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.

 

 

 

 

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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How to Grow Your Podcast Audience with Transcription Services

Grow your podcast audience
Transcription Services Assist Podcasters

Podcasts are a great way to connect your audio (or video) content into the public sphere, it is not just about music these days.  If you are a business, for example,  if it is quite a specialised niche, this can be a great way to get your product or service noticed, holding regular podcasts online or distributing regular content via this medium.  This new way of communication can gain valuable new customers and increase relevant traffic to your website.

Currently, most who are familiar with podcast hosting are technically savvy, but it is clear that podcasting will be more than a passing fad as many businesses are adopting podcasting and employing it in unusual yet powerful ways. Podcasting can be used for talk shows, tutorials, music demos, educational training, stories, comedy clips, debates or even foreign language tutorials.¹

Not only is podcasting a type of advertising, it gives you more visibility for your niche subject.  It also has great SEO (search engine optimisation) benefits too. Listeners will visit your website to listen to your podcast or download it.  For them to find it in the first place, your podcast has to be optimised for it to rank highly and be found.

Transcription Services

Podcasts can vary in their format but usually are delivered in audio, video, PDF and ePub formats.  Luckily, all of these formats can very easily and economically have a transcript produced and uploaded to them, further increasing the SEO of your website, therefore more visitors seeing and listening to your podcasts.

A freelance transcriptionist like myself here at Virtuadmin or transcription vendors can all assist in the process of creating your accurate text document that acts as a transcript to upload to your podcast.

By hiring a transcription service to transcribe your podcast content into text will boost your reach as it is supporting content that you want to be exposed to search engines for indexing.  By uploading your transcript that is by the nature of the transcribed content will be keyword rich, to your podcast, search engine bots can accurately index it, increasing your search engine results pages for that particular niche search.

Show Notes

When you are getting higher results, more visitors and listeners, you could then move on a step further with the text content you have invested in from your transcriptionist or transcription service.  You could:-

  • Brief synopsis of the episode
  • Turn the transcript into show-notes with time-stamps and sub-headings
  • Offer the transcript in its original form to listeners
  • Create key takeaways
  • Create slide presentations
  • Get ideas for checklists and worksheets

Once you have the transcript all the bulleted points above can be produced easily.  Ask your transcription service if they can assist, as they are transcribing the content.  Ask for your transcript to be time-stamped and specify the regularity.  If you don’t have the time to create presentations, key takeaways, checklists or worksheets your transcriptionist may be able to assist or outsource to a Virtual Assistant like me at Virtuadmin.  Freelancers and virtual assistants are a fantastic way of getting a professional job done without incurring the high expense!

If you don’t have the time to create presentations, key takeaways, checklists or worksheets your transcriptionist / virtual assistant may be able to assist, like me at Virtuadmin.  Freelancers and virtual assistants are a fantastic way of getting a professional job done without incurring the high expense!

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Twitter Marketing: The Essential Guide [Infographic]

The Essential Guide Twitter Marketing Infographic

Twitter Marketing: The Essential Guide was written by Dara Fontein and published on Hootsuite on 2nd June 2016.

As I was reading this post, last year, several ideas came to me for this infographic.  I then created it back in June 2016, but due to circumstances beyond my control, when doing a general update on my website, it completely crashed, to the extent that even my website host did not understand what had happened. 

The website is now rebuilt and this is a repost of the Infographic "Twitter Marketing: Essential Guide" created and published by Virtuadmin.

7 Surprising Places to Find Your Virtual Assistant

 

Where to find a Virtual Assistant
7 Surprising Places to Find Your Virtual Assistant

Welcome to Whose Business Is This, Anyway? Where the tasks are unending and your stress level doesn’t matter: Sound familiar?

If it also sounds like your life as an entrepreneur, until this point every little milestone of that life has probably been a celebrated victory. But the novelty is probably starting to wear off.

Related: The Virtual Assistant: A Startup’s Secret Weapon

 There’s content to be edited and updates to be made to your website. You’ve missed two meetings and can’t remember who the contacts are to reschedule them. And your inbox count looks like the GDP of a small country.

There’s a lot to be said about optimizing your own daily routine to get the most out of your days, but that can only take you so far. While you may have aspirations of a tremendously profitable quarter, it’s probably time to compose yourself and admit that you’re not going to be able to do it all alone. You can’t continue growing a business if you’re tethered to your desk.

