Guest Posting and Link Building: My Warning

Warnings of who is asking to guest post

On Thursday 25th May 2017 Matt G Southern a well-known and respected writer at the Search Engine Journal published the article “Google Issues a Warning About Guest Posting to Build Links“.

I began to read the article hoping that an issue that happened to me recently would be mentioned, but it wasn’t.  This article is also a warning, but of a different kind when accepting guests posts onto your website for the purpose of forming genuine, respectful links.

However, as already stated in the published post by Matt Southern, the posts can be misleading and the links are in fact spammy.  This was what was quoted yesterday directly from Google.

Google has issued a warning to remind site owners about the dangers of publishing content on other sites for the purpose of building inbound links.

The company doesn’t frown on guest posts or syndicated posts in general, but lately there has been an increase in spammy links stuffed into these types of posts. That’s the reason behind this sudden warning from Google.

Distributing content on a large scale when the main intention is to build links back to your own site is strictly prohibited under Google’s guidelines on link schemes.

But what if there is another reason that people are approaching small businesses to guest post?  I, from experience, can tell you there is.

Is Guest Posting What it Seems?

I have been approached by email on several occasions over the years I have had my website asking if I accept guest posts.  Surprised at this as Virtuadmin.uk to be perfectly honest doesn’t have a tremendous amount of traffic, so together with other SEO (search engine optimisation) publishing guests posts is an ideal way to gain genuine backlinks to improve my SERPs results myself.

The person that contacted me introduced themselves to me as a “Content Writer & Editor” full of praise for my website and to quote in their opening statement “I am a business content writer and I chanced upon virtuadmin.uk“.

I am no website designer, personally, I feel that my website is somewhat amateurish but enjoy the challenges of attempting to improve it to what I consider a professional standard (not there yet but trying!); I am not a website designer but an experienced touch typist and transcriptionist!

Emails were sent back and forth, not very frequently, once every two weeks or so.  They would send an email to say they were working on my article and would email once it was ready for review and any edits I would like.

When the final article came back, I read through it very impressed, suggested some edits to the post, which were duly done.

In the meantime of waiting for the finished article to come back and then be published on this website, I decided to do a bit of research into the person that had contacted me.  I usually do this when I get requests to accept guest posts or infographics.

My Shock

I was horrified to discover the person that had initially contacted, maintained communications with me so professionally, written such a brilliant post I couldn’t wait to publish it, was my biggest competitor. 

Just to be sure of my facts, I looked for information on the person on the professional alternative to Facebook, LinkedIn and Tweeted the company directly to ask if they had a content writer of that name, to which they replied they had and gave me their email address!

This company did not just provide the service in the niche area that I am working solo as a transcriptionist and typist, but many other types of administration duties that can be outsourced and carried out online.  They are very established, very large.  In my mind, if someone chanced upon the article upon my website, I always reference guest post at the beginning, therefore technically I would have been sending business to them.

Personally, I just can’t help wondering for a company so large why are they trying to take out small-time work-from-home Mums like myself?  It’s not just that, why the underhanded way in which they approached me, not even volunteering the information of who they worked for as a Content Writer and Editor!

My Warning and Advice

My warning to anyone that is trying to genuine improve their website rankings without the budget of hiring SEO experts or other tactical ways of achieving page one on Google SERPs, if you are approached out of the blue, just like I was, be polite, the might be genuine but check them out.

How?  Firstly, Google or Bing is a great start.  If it is a common name like the person I was researching, narrow the results down with the details you have.  Location, their job, email address, alternatively LinkedIn.

Even with minimal information, I only had a name, email address and job title, for example, but believe me, you can research the person concerned, you can find out who they are that has contacted you to make this request it.

Hopefully, unlike my unfortunate experience, they are equally a small-time business or stay-at-home Mum or Entrepreneur looking to make genuine backlinks because you share a common niche area.

 

 

 

 

How to save time and money outsourcing audio transcription

Outsource Audio Transcription to Save Time and Money
Outsource Audio Transcription to Save Time and Money
Outsource Audio Transcription Saves Time and Money

Freelancing your skills and experience earning a living wage self-employed, money and financial budgets are tight.  This can be the case especially for start-ups, entrepreneurs, sole business owners where every penny of cash flow has to be accounted for.

Ultimately all the responsibility falls on you to keep accurate records of data, information, conversations, meetings, conferences details etcetera in order for you to be competitive, and have a successful business.  If you don’t it could not only cost you time, time is money, and therefore inevitably money.

Many businesses now utilise transcription services to convert into writing verbal communications, such as meetings, interviews and telephone calls, and other forms of verbal communication.

Digital technology advancements in recent years have made keeping these types of records much more cost-effective and easier to make.  In today’s world a meeting, for instance, easily recorded on your mobile or laptop with an external microphone for enhanced audio quality.  Holding a telephone call with a potential new client, again, can be recorded very quickly and simply, cost-efficiently.

Audio Transcripts are a back-up

Recording these types of interviews, meetings, and conversations (with the participant’s knowledge of course!) is an excellent method of keeping records, replaying the audio at a later date to hear the details discussed, or information needed in order to prepare a contract.

  Even with all the wonderful glories and flexibility that digital technologies offer today, they are not infallible.  What if your laptop suddenly has a wobbly, your internet goes down and the information cannot be accessed.  What would happen if a copy of the digital audio file was accidentally deleted or became corrupted in some way with no other copy?

What would you do?

The solution, so that the same situation does not arise again in the future is audio transcription.  A transcription service is a professional freelancer or transcription vendor which converts speech (either live or recorded) into a written or electronic text document.

How long does audio transcription take?

Outsourcing your recorded audio to a professional transcriptionist who will transcribe and deliver you an accurate transcript much quicker than you could probably type it.

It takes 4 to 6 hours for a professional transcriber to listen and transcribe an interview of 1 hour. This means that it takes a transcriber 2.35 minutes to transcribe 1 minute of talking.  How long would it take you?

What are the Benefits of Outsourcing Audio Transcription?

