Overview | Do Internet search engines point us to the information that we need or confuse us with irrelevant or questionable information? How can Internet users improve their searches to find reliable information? What are some ways to perform effective searches? In this lesson, students conduct Web searches on open-ended questions and draw on their experiences to develop guides to searching effectively and finding reliable information online.

Materials | Computers with Internet access

Warm-Up | Invite students to share anecdotes about times when they used an Internet search engine to look for information and found something they were not expecting, or when they could not find what they were looking for.

After several students have shared, ask for a show of hands of students who have experienced frustration using an Internet search engine. Then ask: How often do you use search engines? Which ones do you use most? Why? What are the most common problems you face when searching? Do you consider yourself a skilled searcher? Do you have any search strategies? Do you search the Internet more for personal reasons and entertainment, or more for school? Do you believe that improving your Internet searching skills will benefit you academically? Socially? Personally?

Give students the following search assignment, from The New York Times article “Helping Children Find What They Need on the Internet”: “Which day [will] the vice president’s birthday falls on the next year?” (Alternatively, give students a multistep question that relates to your subject matter. For example, a geography teacher might ask “How many miles away is Shanghai?”) Tell students to type this question into Google, Bing or any other favorite search engine, and have them share the top results in real-time. Did the answer appear? If not, what’s the next step to take to get this question answered?

Ask: What information do you need to be able to answer the question? Ideas might include the name of the vice president, the date of his birthday, and a copy of next year’s calendar. Have them try to find this information and keep working until they can answer the question. (You may want to add a competitive component to this activity, rewarding the student who finds out the right answer the fastest.)

When one or more students have found the answer, have one student take the class through the steps he or she took to find the answer; if possible, do this on a screen so that everyone can watch. Along the way, ask probing questions. What keywords did you type into the search engine? Why did you choose these words? Which results did you click on? Why did you choose those sources over the others on the page? How many steps did it take? Are you sure the sources are reliable and that the answers are correct? How can you tell? How would you verify the information? If time permits, play around by using different keywords and clicking on different results, to see how the search for the answer to the question changes.

To end this activity, ask: What did you notice about the search to find the answer to this question? Did this exercise give help you understand something new about Internet searching? If so, what?

When considering children, search engines had long focused on filtering out explicit material from results. But now, because increasing numbers of children are using search as a starting point for homework, exploration or entertainment, more engineers are looking to children for guidance on how to improve their tools.

Search engines are typically developed to be easy for everyone to use. Google, for example, uses the Arial typeface because it considers it more legible than other typefaces. But advocates for children and researchers say that more can be done technologically to make it easier for young people to retrieve information. What is at stake, they say, are the means to succeed in a new digital age.

Read the article with your class, using the questions below.

Questions | For discussion and reading comprehension:

  1. What problems does the article mention that children run into when they use search engines?
  2. What suggestions have been offered for how search engines can improve their product to lessen children’s problems searching?
  3. Do you search using keywords or questions? How does the article characterize these two types of searching?
  4. Have you tried using images or videos to search? How does the article characterize this type of searching?
  5. What advice would you give to Internet search engine developers for how they should improve their product? Do you think any of the improvements mentioned in the article are particularly promising? Why?

Activity | Before class, ask teachers of several different subjects for questions that they have asked or will ask students to research on the Internet. Alternatively, collect from students their own research questions – for another class or for a personal project, like I-Search. Be sure that the questions are sufficiently open-ended so that they cannot be answered definitively with a quick, simple search – they might contain an element of opinion or interpretation, rather than just be a matter of simple fact.

Put the class into pairs, and provide each pair with the following multipart task:

  • Seek to answer your assigned question by conducting an Internet search.
  • You must use different search engines and strategies, and keep track of how the search “goes” using the various resources and methods.
  • Once you find an answer that you are confident in, do another search to verify the information.
  • When you are finished, evaluate the reliability of all of the Internet resources that you used.
  • Prepare to tell the story of your search, including what worked and what didn’t, anything surprising that happened, things that would be good for other searchers to know, “lessons learned,” etc.

Provide pairs with the following resources to research their assigned topics. Let them know that these are starting points and that they may use additional resources.

Search Engines, Metasearch Engines, and Subject Directories:

Choosing Effective Search Words:

Evaluating Source Reliability:

When pairs have completed their research, bring the class together and invite pairs to share their stories. Then tell them that they will use their notes to create a page for a class guide, in booklet or wiki form, on how to use Internet search engines effectively for research, to be made available to the school community to help other students. As much as possible, the tips and guidance in the guide should be illustrated with the students’ stories and examples.

Tell students that their booklet/wiki entries should or might include the following, among other types of guidance and insight:

  • Ways and examples of using keywords and Boolean logic effectively.
  • Ineffective examples of keyword searches that result in too much, too little or useless information.
  • Examples of how to sequence searches and why.
  • Sites they find that answer their question and how they can tell whether these pages are reliable.
  • Any information they found that was questionable or incorrect, where they found it, and how they discovered that it was wrong.
  • Why it is important to scroll past the top result to pages listed farther down the page or on a later page in order to find complete answers to the question.
  • How using different search engines yielded different results.

