Archive for April, 2016

Visual Storytelling with New Video and Display Technology

multi mediaVisual storytelling depends on talented use of graphic designs, photos, infographics, and video. While great content is extremely significant, adding something visual enhances it, making it more aesthetically pleasing and meaningful to your viewers. It needs to catch the consumers’ interest and make a quick, positive impression in a micro-moment. We use YouTube for tutorials, Facebook Video for breaking news, and Instagram and Periscope for behind-the-scenes clips and events starring our favorite brands.  Video consumption is increasing rapidly across all devices for its ability to tell stories to create brand awareness.
What is It?

Your business website and social media platforms are likely using a combination of images, designs, and video to communicate with customers but you need to expand its potential. Studies have confirmed that posts with pictures get more likes and shares. Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter all use visual content along with great headlines to draw more people. A website should show your sense of style. If you’re not able to tweak it yourself, have someone help you to optimize your site with your specific audience in mind. It’s all about creating your brand story through quick splashes of expression with visual intrigue. New technology is about to make video a better, more interactive, marketing venue.

Who Needs It?

All types and sizes of businesses will be able to grow the use of video in the next few years with technology that has better quality and quantity of display. Its use is expected to rise quickly over the next 5 years altering the way we take this information in and relate with it. 80% of the world’s Internet traffic is predicted to entertain, promote, and inform us with video content by 2019.

 

Bigger businesses have already begun researching new platforms and interconnect options as well as industry standards for digital display technology. Video is allowing customers to relate to large corporations through the character of the company instead of a faceless brand. Businesses with larger audiences have many websites with several landing pages, and microsites. Video and display experts have more tools and flexibility to create visuals for numerous applications, platforms, and markets.

 

technology ideasAdvice for business owners

Investing in video content, marketing, and advertising should be at the very top of every brand’s digital marketing strategy. Be aware that video is not after the immediate response, but engagement and branding through customer testimonials and inspiring passionate connections between consumers and brands.

Create interactive videos and let customers decide what part of your advertisement relates specifically to them, rather than controlling the experience.  Empowered customers will stay engaged and interested.

Create customer testimonial videos. Let customers get behind the camera and talk about your brand giving them a chance to have their voice heard and a sense that their opinions count.

References

Grayson, S., 2014. What You Need to Know About the State of Online Video Display Advertising, http://www.b2bnn.com/2014/11/need-know-state-online-video-display-advertising/

Source: Video Marketing Strategy: 17 Tips to Win Video in 2015 http://www.reelseo.com/resources/video-marketing-strategy-guide/#ixzz3uKvQIz6l

Source: Spincreativegroup.com, 2015. http://spincreativegroup.com/building-consumer-trust-through-video-marketing-by-spin-creative-a-creative-agency-video-production-company-seattle-san-francisco/

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7 Tips to Know Before You Write Your Book by Jeanine Joy

I finished my first full book a couple of months ago and am in the stage where I am waiting for publishers to respond to my submissions. Although previously published in a peer-reviewed textbook on…

Source: 7 Tips to Know Before You Write Your Book by Jeanine Joy

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Global Tax Evasion and Money Laundering

Road to nowhere.deathtostock image croppedTo the next President of the United States of America, please find a way to level the playing field economically and financially for all citizens. Not only do Americans suffer and struggle in a country that has considerable wealth, but the rest of the developed countries around the world are experiencing the same. While the average American lives with the knowledge that there is a class of people who feel their needs are above the majority of the rest of the planet, it is a bitter pill that gets harder and harder for the working middle-class society to keep swallowing. The blood recently drained out of my face reading the news regarding the Panama Papers. What gives the elite the right to hoard billions and trillions of dollars in attempts to evade taxes when millions of other people in the world watch their lifestyles diminish each decade?

A Gross Need for Greed

A report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists recently describes a yearlong investigation in cooperation with more than 100 other media organizations, including the BBC, The Guardian, Univision, and McClatchy. Some documents came to light by an anonymous source who went to a German newspaper who then shared it with the ICIJ.  They reference decades worth of information regarding 12 current or former world leaders and 128 other politicians and public officials, include over 11 million emails, documents, and client records allegedly leaked from Mossack Fonseca, a law firm based in Panama.

