BNI Purpose and Overview

bni-purpose-and-overview

The Top Ten Reasons for Joining BNI

Time is priceless. Once you have spent it, it’s gone and cannot be returned.

Thus, when a member or a guest of the member arrives for a Business Networking International (BNI) meeting, the meeting will start on time and end on time. They soon learn that meetings are facilitated to maximum value, develop relationships and impart knowledge.

Of course, there are expectations from BNI for each member, which are agreed to when a new member is approved by the membership committee. If you are wondering why you should invest your priceless time, here are The Top Ten Reasons to Join BNI:

  1. We allow only one member from each profession into the chapter. No member will have to be concerned about another member from their industry receiving referrals.
  2. The primary purpose BNI is to increase business for its members. What goes around comes around. You send business to members, they’ll send business to you.
  3. As a member of BNI, you’ll begin to feel like the membership is your own group of personal salespeople. Each member has a BNI card file with everyone’s business cards in it. Members can then distribute those cards to others outside the group.
  4. “Word of mouth” remains the best way to advertise, even in this Digital Age. BNI’s structure allows for developing and exchanging quality business referrals. If you need referrals, then you need BNI.
  5. BNI teaches business people to develop relationships that result in referrals for each other. It is not about you and your business “hard selling” to others. You may actually become personal friends with members which could last a lifetime.
  6. BNI isn’t the only business network around. Each member has their own personal and business network. That “extended network” may be a source of many weekly business referrals. On average, each BNI Chapter (three months old and older) hand out more than 60 referrals each month to its members.
  7. How you increase and maintain your word-of-mouth-based business depends on the BNI process. Each member educates each other about what they do and the kinds of referrals they want. Our success is tied to your success in business.
  8. Because of your business being the only one of its kind in BNI, you will have an edge over your competitors. None of your competitors can join this chapter. Only one person per profession.
  9. BNI is a coalition of businesses. Each industry is represented by one person. This mutual support system helps each other increase business by giving each member referrals.
  10. Referrals are key! Members may get most of their business from referrals. After all, BNI is about GIVING BUSINESS to its members.

So, when our BNI Capital Business Alliance Chapter meets every week, we have a tight and set agenda, with roles for everyone, including guests. It’s essential that we don’t waste anyone’s time. We are all business owners or operators who are quite busy and want to achieve the best use of our time when we meet.

One of the many reasons that BNI is such a successful networking organization in the DMV/Washington, D.C. Beltway area is that we recognize that small business owners wear many hats and have to do a lot of tasks in their work day. Networking can be a chore for many of them, so BNI has designed its meetings to be built around one main goal: Building Relationships.

Now, “building relationships” may sound rather generic or boring vanilla, but it isn’t for our networking chapter! It is through building relationships with our fellow business owners, that we learn, assist and even patronize. You cannot help someone unless you get to know them.

Finally, BNI is a structured, organized and goal-oriented relationship-building place for small business owners who want to give referrals, receive referrals and build lasting business and personal relationships. It is designed to make networking efficient and fun.

To find out more about BNI visit the global website, www.bni.com, and find a meeting near you. You can also visit our Bethesda Maryland Chapter website: http://bnicentralmaryland.com/bnicapitalbiz, or contact our 2018 president, Brian Loebig of Loebig Ink, LLC: brian@loebigink.com.

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How to find and disavow harmful backlinks in Google Search Console

howtodisavowA growing negative SEO technique is showing it’s ugly face more than ever as website owners begin to see the value in increasing their search engine visibility. The analytics guru’s at Alexa by Amazon describe the issue in detail in the article, Negative SEO is Real. The main sources of harm come from “link farms”, spammy links, scrapped content that is duplicated across the web, fake reviews and hacked websites and malware attacks.

Our SEO team has seen each of these problems across the several hundred SEO projects we have managed as well. One of the most prominent problems we see regularly is harmful and spammy backlinks. Using a quality backlink monitoring tool such as Majestic.com, SEMRush.com or Ahrefs.com needs to be a  tool in every site owners tool box. The following steps were created to help you identify these links and signal Google to not penalize your site when these backlinks appear.