Traditional hiring processes take far too long when you need someone immediately who can take the load off your shoulders. Ideally, you want someone who can materialize, quickly get up to speed on what’s happening, handle the workload, and disappear until needed again.

I’m referring to a VA (virtual assistant).

This is where a lot of entrepreneurs will cringe. Sure, it’s hard to give up control, and you may find it a challenge to find someone who is reliable and whom you can trust with private company intel. But those someones are out there: You just have to know where to look.

Here are seven surprising places to start your search.

1. Twitter

I am absolutely advocating that you search social media to find a stranger to trust with your business. Start talking about the need for a virtual assistant on Twitter, and you’ll be surprised just how fast VA businesses will respond and start following you. Some of the best VA companies have listening posts set up with alerts to find people just like you.

The best part is that if you’ve got a social-savvy VA, Twitter is just one more task he or she can help you with.

2. Your network

If your contact list includes other business owners, mentors, influencers, professionals or any combination thereof, then it’s time to make calls and let them know you need help. Chances are, they know someone, or can recommend a service they may have used in the past. Don’t ever forget about the power of referrals and word of mouth.

Inspired by Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek, New York Times bestselling author Michael Hyatt decided it was time to pick up a virtual assistant when he began to focus on his writing and saw his blog traffic (and workload) spike. He has had the same virtual assistant for years now and swears by her.

“I found that I was so much more productive that it was well worth the additional investment,” Hyatt says of his assistant. “She’s just one of my teammates — and a very valuable one at that.”

Related: How to Hire a Virtual Assistant for Startup Success

3. VANetworking

If you’ve never worked with a virtual assistant and you came up short on referrals, VANetworking is a good place to start. VAs often network and come together here as a means of finding work, as well as solutions. Not only do they provide information for clients who want to work with a virtual assistant, they also have a hiring section where you can post in search of a VA.

4. Craigslist

This one might be as surprising as Twitter. While the go-to classifieds site has its share of scammers, it’s very possible to find a top-notch virtual assistant on Craigslist. You can also look on Craigslist sites elsewhere in the world and choose your desired location, though the local aspect can be a huge benefit. Even though your assistant will be working remotely, you’ll have the advantage of setting up a face-to-face interview as if you were hiring an in-house employee.

Just make sure you do your legwork, like verifying work history and checking references.

5. Zirtual

Zirtual is a great choice for startups and entrepreneurs as the site specializes in providing dedicated virtual assistants to entrepreneurs, professionals and small teams. One of the biggest perks is that it works only with college-educated VAs who are based in the United States, so you don’t need to worry about the vetting process. Zirtual boasts that fewer than 2 percent of applicants get hired on to their service.

Pat Flynn, founder of Smart Passive Income, often shares the benefits of working with virtual assistants on his podcast. In his tutorial on delegation, he writes, “I know just how valuable my time is and where my time should be invested to give me the most return.”

6. Workshops and events

Hopefully, you’re consciously aware that you’ll need help down the road and that you have time to be on the lookout. If that’s the case, then always keep the VA search in the back of your mind as you travel to industry events, workshops, and lectures. Those are great places for industry professionals to gather. If you find a VA at an event like this, you know he or she already has at least one foot inside the door of your industry.

Related: Hiring a Virtual Assistant Grew My Business, and Changed My Life

7. College campuses

A local college, or any college for that matter, can be a great place to locate a VA. Talk with career counselors or professors, or post hiring ads on campus job boards to try to locate a student studying in your industry. You may find a student chomping at the bit for a paid internship, willing to act as a virtual assistant as a means of learning the industry and gaining experience in his or her chosen career track.

*  This post first appeared on Entrepreneur.com on 17th October 2016 and is written by SUJAN PATEL

**  Header Image courtesy of Pixabay.com and edited by Virtuadmin.uk

Freelancing – Two Popular Freelance Sites Analysed

Freelancing and procuring work on a regular basis to keep the cash-flow circulating in on the context of submitting proposals, quotes, or setting up gigs or services is hard to do. I’ve been freelancing as Virtuadmin on a variety of sites for the past few years but work has suddenly come to a halt and wondering why.  I’ve been marketing Virtuadmin regularly the best way I know how; posting to our website by sharing great tools and information and generally being active on Social Media platforms such as Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ to name a few.

