Small business marketing has matured to the point where most brands understand the value of—and invest in—some form of content marketing. However, only a very small percentage of businesses create content that provides any real value. If you want to enjoy tangible benefits—enhanced reputation, more site traffic, better customer engagement, to name a few—creating content for your website isn’t enough. You need to create content that people actually want to share.

The Downside of Going Viral
Your goal with content marketing is to create compelling content that engages readers and ultimately turns them into paying customers. And while you can choose lots of different strategies for engaging readers, social media plays an important role in almost every approach to content marketing.

The overused term “going viral” remains the gold standard for many marketers, even though it’s practically impossible to achieve with consistency. You may never publish a piece of content that people share 2 million times, but you can consistently create content that gets shared 200 or 2,000 times. And the return on investment from these pieces of content is equally powerful. It leads to more website traffic, it increases brand awareness, and it reinforces thought leadership.

How to Create Shareable Content
Start by re-framing the question. Don’t ask: how do I create viral content? Instead, ask this: how do I create content that gets shared? When you focus on creating viral content, you lose sight of content marketing’s fundamental goals. You focus on unrealistic metrics that may or may not add value.

Let’s take a look at three of the top tips for creating shareable content.

1. Make Content Actionable
Actionable content is highly shareable. People like to read content that gives them tangible advice they can use in their everyday lives—everything from DIY home renovations, auto repairs, to finances, and raising children. If you want more shares, then select practical topics. And don’t be afraid to zero in on a very specific micro topic.

Take this article on common auto repairs from eEuroparts as an example. The article provides instructions to repair several common BMW X5 issues that drivers frequently encounter with the E53 model. It’s extremely practical for people who own a BMW X5. It also includes—in a non-intrusive way—the exact BMW auto parts needed for the job (oftentimes with the correct BMW part numbers).

The article also provides a genuine OEM parts option, as well as cheaper aftermarket options, if available. Based on the helpful information in the article, readers can fix problems they’re dealing with. There’s nothing theoretical about the content. Specific and actionable attributes make this article worth sharing.

2. Go for Visual Appeal
The images you choose—both in the article and as the thumbnail image—have a direct effect on whether, and how much, people share your article. Choose polarising images that attract attention, as opposed to safe or cliché images that blend in with everything else.

Take the Rachel Ray Every Day blog as an example. The blog incorporates striking images that grab the readers’ focus and encourages them to keep reading. In an industry that’s conducive to using stock photos, this blog gets it right.

3. Craft Compelling Headlines
The headline is one of the most important components of shareable content. While a headline may only be five to ten words, it must grab a reader’s attention on social media. Content writers use a number of strategies when drafting headlines, but most agree that the following characteristics hold true no matter what:

Short and sweet: When it comes to social media and search engines, most headlines with more than 70 characters get cut off or abbreviated. And a reader’s average attention span is less than eight seconds, so get right to the point.
Strong words rule: Boring words get you nowhere. Use strong adjectives to grab readers’ attention. While you can debate the authenticity and honesty of the National Enquirer, it’s hard to deny the rag’s strategic headline writing.
Another headline tip: take a counter stance. When everyone else supports—or opposes—something, you can create a lot of buzz by taking the opposite viewpoint. While some people will certainly disagree with you, it will garner a lot of traction and attention.

Maximise Your Content Marketing
Quality content holds little value if nobody ever clicks on it or shares an article. It’s merely an unutilized resource. However, once you attract readers, the content value suddenly comes to life. You can maximise the value of your content by investing in a strategy that prioritises social sharing.

Use the aforementioned tips to develop content that resonates with your target audience, and that you can distribute quickly and easily through social media channels. Your content will flourish and your brand will benefit greatly.

Published with consideration from SOURCE

Microsoft has just announced plans to bring support for add-ins for the Mac version of Microsoft Office. Despite being in the initial testing stages, this development is still exciting nonetheless. This marks another step forward in Microsoft’s efforts to bring the Mac version of the Office Suite closer to its Windows counterpart. Read on for more information:

Office add-ins are applications running within the suite’s constituent programs that provide features not available by default. In terms of usage, they’re similar to browser extensions, but add-ins are tailored to the tasks users carry out in Office programs such as Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook. For example, one popular add-in allows users to look up words and phrases on Wikipedia without leaving Word. Another introduces additional chart types that can be used in Excel.

Add-ins are usually free, but some require either a one-off payment or a monthly subscription. If Microsoft wants its Office Store to flourish, it makes a lot of sense to provide support for add-ins to the Mac version of the Office Suite.

According to a report from MS Power User, to access add-ins, Mac users need to be members of the Insider program and opt into its Fast Ring. From there, you should check that the installation of your Office for Mac is build 170124 or later.

You can find the “Add-ins” option from the Insert menu in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, and then select the store. Once at the storefront, find an add-in you’re looking for and install it. Currently, there’s no word on when add-ins will be available to all Office users on the Mac platform. But if the functionality is ready for public testing, it’s safe to assume the official release is already on its way.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from SOURCE

Well… What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that encrypts files on your computer so that cyber criminals can hold those files on your computer for ransom. Essentially, demanding payment from you within a certain timeframe to get them decrypted. In some cases, the encrypted files can essentially be considered damaged beyond repair.

There are plenty of ways ransomware can get onto a person’s computer, but as always, those tactics all generally come down to certain social engineering techniques or using software vulnerabilities to silently install itself on a victim’s computer.