  1. Create a .txt file of all the domains you wish to disavow.
    • Go to Majestic.com and search for your domain in the main “Site Explorer Results” search field.
    • Select the “Ref Domains” tab to get a list of all the referring domains
    • Click on the number listed in the “Backlinks” column to reveal the top ten links from that website.
    • Visit a few links to determine if they appear to be from a site created for the sole purpose of creating back links, i.e. a spammy website. A root domain with a Trust Flow score of “0” and a high Citations score is sign the site might be harmful.
    • If the site is spammy, create a .txt file in MS Notepad, or similar plain text editor, and add the domain on the top line preceded by “domain:”
        1. E.g. domain:crimsonnight.net
    • Continue until all spammy domains are listed. Put each domain on it’s own line.
    • Save the file using this naming convention: disavow2016-07-17.txt
  2. Log into your Google Search Console account
  3. Visit: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/disavow-links-main
  4. Select the appropriate domain that is being linked to and click “DISAVOW LINKS” button
    • Read Google note and click “Done”

Disavowing backlinks is an advanced SEO strategy and should only be used with caution. If used incorrectly, this process can potentially harm your site’s performance in Google’s search results. We recommend that you only disavow backlinks if you believe that there are a considerable number of spammy, artificial, or low-quality links pointing to your site, and if you are confident that the links are causing issues for you.

5. Navigate back to Google’s Search Console Dashboard and resubmit the XML Sitemap.
6. Dashboard > Crawl > Sitemaps > Add/Test Sitemap > Submit
7. Done!

Note: When new domains need to be added to the disavow .txt file, they should be added to a new, single, growing list of previously disavowed domains. Google references this single .txt file when indexing a website so any future domains should be added to a new .txt file and uploaded again replacing the file that was previously created.

Google adds a “nofollow” link from the spammy website links to the client’s site so that it is not penalized for having spammy links which is a Google Penguin Algorithm update. It can take several weeks to a few months for Google to recrawl an entire domain.

References:

Feel free to contact us if you have a question about a link you may want to disavow or if you would prefer to have our SEO team evaluate your backlink profile for the presence of harmful backlinks!

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How to Claim a Google My Business Listing that is Already Verified

Google My Business ChecklistOne of the most important directory listings on the Internet for a small business is the Google My Business listing. This online directory integrates the Google Maps listing with the Google Plus page, Google Reviews and event YouTube. Since a small business Google listing can appear at the top of a Google search result, it is critical to claim or create and optimize ones Google My Business account for increased search engine visibility.

When embarking on this local SEO strategy many businesses find that their Google Maps listing has already been claimed by someone unknown to the business. In this case, there are a series of steps that need to be taken to claim a Google listing that is already verified. Good luck and have patience on your quest to enhance this important digital footprint!

  1. You must first decide what email address you want to use to ‘claim’ the business listing. It is recommended that an email address be used that is connected to the business domain name such as webmaster@mywebsite.com.
  2. Google requires that the email address being used to claim the local business be connected to a Google Apps account. If the email address is already connected to Google Apps, go to step 4. If it is  not connected to Google Apps, you will need to create a Google account and choose the option “I prefer to use my current email address.
  3. Go to Google My Business and click “Start Now” http://www.google.com/business and either login, if using an existing email address connected to Google or select ‘create an account’ and associate a new email address with Google
  4. Type in the address of the business you want to claim googlemap
  5. You will see a message that says, “Someone else has already verified this listing”
  6. Click “Request Admin Rights”requestadmin
  7. Select “No, the business is currently managed by someone else.”form
  8. Select “No” to the question “Is this business verified by a user whom you’re able to contact?”form2
  9. Fill out the form that follows and submit

transferownership

requestadmin2

  1. Then, the waiting begins. It can take one or two weeks for Google reps to review the request and listing.
  2. If no email after a week or two, contact Google Support using this link to facilitate the process: https://support.google.com/business/#contact=1, or https://support.google.com/business/#topic=4539639&contact=1
  3. Once the listing is released, Google will likely require another post card verification.