In addition to the handbook or wiki, you might also have students make their own videos, à la the Google ad “Parisian Love,” chronicling their search.

Going Further | Students read the New York Times Magazine article “The Google Alphabet,” by Virginia Heffernan, who writes the column “The Medium,” and keep a tally of the number of advertisements and commercial sites that they see while doing schoolwork on the Internet for one or two days.

Then hold a class discussion on advertising and commercial interests on the Internet. If students are using the Internet to complete their homework, are schools requiring students to expose themselves to corporate advertisements in order to succeed academically? Do any ethical questions arise around the prevalence of corporate advertising in Web searching for academic purposes?

Alternatively or additionally, students develop ideas for the search engines of the future, like ways to use and find images, audio and video, rank results and so on, and “pitch” their ideas to classmates acting as search engine developers.

And for fun, students might try to come up with “Googlewhacks.”

Standards | From McREL, for Grades 6-12:

Technology
2. Knows the characteristics and uses of computer software programs.
3. Understands the relationships among science, technology, society, and the individual.

Language Arts
1. Demonstrates competence in the general skills and strategies of the writing process.
4. Gathers and uses the information for research purposes.
7. Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of informational texts.

Life Work
2. Uses various information sources, including those of a technical nature, to accomplish specific tasks.

[Source: This article was published in nytimes.com By Sarah Kavanagh And Holly Epstein Ojalvo - Uploaded by the Association Member: Rene Meyer]

Categorized in Search Engine

 [Source: This article was published in cnbc.com By Karen Gilchrist - Uploaded by the Association Member: Edna Thomas]

What are the most useful skills to have in today’s shifting work environment?

It’s a question that’s on the minds of employers and employees alike, but LinkedIn claims to have the answer.

In a new “Future of Skills” report, the professional networking site has drawn on data from a regional subset of its more than 600 million members to identify what it sees as the “rising skills” of the workforce.

Focusing specifically on the Asia Pacific region, the report highlights 10 skills that have experienced “exponential growth” over the past 5 years. That refers to both a surge in listings of those skills on members’ profiles and also an increase in demand from employers.

Typically, demand for those “rising skills” was three times higher than for other areas of expertise in the past 12 months, LinkedIn said. That’s a figure the company expects will rise further over the coming years, it added.

“These skills may be nascent now but will potentially see wide-scale adoption in the future,” the report noted.

Indeed, 42 percent of the core skills required for common occupations are expected to change by 2020, according to 2018 research from the World Economic Forum cited by the report.

Here are LinkedIn’s 10 rising skills in Asia Pacific and the jobs to which they are best applied:

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an area of computer science that uses machines to perform human-like tasks. As companies become more dependent on data, AI is playing an increasing role in their decision-making processes. Airbnb, for example, now uses visual recognition and machine learning to understand what photos are most attractive to potential guests.

Occupational applications:

  • Business analyst
  • Data scientist
  • Software engineer

Blockchain

Blockchain refers to a decentralized public ledger which stores a growing list of records, known as blocks. Blockchain has risen to prominence over recent years as the underlying technology behind cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, but it’s applications are wide-reaching. Today, the technology is used in sectors such as the law, security and even education.

Occupational applications:

  • Blockchain developer
  • Chief technology officer
  • Consultant

Compliance

In an increasingly globalized world, businesses need to make sure they comply with the various regulatory and legal frameworks of each of the countries in which they operate. That has spawned a growing demand for compliance experts.

Occupational applications:

  • Chief data officer
  • Compliance officer
  • Risk management officer

Continuous integration

In software engineering, continuous integration refers to the regular merging of all developers’ work onto one shared platform. The aim of the role is to help detect problems early on in the development process.

Occupational applications:

  • DevOps engineer
  • Full-stack engineer
  • Software engineer
Continuous integration
A young female Asian employee writes notes on a glass window in the meeting room.
Kelvin Murray | Taxi | Getty Images

Frontend web development

Frontend web development is the process of converting data into the graphical interface, or web pages, seen by internet users. In today’s increasingly digital world, that process is required by businesses across most industries. However, LinkedIn highlighted opportunities in Asia Pacific’s retail sector, where e-commerce sales are expected to reach $3.5 trillion by 2021.

Occupational applications:

  • Frontend developer
  • Full-stack engineer
  • Web developer

Gesture recognition technology

Gesture recognition technology aims to close the gap between humans and devices by teaching computers to read human movements. The global gesture recognition market is expected to be worth $30.6 billion by 2025, and the banking, higher education and advertising sectors are jumping aboard.

