximize the number of social indicators from one post.

Work-Life Balance Tips For Employees and Everybody Who Works

Achieving a work-life balance doesn’t always have to be a struggle.

But how can a busy employee like you achieve this balance?

Well, I hope you’ve got your coffee ready because, in this article, I’m going to show you how.

So, let’s get started.

Firstly, what is work-life balance?

Towards the end of the 1970s, the term “work-life balance” was first used in the United Kingdom.

Work-life balance refers to the method which individuals (employees or workers) adopt to help achieve a balance between their professional and private lives.

It encourages employees to create time for their families, health, friends, spirituality, other personal activities as well as the demands of the workplace.

Unfortunately, the introduction of technology, cloud-based software, and the internet has made it very easy for employees to work around the clock.

This makes it difficult to distinguish between private and professional life.

Usually, many victims of work-life Imbalance think the problem is caused by lack or shortage of time.

They often wished they had more than 24 hours in a day.

However, while we cannot add more hours to our day, we can control what we do with the time that we have.

Some of the causes of work-life imbalance include:

  • Long working hours.
  • Excessive workload.
  • The desire to complete a task before the deadline.
  • Poor time management habits.
  • Excessive multi-tasking.

Without a work-life balance, here’s what you’re likely to go through:

1) Poor health:

Long working hours can cause distress which will negatively affect your health.

Some of the physical symptoms of distress include:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Chest pain
  • Headache
  • Stomach upset etc.

Now tell me, If you don’t have your health, then what do you have?

Your health gives you the ability to work, play and enjoy the good things of life.

2) Fatigue:

This could lead to decreased productivity because when you’re very tired, your ability to think clearly is reduced.

It may surprise you to know that fatigue reduces your concentration by 23% and also reduces memory function by 18%.

In summary, fatigue can cause you to make errors in your job which could tarnish your reputation.

These errors can also negatively affect the performance of your organization.

3) No time for family:

When you work overtime, your fellowship with your family will definitely take a hit.

This can sever the bonds between you and your family.

Also, it can leave both you and your family emotionally distressed.

4) Overall dissatisfaction with your job and family.

5) Little or no motivation.

6) Decreased relationship with your boss, co-workers and the company as a whole.

7) Emotional Imbalance.

You can prevent all these negative effects by having a healthy work-life balance.

So I don’t know about you but sometimes I find it really hard to keep my life balanced.

Sometimes, It seems that anytime one part of my life is doing really well, another part suffers.

It’s kind of like a seesaw.

Good news is, it isn’t impossible to maintain a work-life balance.

So, fret not!

As a worker, there are some tips and strategies that I use to help maintain a healthy work-life balance.

And I’m going to share those tips with you right away so stick with me here.

Work-Life Balance Tips:

1) Limit Time Wasting Activities

It’s amazing that while in the office or workplace, many employees and workers waste about half of their time doing activities that are not related to their work.

They engage in activities like social media, gossiping, checking emails, talking on the cell phone, etc.

Did you know that 39% of employees waste about thirty minutes of their time on non-work activities?

In addition, 4% of employees waste about half of their working hours on non-work related activities.

All these time wasting activities make it hard for you to get work done so that you can manage other areas of your life.

But here’s the solution:

a) Get rid of distractions

If you actually want to use your time effectively while at work, then you need to turn off social media.

Put your phone on silent and leave it in your bag or pocket.

This will prevent you from getting distracted by notifications and alerts such as text messages and unnecessary phone calls.

A survey has shown that employees waste 8-10 hours a week on their mobile phones while at work.

When you get rid of this distraction, it can go a long way to help you quickly get some work done.

This will, in turn, create more time for you to manage other aspects of your life such as family, health, etc.

b) Check your emails only when necessary

Indeed, checking your emails constantly can be a big distraction in your workplace.

Did you know that 23% of people who waste time at work spend their time on emails?