Delegating the task to an external professional transcription service provider saves you the hours it would take to listen and type to turn those important details into a readable text document.  It saves you the expense of paying for software and a foot pedal for ease of play the audio and transcribing it into text.

Recording meetings, conversations, group discussions on a regular basis, outsourcing for transcription rather than hiring someone in-house also saves time and money.

Cost-effective solutions for small businesses
Outsourcing is cost-effective for small businesses

These are the main benefits of outsourcing audio and video transcription:

  • Available globally at probably cost-efficient affordable rates
  • Available support, Virtuadmin offer a 24-hour, 365 days a year inquiry and support service
  • Important meeting discussions can be a ‘hard-copy’ when the transcript is printed
  • Details cannot be disputed when in a text document
  • No office space or equipment investment for an in-house transcriptionist/administrator
  • No employee tax/health insurances to pay or paid holidays and inevitable sick days
  • You pay and use the transcription service like Virtuadmin as and when you need it, a pay as you go style service if you like
  • No training for you or any staff you have, just outsource it and wait for your transcript to be delivered in the specified time agreed.
  • Helps in the marketing of your products, services or entrepreneurial ideas and start-ups
  • Repurpose the content into blog posts or even an eBook
  • Transcripts can be added to a video to create captions for increased search visibility and accessibility

Contracting a professional transcription service ensures an accurate transcript will be delivered.  These details are crucial for referring to for details, much easier to skim over than to keep re-playing an audio recording that is more time-consuming.

Audio transcription services are available globally at cost-efficient affordable rates

You can find a transcription service globally in real time too, making it very very quick and convenient as to compared to how it once was many years ago, transcribing from a microcassette recorded on a dictation machine as one of the only expensive ways to record speech.

Audio transcription does not just have the benefits of turning a speech into a transcript that you can easily refer to, excellent for sending out to the participants of a meeting or conference, for example, by capturing ideas that have been spoken about.

Focus groups benefit greatly from getting their ‘focus groups’ recorded audio transcription.  These brainstorming sessions where ideas can easily be forgotten, that can turn up again in a transcribed audio!

The content from your unique audio is protected

Having the recorded audio transcribed is creating a transcript, and printing the transcript document out is a ‘hard-copy’ of that uniquely saved audio.  The information contained is indeed unique and important enough for you to have recorded it, so why not archive it in a hard-copy too?

As I already mentioned, the progress that technology has made is fantastic, made the world a different place in the last 20-30 years.  More connected, more informed (until the birth of Fake News), even with storage in ‘the cloud’ these days, nothing is infallible.

Where business is concerned it is a necessity to protect yourself, your client having a text copy of the transcribed meeting always gives you a back-up should something go wrong or a detail recalled differently between you and the other party/’s.

Audio transcription protects you in your personal life too

Transcription isn’t just something that is essential for small and medium enterprises, entrepreneurs, students; it can be equally important in your personal life should it be needed.  Again, protecting you should any details be disputed; if the audio becomes corrupt important data is not lost.

The new age digital technology means a cheap and easy way to record discussions, meeting, interviews, etcetera.  The money you are saving by using your already existing smartphone in your pocket or handbag, why not use to go the final step and get it turned into a text document? A 20-minute audio that is of good listening quality, 2-speakers, an academic interview, for example, would cost just £10 by Virtuadmin.

If the transcript gets misplaced you can order a new transcript by asking your original transcription service provider for another copy.  (Virtuadmin would not charge a cent for a duplicate of a transcript if it was required.)  If the audio gets damaged, accidentally deleted or corrupted you would always have the transcript to refer to, the important information is not lost.

Audio transcripts help the marketing process of your products, services or entrepreneurial ideas

Part of being ultimately responsible for keeping accurate records for your business, you have to market your product or service.  Transcripts can help save time with this, highlight some text to create a Tweet, or an entire paragraph or two for other social media networks.

If you’re struggling to come up with ideas for the next newsletter, or your next blog topic, scan the transcript for ideas that you have previously discussed and may have forgotten about.

Create a slide presentation from the typed content.  Copy and pasting the typed text from the document takes hardly any time at all when designing slides.  The text, which is the content in your transcript is already written for you, another additional productive marketing feature from in the investment of outsourcing to a professional transcription service provider that transcribed the audio into a transcript.

Conclusion

In today’s digital world many people can type, whether it is a two-finger typing, fast typing or touch typing, audio transcription is a skill to listen, then type accurately what you heard.

With the average English speaking person speaking between 150-170 words per minute and therefore taking the quickest of typist 2.35 minutes to type 1 minute of talking, it is going to take a non-professional quite some time to type into a text document a discussion they just had, or a telephone call.

Outsourcing is a convenient and quick way to get those important details into a digital format.  Transcripts, printed or not, create a copy of that important uniquely recorded audio.  Printed out, a transcript is then a hard-copy suitable for archiving, even further protecting the audio content should the digital format get deleted or corrupted.

Outsourcing can be a scary thing to contemplate, however, using professional service websites, like People Per Hour for example, where professionals offer their skills as a service as well where clients can post their current job requirements and freelancers can submit a proposal.  These kinds of websites give individuals and small businesses protection for you and your money.

Virtuadmin has audio and video transcription services available on the professional freelancers website portal People Per Hour.  For your peace of mind, if you decide that you need audio transcription you can hire me via People Per Hour clicking the link.

If you have a query regarding audio transcription please feel free to send me an email anytime to cyberspaceayuda@gmail.com.  I aim to answer any questions within an hour, (apart from when I am sleeping!) so please do not hesitate to get in touch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An easy account of how important transcripts are for videos

Using video in your content marketing strategy is being talked about everywhere today.  People are not searching for a product or service online via their desktops or laptops as much as they once were, mobile phones, phablets and tablets have advanced so much these are quickly becoming the most popular devices to view videos, especially via social media channels like Facebook and Twitter.

Videos can be used in a variety of ways; short explainer videos, adding one in an email, embedding one on your website's landing page.  They are a great way of driving traffic to your website where potential buyers of your product or service get to explore what you have to offer even more.

