Blockchain Lets This Startup Trade Gold That's Still in the Ground

  

A number of Blockchain Projects have focused on Trading Bullion

During the past year, a number of blockchain projects have focused on trading bullion, but what about gold that's still in the ground? That seemingly unlikely business model is precisely the aim of a new partnership announced last month between Orebits, a startup providing asset-digitization for precious metal reserves, and blockchain product provider Symbiont. The deal would see the creation of so-called smart certificates, or smart contract investment instruments, tied to proven gold reserves (supplies of the metal known to be in the ground, but that haven't yet been processed). Despite the physical restrictions of the gold itself, the smart certificates, known as 'orebits', can now be freely traded and exchanged as tokens on a blockchain platform provided by Symbiont. Michael Zimits, Orebits’ president, and COO, told CoinDesk that each of the certificates will be backed by five ounces of proven gold reserves.

He said:

"Orebits derive their value from the price of traded gold, providing exposure to the price movement of the precious metal without having to deal with the physical properties and logistical concerns of holding the asset in tangible form."

As for how someone might confirm the gold reserves are real, Zimits explained that the smart contracts house this information directly. "This documentation is made available on the distributed ledger as part of the smart contract and includes geological surveys and findings, geologist verification, registered chain of custody, corporate documentation and owner background verification," he said.

As such, the partnership represents the latest effort to bridge the worlds of gold and blockchain. So far this year, companies like Euroclear and long-standing institutions like the UK Royal Mint have revealed plans to launch marketplaces enabling gold exchange via the technology. In this light, Orebits is the latest entry in what is proving to be an attractive use case for blockchain, and further fits into the broader trend of enterprises seeking to leverage blockchain tech to open new revenue streams.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

Reasons Social Media Marketing
Is Still Underrated

  

The numbers on social media marketing are impressive.

More than half of small businesses in the United States are planning to increase their social media marketing budgets in 2017, and the number of businesses using social media marketing has increased, year over year, for more than a decade.Still, social media marketing remains underrated. Business owners and marketers frequently treat it as a second thought—something for an intern to handle, rather than a strategically deep mode of building your reputation and attracting new traffic. Some have even abandoned the idea altogether, refusing to spend any time or money on a strategy that nets a positive ROI for up to 92 percent of businesses that use it. So what’s the deal? Why isn’t everyone on board with the strategy?

The "fad" angle.

Believe it or not, some people still believe that social media—or its use as a marketing strategy—is still a fad just waiting to fizzle out. This is an argument I could have understood back in 2007 when social media platforms were only in use by a small percentage of the population. But now that Facebook has reached more than 1.2 billion users and is still growing, with a corporate foundation that rivals those of Apple or Google, it’s a hard argument to defend. Users have gotten used to the idea of socially interacting online, and platforms keep evolving in new ways to maintain their interest.

You get what you pay for.

Psychologically, people tend to place more value on things that cost more money. For example, in a blind taste test of identical wines whose only difference is price, people claim that the more expensive (yet compositionally identical) wine tastes better. Take this principle to social media marketing; it’s free to claim and build a business profile and to post regularly (as long as you aren’t leveraging paid advertising). Because of that, people don’t value it as much as they do paid advertising. They’re also less likely to pay a professional to work on a social media campaign, knowing that—technically—anyone could do it for free (even if they never actually do it).

Unmeasurable effects.

The return on investment (ROI) of social media is hard to measure, and I’ll be the first to admit it. One of your biggest goals is attracting a large following of people who are enthusiastic about your brand, and improving both your brand’s reputation and brand awareness. These aren’t as objectively measurable as on-site conversions, but they can and do lead to greater consumer interest, which manifests as sales eventually. Trying to pin down an exact value for all these benefits is next to impossible, even for the pros, so the value of a social media campaign is almost always underreported.

Anecdotes.

People also use anecdotal evidence as a basis for their opinions about the strategy. For example, they may know of another business who used social media and didn’t see any results, so they stay away from it in the present. However, these anecdotal examples often don’t examine the types of tactics these businesses used, and they certainly don’t represent the average across multiple businesses.