Do not attend to emails the moment they arrive, except it is necessary for you to do so.

Otherwise, you should attend to emails at specific times each day.

c) Work in a quiet area of the office

There are times in our work when we discuss politics, gossip, crack jokes, and even comment on each other’s outfit.

I’m sure you’ll agree with me that all these activities do not help you get any work done.

They rather drain your valuable time.

This is why you need to work in a quiet area where you can focus

No wonder 58% percent of high-performance employees say a quiet workspace is critical to their success.

d) Follow a strict schedule

Create a list of the things you want to accomplish at work and when you want to accomplish them.

If you don’t have this list, then it will be easy for you to be disorganized and waste time.

Following a strict schedule will keep you organized and focused.

In addition, a strict schedule will help you meet deadlines, avoid mistakes and work in a stress-free condition.

e) Beat procrastination

The truth is, sometimes its really difficult to begin something( even when it’s something that you’re passionate about).

So, the only solution is to jump right in, regardless of how you feel.

Just jump right in, you’ll discover that it feels a lot easier to keep on going.

This will help you to complete the task.

2) Work Smarter Not Harder

You work really hard for long hours to the point where you become fatigued and stressed out.

Well, there’s is a better way to work more efficiently and more productively.

Work smart!

Here’s how:

Ask for help when necessary: to work more effectively, seek help from those people who can perform a task better than you can.

In order to do this, you should closely examine your strengths and weaknesses.

Also, you can delegate projects to subordinates at work.

This will help you have more time to work on other important tasks.

Make a “to don’t” list: make a list that includes all the things you shouldn’t waste your time on.

You may include social media messages, worthless phone calls, unimportant messages, etc.

This will help you focus only on the important tasks.

Ask the right questions: communication is an important skill that you need to develop as an employee.

For you to get the right answers, you need to ask the right questions and at the right time.

This will enable get the right information you need to make proper decisions.

Learn as much as you can: As a worker or an employee, you should never be tired of learning.

Hone your skills to improve the quality and value of your work.

Associate with those who are successful in your niche.

Keep up with current trends in your niche so that you don’t become outdated.

Work in chunks: You may become stressed out when you force yourself to complete a huge task at once.

The best practice is to break the task into smaller and manageable parts.

Complete these smaller task one after the order.

This will help reduce anxiety and keep your mind fresh when working on these tasks.

3) Take Breaks and Refresh Your Mind During Work

As an employee, breaks can keep you from getting bored and also help you stay focused.

So if your focus is lagging, then you may need to take a break that is really restorative.

There are a number of ways you can take breaks to increase your focus and productivity.

Disconnect completely

You may decide to take breaks by sitting on your desk, scrolling through Twitter or attending to emails.

This is a bad form of a break because your mind is still occupied.

You should disconnect entirely from every technological and communication device you may have connected to during your workday.

Move around

A very important part of part of your work is stepping away from work, allowing your mind to relax.

Leave your desk and move around to get your blood flowing.

You don’t need to run a marathon to achieve this, just do some stretches or go for a walk.

This can boost your mood and also relieve tension.

Socialize with your colleagues

Research has shown that strong social connection emotional and social support which will promote better health.

This can make you become more passionate about your job and also feel less likely to quit.

Maximize your nap

Improve learning and memory by taking a nap – one that last for 45 to 90 minutes.

Also, this can boost your energy level so that you can complete your task swiftly.

If your workplace has no room designed for napping, you can make use of the conference room or the library where you will not be distracted by others.

4) Leave The Office Behind

Even for employees that are passionate about their jobs, it’s possible for work to still be stressful and very tiring.

There is a tendency for you to take your job home with you.

When this happens, it interferes with your supposed relaxation.

Sometimes, we try to suppress fatigue by taking coffee or by just ignoring the signals that our bodies are giving.

This is a bad practice!

When you try to trick your body, there is a tendency that you will suffer from burnout.