Occupational applications:

  • Mobile engineer
  • Researcher
  • Software engineer

Human-centered design

The human-centered design aims to put user experience at the forefront of all design decisions. It is an approach for which Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was famed, and one that will be increasingly in demand in the Asia Pacific as product development ramps up, according to LinkedIn.

Occupational applications:

  • Graphics designer
  • Product designer
  • User experience designer
Human centered design
skynesher | E+ | Getty Images

Robotic process automation (RPA)

Robotic process automation is an emerging form of business process automation. Using robotics or artificial intelligence, the process aims to automate high volume, repetitive tasks. Examples of its use are in banking and telecoms, where transactions and customer complaint procedures can be automated.

Occupational applications:

  • Business analyst
  • Consultant
  • Robotics engineer

Social media marketing

Social media marketing is the use of social media to promote product and services. With social media adoption continuing to grow rapidly in Asia Pacific, businesses are increasingly using it to reach new and existing customers. Indeed, 74 percent say they believe social media marketing contributes to their bottom lines.

Occupational applications:

  • Digital marketing specialist
  • Marketing manager
  • Social media marketing manager

Workflow automation

Workflow automation is the process of automating manual processes based on pre-defined business rules. By automating repetitive, low skilled processes, businesses say they can free up employees’ time for more creative and higher skilled tasks.

Occupational applications:

  • Consultant
  • Project manager
  • Software engineer

Categorized in Online Research

[Source: This article was published in searchenginejournal.com By Ron Lieback - Uploaded by the Association Member: Deborah Tannen]

The power of blogging is endless.

This sentiment is especially true for SMBs, which typically don’t have the financial backing of major businesses that can provide an endless flow of appealing video or podcast content.

A company blog has one overall goal that results in increased revenue: to create energy around what I call “TAR” – a concept that I blogged about before, TAR standing for Trust, Authority and Reputation.

Once these three elements are established, the blogging effort’s ROI over time will far outweigh that of any paid marketing campaign.

Unfortunately, companies and digital marketing agencies fail to experience the true power of blogging.

Either they are non-believers who don’t understand that a blog is the ultimate builder of TAR, or they do believe but constantly struggle with finding the perfect writer.

Companies can source a blog writer in three ways: a digital marketing agency, a freelancer, or in-house.

The typical digital marketing agency has a few in-house writers who may have to blog about various unrelated subjects. The outcome is never optimal here.

Think about creating content for a finance client one moment, followed by a pet supply company the next, then an aftermarket auto accessories business. This will soon cause burnout unless the writers are magically proficient and passionate about all of those subjects.

17 Non Negotiable Skills for Blog Writers in Any Business

When seeking a freelancer or in-house writer, the search is much easier; you search through numerous websites or place a hiring ad. But this situation also arrives with some issues.

Reputable freelancers and a dedicated in-house blogger can become pricey, And, unlike in most agency situations, the blogger may not have an SEO expert to enhance his or her work.

How about editors? Most freelancers don’t have editors.

These issues have helped develop my agency’s business model, which relies on freelance bloggers of various passions. I basically find and match writers to clients.

The client receives triple the value because they not only get a writer skilled in their industry/niche but also get all the SEO enhancements and a unique seven-layer editing process.

Whether you run an agency that offers blogs or a company searching for a freelancer or in-house blogger, the following 17 non-negotiable skills are crucial for acquiring and retaining quality talent, and increasing company revenue through one of the strongest forms of content marketing.

1. Passion & Proficiency

When blog writers have a passion for the subject and are both proficient in the craft of writing and the subject itself, the quality of work increases dramatically. This provides a stress-free environment for both the writer and the business.

Those that are passionate about a subject are typically more knowledgable, which keeps the material factual and trustworthy. And you can tell a passionate writer from a fake within a few sentences.

Sure, some of the best writers can be experts on subjects with zero passion for them, but the quality will never match that of one who has both proficiency and passion for the subject.

When my agency searches for new writers to cover a subject, this is the first criteria.

Don’t get me wrong-a few of what I call “factotum” writers exist that can just do it all because they have such a passion for writing they’re willing to spend extra time learning about the subject and eventually become super passionate about it.

But these writers are tough to find – and if you do find them, hold onto them.

Leadership mentor Michael Hyatt’s supports this concept in his latest book, “Free to Focus”. Hyatt says that for true success in life and careers, one must find their true north on the “Freedom Compass” – a productivity tool he has created that helps evaluate tasks, activities, and opportunities.

The true north of this compass is called “The Desire Zone.” This is where passion and proficiency intersect, and people can make their most significant contributions to “business, family, community…and maybe the world.”

The same goes for a blogger with passion and proficiency for both the subject and writing.

Expert Tip

When hiring an agency that will offer blogging, or a freelance/in-house blogger, ask some simple questions first.

If you’re using an agency, ask for details about their writers.

  • Are they in-house?
  • What industries do they blog about now?
  • What do they know about my industry?
  • And are they passionate about it?
  • What work can I see that they previously completed?