Apples and oranges.

Ironically, these same business owners often cite the fact that anecdotal evidence can’t prove a strategy’s effectiveness for everybody. They point to major influencers or big businesses in the social media world and explain that social media works for them because it fits naturally with their industry, or because they have the resources to invest in a heavy campaign. It’s true that some industries may be naturally inclined to perform better on social media than others; tech companies and consumer-facing businesses are two good examples. However, social media marketing can be used by practically any company—it may just require an adjustment to your approach.

Poor targeting.

Some businesses look at their own results and use those results as a gauge of the long-term potential of their campaign. But they may not realise that their strategic targeting is interfering with their results. For example, if you buy 1,000 followers using some super cheap follower-adding service, but only 4 or 5 of them ever interact with your posts or visit your site, it could be that the remaining 995 don’t belong to demographics relevant for your business, or that you haven’t been using the right engagement strategies to cultivate interest. Don’t underestimate the potential of a well-researched, strategically focused campaign.

 Lack of investment.

Effective social media marketing can’t be done on a whim. It needs to be planned, researched, and strategically executed. That means you’ll need to spend a significant amount of time or a significant amount of money to see results; and since many business owners aren’t willing to make that investment, they never see a fraction of their potential results. By that point, they’ve seen what a small investment does, and they’re unwilling to make the jump to a larger investment.

Social media marketing isn’t an “underground” strategy; it’s talked about heavily (and I should know), and there’s no shortage of content covering its feasibility and best tactics. But the perceptions of marketers and business owners are still lagging behind the evidence, and they’re only hurting themselves in the process. The more you learn about the effective implementation of social media marketing, the more plainly beneficial it seems—but you have to treat it as a legitimate marketing strategy if you want to research it appropriately.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Cryptocurrency Exchange Poloniex
Set to Delist 17 Altcoins

Cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex

recently announced that it will be delisting 17 altcoins, effective May 2, which saw the price of the coins drop significantly.

On Twitter, the U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange said:

On May 2, 2017, the following will be delisted: BBR, BITS, C2, CURE, HZ, IOC, MYR, NOBL, NSR, QBK, QORA, OTL, RBY, SDC, UNITY, VOX [and] XMG.

Since Poloniex’s tweet, the prices of the listed currencies have dropped in value by between 31 percent and 92 percent over the past seven days. The biggest drop in value was C2, which is currently ranked 323rd on CoinMarketCap. Over the last seven days, it fell by 91.08 percent. Boolberry, who was one of the altcoins mentioned to be delisted, and who has had a 64 percent price drop over the past seven days, responded to Poloniex’s tweet., and asked:

“Hey Poloniex, anything we can do to avoid delisting?”

Coin Magi XMG, which suffered a 58 percent drop following the announcement, also reached out to Poloniex via Twitter, stating:

Poloniex Magi is with you for a long time. Last months volume is growing, new developments are in progress. Pls reconsider!!

Many, however, have taken to Twitter to either voice their support in the expected removal of the announced altcoins while others have voiced their anger in how Poloniex have handled the situation.

One person responded by saying:

They opened a company to make money … @Poloniex in the same breathe [sic] screw people over …

While another said:

Lol our hedge group only lost like $250000 in earnings in like 20 minutes … 11 failed transactions trying to close positions!!! All gone.

A third said:

@Poloniex who the F%^& makes these decisions? I see at least 4 with active develop, solid community & solid project that should remain.

Criticisms of Poloniex

In the past, the cryptocurrency exchange has received its critics about its security procedures. Last October, an anonymous security review undertaken by Xavier59, revealed three vulnerabilities after alleging that Poloniex had failed to reply to his emails with information relating to security bugs. Furthermore, last year, the exchange announced that it was suspending its services in New Hampshire due to that state’s digital currency regulations. It added the same suspension to the state of Washington earlier this month for the same reasons.

Of course, while the cryptocurrency exchange is considered one of the biggest, this latest news from Poloniex and its planned delisting of 17 altcoins is not going to do any favours for the exchange. It begs the question, then: is this the start of more delistings from the exchange?

