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From Ordinary to Extraordinary: 5 Steps to Outsource Content like a Genius

From Ordinary to Extraordinary: 5 Steps to Outsource Content like a Genius

There’s no doubt, online content rocks! But creating it is another ball game.

Why? This is because on the internet, there are only two types of content: crappy content and EPIC FAIL. Crappy content is created with little to no research, poor grammar and is keyword stuffed. You can even smell the keywords from the article. EPIC FAIL on the other hand has much more time and work put into it. That’s why it’s epic in the first place.

So, as an entrepreneur who wants to create content that converts into traffic, subscribers or sales as the case may be, you need to know how to create content that rocks. But with the little time on your hands which should be invested wisely, you also need to know how to outsource that content and still get the same results or better as if you did it all by yourself.

But is outsourcing content all you need?

No!

You need to know how to outsource content like a genius, to a team that produces nothing but results for you. So, here are 5 steps to outsource content with little to no effort from your part.

1. Know the Purpose and Create Targeted Content

When the purpose of something is not known, abuse is inevitable. And there’s a lot of online content that’s been abused. The first step to creating epic content is to know its purpose. You need to know the “why” of the content (that is, why are your creating it?) before even thinking about who you will outsource it to.

Online content is written for different purposes: clients, traffic, sales, engagement, etc. Content that’s created for engagement must always appear interesting and should speak the language of your audience.

Content written for traffic should be optimized with specific keywords and should be of high quality, especially if it is a guest post. Content written for clients and sales must subtly sell your services or products to the reader while still giving out maximum value. Your services or products would just be an option or a faster way to solve the problem you stated in the content. All this would help you have a clear Call-to-Action that converts.

Outsource it: Knowing the purpose of every piece of content you create is very important. This way, when giving your content team instructions, you’ll be able to make things easier by saying, “The purpose of this content is to attract potential clients to my services page. So, ensure you write in a tone that gives me authority and credibility.”

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2. Know Your Audience and Streamline Your Language

Every industry has its language. If your audience is a bunch of tax consultants, mentioning words like tax, auditing, equity ratio, allocation, etc is acceptable. But please don’t use those words when writing for Work-At-Home moms.

You need to know exactly who your content is aiming. Once you know this, you’ll then need to speak or write in a way that they would understand. The aim of every piece of content is to get the message across in the simplest way possible. Don’t make things complicated for your readers by using technical language, all in the name of appearing professional.

Outsource it: Specify that you want the content to include the language used in a specific niche. This way, when giving your content team instructions, you can add that, “This content is written for people in the tax industry, precisely tax consultants. So ensure you use words that they use every day and that directly speak to them.”

3. Know Your Competition and Use Them as Leverage

Every business has competition and the goal is to not only be better than your competition, but to be different. Why is it important to know your competition? Well, this helps you and your content team know what qualifies as “quality content”. Here’s what I mean;

Communicating ideas with others can sometimes be hard because they may not understand what you qualify as a good result. What you need to do in this case is look for a quality piece of content created by your competitor that is worth emulating. This piece of content, which could be any of the different types of online content, must be the kind that you propose would bring the results you want.

The next step would then be to make yours’ different, using your competitor’s content as a benchmark. In other words, the quality of content you would create must not be less that of your competitor. This gives you some form of leverage for you because you’ll add something to yours’ different or better.

Outsource it: Do a little research to find content that’s extraordinary. It may not even be from your niche. This way, your content team would have a defined direction and know what you qualify as a good result when you add, “Use this guest post by company XYZ as reference for this content. Look at how it was crafted to suit their audience, the content structure, length and tone. I want you to create something like this but make it unique. Show that I offer solutions in a way that’s different from others.”

4. Use a Content Framework to Save Time and Effort

Every piece of content on the internet has the most basic form of a framework which is: Headline, Introduction, Body, Conclusion and Call- to-Action. However, if you want content that converts, you should go deeper than that and define each part of the framework.

After studying the content from your competitor, you would be able to outline the content framework used. You can easily do this by simply answering some specific questions such as, “What headline formula did he use?”, “Does the introduction include a story that outlines the problem or is it just engaging?”, “Is a pattern interrupt or cliffhanger used? If it was used, where?”, “How detailed are the sub points?,” “Is the conclusion actionable? If it isn’t, how can I make mine more actionable?,” “Did the Call-to-Action blend in with the content?”