If you’re hiring a freelance or in-house blogger, simply seek writers that are interested in your industry. Then ask questions like above.

If reputability is a factor within the industry, simply use Google News with the author’s name in quotations.

For example, I’m a 10-year veteran of the motorcycle industry and have written thousands of blogs. A quick Google News search of “Ron Lieback” and you’ll find over 4,200 blogs – most from the motorcycle industry.

2. Meets Deadlines

A blog’s success thrives on frequent and consistent delivery, which means the writers must meet deadlines. This is where smart leadership takes over.

Don’t iron fist and demand deadlines; rather, influence the blog writers by making them know they are part of the success story.

When revenue increases and a client can directly attribute it to blogging, that writer should feel a sense of pride. Sometimes they don’t, and you must reinforce that.

Expert Tip

Always bump up the deadline for writers by a few days. For some, I go as far as a week in advance. Things happen in life, whether the writer gets sick or something else.

Make sure you have a buffer zone for them and you. This saved me a few times; during one situation a writer became extremely sick. I was able to redelegate the work to another writer and continue fulfilling the client’s content calendar.

3. Timely Communication

Besides meeting deadlines, writers must also have timely communication.

By timely I don’t mean immediately, but at least within 24 hours for emails and three hours for calls/texts.

When the blog-creation process is proactive, there’s no need for reactive actions, including immediate answering of an email.

I’m a firm believer and practitioner of only answering emails three times a day. To remain in à la Cal Newport “Deep Focus” mode, I also keep all notifications off when working, and keep calls silenced.

Expert Tip

Explain the importance of timely communication up front with your bloggers, along with the criteria of when to expect a response.

Explain how this timeliness will create less stress, which equates to happiness in both work and personal situations.

Timely Communication

4. Clean Spelling & Grammar

There’s a huge difference between “colon” and “cologne.” You want to smell like the latter, for sure.

Always spellcheck everything, and make sure someone else edits besides the blogger.

The best writers in the world are created by the best editors. Mistakes will always occur – the goal is to correct them before anyone sees them.

This also goes for proper grammar. I’m not only talking about punctuation and proper use of adjectives, but also the use of words.

For example, further and farther are commonly misused. The first one is used for time references, and the second is used for distance.

Another is fewer and less; always use fewer to describe plural words and less to describe singular words: That used Ducati has fewer miles, but less beauty.

Expert Tip

Send your bloggers two essential texts on grammar – the iconic “The Elements of Style” by Strunk and White, and also “The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need”, by Susan Thurman.

Also, have them use the free version of Grammarly.

5. Organization Is Vital

The days of the unorganized writer have passed – at least when delivering value to a client through consistent and frequent blogging.

All modern writers should educate themselves in the art of self-organization, whether that means blocking certain hours every day for blog work or writing down the weekly assignments across a whiteboard.

Whatever works – just as long as an organized system is present.

You want to know have trust in your bloggers, and not have to worry about them slacking here or there or forgetting an assignment. It’s also the leader’s job, whether the manager of an agency or company, to explain the importance of organization.

Expert Tip

Have bloggers handwrite their week’s tasks in a daily planner. Provide one if they don’t have one.

I’m not about to explain the psychology behind it, but physically writing stuff down helps me organize better than any digital planner. Writers will likely appreciate the handwriting anyway.

6. Understands the Audience

For writers to blog effectively, they must understand the target audience.

You’ll explain things much differently to an audience nearing retirement versus a teenager. Again, agency/company leaders will need to provide this education to the blogger.

This is where marketing materials need to be shared, and CEOs need to engage with the blogger or agency. Also, sometimes there are various target audiences due to where a prospect is within the sales funnel (more in point 16 below), so it’s a leader’s duty to explain this.

Expert Tip

Bloggers should be in constant conversation with the sales team, which is typically closest to the client and understands the client’s needs and questions.

This will help the blogger expand on topics and provide more value to readers.

7. Consistent with the Delivery of Voice & Style

Once bloggers understand the target audience, they must either continue or develop the company’s voice and style. All blogs should have a consistent voice.

Don’t be funny one day, satirical the next, and serious a week later. Keep consistency at the forefront.

Always create content in the same style, whether we’re talking about style guides or the way you create your content.

I like short, choppy sentences, and short paragraphs. I think it’s easier on the eyes and allows readers to digest quickly.

Others like longer sentences and chunky paragraphs.

Whatever you choose, stick with it.

In regards to style, some like Associated Press (AP), and others like the American Psychology Association (APA). Again, whatever you choose, stick with it.

Expert Tip

Most copy on the web is written in AP styling, which is what newspapers and most magazines use. Send your blogger the latest AP Stylebook PDF or, better yet, the book version so they can always refer to it.

Another great reference book that covers AP and other styles like APA is “The best punctuation book, period.” by June Casagrande.