The most success I had was on Fiverr.com, unfortunately, the exchange rate of ‘$’ to ‘£’ doesn’t make working in a professional niche viable sometimes. To explain further, my success was transcription and was getting regular orders. It takes the average transcriptionist with touch typing speeds in excess of 70 words per minute 4 hours to transcribe one hour of good quality clear audio. To transcribe say 30 minutes for ‘$5’ would give the freelancer, me, ‘$4’. At the time of writing the exchange rate would convert that $4 into approximately £2.82. Break that down even further and it works out to £2.82 divided by the 30 minutes of audio is 0.09 per audio minute.

After discovering Fivesquid.com and the British equivalent to Fiverr.com in as much that it is working in £’s and not $’s suited me better. This would make £4 and not $4 for 30 minutes of audio to be transcribed (An example for ease of explaining and this would then make the audio 0.13p per audio minute. Other freelance sites offer multiple currencies to pay or receive payment in.

Fiverr.com and Fivesquid.com are two very similar sites with the same objectives of providing quality low-cost freelance services. This got me thinking why I’m not getting the views of my services on Fivesquid as I was getting on Fiverr.com (my account is closed on Fiverr). My ‘gigs’ are active on Fivesqid.com but even after cross promotion on various platforms, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, Digg, Flipboard some days I am just not getting the views or orders.

A quick search on Google to see if there was a website out there that would show traffic rates and comparisons of traffic; hey presto I found www.similarweb.com. These two graphs have been generated by this wonderful website and show the difference in volumes in traffic and their sources.These two graphs are a comparison of estimated monthly visits website traffic between fivesquid.com and fiverr.com. To clarify this is the estimated number of internet users who visited fivesquid.com compared to its American competitor fiverr.com.

Estimated Monthly Visits

The reason for my comparison is to ascertain if Fivesquid as a freelancing website is actually growing in popularity or are regular users maintaining it? Are more people actually looking for and hiring freelance services via Fivesquid?

To look at the graph above for the last 3 months looking at the first two indicators, ‘Direct’ and ‘Referrals’ the answer would seem to be no. However looking at the results of ‘Search’ which is Search engine traffic is that traffic that comes from visitors clicking on links on a search results page this would change my opinion a little. There is a significant number of more clicks from search results for Fivesquid as opposed to Fiverr.

Engagement

Fiverr has a much higher engagement rate to that of Fivesquid, it would appear that Fivesquid is remaining steady in popularity and Fiverr is decreasing in popularity. Certainly, over October, November and December their visits have fallen by approximately 10 million. In referrals, they are much pretty neck and neck but with the decrease in visits and referrals staying the same Fiversquid is getting a more trustworthy site to hire freelancers on. Their rate of conversion at roughly 9.58% compared to Fiverr shows that Fivesquid has a much stronger email marketing strategy and therefore better conversion rates.

 

Conclusion

This is only my opinion as an experienced Professional offering digital services as Virtuadmin Services working with years of experience working in an office and freelancing.  Our conclusion and belief are that Fivesquid has a lot to offer small businesses and organisations or businesses or anyone looking for cost-effective digital solutions.  Fivesquid has an awful lot to offer where benefits are to be gained outsourcing in the currency Great British Pound but unfortunately are not promoting.

It is encouraging that ‘Search’ results and ‘Mail’ initiatives provide much higher traffic sources and conversions hoping that one day they will increase their hundreds of thousands of visitors to millions like Fiverr.

Entrepreneurs, Solopreneurs, Small and medium sized businesses, organisations, self-employed are turning more using the professional services offered by freelancers that ever before.  Outsourcing to a freelancer is a cost-effective solution and hiring freelancers via freelance websites ensure security for both parties in the buying and selling of a service, flexible that you can hire them to do a one-off job or long-term pretty much hassle free. The only drawback to a site like Fiverr for freelancers where the exchange rate is not favourable to their native country’s currency they cannot work for any decent amount of money without severely dropping their working rates of what they are willing to accept for a certain task. Many, many freelance professionals produce high-quality work and this alternative of compromising working rates does not seem at all fair.