With video broadcasting becoming more and more popular it is projected to claim more than 80% of website traffic in 2019, so the question is how do you get your video to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) above everyone else's?

The answer is a transcript.

To help everyone who is considering the use of video in their marketing plan, or maybe just starting out, for remembering how important it is to add an accurate transcript, I have designed and created an infographic acronym please see it below.

Acronym of Transcripts
Transcripts are important for video marketing search engine optimization (Background image by Freepik the acronym was created by Virtuadmin.uk)

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Designed by Freepik

 

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How To Increase Your Video SEO The Affordable Way

Video Marketing SEO The Affordable Way
Video Marketing SEO The Affordable Way
Video SEO The Affordable Way

With social video and video marketing becoming one of the most powerful ways to engage your audience, the digital landscape has changed dramatically over the last 10 years. 

Digitalisation and technology have become less expensive than it once was.  In today’s digital world you don’t necessarily need to contract a professional video producer.  Today’s modern technology allows you very simply to create a marketing video yourself, upload it to a video hosting platform like YouTube or Vimeo to name just a couple, plan your marketing strategy and off you go.

Marketers, Entrepreneurs, businesses, anybody making a video with the intention of marketing their brand, service or product to an audience, it is 100% essential to create and upload an accurate transcript for enhanced SEO and accessibility for the hearing impaired.  Something else Google will think highly of your video for.

In a recent post by leading marketing agency Marketo, last month published a post on essential SEO tips for videos.  Number 1 recommendation on their list of ‘5 SEO Tips for Videos‘ was “Transcribe Your Video Content”.

Nate the author of the post explains “providing both a video and transcription on a single page offers dual benefits: it caters to different reader preferences, and it makes video content more likely to appear in general Google searches.”  He goes on to say “full transcripts provide more engagement SEO opportunities“.

By adding an accurate text document, either a full transcription or providing text highlights (as described in the article on the Marketo blog), the transcript will create closed captions (subtitles).  Search engine crawler bots cannot see visual images or hear the speech, they rely solely on the readable text.

Unless you add an additional transcript bots only have the information you input in the title, subtitle, description in the metadata.  That is until you upload your video transcript to the hosting platform of your choice.

Automatic captions are not indexed

Yes, the video hosting platform will most probably automatically create subtitles/captions, however, Google (and other search engines) do not index them, which they do need to be to appear in search engine results pages. Closed captions (subtitles) ‘auto-captions’ are not considered accurate enough to rely on for indexing purposes.

So if your video doesn’t get crawled and indexed, your ranking will not be that great.  This is because there is so little information about the content.  The only source of information that they can reliably use is the basic title, subtitle, content of the video within meta tags.

If search engine crawlers cannot index your marketing video, for example, it will not get found, this is not the desired result.  It is also an issue that you do not need when it’s for business or entrepreneurial intentions.

Why add a transcript?

Adding an external transcript of the speech content is a huge asset, it enables search engine bots to read the text and:-

  1.  Find your page, crawl it and know the content is good quality content
  2.  Index it accurately accordingly
  3.  Keywords tied to your niche subject area are naturally spoken and will occur regularly within the transcript

Here are a few statistics to help you understand exactly how popular video marketing has become in recent years.  Courtesy of Buffer, from their comprehensive post of ‘50 Video Marketing Statistics to Help You Create a Winning Social Media Strategy in 2017‘ states “Captions on Facebook video ads increase video view time by an average of 12%.

If that is on Facebook Ads alone, what would it do for your video marketing efforts by adding a transcript; how much extra view time would that generate for your product or service?

Case Study (3playmedia.com)

Digital Discovery Networks performed a study that proves captions on YouTube videos boost SEO and increase views by 13.48% in the first 2 weeks and 7.32% overall. To test this, they searched for a keyword phrase that was present only in their video captions, not in the title, description, tags, or metadata.

Video transcription does not have to be expensive

Ultimately adding a captions file in the form of a transcript is the right way to increase your video ranking in SERPs (search engine results pages) increasing customer views, there are few ways you can do this.

  •  Create the text document yourself
  •  Outsource to a video captioning service (expensive)
  •  Outsource to a freelance transcriptionist (affordably)

Creating the text document yourself

If you are fairly quick at typing this can be the most economical option for you, it won’t cost you anything!  However, there are factors such as the length of the video, how man speakers, when you ideally would like it to be completed for, that determine if you can indeed produce the captions file quick enough.

Also, without transcribing software and a transcribing foot pedal, it is not so easy to go back and replay a couple of seconds to replay what was said if you missed it the first time.  This can eventually lead to frustration and time delays, something you do not need or want.

Outsource to a transcription/video captioning service

With the growing popularity of video marketing, so has the demand for video transcription.  With higher demand comes higher costs and no shortage of online digital transcription vendors specifically available to transcribe the speech from the spoken content within your video.

Unfortunately, however, these providers do have overheads if their staff are on-site office based.  If this is not the case, they operate purely via the internet, they still have overheads to take in consideration that they obviously need to factor into their fees when contracting out their specialist services.

This can be expensive and unaffordable, especially if you are a start-up, solopreneur/entrepreneur, self-employed and working from home, that are just a few examples.  You are trying to obtain the best professional service with the outcome of an accurate transcript with the least expenditure.

Outsource to a freelance transcriptionist

This is ‘How To Increase Your Video SEO The Affordable Way’.

There are some excellent freelancing websites out there today full of talented people waiting to provide their professional services at a fraction of the cost, transcription and video captioning is no different.  It is ultimately a risk-free way to get your video transcribed into text that you can then go on to use as a captions file.

How is it risk-free?  If you order the service of a transcriber via a freelance website you will deposit funds for their services into a holding account, such as Escrow, for example.  When the work is completed, delivered and you are happy, you pay them the funds.  If the worst happened and the transcript wasn’t delivered to you or it was totally unsatisfactory and not fit for its purpose, then it is simple to either hire someone else or ask for a refund.