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Syscoin Becomes First Cryptocurrency To Debut Mainnet Lightning Network

Syscoin has confirmed it has introduced the Lightning Network (LN)

on its mainnet, becoming the first cryptocurrency to achieve the milestone.

In transaction records reproduced on its Twitter page on Thursday, Syscoin demonstrated the first successful transaction sent using the technology. The Lightning Network uses existing Blockchain technology to provide rapid payments between participants. Its implementation is a key goal for cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, where it could serve to decrease transaction processing times considerably. While LN is not dependent on consensus for its implementation, progress has stalled on Bitcoin amid the ongoing scaling debate. Segregated Witness is seen as a prerequisite to a suitable LN deployment, although technically, developers have said a “poorer” version could be created without it.

“You could make a poorer lightning network without it, which has higher risks when establishing channels (you might have to wait a month if things go wrong!), has limited channel lifetime, longer minimum payment expiry times on each hop, is less efficient and has less robust outsourcing,” Blockstream’s Rusty Russell explained in December last year. “The entire spec as written today assumes segregated witness, as it solves all these problems.” Litecoin this week announced it had locked in Segregated Witness technology, yet in deploying LN, Syscoin remains unique. Its value shot up earlier this month, also on news of SegWit activation.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Suddenly, Europe is Starting to
Become Bitcoin Haven

  

Suddenly, Europe is Starting to Become Bitcoin Haven

Countries like France, Germany and the UK have already established regulatory frameworks for Bitcoin companies, users and traders. Other European countries have offered their unique regulatory frameworks with clarity, to ensure there exists no conflict between local businesses and regulators due to ambiguous regulations and policies like India. Smaller countries such as Malta, an archipelago in the central Mediterranean between Sicily and the North African coast, have begun to consider Bitcoin as a legitimate currency and revolutionary technology.

Bitcoin and Blockchain included in national strategy

In particular, local publications including Malta Today reported that the country’s prime minister Joseph Muscat announced the approval of a national strategy to promote Bitcoin and Blockchain technology. Muscat said at a conference organized by the financial affairs parliamentary committee:

“This is not just about Bitcoin and I also look forward to seeing Blockchain technology implemented in the Lands Registry and the national health registries. Malta can be a global trail-blazer in this regard. I understand that regulators are wary of this technology but the fact is that it’s coming. We must be on the frontline in embracing this crucial innovation and we cannot just wait for others to take action and copy them. We must be the ones that others copy.”

Although Muscat raised several positive use cases of Bitcoin and Blockchain technology, Muscat specifically addressed the Bitcoin Blockchain’s ability to handle, store and process sensitive data such as lands registry in a secure, immutable and decentralized ecosystem.

Land records

Most recently, Ubitquity, a US-based Blockchain startup, partnered with one of the land records bureaus of Brazil to utilize the Bitcoin Blockchain technology to integrate land records to the public Blockchain of Bitcoin. Such method enables land bureaus and other government organizations to store data within an unalterable ledger. “We are incredibly excited to announce our partnership with the land records bureau, a Cartório de Registro de Imóveis [Real Estate Registry Office] in Brazil. This partnership will help to demonstrate to government municipalities the power and benefits of using Blockchain-powered recordkeeping,” said Ubitquity founder and president Nathan Wosnack.

Malta to become the Silicon Valley of Europe?

The rest of the government, including Labor Minister of Parliament Silvio Schembri, revealed the government’s vision to transform Malta into the Silicon Valley of Europe. The country will focus on the development of innovative technologies such as Bitcoin and Blockchain technology to stay at the forefront of European technological innovation.

Schembri stated:

“We should aim to have the world’s best environment for the development and commercialization of fintech models and disruptive innovation. The government should ensure that Malta has the appropriate regulatory framework, the right tax system and the best infrastructure to support this ambition. With our geographical position and weather conditions, strong financial system, skills base, entrepreneurial spirit and can-do approach, Malta can truly serve as a test-bed for new sectors and foreign firms to test their new technology and products locally.”