These two books should always be at arm’s length.

8. Open to Edits

This is vital, especially when working with a new client or business.

In the beginning, the blogger needs to fully focus on learning everything about that business, from the style/tone to the target audience.

In an agency situation, it’s a leader’s duty to explain this process to the client. I ask my blogging clients to be ruthless during the first few blog edits – not only for factual information but voice and style.

Be wary; the point of contact in the business might want to write for himself or herself instead of the company’s target audience. This is something that also should be discussed before any writing is completed.

Expert Tip

At a minimum, have two extra sets of eyes on the blogs after they are written.

Even those with zero editing skills can pick up a missed fact or spelling error.

The more the better; I demand three separate sets of eyes at my agency after a writer hands in a blog, and we still sometimes find mistakes.

Open to Edits

9. Creates 110% Original Content

Yeah – 110 percent. In theory, anything over 100 percent is impossible, but using 110 stresses that blog writers should strive for complete originality.

I’ve read numerous articles on the same subject, and sometimes they sound so similar it’s as if they all just had different titles. This happens all the time in the digital marketing world, and more so in the world of powersports/motorsports journalism.

This is the quantity over quality factor, and some writers are just trying to pump out endless blogs in hopes of making a positive impact on search engines. But one original article that pukes originality will overcome 10 worthless ones.

Expert Tip

When you first hire a blogger, do yourself a favor and copy/paste the first few paragraphs into Google. I only found a writer to be plagiarizing once, but I would have likely lost a client due to it.

Make sure you explain there is no mercy for plagiarism. I only do this for the first or second blogs – after that I know I can trust writers because I only work with those that share my values for honesty and trust.

Plagiarism – even the most minimal version of it – will immediately sever (not severe!) the relationship.

10. Content Lacks Fluff

This is blogging – not the sometimes cheesy copywriting found within product or category copy.

Remember, all blog efforts should support the overall mission of TAR: Trust, Authority and Respect.

Kill the fluff and sales-forward copy. This is blogging that’s built to establish TAR.

Expert Tip

Bloggers should never overuse adjectives or adverbs. Most are useless, though some may be a major help.

Have your bloggers read Hemmingway – the master of simplicity.

11. Understands SEO Basics

The more SEO a blogger knows the better. But again, as point #1 states, it’s better to have passion for the subject and proficiency for writing over SEO.

They should understand – and learn, if need be – keyword research and the use of related keywords.

Also, bloggers should understand the importance of header tags, and how to effectively write titles and meta descriptions (character count, keywords, etc.).

Expert Tip

Some of the best bloggers around know squat about SEO.

That’s why I’ve created a system in my agency that provides writers with “SEO Content Guidelines” for each blog. It includes things such as:

  • The optimized title.
  • Related keywords.
  • Recommended word count.
  • The top URLs ranking for the topic we’re after.

I tell bloggers not to mimic the competition, but rather understand what the competition is doing, and do it better. These are best created by an SEO with some creative writing skills.

Always ask the writer if they can create a better headline – and maybe ask for two so you can A/B test it.

12. Knows & Strengthens Company USPs Through Blogging

One of my agency’s unique selling positions (USP) is that it’s an SEO-driven content marketing agency with a focus on written content that helps a business refine and strengthen its USPs.

So when my writers create blogs for my agency’s website, this USP is reinforced. The same goes for my client’s content.

Every blogger should know the company’s or their client’s USPs, and strengthen them through blogging.

Again, this is on the leadership team to make sure the blogger knows just what makes the business or agency’s client stand apart from the rest, and this is why USPs are so vital for success.

Expert Tip

Companies typical transform over time, which either pulls them away from a former USP or develop new ones.

To truly gain an edge with blogging, revisit older blogs and either refresh them with the newer USPs, or rewrite/delete them if they exploit an older USP.

Knows Strengthens Company USPs Through Blogging

13. Competitive Landscape Knowledge

Bloggers should have a deep knowledge of the business’s competitive landscape. This will further educate them, and allow them to witness and, better yet, predict future trends.

But take warning – nothing should be replicated unless you’re in the breaking news industry where stories will naturally repeat.

Expert Tip

Have your blogger follow a news blog within the vertical he or she is writing about, and follow the top ranking blogs.

The easiest way is to simply google “(industry term) news”. A good example is “SEO news,” which brings up quite a reputable publication for SEO.

14. Willing to Promote & Share Personally

If writers are dedicated to their work, they will have no issues sharing the blogs they have created across their personal social media platforms. This also goes for the blogs without their bylines – most businesses blog under the company name.

Everyone knows the power of social and sharing, and having bloggers pitch in will help the blog’s mission with establishing the company’s TAR.

It also shows that the blogger values the business he or she is writing for – and that helps strengthen the relationship between blogger and company, or blogger and agency and company.

Be warned, though; some clients respectfully sign non-disclosures. If an NDA is present, sharing simply can’t happen.