Finding the right freelance transcriptionist can be time-consuming, invaluable when you find one.  As a freelance typist/transcriptionist here at Virtuadmin, over 20 years experience transcribing audio and video, a video up to 15 minutes in length, with a single speaker, would cost just £10 to transcribe and send in a text (.txt) file format.  This is how affordable video SEO can be. 

Other formats for closed caption files are available, however, from experience in captioning and uploading text (.txt) files to YouTube, I know this format works extremely well at automatically syncing the speech with the text.

Conclusion

If you are or planning to use video as a promotional tool for your brand, product or service, how is your video going to be found amongst the millions without a transcript? 

The only way to be sure of optimising your video for SEO the affordable way is either type it yourself into a text document or outsource to an experienced transcriber, like me at Virtuadmin, with the relevant equipment to deliver exactly what you need.

Transcripts are a great investment too, especially from a marketing perspective.  Once you have your document there are other alternatives ways to utilise it.  See my infographic ‘9 Ways to Use Your Audio Transcript’ for other instances to capitalise on your investment of a transcript.

Have you got any questions about video captions for SEO?  Please do not hesitate to get in touch, I would be happy to answer queries you may have.

 

 

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How to Run A Business While Travelling For Six Months Every Year

How to Run A Business While Travelling

Thank you to Start Blogging Online for their guest post/infographic on Virtuadmin.

A lot of successful business owners would suggest that running your business while far from your actual business location is effective. Even if you are far away, you can still keep things running. It is just a matter of time management and division of tasks.

As the owner, you can make major decisions or think of creative ways to boost your business. You can leave someone to manage the day to day activities in your store. The point is for you to not get burnt out. If you are affected by the pressure of running the business well, everything else could fall apart.

Making the business work while you are away is easy. The difficult part is being away from your family. Of course, you can’t bring them with you. They also have to go to school or work. To solve this problem, divide your time within the year.

Perhaps, you can spend 6 months away from home and 6 months at home. This also helps you manage the business in different locations. While you are home, make the most of your time and spend it with the people you love. Make up for the time that you are away from home.

Just be positive. It can be done. It is even easier than running the business on location at all times. For more tips on how to make it possible, check out the infographic below. It provides useful information that you can also try.

How to Run A Business While Traveling For Six Months Every Year

How to Save Valuable Time When Looking For a Transcriber

Time Saving Tips for Hiring Transcriptionists
Time Saving Tips for Hiring Transcriptionists
Save Time When Advertising for a Transcription Service

Do you regularly use freelance portals like People Per Hour, Fivesquid and Fiverr to name a few of the platforms out there, to economically outsource your audio or video transcription requirements? Then read on there is important information inside!

As a freelancer offering very reasonably priced professional typing and transcription services, I visit daily the freelance platforms that I have active profiles on to search for assignments with potential clients that I can assist with in their typing or transcription projects.

It takes up a lot of my time, but frequently time after time that frustrates the hell out of me, to be honest, is the fact that businesses, entrepreneurs, students, or anyone that requires outsourcing to a transcription service, fail to put four important things that matter most to a transcriptionist: –

  1. Audio quality
  2. Number of speakers
  3. Length of the Audio
  4. Turnaround time/deadline

Quite often people needing audio or video transcribed are under the impression that touch typists can type at the rate of speech and therefore, as an example, a 20-minute audio recording would take a professionally trained transcriptionist like me 20 minutes to transcribe into text.  This is in fact not the case, please see my post and Infographic Audio Transcription Time Guidelines for more insight on this.

What Is Not Helpful

This is a typical example that I see day after day when people are advertising to get their audios or videos transcribed into text.

Time saving tips when advertising for a transcription service

This example is better than some, it describes the length of the audio which is a good start, the format they would like the transcript in, which is generally Word anyway unless the transcript it being used for video captioning.

But, this example does not state how many speakers the audio contains, or the quality of the audio.  These two factors will determine combined with the other two points highlighted above, the time it will take to listen and type the recorded speech into text.  There are other factors also, for instance, if it is a two-speaker audio is there a lot of cross-talking?  Are there any additional requirements within the transcript required, time-stamping for example.

Advice on Best Practices

When advertising for a transcription service vendor, or freelance transcriptionist, it is always best practice to give as much information as possible about the audio.  To get the best transcriber for the job, it would be very helpful attach a sample, or the audio itself, but this isn’t always possible for confidentiality reasons.

By doing this it saves the transcription provider time from having to contact you asking these basic transcription questions that they need to ascertain whether they wish to submit a proposal for the work or not.  Advertising the basic details, audio quality, the number of speakers, length and desired deadline, transcription service providers know what they are applying for.

You, as the contractor of transcription services then do not get delayed with your transcription, especially important when you have a deadline to meet.  It will prevent your service provider telling you they cannot fulfil their part of the agreement because of incorrect or missing details about your specifications.  It saves time for both parties concerned and speeds up the whole process with the transcriptionist having a clear understanding of the audio content from the outset.

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Why Transcription Is The Best Option For Market Research

Market Research Benefits from Audio Transcription
Market Research Benefits from Audio Transcription
Transcription the best Option for Market Researchers

Market research, as defined by students from the Student Enterprise Programme as “the process of collecting valuable information to help you find out if there is a market for your proposed product or service.  To have a successful business you need to know what your customers want and provide them with that solution and make a profit.

The definition by Entrepreneur.com is “The process of gathering, analyzing and interpreting information about a market, about a product or service to be offered for sale in that market, and about the past, present and potential customers for the product or service; research into the characteristics, spending habits, location and needs of your business’s target market, the industry as a whole, and the particular competitors you face.”

So establishing that market research is very much needed for any budding entrepreneur or business that is considering introducing a new product or service.  By undertaking this kind of research it gives much-needed data to enable an informed decision to be made, then incorporated into the business planning process.

It highlights how your potential customers are thinking, buying behaviours and location as well as being able to observe market trends and see what your competitors are doing.

There are two types of Market Research for the desired data to be collected.  Usually, if there are statistics that already exist, primary research will identify key areas to question that will assist with the evaluation and decision-making process.