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Bitcoin breaches $1,300,
now just $25 off all-time high

           
   

The price for Bitcoin broke through $1,300

on Thursday, within spitting distance of its all-time high, but investors are growing cautious. The cryptocurrency's price has risen around 4.5 percent since the start of the week, according to CoinDesk data and spiked yesterday to $1,306 on hopes that U.S. regulators would approve a key trading product for the digital currency. The price fell overnight but is back around $1,300, not far from its all-time high of $1,325, which it hit on March 10.

However, some bitcoin investors are growing concerned. The buy and sell ratio for bitcoin is balanced almost evenly over the past 24 hours, albeit with slight more sells than buys, and currently there are around 6,000 more short positions than long positions on bitcoin, according to Bitfinex data.These investors are cautious as the last few times bitcoin has tested these levels it led to sharp sell-offs. On March 10, bitcoin fell to $1,085. Later in March, the digital currency dropped from around $1,260 to $950 over the course of a few days. The reason for the recent climb in bitcoin prices is optimism after an announcement in the U.S. that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is reviewing its decision to reject a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) proposed by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.

Last month, the SEC denied an application by the Winklevoss twins to list the ETF on the Bats BZX exchange. The price rose on hopes that the application will get another shot at approval once the decision is reviewed, but disappointment could bring bitcoin prices back down. However, others remain bullish. Pavel Matveev, co-CEO of blockchain personal finance platform Wirex, predicts the price of the cryptocurrency could reach as high as $3,000 this year. "Bitcoin has doubled in value in the past six months. The trend for financial regulation, which recognises bitcoin, is spreading across Asia-pacific, and we expect more and more countries to regulate virtual currencies. I believe the price will continue growing and reach as much as $2,000 to $3,000 by the end of the year," he told CNBC via email.

Other factors will boost bitcoin, such as Japan's recent decision to recognise bitcoin as legal tender. "Bitcoin does face certain challenges such as negative perceptions stemming from past instances of hacking and other illegality. The Japanese financial system will also face a steep learning curve regarding how to report bitcoins in accounts, for example," he added. "At the same time bitcoin is rapidly integrating such challenges and is increasingly becoming more robust, as Japan's official recognition of the cryptocurrency suggests. Integration into the financial system means companies can now more easily develop products and services."

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Blockchain Innovation Means Greater Financial Inclusion in the Middle East

  

Financial inclusion,

something as simple as possessing a basic chequing account is significantly lacking in the Middle East, especially when compared on a global scale. Digital innovation, coupled with high mobile penetration rates, especially those aged 25 and under, can, however, open the door to reshaping the fate of the region’s estimated 85 million unbanked adults. According to the 2014 World Bank Global Findex Database, a report that measures global financial inclusion, account penetration in the Middle East, that is, individuals without access to even the most basic financial services sat at just 14 percent.

Last month, Dr. Nasser Saidi, a leading economist for the Middle East and North Africa region who served as the Minister of Economy and Industry and as the Vice Governor for the Lebanese central banks, reiterated the 14 percent figure in an interview. Saidi added, however, that the situation is even more dismal for women.He claimed that only 9 percent of women in the Middle East region owned an account. This is a stunning figure, especially when placed alongside the global average which sits at around 50 percent, according to World Bank data.

Furthermore, account ownership is at near-universal levels in high-income Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) economies, with 94 percent of adults from OECD nations having reported owning an account. Financial inclusion is critical for employment creation, for raising income levels and to consequently reduce poverty. To achieve inclusive economic growth, of course, requires the easing of barriers to accessing the broader financial system. The key to easing the barrier to financial access in today’s online environment is digital innovation, more specifically, advancement in financial technology and mobile banking.

The United Arab Emirates, one of the richest Gulf nations, has an internal battle amongst its top two cities. “There is a rivalry between Abu Dhabi and Dubai to become the fintech hub in UAE,” said Omar Soudodi, managing director of Dubai-based payments processor PayFort, as reported by Kadhim Shubber of the Financial Times, in December. Companies in the financial technology sector, including within the rapidly emerging space of blockchain technology, see the critical opportunity that exists for banking innovation. “More and more of the Arab millennials are getting into the banked world before they even graduate,” said Soudodi. “Before the trend was, ‘I graduate, I get a job, I get my first paycheck and think, oh my God, I need a bank account’.” There is potential to capitalise on the shifting demographic trends.