Need help with claiming your Google My Business account!? Contact my team to help expedite the process: info [at] loebigink.com.

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How to Add an Ads Manager to Your Twitter account

twitteradmin-howtoAdding a manager to your Twitter ads account is a fairly simple process. A Twitter Ads Manager can help you setup and monitor campaigns that target very specific audiences or followers of other relevant Twitter pages.

Follow these steps to give your Ads Manager access to your Twitter account.

  1. Log into the Twitter ads account here: https://ads.twitter.com/
  2. On the top right, click the drop down menu under your account name and select “Edit access to account”
    twitteradmin1
  3. Click “Add more Users…”
  4. Enter your account managers name or Twitter handle in the text field.
  5. Set the level of access as “Account Administrator”. This level is necessary to give the ad manager the ability to create a tracking pixels to measure website conversions and to create Twitter cards if that is needed as well.
    twitteradmin2
  6. Save and DONE!
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How to Add an Ads Manager to Your Facebook Page

Updated 7/10/2016

Adding a Facebook Ads Manager is different process compared to adding a Page Manager. The Facebook calls their ads application the Facebook “Business Manager”.

The Business Manager Admin can add additional people to the account to manage and/or monitor the ads account.

The first step in giving someone access to the Facebook Business Manager for advertising purposes is to assign them one of two roles: Business Manager Employee or Business Manager Admin.

  1. Log into your Business Manager Account: https://business.facebook.com
  2. On the top right corner of the business manager overview page click the green “Add New” button and select “People” from the menu.
    fbads1
  3. In the Add New People popup window type in the ad manager’s email address and select a role; admin or employee. (Loebig Ink affiliated clients should choose the ‘admin’ role). Then click the “Add People” button.
    fbads2
  4. On the next page select the page to be managed by the advertiser and choose a role; admin or employee. (Loebig Ink affiliated clients should choose the ‘admin’ role). Then click the “Next” button.
    fbads3
  5. On the next page select the ads account to be managed by the advertiser and choose a role; admin or employee. (Loebig Ink affiliated clients should choose the ‘admin’ role). Then click the “Next” button.
    fbads4
  6. On the next page called “Assign Product Catalogs” click “Skip” and to the the final page.
    fbads5
  7. The final page will verify that an invitation has been sent to the advertiser to gain access to your Facebook Business Manager account.
    fbads6
  8. The advertiser will receive a confirmation email that looks like this:
    fbads7

9. Done!

View my other “How To…” articles.

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Brian Jackson | Sports Anchor and Reporter

brian jackson sports anchorBrian Jackson is a sports anchor and reporter at WJXT Channel 4, in Jacksonville, FL.  Guest blog author, Nia Crawford, was excited to interview Mr. Jackson since her own dream is to study sports broadcasting after she finishes her senior year in high school.

Nia, a Loebig Ink summer intern, recently spoke with Jackson in a one-on-one interview:

  1. Career Influences
    I knew probably around 7th or 8th grade that I wasn’t going to be able to play sports professionally. I wasn’t going to be able to make it to the NFL or NBA. Sports reporting was the closest thing to get me to there. If I couldn’t be in the league I might as well get paid to go talk about them! Sports was always a big part of my childhood.
  2. Biggest Career Success
    The biggest success of my career is probably being able to have the job I have now.  It’s really being able to achieve and live a dream. I am a sports anchor and reporter at the No. 1 rated TV station in Jacksonville Florida. I walk down the street and people actually recognize me from watching me on the TV. It’s kind of weird sometimes.
  3. Recent Lessons Learned
    Throughout my career I’ve learned patience more than anything. It’s a very competitive field; a lot of people aren’t going to be on your team. They’re going to tell you “hey your not good enough”. You are going to get told “no” a lot. I probably applied to 500 jobs before I got this one. So the biggest lesson is just patience and perseverance. That’s probably what I can say I learned the most.
  4. What Inspires and Motivates you?
    Well this sports broadcasting career is all I’ve ever wanted to do. This has been my dream since I was a kid.  I’ve always wanted to be a sports reporter and anchor. Now I’m actually getting a chance to do that. To be able to live out a childhood dream, that’s what, keeps me going. Also, its one of those fields where you get better by doing it every day, so that’s what helps too.
  5. Share a leadership story
    A lot of times in this industry you’re actually put on your own. Nobody is really looking ver my shoulder. I have to get done what I have to get done on my own.
  6. Your Top Two

    “The elevator to success is out of order. You’ll have to use the stairs…One step at a time.” -Rande Wilson

    “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD,plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11

  7. About Brian Jackson

    Brian Jackson is a sports anchor and a reporter at WJXT-TV in Jacksonville, Florida. Brian is a native Chicagoan and proud alum of Howard University in Washington D.C. Connect with Brian on all his social media sites!

    a. Facebook
    b. Twitter
    d. Instagram
    e. Linkedin

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Tamika Smith | News Anchor/Reporter

tamika smithTamika Smith is a weekend news anchor and reporter at NPR’s WAMU 88.5.  Guest blog author, Sanarah Missouri, says, “I always find it fascinating to learn from individuals in the media industry. They either possess a great personality, ambition, or courage and she has it all!

Her knowledge and experiences have helped her to become the incredible journalist she is today.”

Sanarah, a Loebig Ink summer intern, recently spoke with Smith in a one-on-one interview:

1. Career influences

My career began when I was a 13-year-old in Miami, Florida with  NBC 6 Junior Broadcaster program.  At that specific point, I was introduced to journalism and fell in love with it.  I started to pursue my career in high school. The program introduced me to being a reporter and an anchor. I also learned how to edit and the different ins and outs of being a part of a news program. From that point on, I decided to continue with the career.

2. Biggest Career Success

My biggest career success up-to-date will have to be hosting for NPR’s WAMU 88.5. It is one of the top 10 stations in the nation. I also make an effort to consistently give back while I pursue my career.  It can be very challenging, but I make time for speaking to and mentoring young people in this industry.

3. Recent Lessons Learned

Being great at your craft is very important, but being a good person is as important. I’m someone that can find humor in a situation that is very intense. No one wants to be around a “Debbie Downer”.

4. What Inspires and Motivates

Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of role models to emulate when I was growing in the field of journalism. It wasn’t until I got to college, at Howard University, that I started being able to meet different journalists of color and started to have people that I could look up to. Early in my career, I was introduced to various women such as Michel Martin, Michele Norris, and Mary Major. Being able to work with these women of color and seeing women in leadership positions in the industry gave me the courage to believe that I can do the same thing.

5. Share a Leadership Story

In December 2010, I was working at AOL’s Patch.com and I just came back from doing a story about a teacher at Montgomery Blair High School. I was getting ready to sit down at a coffee shop when I received a call.

I was one of the first journalists on the scene. It was very intense with people running past me. I immediately started tweeting and called my editor. I was leading the coverage at the time because no one was in that vicinity  of downtown Silver Spring.

6. Your Top Two

a. “Throw me to the wolves and I will return leading the pack” –Unknown.

b. “Be the change you wish to see in the world”– Mathama Ghandi.

7. About Tamika Smith

Tamika Smith is a multimedia journalist in the D.C. area. She reports on various local issues, from politics to the environment. Smith is currently an anchor/reporter for  NPR’s WAMU 88.5

Follow her everywhere!

Check out other featured “Entrepreneurs in Action”!