Unfortunately, the threat of ransomware is very real, and is becoming an increasingly popular way in 2017 for malware authors to extort money from businesses and consumers alike. We’ll give you some great advice to have you properly prepare your computer, servers, and networks. Here are a few tips that will help you keep your data protected and prevent ransomware from hijacking your files this year and years to come:

1. First & Foremost, Back Up Your Files Regularly…

…and keep a recent backup off-site. If you don’t already have backups of your data, this is the most critical action step that will help you defeat ransomware. Be certain that you have a regularly updated backup and have tested that you are able to restore those files. Ideally, you’ll have the backup located on multiple drives.

2. Do NOT Download Email Attachments or Enable Macros

You may already received these types of emails … claiming to be an invoice or some purchase order of some sort. Be extremely careful about opening email attachments from anyone outside of your organization. Simply deleted any malicious emails without opening them. Also, consider installing Microsoft Office viewers that allow read-only access and don’t enable macros.

3. Don’t Have More Access Privileges Than You Need

Simply, the minimum effective dose here… if you don’t need administrator rights for your day-to-day tasks, then create a separate account with limited access. When you do login as an admin, don’t stay logged in any longer than necessary. Avoid browsing, opening documents or other regular work activities while logged in as administrator… that’s what your limited access account is now for.

4. Update, Patch, Uninstall

Malware that doesn’t try to install itself by a Microsoft Office file macro will often rely on outdated software and applications that have bugs in them. Be sure to apply the latest security patches available, which will limit the attacker’s options for infecting your computer with ransomware.

5. Train Your Employees in Your Business in Good Practices

Strong passwords. Not sharing user logins. Logging out at the end of the day. Train your employees who have access to computers and their systems to have good practices. They can be the weakest link in the company’s computer systems if you don’t have a training program in place that will teach them how to avoid spam email attachments, unsolicited documents, and malicious software.

6. Segment the Company Network

If you have clients or customers that need access to the internet while visiting the company, be sure to have a separate access point that only allows use of the internet and prevents access to the company network.

7. Show Hidden File-Extensions

By default, known file extensions like .EXE are hidden and that’s one way that ransomware frequently disguises itself is by having the extension “.PDF.EXE”, counting on Window’s default behavior of hiding known file-extensions so that it will seem like it’s just a PDF. We suggest that you re-enable the ability to see the show file-extensions so it will be more obvious to detect suspicious files.

8. (Did We Say 7? Here’s An Extra!) Disable RDP

One way the Cryptolocker/Filecoder malware often accesses victim’s machines is by using Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). This is a Windows utility that allows others to access your desktop remotely. Such as those who fake that they’re an IT support person and will help you speed up your computer. If you do not require the use of RDP, you should disable it to protect your computer from malware that exploits this.

Ransomware can certainly be frightening, but there are many steps to take that can help you be prepared in any situation that would put your data at risk. That is why it has always, and will always be, the single most important best practice to protect your company against data loss with regular scheduled backups. That way, no matter what happens, you will be able to restore your data quickly. I can only hope that if anything positive can be taken away from the increased threat of ransomware, it is a clear indication of the importance of regularly scheduled, frequent backups to protect your valuable data.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from NovaStor SOURCE

One of the core principles of virtualized technology is the ability to quarantine cyber security threats easily. For the most part, vendors have been winning this security tug-of-war with hackers, but that may change with the resurrection of a long-dormant piece of malware that targets virtualized desktops. If your business employs any form of virtualization, learning more about this updated virus is critically important to the health of your technology.

What is it?

Back in 2012, a brand new virus called “Shamoon” was unleashed onto computers attached to the networks of oil and gas companies. Like something out of a Hollywood film, Shamoon locked down computers and displayed a burning American flag on the display while totally erasing anything stored on the local hard disk. The cybersecurity industry quickly got the virus under control, but not before it destroyed data on nearly 30,000 machines.

For years, Shamoon remained completely inactive — until a few months ago. During a period of rising popularity, virtualization vendors coded doorways into their software specifically designed to thwart Shamoon and similar viruses. But a recent announcement from Palo Alto Networks revealed that someone refurbished Shamoon to include a set of keys that allow it to bypass these doorways. With those safeguards overcome, the virus is free to cause the same damage it was designed to do four years ago.

Who is at risk?

As of the Palo Alto Networks announcement, only networks using Huawei’s virtual desktop infrastructure management software are exposed. If your business uses one of those services, get in touch with your IT provider as soon as possible to address how you will protect yourself from Shamoon.

On a broader scale, this attack shows how virtualization’s popularity makes it vulnerable. Cyber attackers rarely write malware programs that go after unpopular or underutilized technology. The amount of effort just isn’t worth the pay off.

Headlines decrying the danger of Shamoon will be a siren call to hackers all over the globe to get in on the ground floor of this profitable trend. It happened for ransomware last year, and virtual machine viruses could very well turn out to be the top security threat of 2017.

How can I protect my data?

There are several things you need to do to ensure the safety of your virtual desktops. Firstly, update your passwords frequently and make sure they’re sufficiently complex. Shamoon’s most recent attempt to infect workstations was made possible by default login credentials that had not been updated.

Secondly, install monitoring software to scan and analyze network activity for unusual behavior. Even if legitimate credentials are used across the board, accessing uncommon parts of the network at odd hours will sound an alarm and give administrators precious time to take a closer look at exactly what is happening.

Ultimately, businesses need virtualization experts on hand to protect and preserve desktop infrastructures. Thankfully, you have already found all the help you need. With our vast experience in all forms of virtualized computing, a quick phone call is the only thing between you and getting started. To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from SOURCE