Big banks and financial companies based in the U.K. including UBS, Credit Suisse, and HSBC used the law firm to help clients hide cash in offshore shell companies. As usual, the banks and the law firm deny the allegations. This law firm also helped create more than 1,000 companies in the United States, through a Las Vegas subsidiary.

The ICIJ reports already ignited a government crisis in Iceland and the Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson resigned on Tuesday as alleged links related to holdings in Iceland’s collapsed banks and triggered mass protests in the country’s capital. China has been restricting search results and discussions on social media using the terms “Panama Papers” and “Panama” and blocking the use of names of relatives of current and former Chinese leaders. This smacks of guilt, but will somehow get swept under the rug if past history of accountability gives any indication.

More allegations are directed at associates of Vladimir Putin, FIFA, Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri, the father of British Prime Minister David Cameron, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko and others, each one outraged about the accusations as expected.

panama papers, money laundering, tax evasionThe ICIJ reports claim that Mossack Fonseca’s clients included at least 33 people and companies blacklisted by the U.S. government because of links to drug trafficking and terrorism. That means that these are people already suspected of criminal activity who have reason to hide the real origin of their money through money laundering.

Thankfully, governments in the U.K., France, Belgium, Australia and Mexico have pledged to investigate the leaks for possible cases of tax evasion. Even if it’s a false front, it looks better than immediate denial and depending on what results, possible points for creativity.

Two years ago, the International Monetary Fund stated that “Panama’s open economy, strategic location, and developed offshore financial services sector put the country at a high risk of being used for money laundering”. It has been on an international watch list due to weak anti-money laundering laws and blacklisted in Europe for being a non-cooperative jurisdiction and tax haven.

The Finances of the Average Citizen, US and Abroad

The fact that seventy-one percent of the world’s population remain low-income or poor, living on $10 or less a day is both devastating and embarrassing to consider from a middle-class perspective, let alone from the upper class. While middle America and middle-class citizens around the world continue to lose what little money they have and face serious concerns about their futures, the wealthiest have seen their net worth soar since 2000. They sailed through any hiccups or repercussions during the US historical downturn of 2008, untouched by the concept of morals or laws. Back in 2010, it took 388 mega-rich people to own half the world. Today it only takes 62. The top 1% own more than everyone else combined according to an Oxfam annual report based on Forbes annual list of billionaires and Credit Suisse’s Global Wealth Databook .

For many of us, that seems inconceivable, similar to imagining the size of the galaxy or knowing what infinity looks like. “The top 62 saw their net worth rise by more half a trillion dollars between 2010 and 2015 while the 3.6 billion people in the bottom half of the heap lost a trillion dollars. Each group has $1.76 trillion”.

Tax Laws Considered and in Existence in the US:

The Buffett Rule, named after legendary investor Warren Buffett, is a consideration designed to ensure those with net incomes of more than $1 million pay a tax rate of at least 30%, after allowing for charitable contributions.

Beyond the Buffett Rule, Clinton is currently proposing a 4% surcharge on income over $5 million creating a new tax bracket with a top income tax rate of 43.6%, up from 39.6% today. The surcharge would hit 0.02% of filers.

Ways of reducing higher income tax liability come in the form of estate taxes exempting the first 5.45 million of an estate and investment taxes to lower the income tax rate from 39.6% to 23.8% . There are still legal loopholes to shelter additional millions offshore and in IRAs.

Currently, those making more than $1 million will pay about 28% of their earnings in federal income and payroll taxes for 2015, according to estimates from the Tax Policy Center. By contrast, those making between $50,000 and $75,000 will pay 11% while households with incomes between $75,000 and $100,000 will pay 13.4% on average.