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Direct Message Improvements on Twitter

Twitter announced some additional functionality to make direct messaging your followers more convenient. On both the desktop and mobile versions of Twitter a ‘direct message’ (DM) icon is now visible and makes it easier to send those contacts a personal message.

The direct message functionality is also built into tweets that appear on Twitter profiles. Tapping and holding a tweet will bring up a menu with the new option to DM someone the selected tweet.

Direct Message Button on Desktops

twitter direct message example for desktop

Direct Message Button on Mobile

twitter direct message mobile button

Tap and hold a tweet to bring up menu with option to share via direct message:

twitter direct message menu option

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Online Reputation Repair

online-reputation-managementEvery once in a while I receive an inquiry from a small business that is attempting to recover from a bad review(s), legal issues that are made public, or a news story that damages their online reputation. If they didn’t understand the power of the Internet to amplify their business profile previously, they get a quick education through a negative situation.

The first question I get is “how can I make these bad reviews go away?” or, “can I remove these negative comments, posts or news articles from the web?” Unfortunately, in most cases, the answer is “no.” Many damaging reviews, legal outcomes and inaccurate news reports will live on into perpetuity. Even if you are able to get a bad review or news story taken down from a website, other sister sites or data aggregators will have the same article, or article excerpts, listed on their site. This situation is especially true of stories that are distributed through press release websites.

Therefore, in reputation management, a good defense is developing a proactive offense to minimize the impact and visibility of the negative articles. By creating new articles, directory listings and online profiles the negative articles will be pushed lower in ranking results for the keywords in question.

However, the first step should always be to address the root cause of the bad reviews and negative press. If your business practices or employees have caused harm, address those issues first! After that, you can embark on the long and time-consuming process of repairing your web reputation.

  1. Research Keywords
    1. Identify key search terms that bring up the negative Google Results you are trying to mitigate.
    2. Develop a business description that incorporates those keywords into the description. Title tags, that appear in the tab of a browser and H1 tags, which are usually the main subject of the page are key.
  2. Setup a Moz.com/local account
    1. Improve your local listings score to 100%
  3. Create press releases on top PR sites
    1. PRnewswire.com
    2. PRweb.com
    3. Einpresswire.com
    4. PR.com
    5. 24-7pressrelease.com
  4. Create business listings and/or personal profiles on key sites
    1. About.me
    2. Tumblr.com
    3. Blogger.com
    4. Brandyourself.com
    5. Airbnb.com
    6. Identyme.com
    7. Myspace.com
    8. Vimeo.com
    9. Wattpad.com
    10. Slideshare.com
    11. Ask.fm
    12. Soup.io
    13. Gravatar.com
  5. Create Social Media profiles
    1. Facebook
    2. Linkedin biz page
    3. Linkedin personal pages for Directors
    4. Twitter
    5. Google Plus (business page and maps listing)
    6. Youtube.com
    7. Pinterest (ask Pinterest users to make pins linking to the website)
  6. Setup a Google Alert on the business name and keywords that are triggering high rankings in Google for the negative stories.
    1. www.google.com/alerts

Repairing a business reputation is an arduous task and there are a select number of reputable reputation management companies that will help guide a business or individual through the process for a handsome price. Make sure the agency explains how they will document their efforts and repair the damage and also how they measure and independently validate their success.

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Jayne D’Alessandro-Cox | Virginia Author

jayne d'alessandro-coxJayne D’Alessandro-Cox is a Virginia author whom I came to know through one of my business colleagues, Philip Day. Ms. D’Alessandro-Cox has written several children’s books and a unique book on the first 31 years of Thomas Jefferson’s life. I can personally attest to her engaging writing style since I have purchased all of them myself! It is a pleasure to feature Jayne as a true entrepreneur in action.

1. Career influences

At this chapter in my life, when people ask me, “…and what do you do?”, I humbly answer, “I am an author”. One question seems to lead to many, but the occasion always reminds me that career paths can be so unexpected in life.