The truth is, your body needs time to relax and regenerate if it must function optionally.

I’m sure you’ll agree with me that one of the best ways to relax after work is to spend some quality time with family and loved ones.

When you spend time with your family, it makes them happy and will also re-energize you.

You will be able to work more effectively and productively.

So, how can you actually leave the office behind?

Procedure at work

Before the end of your workday, take out 15 minutes to get your workplace ready for the next day.

If you work in an office, use this time to:

  • save your files on the computer.
  • Keep your desk clean.
  • Write a to-do list for the next day.
  • Turn off lights and unplug all the appliances in your office.

Finally, drop your list and worries about the next day at work.

If you work at home, be sure to shut down your computer so that you won’t be tempted to attend to emails.

Procedure for the commute

It’s possible to have a very stressful commute from your workplace to your home when you drive in heavy traffic.

In order to avoid this, try a carpool with someone or take a public transport so that you can free up some time for yourself.

You could spend your transit time doing what you love such as reading, listening to music etc.

Make your commute a positive experience.

At home

When you get home, you can say that you’re ready to ease off by performing a number of rituals.

Firstly, take a shower to wash the workplace from your body.

Secondly, change your clothes.

If you work in a uniform, change into a pair of jeans and a t-shirt.

This will notify your brain and your family that you’re ready to relax and have fun.

You could also consider going for walk or heading out to the gym.

5) The 7 pillars

I believe that everybody has 7 core pillars in their lives.

These pillars include:

  • Health
  • Love
  • Hobbies
  • Friends
  • Mission
  • Spirituality
  • Finance

Evaluate your life weekly based on these core pillars and ask yourself questions like:

On the scale of 1-10 for my health, how am I doing?

Did I go to the gym as much as I wanted to?

Am I eating healthy?

Here’s the cool part – if you do this on a weekly basis and you score yourself 4 or 5, your brain is an amazing guilt machine.

It will automatically say “ hey! you’re 5, you really need to go to the gym tomorrow”.

Also, you may feel like you’ve not been spending time with friends or you’re in a financial mess.

All these can happen when you do not pay attention to these 7 pillars of your life.

Reviewing these 7 pillars of your life is very important if you want to achieve a work-life balance.

6) Leverage N.E.T

N.E.T stands for No Extra Time.

Let’s face it.

We all want to do more, we want to progress, we want to achieve.

But we need to find time to do these things.

You can use the time you spend exercising, driving, or even cleaning the house to feed your mind with relevant information that will help you become more productive in your niche.

As a worker, here’s how I leverage N.E.T:

I listen to audio books when I work out and when I’m driving in a car.

I use this opportunity to consume and feed my mind the relevant information in my niche.

This helps me not to take any extra time out of my day.

7) Communicate Your Needs with Your Employer

Do you need to leave your work earlier than usual to attend your child’s birthday party?

Must you take a nap while working on a task?

Whatever your needs are, tell it to your employer.

This will help you get the work-life balance that you need.

Also, it will improve the relationship between you and your employer.

8) Take a Vacation

Did you know that the average U.S employee that takes only half of their apportioned vacation time suffer burn out?

So as an employee, you shouldn’t take a vacation for granted.

It is a very effective way to ease off stress recuperate.

Take out at least two weeks off from your work each year to go on vacation.

You don’t need to break the bank when going on a vacation.

But you do need to recharge your batteries and have fun.

Also, leave every work-related device like your laptop at home.

Use this opportunity to spend some quality time with your partner or family.

9) Hire a coach

You may need a personal coach to track your current progress on the road to achieving a work-life balance.

Also, this coach can push you to achieve this balance quickly.

10) Find a mentor

Do you know someone who has a successful career and an amazing personal life?

Seek advice from that person on how to manage your time, develop your career, and how to set priorities.

Summary

One thing I’ve learned over time is that life is precious and life is short.

So you need to strive to put yourself in a situation where the balance is right for you.