Expert Tip

If you have multiple bloggers, provide incentives to those who get the most shares over a period of time.

An example will be a $50 gift card to the blogger who gets the most shares over a quarter or so.

15. Bring Possible Solutions with Problems

This point was created for the leadership team.

Writers may have an issue with a blog’s direction, or with the criticism that some businesses have with voice or style. Don’t let them just whine about these types of issues.

If a problem exists, make sure the bloggers know that a possible solution must arrive with complaints. This will make the future workflow smoother, and less stressful.

And both of those concepts equate to higher quality writing, and, ultimately, retention of blogging services.

Expert Tip

Have bloggers “sleep on” a problem before presenting it. As humans, we get caught in the moment and let our emotions guide the conversation.

Usually, after some time, the problem is much smaller than first assumed and dissolves itself. This is especially true for writers; I know from experience.

Two decades ago my emotions would always get the best of me over criticism on a piece of writing. Now, after getting away from the situation and letting my mind subconsciously do some thinking, most criticism is warranted.

16. Understands the Basic Sales Process

This is crucial – the more blog writers know about sales, the more intimate they can get with the businesses’ audience.

Talking with the sales team will help with this information. Bloggers should also know the sales process, including the sales funnel.

Knowledge of the sales funnel will add more granular details about the target audience, allowing the blogger to further expand on the content and make that business a more authoritative voice in its industry.

Expert Tip

At my agency, I think in terms of where prospects are at within the sales funnel in regards to the content I produce. Most blog campaigns fall into the following model:

  • 50% written for newbies: they don’t know much about your business or industry but are learning.
  • 25% for intermediate: they are educated, but need that extra bit of incentive to become a client.
  • 25% for experts: they are extremely knowledgeable about your industry/business, and are just looking for the right partner that will help scale their business. These blogs also speak to the existing clients through use in newsletters; this shows your clients that your business thrives to stay current and remain authoritative in the vertical.

I can use a quick example from my agency’s blog:

  • 50% of the blogs are for those just learning about content creation and SEO.
  • 25% are for those who understand content creation and SEO but are searching for reputable help.
  • 25% for the experts, who are typically CMOs or SEO managers that are looking for immediate partners.

This is based on the current sales model, but that model is fluid and can change within weeks.

Understands the Basic Sales Process

17. Constant Flow of Education

I can never stress enough about the constant need for ongoing education within anything, from career development to personal happiness.

This is especially true for writers, who can quickly become stagnant if always writing about the same things. The more a writer reads, the better a writer will become. There’s no debating this.

Expert Tip

Send every blogger two essential texts on writing: “On Writing Well” by William Zinsser, and “Writing Tools” by Roy Peter Clark. And have them allocate at least a half-hour every day to read the latest blogs that discuss SEO writing.

Concluding Thoughts

The point of a blog is to establish a company’s TAR – Trust, Authority and Respect. But you just can’t hire any blogger or an agency; you must find one that aligns with your business’s core values and will provide the highest ROI possible.

Through two decades of writing professionally, and owning an agency that makes roughly 80% of its revenue from blogging, the skills above are an absolute must.

Remember, though, that everyone can acquire and build upon their skill levels. Once you have a blogger that excels in all 17 above, that’s when you can get them on autopilot and use more of your time to do what you do best.

Categorized in Business Research

[Source: This article was published in searchenginejournal.com By Matt Southern - Uploaded by the Association Member: Bridget Miller]

LinkedIn has released a list of professional skills that companies need most in 2019.

There are 50,000 professional skills in the world, according to LinkedIn data.

The company has combed through its data to determine the hard skills and soft skills that are most valuable this year.

“These are the skills your boss and your boss’s boss find most valuable, but have a hard time finding – and the skills that’ll most help you better serve your clients and customers.”

Those who are looking to improve their skill set this year could consider this data a starting point.

Most In-Demand Soft Skills

According to LinkedIn data, 57% of senior leaders today say soft skills are more important than hard skills.

Here’s what they need most and why:

  1. Creativity: Organizations most need creative employees who can conceive the solutions of tomorrow.
  2. Persuasion: The key to having a great product is persuading people to buy into it.
  3. Collaboration: As projects grow increasingly more complex, effective collaboration is becoming more important.
  4. Adaptability: An adaptable mind is an essential tool for navigating today’s ever-changing world.
  5. Time Management: Mastering time management today will serve you the rest of your career.

Most In-Demand Hard Skills

To no surprise, many of the most valuable hard skills are those that can be utilized in today’s increasingly digital world.

Here’s are the top 5 skills companies need most and why:

  1. Cloud Computing: Companies are desperately searching for engineers who have the skills to accommodate a shift toward the cloud.
  2. Artificial Intelligence: Data suggests that the age of AI has arrived.
  3. Analytical Reasoning: Companies are hungry for professionals who can make smart decisions based on vast arrays of data.
  4. People Management: Companies are shifting toward having leaders who can coach and empower others.
  5. UX Design: This is is the key to making a digital world work for humans.