I hope in the future that contractors using freelance sites will consider the currency aspect and appreciate that the digital world operates in different types of currency values and unfortunately, therefore, some parts of the world can outsource their quality services cheaply and work happily on sites like Fiverr whereas others like myself have to remain on less popular websites like Fivesquid.com that haven’t got anywhere near the same volume of visitors or traffic but the buying and selling of services are conducted in the native country’s currency.  The quality of services is not to be doubted in any way, they are absolutely top quality and professional.  It needs is recognition in countries that can operate on a sensible valuable level to the contractor and freelancer operating from their habitual residence.  What would you want for £5?  What would you do for £5?  Visit www.fivesquid.com or visit fiverr.com for the alternative and see for yourself what works best for you, your wallet and your business!

If you are interested in hiring our professional freelance services please feel free to drop me an email or visit our profile on https://www.fivesquid.com/freelancer/Virtuadmin. Quality low-cost transcription service and Construction (CnDM Manual compilation.

What’s your experience of working on Fiverr.com or Fivesquid.com?  Let us know your experiences as a buyer of freelance services or seller of skills and knowledge, we’d love to hear from you.  Thanks for reading. – Virtuadmin

5 Advantages of Outsourcing Transcription Services by Carey Suante

How businesses can benefit from outsourcing audio transcription

To outsource or not to outsource transcription services?

Many companies and individuals including law firms and real estate firms, construction firms, entrepreneurs, speakers, coaches, are choosing to outsource transcription services because they understand and realize the advantages of outsourcing.

Services like audio transcription requires huge investments if you want them in-house.  Transcription is also a niche skill set.  There are not that many people with the required skills and competence for transcription.  When you consider the wages, benefits and overhead of a dedicated transcription department  in-house it is very expensive for any company.  This is why many companies are choosing to outsource their transcription needs.

The digitalization of the recording equipment such as smartphones with voice recognition, secure online connections and a skilled freelance labour pool has made the outsourcing of transcription an attractive option for real estate firms, professional firms and law firms and other who record important meetings, telephone calls, interviews and the like.

Let’s take a look at the advantages of outsourcing transcription services to your organization.

At first glance, it would seem that opting to outsource transcription services would add cost to running your practice or decrease your company efficiencies. Not true. Advantages of outsourcing transcription services to a third party outweighs any perceived disadvantages.

5 advantages of outsourcing transcription services for your business:

1. You only pay for what you need, when you need it: Your transcription volume and requirement will fluctuate. Most companies will not need large volumes of transcription carried out on a regular basis.  This leads to transcription volume peaks and troughs. This fluctuating nature of your transcription requirement means it’s difficult to ascertain how many in-house transcriptionists you need to transcribe.  Keeping the least number of transcriptionists will mean they don’t cope in times of peak and keep enough transcriptionists to cope when your transcription volume peaks means your transcriptionists will be underused when the volume falls. So having an in-house transcription department is a bad idea.

Advantage of Outsourcing: You literally only pay for what you need as most transcription services only charge by the minute or by the line rather than the hour, and they are flexible in terms of capacity.

2. Outsourcing transcription saves money: The cost savings in outsourcing transcription instead of employing full-time transcriptionists in-house is significant. In the US a full-time secretary earns approximately $34,000 per year. Therefore, monthly expense on one full-time secretary is $2833 and this is excluding expenses on space, furniture, computer, electricity, Healthcare, insurance on this employee.  Also consider this transcriptionist will take time off for annual leave and illness, and you could be looking at savings of more than 30% of the expense by using an outsourced provider.

Advantage of Outsourcing: An outsourced transcription provider provides expertise and a specialised skill at a fraction of the cost you would need if paying for an in-house transcriptionist.

3. Access to experienced staff: Transcription is not an easy job. It requires focus and attention to detail as well as a keen ear. Using less experienced staff can result in inaccuracies and delivery delays.  Transcription expertise is a rare skill too.

Advantage of Outsourcing: Transcription companies are specialized service professionals. They are experts in transcribing audio to text. By using professionals you gain access to their skills and knowledge to give you a quality outcome. By using an outsourced transcription service, you’ll tap into a huge bank of experience for a small percentage of what you would otherwise have to pay.