Changing Demographics

The UAE was cited by Google amongst the highest in smartphone penetration rates per capita as of September 2015. The UAE was in fact listed among global leaders with an overall smartphone penetration rate of around 75 percent. The mobile phone user base in the Middle East and North Africa region was second only to that in Asia-Pacific. “Just over 606 million people in the Middle East and Africa [region] have at least one mobile phone this year, and the total will pass 789 million in 2019,” reported eMarketer, an independent market research firm, in tandem with Starcom Mediavest Group as part of their 2016 Global Media Intelligence report.

The UAE has retained its regional standing as the highest per capita country for mobile phone penetration with an estimated 80.6 percent of the population reported to possess a mobile device. Further, this number is projected to inch up to 82.8 percent by 2019, as per the Global Media Intelligence report. From a usage perspective, the trend is similarly moving toward complete saturation. In 2012, only 54 percent of UAE users under the age of 25 went online using a smartphone at least as often as on a computer. This rocketed to 90 percent by 2015.

Fast-forward to data obtained in January 2017 and the trend upward continues, with the Internet and mobile use remaining high in the Middle East, according to We Are Social’s and Hootsuite’s Digital in 2017 Global Overview. Of an estimated total regional population of 246 million there are 147 million Internet users in the Middle East — a 60 percent penetration rate. Furthermore, there are 312 million mobile subscriptions, which amounts to a 127 percent rate against the overall population.

“You have a very young population, using modern technologies. Yet, the financial and banking side is lagging. Fintech therefore, can play a very important role in financial access and inclusion,” said Saidi. Top digital users are of course the youth segment, according to economist Saidi, who added, 60 percent of the population in the Middle East are aged under 30, which highlights the ripe opportunity to mobilise the current and upcoming generations.

Blockchain-Based Innovation

“The Arabian world is ripe for innovation,” said Mohammed Alsehli, chief executive officer at ArabianChain Technology, a Dubai-based software developer. “Blockchain technology is at the center of innovation in the region that is made possible by the direction and the vision of some of the countries here. In Saudi Arabia and the UAE it’s all about the digital revolution and how to digitally transform these countries in the future.” ArabianChain Technology, based in the Dubai Technology Entrepreneurship Center, recently launched its own public blockchain.

In addition to the blockchain, ArabianChain is developing a suite of blockchain-based features and products, including its own digital currency called DubaiCoin-DBIX (previously, DubaiCoin-DBIC), an exchange, and a regionally-focused marketplace. “DBIX is a secure and economical means to conduct payments and asset transfers,” Alsehli said. But ArabianChain is just a single player amidst a growing base of fintech ventures, blockchain-based and otherwise. Last September, the Dubai Future Foundation launched its inaugural Dubai Future Accelerators, a 12-week program connected international technology startups with government entities for the purpose of creating prototypes and pilots for the City of Dubai.

According to Bitcoin Magazine reporter Diana Ngo, The program “enlisted 30 companies with seven of Dubai’s public services: Health, Energy, Knowledge, Municipality, Police, Transport and the investment portfolio, Dubai Holding.” In fact, the United Arab Emirates is moving to adopt sweepingly adopt blockchain technology with aims “to become, by 2020, a leading centre for innovation and the first government in the world to execute all of its transactions on a blockchain.”

The power of this, from a financial inclusion and digital innovation standpoint, will be unmitigated access for a population that lives online, connected via a computer or mobile phone, with the latter’s penetration rate at a nearly universal level. Further, integration and adoption of a regionally-focused, feature-filled public blockchain has the capacity to heighten interaction and connectivity from business-to-business,  business-to-consumer, and peer-to-peer positions.