So, dear future President of the United States, please put this in perspective for the rest of us. I’ve been writing articles for the past few weeks for different political websites. I think my grasp of our political system and it’s process is pretty up to date with regard to the upcoming elections. No matter who gets elected, I am non-biased due to having equally low expectations for all candidates. There seems to be a choice between a lack of experience or trustworthy behavior, some having neither. I would welcome the chance to be proven wrong in the next 4-8 years. Economic gaps are widening as we speak and the middle class has less and less to show for their efforts; they are scrambling for creative ways to sustain themselves and preserve happiness. Putting a few trillion dollars back into circulation could do wonders.

beach sunset.walking   If you would care to comment, please feel free to leave one below.

Resources and links:

LinkedIn Pulse’s series for #nextpresident 

Kottasova, I., CNNMoney US, 2016. Mosssack Fonseca: The Law Firm at the Heart of the Panama Papers Scandal, http://money.cnn.com/2016/04/04/news/mossack-fonseca-panama-papers/index.html?iid=EL

CNNMoney US, 2016. The publication of the Panama Papers sent shock waves around the world. http://money.cnn.com/2016/04/05/news/panama-papers-things-to-know/index.html?iid=EL

CNNMoney US, 2016. How Hillary Clinton Wants to Make Rich Pay Their ‘Fair Share’, http://money.cnn.com/2016/01/12/pf/taxes/hillary-clinton-taxes-rich/index.html?iid=EL

CNNMoney US, 2016. Luhby, T., The 62 Richest People Have as Much Wealth as Half the World, http://money.cnn.com/2016/01/17/news/economy/oxfam-wealth/?iid=EL

Mullen, J. CNNMoney US, 2016. Panama Papers: Rich and Powerful Respond to Claims they Hid Billions Offshore, http://money.cnn.com/2016/04/04/news/panama-papers-offshore-accounts-investigation/index.html?iid=EL

Kottasova I., CNNMoney US, 2016. British Banks Forced to Disclose Links to Panama Papers Firm, http://money.cnn.com/2016/04/07/news/panama-papers-banks-uk/index.html

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How to Turn Writing into a Career

the content writers toolsI just read an article posted in Forbes Magazine by author, Kevin Kruse that cracked me up. As a writer, I can totally appreciate his list of recommendations to budding authors. Most of what I publish for myself and others is online, small writing projects, not actual books or novels. I’ve gone through several phases of learning while writing to be able to work for several hours at a stretch, recognize my avoidance tactics and disable them, and research material and images effectively. While Kruse directs his piece toward authors attempting to write books, this article is aimed more at today’s freelance writer segment and per-job contracts that are increasingly available due to the explosion of social media visibility.

What Makes a Good Writer

It is true that now is the best time to decide to be an author. Freelance writing is going through the roof. Many jobs being offered require no experience. Technology features can do basic editing for spelling and grammar if that is not your strong suit. There is more to copyediting than that, of course, but it is a start. You need to have an idea of what you would like to write about or, at least, an insatiable urge to write for your own entertainment or knowledge.

Kevin talks about how giving advice, teaching someone a task, or relating an event that happened to others, are tools for determining whether you can write. I wholeheartedly agree. If you can say it with authority and hold a person’s attention while painting a mental image of what to do, how to do it, and deliver a result or message, you just wrote something. You do need to know how to read and write, but your skill level will determine how much editing will be necessary when you are done.

Getting Started

There are online opportunities to write articles for websites and blogs, descriptions, profiles, and short stories. It does require some research to look for writing prospects, but a quick start for me was using content writing services like Textbroker and WriterAccess wordpress logo.pixabay free imageto get your feet wet and build a portfolio and skills. Once you feel confident, remove the training wheels by having your own website, blogging about different aspects of writing and working online to share your experiences and let potential clients find you directly. This is not your main source for new clients…read further.