4. Flexibility: Success in the your industry requires managing rapidly changing environments.  Transcription providers give you the flexibility to meet these rapidly changing conditions. The challenges for businesses include varying transcription volume, different turnaround times for different projects and cases, adding new services and departments, contraction, report format changes, etc.  These are a few of the curve balls a flexible transcription vendor can help your practice navigate.

5. Outsourcing transcription frees up time for your staff to develop other skills: Transcription is a specialized skill. Not every secretary or admin person can transcribe with accuracy and expertise. Most employees have skills that are better suited to other activities.

Advantage of Outsourcing: Outsourcing transcription means your personnel is used more efficiently and productively with minimal investment. This increases productivity and saves costs.

These are 5 advantages of outsourcing transcription that can help your business be more productive, profitable, efficient and competitive. We haven’t touched on the advantages of outsourcing transcription in terms of customisation, automation, universal access and standardisation, workflow process and branding for your business.

[This post first appeared on www.transcriptionpro.net on May 26th 2015]

*Virtuadmin would love to assist with your transcription needs.  See testimonials from very happy clients who have outsourced their transcription and typing to me.  If you would like a quote on your audio or video for transcription there is a contact form in the “contact me” section.  Have you outsourced your transcription before? If not, it’s very easy and simple, just send me a message and we can take it from there.

 

How to Grow Your Business With Virtual Assistants

Image credit: Shutterstock
How to Grow Your Business With Virtual Assistants (Infographic) by FELIX TARCOMNICU

Once an entrepreneur has successfully navigated the first few months of his or her startup phase, the focus typically shifts to a larger but more exciting challenge: “How do I grow my business?”

In various ways, business development represents another kind of startup phase, but this time with different goals, objectives and risks. An entrepreneur will not have the financial capacity to take on big risks at this stage and must therefore be more strategic and purposeful in his or her approach. The best option? Integrate virtual assistants into the plan to provide several advantages.

1. Realign your budget.

The number one reason people hire virtual assistants is to reduce their cost of business. Compared to a regular or full-time employee, a virtual assistant costs less because the business owner does not pay benefits.

Also, a virtual assistant, as a sole proprietor of his or own business, covers those expenses. Thus, you don’t have to allocate funds for additional Internet bandwidth, power and rent. It’s estimated that hiring virtual assistants can save you as much as 40 percent in business expenses.

These savings can then be re-aligned or re-channeled to other aspects of your business, such as a digital marketing campaign, or an upgrade to your operating systems.

2. Scale your business.

If your financials show that your volume of business has been steadily and constantly increasing, but turnaround time for deliverables has markedly slowed down, it may be time to scale up your business.

Scaling requires additional man- and woman-power to accommodate the increasing volume of work. At this point, the last thing you’ll want to do is to impede your momentum due to poor service or inventory shortfalls. So, you’ll be adding more people, but, due to wide cost differentials, full-time employees will likely be out of the question.

Virtual assistants, however, will not only keep your incremental costs lower but keep your business flexible. How?

  • Virtual assistants do not have set work schedules; you can assign them to shifts that require greater attention.
  • You spend less time training because virtual assistants already have the experience and competency level to get the job done.
  • Since virtual assistants are on a contractual basis, they can be easily terminated and replaced.

When scaling up your business, working with a virtual assistance agency is your best option because its personnel have been selected for their experience and reviews from past and current clients. They can easily replace your current virtual assistant if that engagement does not yield productive results.

Related: Do These 3 Things Before Hiring a Virtual Assistant

3. Organize your business.

A glaring weakness of most entrepreneurs is their lack of organizational skill. That’s not necessarily a shortcoming; it’s just that with so much work to do, the need to organize often takes a backseat to more essential tasks. Yet, organization encourages greater productivity.

Fortunately, what may be your weakness in organization is a virtual assistant’s strength, especially if he or she has the experience to help you find the best frameworks for a system that will organize your business. If you are not tech-savvy, a virtual assistant can set up a virtual workplace where everything from project management and file-sharing, to time-keeping and communication can be accomplished.

A virtual workplace in short makes it easier to delegate work, track performance and collaborate frequently with your virtual team. You can get more work done and minimize the risks of mistakes and oversights.