  • Primary Research
  • Secondary Research

Primary Research

After reviewing the analytics that already exists from secondary research, you can then begin compiling your own fresh primary data to analyse to meet your own unique requirements.  Gathering the figures and intelligence that you need can be carried out using questionnaires and surveys or interviews with individuals / small groups.

There are two types of Primary research, exploratory or specific.  Exploratory is more open-ended and there is no particular end result or data point, it helps you define a particular issue.  Specific is very targeted to investigate a certain area or topic, and interviews usually follow quite a structured nature when gathering information by this method.

Secondary Research

As mentioned above, secondary research studies that have already been carried out and are publically available.  Already organised into specific topics, these can include government agencies, trade associations, medical councils, or businesses in the same industry.  The good thing is this type of research can be free or low-cost, helpful when starting out with your business.services or product.

How Does Audio Transcription Benefit Market Research Interviews?

When starting a new business or you have an idea and want to build on that, funds are not necessarily readily available for investment, therefore you may decide to do the primary research yourself, rather than to outsource it to a professional independent researcher or market research company.

Conducting interviews that you have tailored to your own specific requirements can be a great way of gathering the information and data you want  You can conduct these meetings either via telephone, Internet, in person or hold a focus group meeting.

To get the best results when conducting your interviews, record them.  Do a dummy run to make sure that you can clearly hear what was spoken about in the dialogue.  You are investing your time in this fact-finding mission, the last thing you want is not to be able to review the content due to poor quality.

Then you have to get the recorded audio typed into text for your analysis when you have successfully completed all your inquiries, and although that sounds easy, replaying the interview and typing everything into Word, but have you tried typing at the same rate of the speech?  Even for the quickest of typists, if you need to keep looking at the keyboard whilst typing, your concentration will soon get lost with what was said.  Then you will need to rewind to catch what you just misheard if you’re not using a professional transcription software player.

Sounds a lot of work doesn’t it?  Hire a freelance transcriptionist, like me, outsourcing my touch typing / transcribing skills and experience as Virtuadmin, to create your transcripts from the recorded audios for your market research.

Conclusion

There are many skilled transcribers outsourcing their professional, qualified skills on Freelance websites like People Per Hour and Fivesquid.  For entrepreneurs and small businesses, they are a safe-haven to find lower-cost talent.  You are secure in the knowledge that if the work is not delivered or satisfactory you have support to assist you.  It can be a daunting prospect hiring someone directly with no security for your money, I understand that.

Getting your completed interviews transcribed by a professional will undoubtedly pay-off in the long-run.  You have the speed of the turnaround time, compared to that of which you could complete them.  And the accuracy of the content, as transcriptionists have the specific software to replay audio at their desired speed, an expenditure for the software you do not have to worry about due to hiring a freelance transcriptionist or transcription service.

If you have been convinced to use an independent contractor, either through a freelancing platform or directly, see my Infographic ‘7 Questions to Ask Your Potential Freelance Transcriptionist‘.  Some useful tips and tricks to help you get the best transcriber suited to your needs and not get scammed by potential ‘typists’ that think it’s an easy job, only to find the rate of speech is too fast for their typing skills!  This can easily result in lost revenue, something I personally, as a professional freelance transcriptionist, do not want to see happen to you.

 

 

 

 

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21 Common Grammar Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

This post first appeared on Business Insider on 25th March 2017. 

Grammar rules can seem like a nuisance. Honestly, do you really need to check every single document for appropriate hyphenation?

According to CUNY Journalism Press editor and writing coach Timothy Harper, the answer is a resounding “YES.”

“The whole point of grammar and punctuation is clarity,” he told Business Insider. If you write that a woman has “dirty-blonde hair,” for example, people know that you’re referring to the color. “It doesn’t mean that she needs a shampoo,” Harper said, which it would if you’d written “dirty blonde hair.”

We asked Harper about the most common grammar mistakes he sees, and added some that drive us crazy on a daily basis. Read on for a list of tricky – but super important – rules that get broken way too often. 

1. Confusing ‘fewer’ and ‘less’

Harper said he winds up correcting this mistake pretty often.

He explained that “fewer” is appropriate when you’re discussing countable objects. On the other hand, “less” is appropriate when you can’t count the thing you’re describing.

Here’s an example of each word in a sentence:

“Fewer than 20 employees attended the meeting.”

“I spent less than one hour finishing this report.”

2. Confusing ‘amount’ and ‘number’

Again, it’s a question of whether you can count the thing you’re describing.

Harper gave examples of how you might use each word:

“There is a really large number of books in that library”

“There’s a huge amount of water going over the dam right now.”

3. Confusing ‘it’s’ and ‘its’

Normally, an apostrophe symbolizes possession. As in, “I took the dog’s bone.” But because apostrophes also usually replace omitted letters – like “don’t” – the “it’s” vs. “its” decision gets complicated.

Use “its” as the possessive pronoun: “I took its bone.” For the shortened version of “it is” use the version with the apostrophe. As in, “it’s raining.”

4. Confusing ‘who’ and ‘whom’

When considering whether to use “who” or “whom,” you have to rearrange the sentence in your head.

So the question, “Whom did you give the letter to?” changes to “You gave the letter to whom?” “Whom” suits the sentence instead of “who” because the word functions as the object of the sentence, not the subject.

It’s not always easy to tell subjects from objects but to use an over-simplified yet good, general rule: Subjects start sentences (or clauses), and objects end them. In short, who does it to whom.

For reference, “Who is a hypocrite?” would be a perfectly grammatically correct question to ask.

5. Confusing ‘him’ and ‘he’

Harper said he often hears people say something like, “Him and me went somewhere.” That’s incorrect. Instead you should say, “He and I went somewhere.”

Things get slightly more confusing from here. It’s incorrect to say, “He gave it to she and I.” Instead you should say, “He gave it to her and me.”

If you’re having trouble with this rule, Harper suggested taking away the “and.” For example, you can probably tell that the sentence “He gave it to I” sounds weird, so you can figure out that “He gave it to she and I” is also incorrect.