Finding Clients

The way I personally get new clients is with face-to-face networking with people in business. These people need writers for websites, documents, emails, articles, and subject matter research, in all industries. No business is exempt from an online presence if they want to exist and grow in the next few years. Despite the social media marketing takeover, when people and businesses want to hire a creative person, they want to meet them for coffee, check out their personality, and get a feel for what a writer does. Your website comes in handy for specifics.

private business consultationKnow your intended audience to whom your words are directed. Imagine their likes, dislikes, needs, wants, and personality. You will have to keep your client in mind and their target customer as well, but you will learn to make effective suggestions. Your personal style will likely reflect the type of reading you enjoy, but don’t be afraid to dabble as you talk to your prospective clients and other writers with different styles and talent. Be the sponge that absorbs new techniques and ideas within your peer group. Challenge yourself through your work.

Your Online Portfolio

Be prepared for people to ask to see your work, explain the circumstances of the assignment and whether you prepare text only as opposed to having other online computer skills in SEO, keyword or link use, design and coding, creating or curating images, and embedding video. I recommend starting with text only at least in the beginning. Pricing can get more complicated and the more you offer, the longer it takes to complete the project. Have a list of other people you know who have these related skills you can recommend that don’t conflict with what your writing business offers.

Your Purpose

Published writing, no matter what form, is the gift of legacy. You are forever documented in hard copy or digital print. The story of “you” as you write can be found and referenced forever. This should sound exciting, not daunting. The purpose of writing is not perfection, but creativity that inspires emotion and understanding. Throw your “stories” out there and wait for feedback, both good and bad. You will learn every time. Learning is growth and that is exciting. Eventually, you will write about who you are and what you have learned with real enthusiasm.

key to success is your keyboardBe warned that you will often read more than you actually write. Good writing ideas come from reading and researching about everything related to your intended text. This ensures details will be authentic in both fiction and non-fiction writing. You need to love what you do for a living and the passion for doing it will come. “Life is about making an impact, not an income. And writers who know what they’re doing make both,” explains Kruse.

The following is a list of writing advice and tips from Kruse:

  • Have a great title to grab curiosity immediately
  • Create a wonderful cover or header image for visual interest
  • Generate and share a large number of positive reviews online through various media platforms
  • The description of your article, especially larger projects is critical and the first step in engaging your reader for longer than the quick title and cover ‘scan’.
  • Your front matter or first few lines of the first chapter are the clip of text or ‘quick view’ in searches
  • Focus on the quality of your writing, always improving and learning
  • Your larger works will publish with at least one typo regardless of the number of times it is copyedited
  • Writer’s block is laziness and avoidance
  • One book Kevin recommends on writing is “On Writing”, by Stephen King
  • Keep writing

Using Social Media

Interestingly enough, social media is not the best way to find readers, but it is a good way to keep current fans of your work connected as you publish more new material. It is also a good place to connect with peers and influencers in the writing community. 20-social-media-icons

On your professional writing website (the one you put together with your portfolio and blog roll as you were writing for a service or broker), you have activity dashboards displaying the sites analytics on the site or through Google. Take a look at the numbers of visitors, likes, shares, and comments to the blog articles you’ve been posting and boost your day. Your talent is valuable. Many people are amazed to know someone can write for a living. You have a skill they don’t have. Make sure your ‘About’ page tells who you are and how your passion for writing developed. Give visitors a day in your life as a writer.

Making a Living

While making a living full-time writing a book is difficult, it is much easier to write for several small clients and evolve into a niche that you find you are specifically drawn to and skilled at over time. Your income will start out small, but if you continue toward your goal, it will steadily increase until you wake up one day and realize you have the ultimate job for mobility and flexibility in a time where our experience in life and work are quickly going global.

In the beginning, you may need to supplement your income with other small income streams. Take a look at these flexible options than can be done from home, online, and only requiring a laptop or smartphone: Gig and Share Economy Opportunities, Direct Selling Opportunities.

If you are a budding writer or just curious about additional part time income, contact me at ScribeSyndicate@gmail.com and I will help you get started. Visit my website at ScribeSyndicate.com for a simple example of what a writing website might look like and the content it provides.

sharing economy image  direct sales image  Mini scribe logo

Resource:

Kruse, K., 2016, 50 Writing Tips From My 15 Years As An Author, http://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2016/03/22/50-writing-tips-from-my-15-years-as-an-author/#332d51613904

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