4. Delegate non-essential tasks.

The next good reason for hiring virtual assistants is to free you, the entrepreneur, from nonessential tasks.  These  include:

  • Phone call coverage
  • Email filtering
  • Calendar management
  • Appointment setting
  • CRM updates
  • Social media management
  • Payroll preparation
  • Bookkeeping

While you probably have the skills to do all or most of these tasks, you will definitely not have the time. And even if you do, your available time is better spent on functions that require your core competency or are directly related to generating revenues for your business.

5. Capitalize on specialization.

Virtual assistants are no longer limited to personal assistant “secretarial” services. Over the years, as the need to streamline costs has grown, and the Internet has increased its significance in the global business environment, the virtual assistance industry has likewise undergone a transformation. Specifically, the industry opened its doors to more specialized and technical skills to accommodate demand across a wide spectrum of services. You can now find virtual assistants for the following specialized skills:

  • Website design and development
  • SEO
  • Content management services
  • Digital marketing
  • Blogging
  • Software development
  • Medical, legal and audio Transcription
  • Translation services
  • Inventory management
  • Data protection and security
  • Market research

This is just a short-list featuring 11 currently in-demand services. But it shows the many possibilities for building a team of virtual assistants to cover different areas of your business.

6. Build a strategic partnership.

A common misconception of people not familiar with virtual assistants is that these are merely “hired guns”: Once they have completed the assignment, they will leave you for the next one. But that is far from the truth. Keep in mind, for instance, that virtual assistants own their own businesses. Like you, they too want to grow their enterprise Therefore it’s in their best interest to consistently perform above and beyond expectations in order to maintain your account.

Shared interest equals a strategic partnership. When working with your virtual assistant, bring him or her inside your process. Indoctrinate your assistant in your culture, open up the virtual floor and allow him or her the opportunity to share ideas. Collaboration is a powerful tool that will take your business to the next level. When both parties are motivated to attain a common goal, spectacular results may occur.

A virtual assistant, then, is not just a person contracted to complete a project from a remote location using the Internet. Properly utilized, a virtual assistant can become your “secret weapon” in building your business, by being one side of your double-edged sword. A virtual assistant is an asset guaranteed to lower your business costs significantly without compromising your productivity. In fact, your assistant will increase productivity exponentially.

For more on virtual assistants, check out their infographic from OutsourceWorkers.com.au.

Things to know about Virtual Assistants

 

 

Limitations in Interview Transcription

Limitatioins on Interview TranscriptionInterview Transcription Prone To Errors Due To Certain Limitations by Ritesh Sanghani

Interview transcription looks quite simple but in real life, it is very a complex and an intricate task. It should be noted that mainstream semi-structured and structured interviews necessitate a comprehensive transcription that needs to be accessible by the interviewee to scrutinize for respondent authentication.

Sociolinguistic research being the exception to the rule wherein the transcription needs to be understood from speech to print. It should be transformed in a manner that satisfies the interviewer and interviewee.

Interview Transcription Considerations:

Transcriptionists need to artificially augment the language for lucidity and suitability. It is significant to take note that ethics should be taken into consideration while conducting transcription validation and understanding the requirements of the respondents. There has been a lot of debate on types of interview, questionnaire design, benefits and limitations of audio recording, but the very insignificant proportion has been written about transcribing the interview.

According to Holstein and Gubrium, 1995, p.78, “If conceivable the research needs to be taken into consideration for audio or videotape interviews. The tapes can be used after for transcription for close scrutinization. There is nothing mentioned about whether the transcription of an interview from spoken to written word can be problematic.

According to Rubin and Rubin, 1995, p86, “It is very significant to note how transcription was developed and how the transcriptions were substantiated. It should also be noted that transcription should integrate pauses and other non-verbal hints of what happened. If the transcriptions are in final revised drafts of the tape recordings, you should also consider what was left out.”

Selections for the treatment and conduct of transcriptions need to be followed up but the situations under which these selections about editing and verification should be made are ignored. It is a known fact that structured interview consists of closed questions and the interviewer will finish the transcription throughout the progression of the interview. There is no need for audio recording.

For different types of interviews, a wide array of linguistic features needs to be figured out like tone, emphasis, body language, the setting and so on. It is very important to take into consideration interviewee’s comprehensions and views. Woods (1996) and Bell (1993) recommend varied methods of partial transcription where the researcher preserves comprehensive interview notes and has critical passages of the tape transcribed. According to Rubin and Rubin (1995), “It is an embarrassment when you tape for preciseness and then do not have a comprehensive transcription at the finish line.”

The Specifics of Interview Transcription:

Interview transcription can become one of the most tedious jobs that you will ever come across. It is very tough and extensive and requires a lot of concentration. Nearly around 6 hours need to be spent on each recorded hour for interview transcription. According to MCLELLAN, MACQUEEN and NEIDIG (2003), “Unsuitable and insufficient methodology of conducting transcriptions can lead to holdups in scrutinization and research conclusion, even presenting chief errors in the findings. This leads to failure in the attempts to enhance the efficacy of transcription which leads to greater delays.”

A research conducted by MEHRABIAN (1971) showcase that approximately 7 percent of information carried out by direct face-to-face communication is done through words alone and there is an approximate value of 38 percent which is integrated by vocal tones that enhance the information transmitted. But because it is very intricate to interpret symbols the procedure of transcription sometimes loses out the meeting of conducting transcripts.”

According to BAUER and GASKELL (2000), conversation analysts “We have created symbols that help in interpreting the missing pieces. There are certain symbols that have certain meaning but can be difficult to gauge and can be time-consuming but can be utilized to gather the missing pieces of information.

There Can be Different Reasons for the Interview Transcription Errors. The TWO Prominent Reasons Being Equipment Failure and Environmental Hazard.

1. Equipment Failure:

About 10% of interview transcription errors are prone to equipment failure. There are bound to be some equipment failure when you conduct interview transcription. Whether, it is the recorder or camera stopping, batteries dying, electricity going out or other issues. Hence, it is very important for transcriptionists to have a traditional backup plan of pen and pencil. To avoid this embarrassment it is important to evaluate all equipment before the interview. It is also significant to have additional batteries at your disposal and a camera or third recorder just in case if there is some problem with the recorder.

2. Environmental Hazard:

Approximately 15% of interview transcription errors occur due to environmental hazards. Background noise is one of the most deterring factors disturbing the transcriptionist. The background noise may or may not be the only thing hampering the productivity of the transcriptionist. It can also be the sensitive microphone of the camera or recorder that intensifies the sound which hampers the transcriptionist to understand the conversation.

When the equipment is turned on and off the relentless disruption also breaks the rhythm of the transcriptionist.  In order to avoid an environmental hazard, it is imperative for the transcriptionist to sit at a quiet place. It is also significant to have recorder or microphone close to record the conversation.

Oliver, Serovich, and Mason, authors of “Constraints and Opportunities with Interview Transcription: towards Reflection in Qualitative Research” (2005) claim that their differences between naturalism and denaturalize.  Naturalism is when every word uttered is transcribed in a comprehensive manner while denaturalize is when the characteristics elements of speech encompassing stutters, pauses, nonverbal, and involuntary vocalizations are eradicated.

There is no fixed pattern of conducting interview transcription.  Sometimes transcriptionists utilize a combination of both these methods.

This article was originally posted on http://www.hitechbpo.com/ August 12th, 2014

Image Credit: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/files/2010/08/Microphone.jpg

 

What is Audio Transcription?

Transcribing is the art of listening to audio and converting the spoken word into a written, readable form.  Sounds easy right?

Just listen and type.  Not true.  

One who transcribes has worked hard to gain the skills and experience necessary to perform this task.  An audio file (MP3, WAV, DSS etcetera), which let’s say is 15 minutes in length, can easily take an hour or more to transcribe.  

The transcriptionist doesn’t necessarily have to be fast at typing (it helps, though!) but must have expert listening, spelling, and grammatical skills.

Listening skills mean you understand:

• More than one speaker
• Heavy accents
• Coughs, stutters, uhs,uhms (known as verbatim)
• What the speaker is saying (accurately typing technical terms)

Grammatical skills you have:

• Excellent spelling
• Can differentiate between English and American English spelling
• Excellent grammar
• Know how to paragraph the content

As well as the above, if your client doesn't provide you with a template to transcribe directly into, then you need to know how to set-up your Word (or the format you are using) document page correctly.

To help you understand and remember what audio transcription is, I have designed an Infographic.  It was created and designed by me, the writer, 3 years ago.  It has now had a revamp in style to be 'up-to-date' but the content is the same.

 

Transcription acronym by Virtuadmin