Here are the rest of the most in-demand hard skills in order:

  • Mobile Application Development
  • Video Production
  • Sales Leadership
  • Translation
  • Audio Production
  • Natural Language Processing
  • Scientific Computing
  • Game Development
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Animation
  • Business Analysis
  • Journalism
  • Digital Marketing
  • Industrial Design
  • Competitive Strategies
  • Customer Service Systems
  • Software Testing
  • Data Science
  • Computer Graphics
  • Corporate Communications

LinkedIn measured demand by identifying the skills listed on the LinkedIn profiles of people who are getting hired at the highest rates. Only cities with 100,000 LinkedIn members were included.

Categorized in Social

Following on from the previous article on skills required when working as a lecturer, this article will examine five of the most important skills you need to become an excellent academic researcher. Obviously each field, arts, science or social science, has its own specialist skills that you must acquire, but here are five generic research skills that will help you achieve your goals.

1. Project Management

Every research project requires some degree of project management; this is a term you often hear being used, but what does it mean?

Project management essentially means good planning. You will have to define your research in terms of achievable aims, the time and resources needed to do this. You will have to provide a step by step plan of how you intend to carry this out. This stage of your research must be completed in order to get external funding, so without this skill your research project will not even get off the ground. If you are currently working on someone else's project as an assistant, try to learn as much as possible from them about the details of planning and running a project. Set achievable aims and realistic estimates of time, manpower and money needed.

2. Handling Budgets

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Another important skill is learning how to manage a budget effectively. Without this skill you will never be able to lead your own research project. It's something that you may not have done in any great depth for your PhD.

As an academic you might have administrative support to help you hold the purse strings, but the final decision-making and responsibility will come down to you. As with your own domestic budget, keeping a regular check on monies in and out is vital: do not bury your head in the sand if things appear to be going wrong. Make sure you match your research goals to the money you have been awarded. Do not over-commit yourself in the hiring of other staff, or running collaborative workshops, both of which can cost a lot of money. But equally remember that the money is there to be spent, do not hoard it! And finally, make sure you keep good records of your income and spending: your university, funding body or the ‘tax man' may want to see your records at any time.

3. Team leading/managing

Being good at working with others is a difficult skill to achieve especially in the academic world when we are used to working with a large degree of autonomy. However a research project often requires the assistance of others: colleagues at your institution and elsewhere, administrative staff and possibly people in the private sector as well.

If you are managing the project you need to know two main things: how to get the best out of each of your workers, and how to make their working experience a positive one. Without both of those factors, your team may fall apart. Being a good communicator is important. Asking each person to play their part is vital, but so is listening to them, asking for their feedback on decisions or asking what is wrong if they are not happy. Being able to assess each colleague's needs and vulnerabilities is essential if you are going to be able to lead them as a team.

4. Handling Data

Depending on your field the sorts of results you get from your project will vary widely. It could be results from experiments within a laboratory, statistical evidence gathered from work in the field or qualitative material gleaned from interviews or from research in an archive or library. Whatever sort of results you get, you need to be able to handle large amounts of data efficiently and effectively. Without this skill you will never get to the exciting stage of actually analysing your results.

So how do you handle data successfully? By being well organised and planning ahead. While you may not be exactly sure of what you will produce, you will know what sort of data storage you need, both electronically and on paper, so organise this immediately. You must not lose any work because of incompetence or disorganisation. So design and set up your database now; organise storage for hard copies of raw materials and catalogue them clearly. Make sure you keep records of who is collecting what as you go along, so that when it comes to writing up your research later, you have all the answers you need at your fingertips.

5. IT skills

Closely linked with point 4 is the necessity of developing IT skills. It is unlikely you will be running your own research project without being fairly IT literate, but there are always new methods or packages to learn about, so don't stop!

For example, are there any data collection or storage packages that would help your research that you are unfamiliar with? What about analytical tools for working with large amounts of data? Perhaps you need something bespoke and experimental for your project that you could help to design. It could be that a bibliographical tool might help you write up your research. Also think about ways that you can develop your IT skills to present your work in ever more exciting ways. Can you build your own website for example?

IT is a very important area for researchers. Like our own fields of interest, IT never stands still, there is always a way to improve your skills even further.

Source: jobs.ac.uk

Categorized in Online Research

The 6 Online Research Skills Your Students Need

1. Check Your Sources

The Skill: Evaluating information found in your sources on the basis of accuracy, validity, appropriateness for needs, importance, and social and cultural context

The Challenge: While most kids know not to believe everything they read online, the majority also don’t take the time to fully evaluate their sources, according to the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The same study showed that, on average, kids as young as 11 rate themselves as quite proficient Internet users, which may inflate their confidence.