Outsource it: Using a framework gives your content team a more detailed overview of how the content would be created. You can add to your instructions, “See how a story was crafted to show the problem that tax consultants face when auditing large firms. Ensure to include a pattern interrupt at the beginning of the body that hooks the reader to read the sub points afterwards. Although the conclusion was not actionable, make mine actionable so it takes the reader one step forward toward solving his problem.” Once the content is studied and a framework created, you can then assess it, make corrections and move to the next step.

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5. Use a Draft That Leads To Smashing Finished Content

The purpose of drafts is to simply guide you on what to write. It also makes content creation super easy because it allows you to just “fill in the gap” when creating the final content.

As an example, let’s pick the basic framework one after the other.

The introduction

After the headline, the introduction is the second most important part of an article. Miss it here and you won’t get readers to go through the rest of the content.

So, the best way to capture readers in the introduction is to appeal to their emotions. How?

1. Through stories.

2. By relating with their pain and giving them a solution.

Whichever one you choose, the main aim is to get the reader connected.

The draft could have an introduction like this:

————————————————————

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State the pain associated with [subject of article].

————————————————————

Afterwards, your introduction should also contain the solution; the magic pill that the readers want. But you don’t just state this directly. Saying it like, “the following are 20 ways…..” can make the reader lose interest. The best way to say it is using the “Pattern Interrupt” if this is the way you want to go.

The Body

It’s in the body that you directly state what the reader is about to learn.

As for the points, you must have thought them up even before creating your draft. Also, every point comes with an explanation and an actionable give away. However this could differ depending on the content framework and kind of article.

————————————————————–

1. [Point 1]

This is where we show the reader how to …..

Next, we give an actionable way the reader can implement [Point 1].

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2. [Point 2]

We show the reader how…..

Next, we give an actionable way the reader can implement [Point 2].

————————————————————-

[Point 1] and [Point 2] will actually be replaced by the actual points.

This is just assuming that we’ve 2 points in the article.

The Conclusion and Call to Action

Here, depending on the framework, you summarize everything you’ve discussed so far. But most importantly, you end the story that you started in the introduction. If your story, in the introduction, states the pain the reader faces and the solution you are providing, the conclusion would show how the reader’s life would turn out if he/she implements your points in the article. Remember, you are writing to appeal to the emotion of the reader, and not just their common sense.

Outsource it: Request for a draft from your content team. You can add something like this to your instruction, “After studying the content framework of the guest post, send me a draft of what you would include in the final content. This draft should give me a brief overview of just what you would write in each part of the article. Once I make any necessary corrections and approve this, you’ll be able to create the final piece faster.”

It’s almost impossible to receive crappy content after following these five steps. Outsourcing content has its headaches because not every team member can easily translate what you qualify as quality. Therefore, you need to give them something to work with.

By knowing your audience and creating a content framework that speaks to their needs, you’ll receive outsourced content that brings the results you want. The good thing is you don’t have to do the work yourself. This ultimately saves you time and gives you a better Return on Investment. Just ensure you outsource content to someone who can get the job done!

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Last Updated on November 5, 2019

5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Effective Learning

5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Effective Learning

Businesses rely on talent to generate and sell value. Without skilled people to create its products, manage its operations and execute its strategies, a business would inevitably fizzle out of the game and leave better-staffed competitors to take the field.

This is the reason why ambitious companies go great lengths to attract top talent,[1] shelling out millions of dollars in the process and bending traditional work policies just to bring highly skilled but demanding candidates into the fold.

Clearly, the contours of business are changing. But so are the demographics of work.

Millennials have become the dominant generation in the job market in terms of population, and some have already transitioned into leadership roles. Most millennials consider opportunity to learn and grow more important than overall compensation.[2]

Companies also today expect employees to come equipped with razor sharp business acumen.[3] Unfortunately, there is an alarming discrepancy between the actual skills businesses need and those currently possessed by job candidates.

To stay in the game, employers need to continually upgrade their training and skills development strategies to cover the entire employee lifecycle.

What are Learning Management Systems (LMS)?