My career influence was my English teacher in my sophomore year of high school. The assignment was to write a Christmas story. As a 16 year old, that was the last thing I wanted to do on Christmas break. As tears dropped on my loose leaf paper, I said a prayer and asked God to help me think of something to write. What happened next changed my life. Within 2 ½ hours, my attitude went from feeling sorry for myself, to excitement, as God had inspired me to write the sweetest Christmas story, in verse, which I titled, A Miracle in Bethlehem. I cannot ever remember writing in verse, but the end result got me a 95% with the following remarks from my teacher, “…with some illustrations, this could be a very nice children’s book!” If it were not for my teacher’s written remark on my paper, I would not have saved it and published it over 35 years later. Unmistakably, my English teacher was my career influence, but God was my inspiration.

2. Biggest Career Success

This has to be my most recent book entitled Thomas Jefferson-From Boy to Man. It is a historical, autobiographical, and biographical account of Thomas Jefferson’s first 31 years of life, written in journal form and supplemented with background text to further inform the reader.  It documents Jefferson’s childhood, adolescence, and journey to manhood.  The reader will get to know our founding father more intimately after reading about his early years.  To understand the man, one needs to learn about the boy. There is no book like this on the market today, and it is, thankfully, getting rave reviews!

3. Recent Lessons Learned

As an author of four books, I’ve had to do numerous book related tasks and projects that were completely out of my comfort zone.  Once my first book came out, I assumed that it would be in every book store nationwide. So not the case! That “may” happen for a celebrity, but certainly not for the “average Joe, or Jayne”!  I’ve since learned how to represent and promote my books through book signings and speaking engagements, and give radio interviews, while actively promoting them over social media.  It helps to have a great web site, thanks to Brian Loebig and Philip Day Communications!  (www.jaynedalessandrocox.com)

4. What Inspires and Motivates

What most inspires and motivates me is my relationship with Christ.  If everyone could only experience how wonderful it is to have an intimate communication with Christ, what an amazing world it would be!  I know my purpose in this world, and I understanding why I was created: to know, love, and serve the Lord. Writing my first three Christian books was to honor and serve Him. When I prayed at my bedroom desk that December night in 1972, it didn’t surprised me that God answered my prayer with such a sweet story.  What did surprise me was how quickly! As a result, children are discovering the joy of knowing Jesus in their lives.  What could be better than that?

5. Share a Leadership Story

As an author, I realize that I am fully in charge of marketing my books. The first promotion year was exhausting, and I thought, “Does every new author have to go through this?”  The answer is “yes”, unless you are a celebrity or hire an agent.  After the first book-signing Christmas season, I decided to invite as many authors as I could fit in a hotel ballroom, advertise, and hold a huge book signing event.  The author’s table fees and sponsor fees covered all the expenses.  It was called Meet the Authors Book Signing Event, and it has become a growing and popular local event.  Although a labor of love, I believe that it gave the opportunity to many new authors who were not as resourceful in promoting their published work. I have found that every new project that I’ve taken on, no matter how difficult or time consuming, could not have been achieved without prayer. God hears our prayers, and if they honor Him, he blesses us with a favorable answer.

6. Your Top Two

  1. I believe that one must have an unwavering determination to accomplish a specific goal…no matter what the goal is or how difficult it is to achieve. Do whatever homework is necessary to learn all you can about the project.  I love the story of The Tortoise and The Hare. Slow and steady wins the race, just never give up!
  2. Also, for me, prayer is essential. I know that I can do nothing without the help of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, nor would I want to.  My prayer for you is that you sit down in a nice comfortable and quiet place, and have a conversation with God. Be open and honest. Tell Him that you would like to know Him, and ask Him to come into your life. Begin the dialogue. Trust me, life is good only when God is in it! God bless you all, Jayne D’Alessandro-Cox

7. About Jayne D’Alessandro-Cox

Jayne is a top rated author and analytical historian living in historic Charlottesville, Virginia.

Follow her everywhere!

Check out other featured “Entrepreneurs in Action”!

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