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3 Ways to Design Your Online Writing Portfolio

I’m always amazed how many writers there are out there that don’t have an online portfolio. That’s like a web designer without a web page! You’re a writer! Write one up! If you don’t like it, you can always change it.

And once you have one up, it’s much easier to search for work. After all, you can simply point people to your portfolio and if they hear about you, through a byline or some other source, then they can go straight to your portfolio and look at what you’ve done and what you’re capable of. In this way, the work can seek you out – something that is impossible when you don’t have a place online to keep your writing.

Sure, it takes a bit of work and fine, you might not like the original result, but like everything else in life you have to practice portfolio design to get a good idea.

For that reason, here are some ways to design your portfolio. Choose which suits you best.

Let the writing speak for itself

If you’ve got a lot of articles that are in high-quality journals, magazines, and websites, then why distract from that? Instead, choose a simple minimalistic design, where there isn’t very much to distract the audience from the most important part – the bylines you’ve managed to get.

The great thing about minimalism is that it is easy for your audience to decide where they should pay attention. As an extra bonus, it means you don’t have to select images and all that kind of jazz. So if words and not the stuff around it are really your forte, go with that.

As a package

Can you do more things than writing? Then why not create a package. Showcase that you’re not just a writer but can also deliver additional services. Really, this is a fantastic idea, as often people aren’t looking for a freelancer, they’re looking for a solution and they just want to use a freelancer to get there.

If you offer more skills, then you’re more likely to be able to give them that solution. What’s more, people will often pay a little bit more than they might do to two individuals, as it means a lot less communication and a much greater likelihood that the writing and your other skills mesh.

As part of a blog

The great thing about combining your portfolio with a blog is the same reason that so many people are now embracing content marketing. It gives you an organic way to draw an audience to your website and push yourself up the rankings in Google. That means that you’ll significantly raise the chance that clients will find you if they’re looking for somebody.

As an extra bonus, your blog posts will serve as a good way to get the message out that you can write. This is fantastic if you don’t get a lot of bylines – perhaps because you’re just starting out or because you do a lot of ghost writing.

A third advantage is that you might be able to use the blog to sell other products except for your writing services.

Of course, all of that does come with a downside and that is that blogs are only useful if you manage to write on them consistently. The moment you fall silent, people are going to assume you’re not very active as a writer anymore.

Edit, edit, edit

Whatever route you choose, make sure that your portfolio is error free. For having errors on your blog is a bit like a cook who serves a soup with a fly in it. It is going to jar your audience and has a very high likelihood of having them click onwards towards another writer. After all, you’re a writer, you’re not supposed to make mistakes.

So make sure that you read your portfolio that extra time and go back to it often, so that you can see any mistakes that might have slipped through the net the other times you checked it out (oh, and when you make edits, realize that that is when the most mistakes sneak into your writing – so double check what you’ve done).

8 Psychological Tricks Making Your Readers Become Loyal Subscribers

Getting your readers to subscribe to your content has become more and more tricky. People won’t settle for mediocre content that clogs up their email folders anymore. They would rather see content that resonates with them on a personal level, and making that content has become a challenge in itself. There are a few ways in which you can ease a reader into subscribing to your blog or a website by using some simple techniques.

Be honest about it

It’s completely normal to want people to subscribe to your blog – it’s a win-win situation. People get regular content that they will enjoy and you get more subscribers on your mailing list. So why not be open about it? Tell your readers exactly what they are getting if they give you their information. Be as transparent as possible and don’t use their emails for anything other than internal communication between you.

Create quality content

The content you offer will speak volumes about what kind of a blogger you are. If your content is able to connect to your readers, they will willingly give you their emails and ask for more content as soon as possible. Give yourself some time in-between posts, articles and content creation – think carefully about the niche you are operating in. Ask your readers for input if you need any but don’t spam your blog with poor content just to stay consistent.

Opt-in link

Including a sign-up link on your articles will help the readers subscribe as easily as possible. They should be able to see your sign-up link at the end of each article or a post and quickly be able to move on with their web surfing.

Don’t make the process overly complicated and ask for confirmations or multiple-page sign-ups. Ask for the bare minimum information you need in order for the person to subscribe to your content and be content with what you are getting. People are far more willing to subscribe if it’s easy and straightforward rather than convoluted and confusing.

Special rewards access

Giving people exclusive access to special content if they are subscribed is a perfect way to get them to do exactly that. Just thinking about “special content” makes you intrigued, and people love that psychological effect of being special among the crowd.

Creating some extra content like behind-the-scenes videos, extra articles or posts or special trivia and giveaways for those who are subscribed will work perfectly in your favor. Think about what content works best for your own blog and work your way towards special members’ page from there. You can even include a Patreon page or a Donate button if you so desire, but that’s another matter entirely.