Learning management systems are software-based solutions for authoring, presenting, consuming, storing, and tracking educational content and training materials. These systems aim to centralize all instructional content (e.g., lessons, training modules, instructional videos, presentation slides, worksheets, online quizzes, ebooks, takeaway notes, etc.) in one place.

LMS enable instructors to design and deliver learning experiences to students, with the added capability of evaluating the effectiveness of the instructional materials and grading the learning progress of students.

On the other side of the equation, learners use LMS to develop skills and acquire new knowledge virtually anytime and anywhere via the different channels and content formats made possible by digital technology.

Over the years, a wide range of features and technologies have been integrated into learning management systems to help enhance the experience of training designers, instructors, and learners. These include cloud and mobile technology, artificial intelligence, responsive design, scheduling, gamification, data analytics, and interoperability with other applications.

5 Best All-Purpose Learning Management Systems

There are dozens of LMS vendors catering to the general market or to specific segments such as K-12 learning, higher education, and corporate training.

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With so many options available, selecting the right LMS solution for your needs can be complicated and costly, especially when you end up adopting a platform that doesn’t exactly match your goals or requirements.

Short of conducting a comprehensive audit of your needs and finalizing a learning roadmap, the safest bet would be to adopt full-featured but affordable LMS solutions.

Based on user reviews, here are the 5 best LMS to help people gain knowledge, build skills, and achieve mastery:

1. Canvas Network

Launched by Instructure as an open source software in 2011, Canvas is an end-to-end cloud-based service originally engineered for the education sector.

Widely adopted for K-12 and Higher Ed learning, Canvas can be repurposed for anything that involves an instructor, a subject matter, and a student.

Used around the world by people of all ages and organizations of all types, Canvas arguably has the largest learning and support community in its class. It works on desktop computers, tablets and mobile phones.

To get a glimpse of the platform’s fresh interfaces, you can visit the Canvas Network, a learning community that provides educational and instructional materials created by colleges, universities, corporate businesses, independent course developers, and other knowledge-sharing entities around the world.

Hosting hundreds of interesting topics from data science to horticulture, the learning network also serves as evidence to the scope, capabilities, and popularity of the Canvas LMS platform.

Canvas is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure, which enhances the platform’s reliability, speed, scalability, and overall online performance.

Additionally, platform adopters enjoy a low-risk environment since cloud-based solutions require no hard stops for version updates, upgrades, or system migrations.

The Canvas website does not show a price matrix but says the service adopts a simple formula for computing fees: a one-time implementation fee and an annual subscription fee based on total number of users. It also promises free basic services for teachers who want to use the platform.

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In addition to Canvas, Instructure also offers Bridge (an LMS designed for corporate environments), Arc (a video platform for online learning), and Gauge (an assessment management system).

Check out this video if you want to learn more about Canvas Network:

2. Google Classroom

This free service from Google aims to improve the teaching and learning process using cloud technology, web apps, workflow simplification, and seamless communication between students and instructors.

Using Classroom, educators can easily create and schedule classes, distribute assignments, send feedback, and grade quizzes all in one place. By streamlining processes, Classroom helps teachers save time and organize classes more effectively. Both students and teachers can also work using any device anytime and anywhere.

Classroom works perfectly with other Google tools, having been launched initially as part of Google’s G Suite for Education. This LMS solution taps Google Drive for content storage and distribution, as well as Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for the creation and sharing of instructional materials. Meanwhile it integrates Google Calendar for scheduling and Gmail for communication.

With G Suite, other communication channels such as chat messaging, video conferencing, and a dedicated website are enabled.

Easy to set up and manage, Google Classroom is free to use. One of my very first courses was actually hosted on Google Classroom.

Going beyond the classroom environment, Google offers G Suite Enterprise for Education for large institutions. This suite provides enhanced search and analytics capabilities as well as advanced tools for enterprise communications.

3. Moodle (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment)

If budget and capability equally top your list of LMS adoption criteria, then Moodle might just fit the bill. Which is to say there’s none (i.e., bill).

Moodle is a free and open-source learning solution for distance education, workplace training, flipped classrooms, and other pedagogical environments.