Read the remaining grammar mistakes by Business Insider here

4 Tips for Freelancers to Beat Fatigue

Freelance fatigue is exactly what it sounds like: exhaustion from the need to wear so many hats at once. The pressure to find clients, produce for them, track finances and promote your work can wear you down.

You can beat freelance fatigue with a few changes to your routine. Incorporating systems that work for you and finding time for self-care is the way to recharge yourself. When you’re a freelancer, you need to keep working to keep making money. Don’t let fatigue get in the way of your money!

Tips to Beat Fatigue for Freelancers

Self-care

You have to take care of yourself before you can offer your services or expertise to anyone else. Eating well, sleeping enough, and getting at least some exercise and fresh air are just as critical as pitching new clients. After all, what is the point of work if not to create the life you love?

I like to use my lunch break to listen to music I love or to take a walk outside. I live in the American south, so it’s warm pretty much year round here. Getting outside and getting some sun on my face is easy to do. If you’re somewhere that’s dark and cold, think about getting a sunlamp. Take a 15-minute break and stretch.

When you feel your best you do your best work. Scarfing down unhealthy food and sitting all day in front of a screen isn’t the best thing for you. Incorporate real-time for self-care and you’ll beat freelance fatigue sooner.

Read the 3 more tips here.

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5 SEO Tips for Videos: How Google Ranks Them & How to Optimize

Videos are becoming increasingly important for B2B marketing. Companies with dedicated video marketing strategies generate more leads, earn more revenue, and enjoy better brand awareness than those engaging in all other forms of marketing.

Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are great places to get eyes on your video content, but prospects aren’t necessarily in work- or buy-mode as they scroll through these platforms.

We do know, however, that 90% of B2B decision-makers use search to research business decisions. To reap the benefits of video marketing, your videos must be optimized for search. By following a few best practices for video SEO, you’ll enjoy more visible video search results and drive more organic traffic—and qualified leads—to your video content.

How Does Google Rank Videos?

In its general search and video search functions, Google ranks videos using the same ranking factors as written content—content quality, number of backlinks, andRankBrain are the most important signals. When hosting videos on your site, the tasks for optimizing video content are similar to those for written content and images.

Similar, but not identical. Here are five steps you should take to improve your search rankings so your videos stand out in search results:

1. Transcribe Your Video Content

Providing both a video and transcription on a single page offers dual benefits: it caters to different reader preferences, and it makes video content more likely to appear in general Google searches.

Video transcriptions can be optimized for search in the same way as any other text-based site content. While this may seem to break duplicate content rules, transcriptions actually provide a good user experience by catering to different learning styles. While some visitors may prefer videos, others may prefer reading. In fact, 85% of business executives prefer reading over watching videos when making business decisions.

When transcribing video content, there are two approaches you can take:

  1. Provide a full, word-for-word transcription as Moz does for their Whiteboard Friday videos.
  2. Provide text highlights like Content Marketing Institute does for their This Old Marketing podcast.

Full transcripts provide more engagement SEO opportunities, while highlights are good for long videos and can encourage more views by teasing readers with compelling content that’s discussed in more detail in the video. Ultimately, use the approach your audience prefers: you can poll them to find out, or do some A/B testing to see which approach drives the kind of engagement you’re looking for.

Read the further 4 more tips for video optimisation on Marketo Marketing Blog.  Continue reading “5 SEO Tips for Videos: How Google Ranks Them & How to Optimize”

5 Secrets to Increase Your Typing Productivity and Speed

Type more accurately with speed
Type more accurately with speed
5 Secrets to Increase your Typing Productivity and Speed

A transcriptionist or typist is often involved in repetitive work and meeting very tight deadlines.  A typist is either looking at the text to be copy-typed or a transcriptionist listening to recorded speech and typing the text spoken.  When undertaking the transcription or typing process, there are things that you can do to help you obtain better productivity, efficiency and accuracy.

As a touch-typist and transcriptionist with over 20 years experience, to help you achieve a higher capacity in the production of transcripts or copy typing text, I will give you my top 5 secrets to increase your typing productivity and speed.

  1. 5 Secrets to Increase Your Typing Productivity and Speed
    Picture courtesy of Cornell University Ergonomics

    Before starting any work at all prepare your workstation to the correct ergonomics for your stature.  Preferably work with an ergonomic keyboard too.  This is a picture of the ideal workstation set-up to prevent any strains on your joints through repetitive typing work.

2.  Take regular and frequent breaks.  I personally like to take a break from typing or transcription every 20 minutes for 5 minutes.  Recommendations by the University of New South Wales in Australia also recommend taking breaks every 20-30 minutes, if only for 2-3 minutes.  This gives you chance to stretch, give your eyes and ears a break too.  Even after just a couple of minutes not listening to someone speak, or looking at the text to be typed, is enough to recharge and carry on more productively.

3.  If you are a transcriptionist and using specialist software, such as Express Scribe Professional, make sure everything is set-up correctly and to your specification.  Test your foot pedal is ready to use to what you are used to.  When I am transcribing I like to have it set to jump 5 seconds back for if I don’t catch what the person said the first time round.  Listen to the first few minutes of the audio and adjust the replay speed according to your typing speed and the rate of speech that is being spoken.  Check there is no background noise, if there is, some software players have ‘background noise reduction’ feature such as Express Scribe Professional.  Alternatively, if that hasn’t had an effect or has helped but not cleared the audio up completely try an online converter such as www.online-convert.com.  I have found from past experience that converting an audio can sometimes help clear any background or interference noise.  If it is not in a mp3 format I will always convert an audio into the mp3 format and then perform the background noise reduction feature again.

4.  Check with your client the purpose of the transcript.  If you are transcribing a video it may be prudent to produce the transcript in a text (.txt) file and not a word document if it is being used for closed captions.  Syncing the speech with the text is much easier.  If it is to be produced in a Word document utilise the auto-correct and find/replace if you need to perform several replacements of a word.

5.  Ask your client for the names involved in the audio or how they would like them referred to in the transcript if more than one speaker.  Before commencing also enquire as to whether there is any specialist terminology you should be aware of, and/or any websites that may help with research if you cannot quite make out the word.