Use a strict schedule

Being lazy about your content will land you nowhere. Getting more subscribers is all about creating content that revolves around a strict schedule and trust between you and your readers. If you promise them an article every Friday evening at 8 PM, you should deliver on your word. If you have too much work on your hands you can always contact a professional service and ask for help with creating your content. This will create a psychological sense of security and get people to subscribe to your content much more willingly.

Pull strategy

You might have heard about “Push” and “Pull” strategies already but don’t have an idea what’s that all about. A Pull strategy basically means listing all of the benefits a customer (or a subscriber) can get from the content you are providing them in exchange for their email and contact info – and leaving it at that. No special links, no begging them to subscribe. The psychology behind Pull strategies is actually rather clever.

You will make the people want to give you their information by letting them see what they can get instead of directly communicating your intention to get subscribers. A Push strategy is the same but in reverse, asking the people to subscribe. Do whatever you think is best for your blog, but more and more corporate enterprises are opting for a user-friendly Pull strategy and it works marvelously.

Use social media

Being present on as many platforms as possible is the key to being noticed. You can easily run separate Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for your blog and post content everywhere at once, linking it back to your blog. This will create a sense of belonging with the reader and make your community feel like a family rather than a lonely blogger asking for more followers. Create profiles on as many platforms as possible and you will reach a much higher number of potential subscribers.

Be friendly and chatty

People will start commenting on your posts sooner or later. While some people will love you and ask for more content, others will be dismissive and leave negative comments. It’s important to be a diplomat in these situations and make the most out of the situation. Think of all the negative comments you might get as objectively as possible and try to see past the negativity and look for useful information.

Any comments you get might help you deliver even better content and get more subscribers in the process. Talking to your readers and fans is the number one priority of anyone who calls themselves a blogger – it’s a two-way street. If you stop communicating, so will the readers, and you don’t want to experience that silence.

In the end

Getting people to subscribe is all about getting them to trust you. If you can overcome the barrier of an unknown blogger and give people something to relate to, your fan base can become truly special. Do whatever you think is best for your blog and start steering the proverbial ship in the right direction. The right subscribers will find you by themselves and stick with you no matter what.

8 tips to create agile performance management in your business

Creating a working environment with agility and performance in mind is what every project manager should strive towards. Your team members and coworkers will look to you for guidance and coaching. This means that the bulk of the expectations will rest on your shoulders.

Even if that’s the case, there are certainly some fool-proof tricks that you can implement for kick starting your team’s productivity. How can you create agile performance management in order to boost the productivity and quality of work that your team is conducting?

Understand the expectations

Just like in any corporate enterprise, your executives will have certain expectations from you and your team. You need to make sure that you are personally aware of their goals and expectations. Your team is going to communicate only with you, so what you communicate is going to be the law for them.

With that said, misunderstanding the wishes of your executives can result in devastating consequences down the line, not only for you but for your team and projects you are working on. An agile working environment is based on accurate information and mutual trust – you can’t have that if you don’t understand what’s at stake and what to aim for.

Communicate the bias

Performance management is a tricky subject because of its subjectivity. Your coworkers and team members will always feel like the performance that was presented aren’t the actual data. The bias of the person performing the evaluation should be kept to a minimum.

You should be as objective as possible when evaluating the work of your team, regardless of how close you are. Keeping important hidden from your executives can lead to mistrust and rifts between coworkers – you don’t want to create an environment where everyone feels awkward.

Implement a tracking system

The best way to perform agile performance management is by implementing a tracking system for everyone. Everyone who works with you or your team should have a spot on the tracking sheet and clear tasks assigned to them. This will keep everyone productive and focused during each day; because seeing how other people are achieving their tasks will kick start those who are slacking off.

A tracking system can be anything from a dedicated online platform or a simple Google spreadsheet with clear duties and deadlines. Implement anything that your coworkers will be comfortable with filling out on a daily basis and your performance should go up in no time.

Educate your coworkers

Tracking your coworkers and creating an agile working environment is one thing, but letting your coworkers know its happening is another matter entirely. Talk to your superiors about conducting a mandatory seminar for all the workers affected by this change. Helping people understand why they are being tracked and what it means for the future of your company will make the transition much easier.

You can easily create a few presentations, talk about the past and future ways of tracking performance and then focus on the benefits of the new system and how to use it individually. It’s painless for you and it makes you look good in the executives’ eyes – anyone who goes an extra mile to educate their co-workers clearly cares for the well-being of the company.

Highlight the role models

Once the agile performance system is in place, you should start making examples in your internal structure. Going through the data on a daily and weekly basis can help you determine who did the best job for that week. Highlighting these individuals will help a great deal – while others will be inspired and happy for the person who got applause (and maybe a small reward), they will work harder to have a chance at being the best for the next week.

Role models have always been the center stage of performance development in internal company relations. You can even visit a professional writing platform and prepare small speeches or thank-you notes for your coworkers. Don’t waste an opportunity at a free performance boost and make sure that you congratulate the people who are going through the trouble of providing you with usable data.