And if you’re in an unhappy situation, I’d advise you look for an opportunity where you can find a culture and an environment that enables you to do an appropriate work-life balance.

Components of a Business Continuity Plan for Business Owners

For you to build a really robust business continuity plan, you need to have a comprehensive knowledge of the components of a business continuity plan.

Well,

You do not need to worry because that’s what this article is about.

Let’s face it.

For some business owners, crafting a business continuity plan is one of the most difficult tasks of business planning.

Good news is, it also offers some of the highest profits.

Unfortunately, many business executives and IT professionals seem to regard business continuity planning as a tedious task that consumes time.

Also, they think it may never yield any benefit throughout the lifespan of the business.

But when the real importance of this practice becomes obvious, it’s already too late to act.

In this article, I’m going to walk you through the components of a business continuity plan.

As a bonus, I’m also going to show you how to get your management to support your business continuity plan.

So if you’re as pumped up as I am to get started, then you’re going to want to suspend what you’re doing, grab a cup of coffee, and read this article right away because I’m going to be dishing out tons of relevant info.

Before we dive right into these components, let’s consider a quick overview of a business continuity plan.

A business continuity plan is a collection of instructions, documents, and processes which enable a company or business respond to emergencies, disasters, accidents, and threats without obstructing its major activities.

It is also called a business resumption plan.

Here are some of the reasons why you need a business continuity plan:

1) Every company, business, or organization is vulnerable to potential disasters such as flooding, power failure, accidents, etc.

So a  business continuity plan will help you predict, prevent and recover from these disasters.

2) A business continuity plan will help you identify the weaknesses and threats to your business.

It will also show you how to tackle these threats.

3) When you have a business continuity plan, it shows that your business is ready to protect the assets of your employees and customers.

4) In addition, a business plan can reduce downtime.

Indeed, your business may cease to operate when a disaster strikes.

But with a business plan in place, you wouldn’t need to spend time analyzing what to do.

All you need do is to execute the processes that you had already written down in your business continuity plan.

This will help you retain your customers by preventing them from trying out other products and services made by other companies.

It may surprise you to know that for over a period of 5 years, businesses have lost over $70 million as a result of downtime alone.

That’s scary, right?

I’m sure you don’t want your business to be one of those businesses.

Furthermore, a business continuity plan can help your company remain competitive, increase your income and minimize the loss of customers

The importance of a business continuity plan cannot be overstated.

It is a vital document if you want your business to survive any natural disaster or an unplanned event.

What Are the Components of a Business Continuity Plan?

Now, let’s jump right into the components of a business continuity plan for business owners.

1) Recovery procedures

This is the section of your business continuity plan where you outline the strategies you have designed to keep the business functional.

Your strategy should also identify and prioritize those assets that are important to your business.

This may include your manufacturing equipment, your Warehouse, your IT(information technology) system, and your contact list.

Identify possible risks and threats to those assets.

Also, work out a system that will help you recover from any unplanned event or natural disaster.

The business contingency planning team should synchronize all communications about the recovery status so that those performing the recovery will not be interrupted regularly for status.

The department heads of the company should purchase all equipment and supplies that are essential to the recovery plan.

In addition to that, make sure the environment where the business continuity plan will be tested is suitable.

This will help you obtain correct results.

2) Recovery teams

In this section of the plan, outline the names of those who will participate in the recovery process.

You should also assemble the participants into groups and assign a leader to each group.

The team leader will coordinate all the activities of the recovery team.

Now, let’s look at some of the recovery teams that you should have in your plan and their functions.

a. Emergency response team

In the event of any natural disaster, this team will ensure that all the employees are safe.

In addition, this team will examine the physical structures on your business site to detect areas that may have been damaged.

The emergency response team will also provide damage assessment reports and recommendations to the management for proper decision making.

b. Information technology recovery team

Indeed, you can guess the function of this team just from the name.