So there are my five secrets to help you type more accurately and transcribe more productively.  Even taking regular breaks may seem like it is time you could be transcribing, as many transcriptionists have to work to tight deadlines.  This may feel the case, but in reality, because you have taken even just 2 minutes away from listening, you will return to your keyboard and foot pedal and type more productively because of it.  From many years experience working from work as a typist and transcriptionist, I know that frequent breaks and the correct ergonomics, preferably with an ergonomic keyboard too, are instantly going to help you be more productive and complete the work much quicker.

Please don’t hesitate to use the ‘contact me’ form if you would like to ask any questions about transcription, typing or my virtual assistant services that I can offer.

 

 

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What is a .srt file and how to create one free

How to create a .srt file
What is a .srt file and how to create one

A .srt file is a common name for the extension SubRip computer files and a commonly used file format for subtitles or closed captions on videos.  The benefit of using a .srt file is that when it is added to a video to create the captions it enables search engine crawler bots to index your video more accurately due to the additional text file.

Although automatic captions are generated and all videos that contain speech when uploaded, Google and all other search engines do not consider them accurate enough to use as reliable information about your video content.

How to create a .srt file

Creating a .srt file to add to your video is quite easy and involves six easy steps.  These 6 steps are taken from a post by Andrew Meer on Techwalla

Step 1

Open Notepad by clicking “Start,” “All Programs,” “Accessories” and “Notepad.”

Step 2

Divide each subtitle phrase into numbered sections when creating an SRT file. Type “1” (without quotes) and then press “Enter” to start creating the first subtitle phrase.

Step 3

Enter the time span to display the subtitle phrase when playing the movie. For example, if you want the first subtitle phrase to be displayed from the second minute to the third minute of the movie, type “00:02:00 –> 00:03:00” (without quotes) and press “Enter.”

Step 4

Type the subtitle phrase and press “Enter” to finish creating the first subtitle phrase.

Step 5

Type “2” (without quotes) for the second subtitle phrase and follow steps 3 and 4 to create the second subtitle phrase. Do the same for the other subtitle phrases that you want to create, but ensure that you separate the subtitle phrases into numbered sections.

Step 6

Save the file in the SRT file format after you finish creating it. To do so, click “Start” and then click “Save.” Select “All Files” from the “Save as type” drop-down menu. Next, type a name into “File name” field and type “.srt” (without quotes) after it. Click “Save.”

Conclusion – Outsource?

Depending on the length of your video, podcast, or webinar depends on the length of time it will take to actually produce the transcript to add to your video.  Outsourcing the creation of the transcript process may well be worth considering.

At Virtuadmin I have created many transcripts for closed captioning purposes.  If you would like to hire me to quickly create your transcript please get in touch at cyberspaceayuda@gmail.com.  Alternatively, I have active freelancer profiles on People Per Hour and Fiverr and would be happy to answer any questions you may have about the process.

 

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10 Reasons Why Social Media Is Good For Business

Business and Social Media Are Good for Each Other

Thank you very much to Tom Duffy at Strategy Social Media for agreeing to let me post this, their latest article, in full on Virtuadmin.uk.

You can create a buzz – Get the word out about your products and services in a way that promotes online conversation and increases engagement.

Build relationships and become more personal – (expanding on the first point) Use a variety of social media, and you’ll build relationships with customers and potential customers. Trust comes through honesty and sincerity.

Branding – It is extremely important for a small business to create a recognisable identity for your product or service. This is the way the customer perceives you, and what better way to do this than the use of social media?

It opens up the line of communication between business owner and millions of potential customers – Millions of people who could possibly become customers? You could not have this easily in the offline world. Thank you social media!

Social networking with potential clients and customers from all over the globe – With social networking sites such as Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter (among many, many others) you can hold personal conversations with each of your customers. Tell them about new products, sales and coupons, suggestions and tips – the topics are endless!

Small businesses can compete with the large companies – In the past, this was very difficult with the advertising and marketing budgets of large companies. With the right type of viral social media, you could potentially get an immense amount of traffic which keeps coming for a long time.

Online reputation management – Social Media is a good way to keep an eye on what other people are saying about your name, company, or brand online – and if any problems or complaints arise, they can be dealt with.

Social media is much cheaper than traditional marketing and advertising – Social media marketing shouldn’t cost a small business nearly as much as traditional advertising. If you do it yourself it might not cost anything at all. It will, however, cost you time. This is why it is a good idea to hire someone to help with the social media marketing.

Find out exactly what your customers want – Social media is amazing in so many ways, as you can see from the last 8 reasons. But, maybe one of the most amazing things about it is that you don’t have to wonder what your customers want. Do you want to know what they want? Just ask them!

It provides another way for potential customers to find you – If you’re not high enough in the search engines for potential customers to find you, don’t worry they can still find you through social media. Even if you’re not on the front page of Google, it doesn’t mean you can’t receive traffic.

So there you have it. All small businesses should take advantage of the benefits social media can provide you with, it’ a no-brainer!

Follow our Twitter for more tips on Social Media @StrategySMedia

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What is a smartphone virtual assistant and how to use one

What is a Smartphone Virtual Assistant and how to use one
Image credit: http://wccftech.com

What is a smartphone virtual assistant?  This is the question that immediately popped into my mind when I started reading the article ‘How Do People Use Virtual Assistants on Their Smartphones?’

As a virtual assistant, I immediately presumed the worst, digital technology is automating more of the services I offer virtually.  I was relieved to read further and discover that actually, a smartphone virtual assistant, or defined on Wikipedia as an ‘Intelligent personal assistant’, are satisfying users in their search for information. 

Another key aspect of an intelligent personal assistant is its ability to organise and maintain information, making it quick and easy to access.

A search for information by text or voice command, answered by a software agent via your smartphone is a smartphone virtual assistant.  But they can also be used for other things, not just answering questions, listening to and downloading music, reading books. 