Involve everyone

Your team shouldn’t be the only one who is going through agile performance management tracking. Involve everyone who has a job description even remotely close to working on projects. Excluding some people and involving others will quickly create rifts in your department.

If some people are being tracked for data and performance, then everyone should be – including you. Talk to your superiors about your jurisdiction and make sure that you are the person in charge of the tracking project (with them overseeing you, of course).

Evaluations and revisions

The purpose of collecting so much data on a daily basis is to conduct evaluations and revise your game plan. Just because one week was productive and you got a lot of work done doesn’t mean that it will happen again soon.

Evaluate your data based on individual performances and how everyone pitched in to help complete the projects you are working on. Agile performance management means that you can easily revise the job descriptions and responsibilities of each member of your team. The personal feeling should be left aside when conducting evaluations, just like with tracking beforehand.

Performance assessment meetings

People will want to know what you have been tracking and concluding on a weekly basis. Dedicating an hour of your time to a performance evaluation meeting is a good way to connect with the department.

Casually talking about how everyone is doing and how they did the week before is a great way to give people some sense of completion. They will feel like they are actually performing and it will help them do even better in the following weeks. While it may not seem as much, letting people know if they did good or not is an essential part of agile performance management and shouldn’t be skipped, regardless of the hectic nature of your work.

In the end

The more care you put into tracking and evaluation, the more people will care. If everyone sees concrete morale and performance boost across the department then no one will tell you to stop. While there will be some growing pains with creating and implementing an agile tracking system, the results will always be worth it. Your executives will also appreciate the dedication and effort you put into implementing a performance data tracking system.

5 tips to encourage students study through smartphones

Smartphones are a fact of life. They’re in your students’ pockets and they’re not going to start ignoring them just because you don’t like them. The much better strategy, therefore, is to find ways to actually co-opt the smartphone and make it a part of your class. Of course, for that, you do need to know how to motivate students so that they’ll actually use them.

So how do you do that? Well, it turns out it’s not as hard as you might think. Here are some of the best strategies we’ve found.

Gamification

Okay, if you’ve heard of the term, then you probably thought of this one yourself. That doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea, however. People (particularly boys, it turns out) love to compete and the best way to do that gives them something to compete on. By gasifying whatever you’re doing you can achieve that quite easily.

For those of you who don’t know what gamification is, it’s the act of turning a regular activity into some sort of game. Duolingo, for example, does it with language learning.

And that’s great if you want to do language learning, but what about other fields? Well, you can go looking for some apps (there are plenty) or you can make your own. Don’t know where to start? Then why not try Quizizz. Here you can build leaderboards and theme music, even while carefully tracking who excels at what. It’s also easy to use.

Create dedicated social media

There are plenty of platforms that now allow you to create groups for your class, where class members can share with each other, work on projects together and in other ways use them for learning.

Done well, this can be a great tool for learning. Just make sure that you also leave them room to use the social media non-educatively. Then it can become one of their go to platforms, which will make it so that even your least eager students end up aware of when assignments are due and what other people are asking about them.

Facetime interviews

If you’ve got some class subject and you know somebody interesting who knows somebody about it but they live too far away, why not invite them to facetime in? This can really be a great way for students to interact with people from different cultures and different parts of the world.

You can even create the opportunity for students to interview these people at some length and then come back to the classroom. If you have enough interesting people who would take part in something like this, then you can create the opportunity for them to get first-hand knowledge of something that happened in history, politics or any other field that is of particular interest to your students.

Curate interesting material

There are now plenty of online places where you can curate material that you think will be interesting for your students to read. Even better, you can create a group page where everybody can curate interesting articles and material together. That can make it a lot less work for you and a lot more interesting for your class.

You can even set themes and ask your students to find some kind of content that matches that theme. The great thing about this is that if everybody manages to find something decent for a project in this way, then collectively they can have a wide selection of sources to consider so that whether they write it.

Don’t know any good curation platforms? Then you can always try pocket, which is free.

Connect with parents and get them involved

Perhaps it doesn’t take a village to raise a child, but it certainly takes their parents. And the great thing about smartphones is that it allows you to get in touch with parents without having to actually give a note to their kid to take home (and forget).

For example, with Remind, you can easily stay in touch with parents and in this way make certain that they are aware of what’s going on. In this way, they’ll be in the loop and hopefully far more engaged in their child’s education. This will make sure that if their child is struggling, you can take steps to make sure that they stay up to speed.

Last words

The smartphone can be turned from a device of distraction into a great communication and learning tool. All you need to know is what is possible. Fortunately, that’s becoming easier by the day are there are just so many articles like this one out there that will give you great advice as to what you can use.

So keep on reading. Perhaps you can even curate information together until you have everything you need. From there you can then make sure that your class stays engaged and that other teacher learns the power that students carry around in their pockets every day.