Daniel Diemers, a consultant with the strategy and consulting arm of PricewaterhouseCoopers, pointed to another reality in the region, that of disconnection, stating, “If you’re a payments fintech start-up in the UAE and you’ve gone through all the approvals, it [still] doesn’t give you passports in other Gulf countries.” ArabianChain and other public blockchains like Bitcoin have the potential to alter this dissociative relationship, allowing businesses and people to interact without thought of border, according to Alsehli.

Mobile banking and the advancement and adoption of financial technology applications can also shatter the often insurmountable barrier physical access predicates while alleviating costs to the account owner and the banking institution. In short, Blockchain-based innovation could mean significant progress by way of financial inclusion through digital. This guest article is authored by Brandon Kostinuk, communications lead at Vanbex Group, a Vancouver, Canada-based professional services firm and consultancy that specialises in the digital currency and blockchain technology sector.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Spotify acquires Mediachain to develop blockchain technology that matches royalties with rightsholders

  

Spotify has acquired Mediachain,

the New York-based startup behind an open source peer-to-peer database and protocol for registering, identifying, and tracking creative works across the internet. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Launched in 2016 with seed backing from Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures, Mediachain has been working toward using blockchain technology to entrench timestamps and data regarding ownership within a specific media asset. It’s all about enabling creators and rightsholders to prove they are the owner of a piece of work — in Spotify’s case, music — and receive payment. The problem for legitimate companies, such as Spotify, is that they may try to pay artists and publishers but often don’t know who to pay. This is perhaps more of a problem with smaller artists or indie labels. Just last month, Spotify reached a $30 million settlement with a publishing group over unpaid royalties and agreed to establish best practices to make a “reasonable effort” to match all music streams with rightsholders.

Blockchain technology has enabled the bitcoin cryptocurrency to flourish through a decentralised database, where the ownership of specific tokens and their values are recorded, and Mediachain has been working to enable a similar setup in music. “A music blockchain would be a single place to publish all information about who made what song, without having to trust a third-party organisation,” Mediachain co-founder Jesse Walden has said previously. Now Spotify is bringing Brooklyn-based Mediachain to work in its New York office to “help further Spotify’s journey toward a more fair, transparent, and rewarding music industry for creators and rights owners,” according to a press release.

With Spotify recently passing 50 million paid subscribers and expectations that it will aim for an IPO sometime in 2018, the music-streaming giant has been going all out lately to garner the full support of labels and the broader creative community. Earlier this month, Spotify entered into a new licensing arrangement with Universal Music Group (UMG), allowing bands to limit new album releases to Spotify’s premium subscription for up to two weeks. It followed this up weeks later by signing a similar deal with Merlin, effectively adding thousands of indie labels to a flexible release policy.

Much like its refreshed licensing arrangements with labels, bringing Mediachain on board is all about demonstrating that it’s doing its very best to ensure artists are fairly compensated for their work. Mediachain also represents the latest in a long line of acquisitions by Spotify. Last month, it snapped up content recommendation startup MightyTV, shortly after having bought Sonalytic, a company specialising in music discovery and identification. And back in November, Spotify acquired Preact, a startup that helps companies acquire and retain subscribers.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Tips for Combining SEO and
Content Marketing

  

Gone are the days when search engine optimisation was enough

to land your website onto Google's good graces. Now you must to add content marketing to your arsenal of digital marketing tool if you want to gain search engines’ approval and ultimately win the heart of online users. Given the important role content marketing now plays in the success of an online business, it's time that SEO ties the knot with content marketing.

The two digital marketing tools that were once viewed as separate entities are now an inseparable couple, promising to inch businesses closer to the proverbial “overnight success. ”The amazing duo can greatly help your online business reach the pinnacle of success and outwit your competitors. Here are ways you can ensure that the two digital marketing tools work in harmony:

Set common goals.

Setting common goals is the first step to make SEO and content marketing work together to bring additional revenues. Ask yourself what activities overlap between the two digital marketing techniques. Is it increased online traffic, rankings or links? How can you align the activities to achieve common goals? The answers to these and other similar questions will give you a starting point in creating an integrated SEO and content marketing strategy with clear and focused goals and strong communication.