It is also a full-featured LMS supported by a robust community and a thriving developer ecosystem. Not surprisingly, Moodle is used in more than 15 million courses by more than 130 million users in 230+ countries.

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Among other things, Moodle enables administrators and educators to create a dynamic and dedicated website to host organic, easily accessible, and highly customizable courses that can be experienced on desktops and mobile devices anytime and anywhere.

Moodle provides a personalized and intuitive dashboard as well as a host of collaboration tools for content designers, teachers, and learners. A universal calendar, an efficient file management system, an automatic notification system, multimedia integration, and a progress tracking tool all come with the package.

Check out this video if you want to learn more about Moodle:

4. Absorb

This platform recently bagged PC Magazine’s Editors’ Choice Award for Best LMS.

Co-designed and built by former course authors, Absorb takes learning experience to the next level. This turnkey LMS solution is responsive, full-featured, and highly customizable for maximum impact.

Course developers can orchestrate a wide range of experiences depending on audience or learning situation. In addition to surveys, polls, and e-commerce integration, Absorb supports formal online learning and certifications standards such as AICC, SCORM, and Tin Can.

The user interface can also be modified to match the learner’s location, group, or department, allowing for a different look and feel for customers, channel partners, management trainees, and newly hired employees.

Absorb supports all personal computing devices from desktops to mobile phones. There are also native or hybrid apps for iOS and Android.

The only possible drawback to the platform’s powerful feature set is its pricing. The service reportedly implements a flat, one-time setup fee depending on your business and training requirements. According to the site, any plan comes with a dedicated success team for your account.

Although small companies are welcome to try, midsize to enterprise-scale organizations are probably the best segment to readily adopt this LMS solution.

Take a look at some examples of Absorb in this video:

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5. Watershed Collaborative

Created by a group of educators, this nonprofit rethinks the priorities of an LMS, asserting that too many systems miss the most essential elements of what makes learning stick. They promise a better user experience – emphasizing Learning before Management and System.

Watershed aims to support an inquiry-based learning experience through an integrated mix of online and in-person learning strategies and interactions designed expressly for teams – including collaboration, reflection, and dialogue.

While Watershed was founded initially to serve the K-12 education market, the company has since expanded its scope to cater to all types of teachers and learners with its video-rich, state-of-the-art platform.

If you’re a mission-driven educator, content creator, institution, or business, this LMS may be the one for you.

Watershed specializes in assisting you with the instructional design of courses and provides content production services to ensure top-quality video assets with lasting value. Their LMS makes it easy for course creators to continuously update and tailor content to support small and large groups, while ensuring the technology and instructional strategy supports communities of learners.

Pricing varies based on products and services, but revenues support the nonprofit’s ability to make its platform and courses available at little or no cost for high-need educators and educational settings.

Honorable Mentions

There are dozens of LMS vendors in this growing market and the brands included in foregoing list are by no means the only viable options for companies or learning institutions looking to upgrade their learning infrastructure.

Many other excellent services are worth checking out. These include:

  1. Docebo is an LMS designed for hyper-engaging students, employees, customers, and other learners. The system helps organizations identify and resolve competency gaps with strategic learning interventions.
  2. Cornerstone OnDemand is a talent, training, and performance management solution offered as an SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). This service enables learners to create personalized playlists of instructional content.
  3. Lessonly is an LMS solution that makes it easier to recall and reinforce whatever skills or knowledge you have learned through quizzes, coaching, and constant practice.
  4. Skillsoft is an online training and corporate learning platform developed by a two-decade old and billion-dollar company with the same name.
  5. D2L BrightSpace is a learning management system that has all the basics for delivering excellent, rich-media experiences for classroom or workplace training.

Conclusion

There are many ways to learn but some are more effective and meaningful than others. Whether you are a teacher looking to enhance classroom learning or an HR manager creating a long-term talent development plan for employees, the key to impactful learning is to understand and bridge the needs of learners, the goals of your institution, and the actual capabilities of the learning tools you are considering.

Note that using multiple LMS platforms is possible although not recommended. On the other hand, adopting other learning solutions beyond LMS (such as podcasts, mentoring, and onsite in-person workshops) may significantly improve learning outcomes. Always go for products and plugins that seamlessly integrate into your core LMS tool.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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