Some of the functions of the IT recovery team includes:

  1. Activation of the IT recovery plan.
  2. Supervision of the IT disaster recovery procedures and response.
  3. Management and organization of IT resources
  4. Testing equipment and facilities.
  5.  Acquisition and installation of equipment at the recovery site.
  6. Repair and replacement of damaged IT equipment.

In summary, this team coordinates all activities that are related to data communication.

c. The human resource team

This team provides information about the disaster and recovery efforts to the employees and their families.

d. Media team

The media team supplies information about the disaster and the recovery efforts to other stakeholders, regulatory agencies, and the media.

e. Administrative team

The administrative team helps business recovery personnel carry out clerical tasks such as data entry, drafting letters, sending emails, etc.

It is also the responsibility of the administrative team to keep an account of all the expenditures made in the recovery process.

3) Data backup

Reports from leaders in the tech industry such as Microsoft and Cisco have shown that the rate at which cyber-attacks harm businesses of all sizes is on the rise.

Now, take a look at this fact for a moment:

Among the businesses that fall prey to cyber attacks, approximately 23 percent of them lose business opportunities due to data loss.

This statistic calls for you to include a proper backup strategy in your business continuity plan, especially backup for data on the computer system.

Now, when it comes to crafting a data backup strategy for your business continuity plan, there are two ways to go about it:

on-site backup and off-site backup.

Let me explain the two in simple terms:

Onsite backup stores your data within the business environment.

off-site backup stores your data far away from the business environment.

Also, it is easier to access onsite backups than off-site backups.

You can use tape drives and external hard drives for onsite backup.

If you have your data stored on a backup device, It is the best practice to take this device away from your business environment.

Indeed, this will prevent natural disasters like flood, fire, or any unplanned event from destroying it.

In choosing an off-site backup location, make sure it is a place that you will be able to use for at least six weeks after you declare the disaster.

Business and company documents that you should include in your backup plan are:

  1. Financial documents like bank records, tax returns, etc.
  2. A  list of fixed assets
  3. Legal documents such as copies of agreements & contracts, memorandum of understanding, online privacy policy etc.
  4. Pictures of various work area and facilities.

4) Vendor readiness strategy

Does your business or company depend on vendors for the supply of equipment, goods, and services?

If your answer is yes, then you need a solid vendor readiness plan for your business.

This is an important component of a business continuity plan.

In fact, It helps to reduce the risk of business disruption caused by vendors.

Your business shouldn’t depend on a single source for the supply of equipment, goods, materials, and services.

It should have a minimum of two vendors that can supply the essential goods and services that are required for running your business.

To know if these vendors are the best fit for your business, demand that they complete a survey and submit it within one month for your examination.

After the survey,  examine their responses and then work with the ones that meet your requirements in terms of the supply of equipment, goods, and services to your business.

In summary, make a list of your vendors and back up vendors.

5) Off-site temporary facility

In your business continuity plan, it is also important to spell out where your business personnel and contingency team will convene after they have been notified of a disaster.

The business contingency planning team oversees the access to this facility.

Here are some of the things that you should include in this facility:

  1. Mobile phones
  2. Internet connection and devices
  3. A source of power supply (a generator)
  4. Emergency provisions like food and water, a set of basic tools and a working area.

You should be able to access this off-site temporary facility within 24 hours.

Of course, you wouldn’t want a facility that takes weeks or months to access.

Also, it should be a place where you and your business team can occupy temporarily for at least a year.

6) Property protection strategy

For you to be able to restore your business’s operations and prevent further damage after an incident has occurred, it’s also important that you have a plan to protect your business properties.

Train employees how to prevent fires in the workplace, how to stop fires and how to exit the facility.

post maps of exit routes at important places in the business facility.

Furthermore, Install fire extinguishers and smoke detectors in every section of the business facility.

Handle and dispose of all hazardous materials properly.