Google Now, Siri, Cortana, Alexa, and Samsung S-voice are all virtual assistants that are currently being underutilised in the new technological world.  Digital virtual assistants on our desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones are there to instantly help and assist.

E-Marketer attributing this to the generation of the which the users come from and their reasons for using them are different.  Taken from E-Marketer’s post on the 17th February 2017 the reasons and generations are:-

Millennials were most likely to manage alarms, play music, play audiobooks and search for movie times.

Gen Xers were most likely to look up someone’s phone number, search for a song playing on the radio, create a shopping list and check news headlines.

Baby boomers tended to use smartphone virtual assistants to play voicemail messages, look up measurement conversions, search calendar events and discover recipes.

Although the statistics in the article, based on an American survey by Higher Visibility SEO company, found that 28.7% still do not use smartphone virtual assistants.

So the next time you get out your smartphone here are just a few of the more customary search queries conducted via these assistants that you can perform, including requests to play music, manage alarms, find a weather forecast, search for a contact’s phone number or ask a fun question, the era of smarter smartphones is upon us!

In the meantime, if you smartphone virtual assistant can’t help you with those laborious tasks such as typing, or replying to emails, get a human virtual assistant such as Virtuadmin, where you can chat directly with me to discuss your virtual assistant requirements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For Video Content Marketing Success You Need Transcription Services

For Video Content Marketing Success You Need Transcription Services

Video marketing, video viewing is the new content marketing, it is everywhere. What’s more is, it has evolved dramatically over the last 10 years.  From the age of desktops to laptops, viewing videos has become even more portable, where they can be viewed by anyone, anywhere, with a hand-held device or tablet.

As marketers are embracing these new ways of visually showing their potential customers what their service or product is about, it delivers what the customer wants to see, when they want to see it.

So where is the link between Video marketing and it’s bright big future in content marketing with transcription services? Transcripts.

Transcripts that are you produced from the speech content in your marketing video have tremendous value. When uploaded to YouTube, for example, it enables Google search engine bots to have more information about the content of your video. Also by uploading an additional transcript, your video will be indexed by Google more accurately due to the keyword rich text it can now read. Effectively, from the transcript text, they can read about your video content and will rank higher in Google SERPs (search engine results pages) as a result.

Here are some video marketing and it’s future in content marketing statistics that were published in an article on Forbes on the 3rd February 2017.

  • Video is projected to claim more than 80% of all web traffic by 2019.
  • Adding a video to marketing emails can boost click-through rates by 200-300%.
  • Embedding videos on landing pages can increase conversion rates by 80%.
  • 90% of customers report that product videos help them make purchasing decisions.
  • According to YouTube, mobile video consumption grows by 100% every year.
  • 64% of customers are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it.
  • 87% of online marketers are currently using video content in their digital marketing strategies.
  • A third of all the time people spend online is dedicated to watching videos.
  • Video ads now account for more than 35% of all ad spending online.
  • 59% of company decision makers would rather watch a video than read an article or blog post.
  • Digital marketing expert James McQuivey estimates that a single minute of video content is the equivalent of 1.8 million words.

If these big number percentage predictions and the facts as they are stated in Forbes, as a freelance transcriptionist, I see the way forward for video content marketing as building and forming relationships with transcription services.

I approach many video marketers online regarding adding a transcript to their video, they claim they are happy with the automatically generated captions that their video hosting provider applies when they upload a video.

However, it’s not just about captions for the hearing-impaired, what they do not realise is that Google and all other search engines DO NOT index video’s.  The video hosting platform may automatically generate captions but search engines do not index them for search engine optimisation due to them not being reliable enough for indexing purposes.

Therefore, creating a transcript, for a freelancer trying to build up their business, or marketer building up their video marketing business, anyone with a low budget, small business, start-ups, freelancers really do provide quality services at a much smaller cost proportionate to specialist transcription vendors and video captioning agencies.

The way forward to getting a quality service for a fraction of the price is using virtual assistants, and they are very versatile in their abilities and skills and many have grown and developed their experience in this new digital age.

For a fraction of the price, contracting a virtual assistant with transcription skills, or a freelance transcriptionist can be your best asset for your video content marketing strategy for the duration of the campaign.  To find a reputable typist or transcriptionist, from my experience, I can recommend People per Hour, Fivesquid and Fiverr.

If you know that you are planning a series of videos, no matter how short or long in length, or how frequently, building up a rapport with a transcriptionist, will create a rapport that builds trust.  You are assured of creating your video, while the transcriptionist, in the agreed timeframe, will deliver the transcript back to you.

A virtual assistant wth transcription experience, such as myself outsourcing under the brand of Virtuadmin, can be a big asset and contributor to the success of your video content marketing campaign.  I brand myself because I am not just a transcriptionist, I can copy type documents and recreate them quickly.  I can also compile Health & Safety Manuals for the completion of commercial buildings, but that was in another life in construction before freelancing.  You never know what hidden talents of a virtual assistant can help and assist you.

My qualifications are in Information Technology, Bookkeeping, Secretarial and Construction.  Since the advancement of technology and quick growth of the internet and social media in the last 10 years, my past experience is among things, copy-typing a unique authour’s book, captioning a series of juicing videos (one example can be viewed on my home page, select CC for the captions to appear), social media management  But in the last couple of years equally split equally between copy-typing and audio or video transcription.

A professional transcriptionist, if using professional software like myself, Express Scribe Professional software can play video via their software player, type into text and create your transcript a text format (.txt) document that will be uploaded to your video host hosting platform and gain higher quality recognition from search eng bots.

So videos future for content marketing?  Look at the bulleted facts and figures about video as the future of content marketing, then remember that the one advantage for your marketing video is to add a transcript.  It instantly boosts search engine optimisation and not only that, there are other valuable assets to a transcript  Take content from the transcript and create Tweets, Facebook posts, topics to go deep into in a blog post.

Being on a tight budget it’s always about cost, but the value of a transcript for your video marketing now and in the future has to be, has to be weighed against the initial investment, when you think of the alternatives that it can be used for, in conjunction with promotion and separate for blog posts.

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