Establish key performance indicators.

Another way to optimise synergy between SEO and Content Marketing is to establish key KPIs that will track performance, and ensure that it is on track for achieving common goals. These KPIs include content sharing, links to content, online user engagement, call-to-action conversion rates and several others. 

Understand your target audience.

Understanding your audience is the key part of an SEO and content marketing strategy. Create personas of the target audience and develop a unique digital marketing strategy for each group. The personas can be based on age, location, gender, hobbies or interests. Don’t undertake any digital marketing activity without considering what your audience wants, and also what you want them to do in return of fulfilling their demand.

Create SEO-optimized content.

Google places great emphasis on quality content. You can make the content more relevant for the search engine by incorporating high-impression keywords. Optimising the content in this way will allow your Web pages to become visible to online users by appearing in the search results. Avoid overstuffing keywords into website content. In order to play it safe, limit the keyword density to 1 percent or less. This will ensure that your site doesn't get penalised by the search engine, decreasing online traffic.

Research high-impression and relevant keywords.

Include high impression and relevant keywords in the website. Each keyword that you select should be researched properly using online tools such as Google Planner, Google Trend, Word Stream and other similar tools. optimising your content in this way will ensure that your online content is able to attract maximum number of online users.

Attract online consumers through link building.

Another way you can make SEO and content marketing work together is through link building. Link building is a pure SEO strategy that results in a distribution of online content to a large number of targeted, qualified audiences. You can greatly increase your content’s effectiveness through these efforts. The links pointing to the published online content is placed on various high authority and high page ranked sites. These sites attract thousands of online visitors that can be diverted to your site by placing targeted links on the site they first visited. Enlist SEO professionals to enhance your link building strategy. Here are some reputed SEO companies, based on user reviews:

  • TIS India
  • SE Media Online
  • Anpee Media

Focus on internal link building.

Internal link building works wonders in increasing your website’s ranking along with your published content. Moreover, creating internal links will also result in improved user experience due to easy navigation around the site. Internal link building is simple to implement and should be part of your digital marketing arsenal. This will help to improve your ranking and guide users with the content that is relevant to them.

Optimise your website content’s title and headings.

Your website content’s title and headings should also be optimised using relevant keywords and phrases. The title is displayed on top bar of the browser, and headings are included inside the content. Your title should be descriptive, persuading users to click. Headings should be catchy enough to make the content readable. Both must also be SEO-optimized to make your content more visible in the search results page.

Measure your results.

Make use of various online tools to measure the outcome of your combined SEO and content marketing efforts. Google Analytics can track changes in search volume over time. You will also know which pages and content attracts the most visitors, and the keywords they type to enter the website. The information gathered can help you fine-tune your content.

Keep your efforts going.

Combining SEO and content marketing must be an on going effort that should not stop at any time. Make the most of the opportunity and watch the extraordinary combination of SEO and content marketing work wonders for your organization or client. It will position you perfectly on the fast track to success.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Business Development Executive Job Description

A business development executive is a senior manager tasked with the job of helping his or her business grow and therefore, they are high-level sales professionals. Their priority is to assist their own companies acquire new customers and sell additional products or services to existing ones; this means the role is a crucial one for any business with the ambition to expand or the necessity to diversify its clientele. It also means that effective business development managers are in high demand in nearly every job sector there is, including business-to-business, business-to-customer, and even non-profit organisations. 

 Business Development Manager| Business Development Executive | Business Development Job

The Business Development Executives Working Environment

In the vast majority of cases, business development executives work in traditional office environments. They are expected to dress in professional business attire and work 9 am to 5 pm, occasionally putting in overtime hours to meet deadlines or sales quotas. Because networking is critical in this position, business development managers must often travel to conferences, business meetings, and industry events. So, company cars are a standard bonus amongst business development executives, and business trips around the country or even around the world are an occasional necessity for many businesses. 

Business development executives occupy senior roles at their organisations, they typically work according to their own initiative and have few superiors to answer to. In most companies, if the executive can deliver new clients and high sales volumes consistently, their day-to-day methods and schedules will be left largely up to them. 