The Solution: As a class, discuss the benchmarks for evaluating a website: currency (Is the information up to date?), security (Does the site ask for too much personal information or prompt virus warnings?), scope (Is the information in-depth?), and authority (Does the information come from a trusted expert?). Challenge partners to find one site that meets these benchmarks and one site that fails to do so. During research projects, encourage students to check the benchmarks off a list for each of the sources they use.

2. Ask Good Questions

The Skills: Developing and refining search queries to get better research results

The Challenge: Students will enter a search term, say, “Abraham Lincoln,” and comb through pages of results that aren’t related to their research (think Lincoln beards, Lincoln Logs), rather than narrowing their original query (“Lincoln assassination”).

The Solution: Give small groups three search terms each, ranging from the general to the specific (e.g., “national parks,” “Yellowstone,” and “Yellowstone founding date”). Ask the groups to record how many results are returned for each term. Discuss how specificity can narrow their search to the results they need. Next, challenge groups to come up with three alternate search terms for the most specific item on their lists. (For the Yellowstone example, alternate terms might include “When was Yellowstone founded?” “history of Yellowstone” and “Who founded Yellowstone?”) Compare the results and discuss how changing a few words can generate different information.

3. Go Beyond the Surface

The Skill: Displaying persistence by continuing to pursue information to gain
a broad perspective

The Challenge: Studies have shown that when using a search engine, kids often stop at the first search result, which they deem the most trustworthy.

The Solution: Invite students to create fact trees about whatever they are researching. The starting question is the root of the tree — for example, “How many planets are in the Milky Way?” Then, on branches coming out from the tree, students write facts or pieces of information that answer the question (“Scientists don’t know the exact number,” “There could be billions”). The catch is that each fact must come from a separate, documented source. Encourage students to find at least 10 sources of information to complete their fact trees.

4. Be Patient

The Skill: Displaying emotional resilience by persisting in information searching despite challenges

The Challenge: Today’s students are used to information on demand. So when they can’t find the answers to their questions after they’ve spent a few minutes poking around online, they may grow frustrated and throw in the towel.

The Solution: Challenge teams to come up with a well-researched answer to a question that isn’t “Google-able.” Opinion questions about popular culture work well for this activity. For example, “Who’s the best actor ever to have played James Bond?” “Which band is better: the Jonas Brothers or Justin Bieber?” Encourage teams to use a wide variety of sources in answering their questions, including what others have said, box office receipts, and awards. Determine a winner based on which team presents the most convincing case.

5. Respect Ownership

The Skill: Respecting intellectual property rights of creators and producers

The Challenge: Increasingly, young people don’t see piracy as stealing. One survey found that 86 percent of teens felt music piracy was “morally acceptable.”

The Solution: Make it personal. Invite students to write about what it would feel like to get a record deal, star in a movie, or have a book published. As a class, discuss the emotions involved. Then introduce the idea of piracy. Ask, “How would you feel if someone downloaded your music, movie, or book without paying for it?” You might also talk about how it would feel to not get paid for other types of work, such as working in an office or a school. How is piracy similar? How is it different?

6. Use Your Networks

The Skill: Using social networks and information tools to gather and share information

The Challenge: Some kids don’t understand the line between sharing information and plagiarizing it. A survey by plagiarism-prevention firm Turnitin found that the most widely used sources for cribbed material are sites like Facebook, Wikipedia, and Ask.com.

The Solution: Talk to kids about when you might use social sites for research. Provide a list of topics and have partners decide whether it would be a good idea to use these tools. Suggested topics: your family’s countries of origin, the life of Alexander the Great, and the events of September 11, 2001. What could members of your network contribute to each of these discussions? How wouldn’t they be helpful? How would you include information that friends and family share in your work?

Also explain that Wikipedia must be evaluated like any other website. In particular, students should focus on the sources cited in a Wikipedia article and ensure these sources are legitimate. You might have small groups analyze all of the sources for one Wikipedia article for currency, authority, scope, and security. Emphasize that it’s usually better to go back to the original source than to quote directly from Wikipedia.

RESEARCH: TECH AND THE TEEN BRAIN

  • Multitasking Takes a Toll
    According to research at the University of Michigan, homework can take between 25 to 400 percent longer when teens are taking breaks to check e-mail and download music. They lose time not only to the interruptions but also because they must reorient themselves when they return to the material.
     
  • Sleep Is Getting Short Shrift
    Earlier this year, the National Sleep Foundation released a survey showing that the average teen sleeps just seven and a half hours a night, two hours less than what’s recommended for healthy brain development. The culprits? Televisions, laptops, and cell phones in students’ bedrooms.
     
  • Inhibition Losing Ground
    Psychologists call the result of online anonymity “the disinhibition effect” because people of all ages share more than they would in real life. While this effect can lead to bullying, the good news is that there is also “benign disinhibition” — such as gay teens finding online support.

Source: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/6-online-research-skills-your-students-need

Categorized in Online Research

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