Also, set up procedures to notify employees of an incident.

7) Relocation strategy

An important component of a business continuity plan is your relocation strategy.

This is because, in the event of any disaster, there Maybe the need for you to continue your business operations on another site.

With this strategy already in place, you’ll be able to relocate faster without any anxiety.

Note that it’s the best practice to set up both a short-term and a long-term strategy.

You’ll need a short-term strategy when the disaster will only disrupt your business for two weeks.

You’re going to need a long-term strategy when the disaster will disrupt your business for more than two weeks.

In your long-term strategy, also make plans to get a new building if there was any major building damage.

8) Sitemap documentation

This is the part of your business  continuity plan where you’ll document all the  descriptions of your building and Sitemaps

Information to be contained in this part includes:

  1. Entrance
  2. Exit
  3. Alarms
  4. Restrained areas
  5. Water lines
  6. Water valves
  7. Marked out escape route
  8. The location of the business building
  9. Smoke detectors
  10. Hazardous  materials such as chemicals and cleaning agents
  11. Stairways
  12. Gas lines
  13. Gas valves etc.

9) Plan activation

Outline how you plan to activate your business continuity plan.

In the event of any disaster, it’s the responsibility of the business contingency planning team to contact the management team and also evaluate the emergency situation.

While accessing the damage, the business contingency planning team will provide the names of the people and things that were affected by the incident.

Also, it is the responsibility of this team to evaluate the incident that has occurred and then send information to the relevant department heads that will make a decision about the event.

If the department heads decide to activate the business continuity plan, then a member of the business contingency team will send a notification to the executive team for approval.

10) Employee training strategy

Employee training is very vital for a business resilience.

First all, this is the part of your continuity plan where you outline how you are going to train your employees to be able to contain any unplanned incident.

Secondly, you should train your employees to:

1) know their individual roles in the business continuity plan

2) know how to handle hazardous materials

3) Know how to respond to respond to emergencies in the business.

Your employees should meet with their various department heads to evaluate the disaster preparation and the emergency action plan procedures.

In addition, you should conduct annual mock disaster drills to practically prepare and teach your employees how to contain an unplanned incident.

Indeed, these drills will also help you identify any loopholes in your business continuity plan.

They include:

Walk through drills: This is where the various teams in your business will try out their emergency response actions.

Functional drills: These drills will simulate critical functions in your continuity plan to spot out their strengths and weaknesses.

Some of these functions include emergency notification, warning and communication procedures and medical response

Evacuation drill: you should include everyone in your business building in an evacuation practice drill at least once in a year.

This drill will eventually test your evacuation procedure and also get all personnel acquainted with the exit routes, evacuation signs, assembly area and relevant procedures.

11) Notification scripts

Make sure that you have notification script included in your continuity plan.

Indeed, the essence of this strategy is to help you notify your employees of a disaster without disclosing information of the disaster to someone who is not a member is your business team.

Now, this strategy is very effective if the employee wasn’t at the site of the disaster.

Also, you should write this script to minimize panic.

If the employee is at home, describe the incident briefly to the employee stating the extent of the damage and how many personnel were affected by the incident.

This script should also tell the employee the next step after the incident.

Bonus?

How to Get Management to Support Business Continuity Plan:

Truth be told.

For any business to have a robust business continuity and disaster recovery plan, that business also needs to have the absolute support of the management.

But more often than not, management doesn’t give a crap about a business continuity or disaster recovery plan.

Unfortunately, what management cares about is profit, business strategy, client satisfaction, market share etc.

However, gaining absolute management support doesn’t have to be a hassle.

Here are some tips to help you gain absolute management support:

Firstly, establish your credibility and show that you understand the importance of a business continuity plan.

Secondly, get involved in management activities.

Prove that you understand how the business is run, its strengths and weaknesses, and the potential threats to the business.

Finally, educate the management on the potential risks to the business and the remedies.