Business Development Responsibilities

A business development professional has three primary responsibilities:

  1. Identifying new sales leads
  2. Pitching products and/or services
  3. Maintaining fruitful relationships with existing customers

When it comes to generating leads, day-to-day duties typically include:

  • Researching organisations and individuals online (especially on social media) to identify new leads and potential new markets
  • Researching the needs of other companies and learning who makes decisions about purchasing
  • Contacting potential clients via email or phone to establish rapport and set up meetings
  • Planning and overseeing new marketing initiatives
  • Attending conferences, meetings, and industry events

When it comes to the challenge of actually selling, other typical duties include:

  • Preparing PowerPoint presentations and sales displays
  • Contacting clients to inform them about new developments in the company’s products
  • Developing quotes and proposals
  • Negotiating and renegotiating by phone, email, and in person
  • Developing sales goals for the team and ensuring they are met
  • Training personnel and helping team members develop their skills

To keep healthy relationships with clients, this mostly requires socialisation. So from simple chats on the phone to lunches and events or conferences, business development managers must be sure to keep their customers happy. Of course, as with all office jobs, documentation is also a big part of the work. Business development professionals are also obligated to write reports and provide feedback to upper management about what is and is not working.

Business Development Executive Skills

To be an effective business development executive, an individual must be:

  • Socially adept
  • Good with numbers
  • Able to provide quality leadership to a large team of sales people

The skills you need to excel in this position include:

  • Strong communication and IT fluency
  • Creative talents and the ability to solve tough problems
  • In-depth knowledge of the industry and its current events
  • The ability to handle pressure and meet deadlines
  • Skill in prioritizing and triaging obligations
  • Attention to detail
  • Excellent time management and organisation

Business Development Education and Career Development

Though there are rarely formal qualifications, many organisations require a degree from their applicants. For those hoping to eventually attain this position, business or math’s degrees are extremely beneficial, and may even help students acquire work through a graduate training program.

Many entrants, however, begin working as salespeople or marketers before being promoted, and there are also many apprenticeships available in the sector. For those in junior roles, additional Level 2 qualifications in Business Principles, Sales Management, and Marketing can help young professionals advance their careers much more rapidly than they otherwise would.  After gaining industry experience and familiarity with the sector, professionals can also boost their resumes by obtaining Level 3, 4, and 5 diplomas in sales and marketing courses. In the UK, the Chartered Institute of Marketing is an excellent resource for earning these advanced degrees. 

Contracting Vs Permanent Positions

While both contracting and permanent in-house positions are available to business development executives, the latter is far more common in the workplace today. For those who can manage to make it work, freelance business development offers a host of advantages. So if you are considering setting your sights on a contract-based career, here are some things to keep in mind:

Pros of Contracting

  • Flexible scheduling and hours
  • Option to work from home and/or remotely
  • Ability to work in diverse industries and experience a wide variety of company cultures
  • Freedom to choose and turn down projects
  • The possibility of higher pay for those who are successful
  • Complete independence and not having superiors to answer to

Cons of Contracting

  • Irregular and inconsistent pay
  • The necessity to do much more bookkeeping, invoicing, quoting, etc.
  • Limited job security
  • No team and a limited ability to delegate tasks to others
  • The need to regularly acquire new clients

Business Development Challenges

Business development executives face a number of challenges in their work. These includes:

  • Managing underperforming team members
  • Suffering from downturns in the industry and/or economy
  • Losing clients to superior competitors
  • Responding to negative press about the company and/or products
  • Dealing with customers unsatisfied with the quality of the product or service

Business Development Executive Salary

Salaries for business development executives vary with experience and level of responsibility. Starting positions typically pay about £26,000 annually, but rise to about £30-40k with several more years of experience. After promotions to upper executive positions, senior business development managers make upwards of £60,000. No matter what industry interests you most, there is likely to be a need for business development managers in the sector. This job is an excellent opportunity to enter a wide variety of professional fields. If you think it might be a good fit for you, view our Business Development Telegraph Jobs to learn about the career opportunities available in your region.  

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor