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You Need a Budget (YNAB) is one of the more popular budgeting apps that helps people take control of their finances. YNAB uses what’s known as zero-based budgeting to help you assign all incoming finances to their rightful place.

One of the most useful features of YNAB is the built-in Emergency Fund feature. It lets you plan a goal for your emergency savings and set a target year when you want to achieve it. Then, YNAB automatically calculates exactly how much you need to save every month to get there.

Table of Contents

What Is an Emergency Fund?

Everyone should have an emergency fund set aside as a cushion for when life takes an unexpected turn for the worse. An emergency fund is a fairly large sum of cash that’ll cover either unexpected large expenses or enough to cover all of your bills for a few months or more.

Events that might require an emergency fund include:

Losing your job.

Having a medical emergency.

Major home or appliance repairs.

Major car repairs.

Unexpected travel for family emergencies.

People have a problem with building up an emergency fund because there’s rarely room for it in any budget. However, as YNAB assigns all incoming funds to specific budget categories as the money comes in, it encourages you to allocate at least some income to this budget each month.

Having this small nest egg can reduce your stress because even when something catastrophic hits, you’ll know you have some time to figure things out without it ruining your life.

How Much Should You Save in an Emergency Fund?

Most financial experts agree that you should have a safety fund like this to help you pay your critical bills for at least 3 to 6 months.

To figure this out, look through all of your bills and add up those you couldn’t get away with not paying for 3 to 6 months. These would be things like:


Car loans


Fuel to get to and from work

Utilities like electricity, heat, and water

If you have enough room in your budget, you could also include expenses like credit cards, personal loans, and entertainment services. However, many of these can be extended or canceled for some time if you call the company and ask.

Once you’ve calculated the total amount you need to survive for 3 to 6 months, it’s time to configure your Emergency Fund in YNAB.

Setting Up Your YNAB Emergency Fund

Open the YNAB website and log into your account. Scroll to the Emergency Fund item and select it.

This will open the Emergency Fund editor in the right pane. Here you can configure and manage your emergency fund over time.

How much to move back to the fund to make up for anything you spent from it this month (removed money).

The amount you need to assign in total this month to stay on target with the overall savings trend from now until your target year.

The amount you need to assign this month to at least make moderate progress toward your goal (even though it’s below the target savings trend).

If you want to adjust your target savings goal (or if you haven’t set it up yet), select Edit Target.

This will open the Target window where you can set the emergency fund goal and the date when you want to have that emergency fund fully available.

Select Save Target when you’re done. Now that your emergency fund goal is set, you’re ready to start assigning funds to it every month and monitoring your progress toward that goal.

Managing and Monitoring Your YNAB Emergency Fund

If you fall behind this in any month, you’re going to have to add even more the following month. This is a slippery slope to get into and will make it very difficult to hit your goal by the date you want to.

YNAB also provides some quick links to help you assign the right amount of your monthly income. Just scroll down to the Auto-Assign section to see these.

Select any of the following links to automatically assign the amount displayed to the right of it.

Underfunded: Budget just enough to fund the target, so you make some progress.

Assigned Last Month: Use the same amount you assigned to your fund last month.

Spent Last Month: Not relevant for an emergency fund.

Average Assigned: Will budget the 12 month average of what you’ve been assigning in the past.

Average Spent: Not relevant for an emergency fund.

Reset Available Amount: Reset the available funds to 0.

Reset Assigned Amount: Reset the assigned amount this month to 0.

Toward the bottom of the right pane, you’ll see the totals related to your fund. This is where you can find the current total balance and how much you had leftover from last month that rolled into this month.

You’ll also see the amount that you’ve assigned to the fund so far this month.

Cash Spending and Credit Spending aren’t relevant for the Emergency Fund, so you can ignore these balances.

One more thing to know about using the YNAB Emergency Fund is that you can quickly see a record of the past amounts you’ve moved in and out of the fund over time.

Just select the small clock icon next to the amount you’ve assigned to the fund this month.

A window will appear where you can scroll through the entire history of all of the transactions in and out of that fund.

Set Up Your YNAB Emergency Fund Now

The Emergency Fund in YNAB is the first thing you should assign money to. Don’t ignore this feature. Figure out how much you’ll need to live on for 3 to 6 months and set up the goal.

Be diligent about assigning the amount you need to reach that goal. Once you do, you’ll be able to sleep better at night, knowing that even if life throws you a curveball, you’ll have the financial backing to absorb it.

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How To Build The Right Set Of Seo Resources For Your Company

Looking to build the right set of SEO resources for your company?

On December 16, I moderated a Search Engine Journal webinar presented by Jimmy Page and Wes Flippo of Inseev Interactive.

They shared a framework for establishing your ideal SEO resource stack and a supplemental perspective on resource allocation as planning gets underway for 2023.

Here’s a recap of the presentation.

Executing successfully on SEO is a challenge for companies of all shapes and sizes.

Building the right set of resources from day one is the most critical component for success.

For mid-market and enterprise businesses, you’ll need to nail down these three elements to succeed in SEO.

Allocating limited dollars to the most effective actions.

Synchronizing complex workflows across multiple skillsets.

Iterating and innovating towards goals of continuous growth.

The Recipe for SEO Success

SEO is an orchestrated effort across departments, teams, and skillsets.

The greatest challenge is not in knowing how to optimize a website, it’s in getting the right amounts of each of these facets to function together at the right times.

These are the key areas you’ll need to cover in order to execute SEO programs:

Link development.

Editorial creative.

Graphics and rich media.


Web development.

Analytics and technology.

Establishing dedicated SEO resources for each of these areas is critical.

Here’s an ideal framework for a company’s SEO ecosystem.

Strategists and channel owners need continuous access to the resources on this bottom tier or processes will break down.

Let’s dive into each area’s scope of work.

SEO Strategy

The lead SEO strategist serves as:

The representative of the channel’s performance to the C-suite.

The project planner and manager or “orchestrator” of all SEO execution.

The subject matter expert.

The lead SEO strategist also conducts:

Monthly deep-dives and strategic alignment to reconfigure the service mix each month.

Quarterly business reviews (i.e., executive presentations, recap progress, and future actions).

Annual planning. Repeat the cycle annually, beginning with the annual audit and strategy formulation project

Tools to use:


Screaming Frog




Link Development

Link development is a big part of SEO success as authority metrics still make up the backbone of search engine algorithms.

When looking at this area, we need to remember that link acquisition for a large brand looks different than link acquisition for a mid-market business.

Linking strategy is derived from the strategy team, and communicated outwardly to outsourced partners or internal teams.

Tools to use:

Link Research Tools




Editorial Creative

Content will continue to be an invaluable piece of the SEO mix.

Forming an editorial team made up of writers approaching topics with a journalistic perspective is ideal.

The content strategy is then derived from the strategist, who understands the goals of the business.

Graphics & Rich Media

Google increasingly rewards creative media experiences because they produce strong engagement signals.

This is why your content must stand out in a world where pages are produced in multitudes.

Foster strong collaboration between the SEO strategy team, editorial creative, and graphics for maximum results.

Tools to use:




User interface/user experience (UI/UX) overarches all web marketing.

Google increasingly understands the quality of experience users are having on webpages and they are rewarding sites that satisfy page experience metrics.

All page types can rank better with strong UI/UX.

Thus, the SEO team needs someone to represent the traffic upside of certain UI/UX strategies versus other needs for UI/UX.

Tools to use:

Crazy Egg


Google Optimize


Web Development

The web development team is responsible for implementing changes driven by the SEO strategist’s roadmap, designed by the UI/UX team’s guidance, and approved by ecommerce or site experience managers.

Failing to consistently clear this chain of resources is one of the biggest hindrances to success.

Analytics & Technology

By gathering historical and current performance data, the Analytics & Technology team powers the insight engine for the SEO strategy team.

In SEO, you need to look at the page level and page type, as well as brand and non-brand to understand performance.

The more you can marry those things together, along with keyword rankings, the more powerful your strategy will be.

Tools to use include:

Google Analytics

Google Search Console




Google Tag Manager

Google Data Studio

SEO Needs Change Over Time

As your company’s goals shift and your SEO program matures, the resources you’ll need will also change.

Here’s a hypothetical breakdown of how a company’s SEO needs can change over the span of two years.

At the beginning, the SEO strategist needs to conduct a lot of research and planning.

Most of the optimizations start with on-page work – getting the site architecture set up the way it needs to be.

As the site grows and more people work on it, the needs transition more to the execution level.

When you get out of the initial setup phases, you need the budget and resources across various activities.

The Spectrum of Ways to Get It Done

There are various ways to execute an SEO program and you’ll need to decide how to approach it.

Should we hire more in-house staff?

Maybe we need to add agency partners?

Would it be best to enable our current team with software?

Here are some of the ways to do it:

Dedicated In-House SEO Team

No outsourcing.

All six components come from internal teams solely focused on SEO.

Partially Dedicated In-House SEO Team

No outsourcing.

The SEO team “borrows” resources from other teams to complete the project.

Hybrid In-House / Outsourced Team

SEO strategy and multiple other components (i.e., editorial content) may be handled in-house.

Some components are handled by an agency or outsourced individuals.

Single Dedicated In-House SEO

One in-house SEO strategist.

Most components are handled by an agency or outsourced individuals.

No In-House Dedicated Resources

Fully outsourced.

SEO strategy lives 100% with an agency or consultant, and a fraction of internal marketing person manages the relationship.

Annual Levels of SEO Investment

The greatest factor that will influence the way you structure your SEO team is how much budget you have allocated for your program annually.


If you have under $150,000 per year to dedicate to organic search, minimizing overhead is critical.

It is rarely wise to spend 50% or more of your budget on a full-time lead SEO strategist. It’s smart to fractionalize instead.

Resources should be focused as much as possible on creating site assets and authority to impact rankings.

With this level of budget, outsourced options are key.

$150,000 – $500,000

With this budget tier, hybridized solutions with a strong in-house SEO strategist (or two). managing specialized agency services start to look really attractive

Resource allocation must be carefully assessed to determine if a dedicated team is feasible.

Flexibility is also key at this level, so having dedicated resources can limit agility.


If you have $500,000+ per year to dedicate to organic search, you’re most likely familiar with investing in SEO.

You’ll want to look hard at efficiencies of bringing outsourced work in-house.

That said, you still likely need some level of outsourcing to manage bandwidth spikes.

At this point, there is a vast array of options that are open to you.

Know What Your Business Actually Needs

Every situation is unique – what works for one business won’t work for another.

Consulting with an expert can help choose the right areas to work with a partner, keep it internal, or focus budget elsewhere.


Here are just some of the attendee questions answered by Jimmy Page and Wes Flippo.

Question (Q): My small company competes with large firms for business. How can we compete when we have a very small SEO budget compared to theirs?

Longtime internet presence has allowed these firms to develop trust signals for years, and the amount of activity around a larger brand’s site puts them in a strong position to continue to gain more authority and trust.

As a small firm, the best thing you can do is focus on what you’re good at and try to create page level assets that can outperform your competitors.

Whether it be a blog post or a service page, your content and approach need to be more in-depth and comprehensive than the sites currently ranking.

It’s smart to think about content and authority as being inversely related (in some senses). Sites with higher authority will be able to rank a piece of content due to the trust they’ve established with the search engine – but this content may not be the best piece available on the subject.

As a small brand, you’re lacking authority but can make up for it by creating a comprehensive and engaging piece of content that exceeds your competitors’.

Google also increasingly rewards sites that are tightly focused on a single topic.

Ensure the focus of your content is directly related to your product / offering or you run the risk of spreading your relevance too wide.

Keeping relevance tight will help propel rankings forward for smaller sites lacking authority.

Q: What are the optimal levels of SEO investment based on revenue size or total staff at a company?

A: The correct answer here is “it depends.” In general, trying to generalize SEO investment based on revenue or total staff can be a dangerous train of thought.

There are billion-dollar companies that should spend $0 on SEO.

For example, if you only have 3,000 target customers because you sell enterprise HR management solutions, it’s likely not necessary to have an organic presence because your sales team already has a list of every HR Director at those companies already.

Conversely, there are online businesses run by a single individual that make $500,000-$2,000,000 in annual revenue that should be investing a heavy portion of their profits back into organic search, as it makes up 80%+ of their total revenue.

Ultimately, the question shouldn’t be about total revenue size or total staff. Your investment should be based on total opportunity.

In some industries it’s simple to see the opportunity, in others it’s not as straightforward.

Do your research to understand the potential ROI on an investment and then you can answer the question of “How much should I be spending on SEO?”

Q: I’m in the medical industry, what would you recommend for the best link building strategy for that industry?

A: Linking strategy depends heavily on the size of the company.

A larger brand generally has more flexibility because there’s more activity around their website and webmasters tend to be more receptive to requests.

For a large brand, I would recommend tactics such as broken link building and unlinked brand mentions, both of which have continuous opportunity due to company size.

If you’re a smaller brand, tactics like HARO and guest post publication can prove effective.

Be careful with guest posting, though, as it can be seen as a spammy tactic if done incorrectly.

It’s important to pinpoint highly relevant sites in your industry and attempt to establish relationships with them.

In the medical industry, there’s plenty of opportunity for partnership linking.

For example, medical device companies that are sold through doctors can utilize this network of practitioners to earn backlinks on each practice’s website.

In any linking campaign it’s best to exhaust any personal/business relationships that could be linking partners first, then start outreach to cold prospects.

[Slides] Optimize Your SEO Resource Stack: Get What You Need, Get Rid of What You Don’t

Check out the SlideShare below.

Join Us For Our Next Webinar! KPIs, Metrics & Benchmarks That Matter For SEO Success In 2023

Reserve my Seat

Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, December 2023

Calculating Safe Emergency Landings For Drones

When humans first learned how to fly, they crashed all the time. The annals of early flight experiments are littered with the bodies of dead test pilots and aviation pioneers. Safety in manned aircraft improved dramatically over the first century of flight, but as more and more unmanned aircraft enter the skies, researchers want to make sure those gains aren’t lost. A paper published yesterday in a special issue of the journal Aerospace aims to make sure that when drones crash, they don’t hurt bystanders.

In “Trajectory Management of the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) in Emergency Situation,” author Andrzej Majka of Poland’s Rzeszów University of Technology analyzes how drones crash, and how to minimize harm when they do. Focusing on engine failures, Majka examined three scenarios: the drone runs short on flight time, the engine performance gets worse, or the engine’s power cuts out entirely. For all scenarios, Majka’s goal was to come up with a mathematical formula that could steer the drone to safety in the shortest possible distance while avoiding off-limits or dangerous areas.

It’s more complicated than just flying the shortest possible path to a landing sight, but safer.

Majka plots out a modeled flight path for a disabled drone flying near the city of Rzeszów, and explains how an unmanned aircraft (UA) using his model would fly:

With reduced power, the drone must make a gliding descent, which it can do without engines. Even assuming a dead engine on a fixed-wing drone, other electronically powered control surfaces may still work, so the drone’s auto-pilot could still steer the craft. But turning can generate drag and make the plane drop faster, so Majka’s formula minimizes turning while also being more sophisticated than just having the drone fly home in a straight line. It balances the need for power to reach the landing spot with the requirements for descending. Here’s what that looks like:

A Safe Flight Path Down

Majka doesn’t specify how the drone knows where it should and shouldn’t fly. Perhaps an onboard map includes information on populated locations, or maybe the flight comes with preset coordinates to avoid. However it works in the abstract, Majka says his model is written so that it works not just for his sample drone, but for drones generally. The paper is published under an open access policy so that other drone aficionados can use and build upon the research here.

If drones are to safely proliferate throughout the skies of the world, they’ll need equations like Majka’s to guide them to safe landings even in dire situations, so that their crash doesn’t harm anyone else nearby. But until drone programming incorporates equations like this, there’s always the RQ-11 Raven’s unique approach to landing:

Ensuring Continuous Remediation In Your Build Pipeline

Take a closer look at some additional components of the build pipeline ensuring continuous remediation 

The build pipeline is now being used by every organization. A build pipeline is a collection of automated procedures that assist users (developers or DevOps professionals) in compiling, building, and deploying their code to the production server in a reliable and efficient manner. 

The building of the automation, testing it, and finally deploying that automation is all critical components of the development pipeline. The next stages show us that automation is the foundation of the build pipeline, which automatically compiles code, tests it, and deploys it to a target environment. 

The continuous build is a fundamental requirement of end clients in continuous integration and continuous delivery (


), and it can only be achieved through automation. Let’s take a closer look at some additional components of the construction pipeline.

Why Continuous Remediation in CI/CD Is Needed

The CI/CD process eliminates delays in the development process and offers users agility by allowing them to address build faults in each phase or in gradual increments. As a majority of today’s software applications rely on a variety of open source code or dependencies, effectively managing those reliances is essential. Thus it is very important to refer to the list that contains all the dependencies being used in a software application. We refer to this list as a “software bill of materials.” 

It is vital to manage and verify the

software bill of materials

because the software might be a combination of open-source, a range of assets, and occasionally third-party software, which makes it difficult to manage and verify. As they may have a variety of dependencies, it is probable that some of them may have vulnerabilities. Therefore, maintaining a list of them makes it easier to identify and remediate those flaws.

These vulnerabilities can leave you open to attacks that can cause your organization to lose its important data and reputation. As changes in the build are continuous, there’s a need for continuous remediation. This

continuous remediation

process can reduce the chances of vulnerabilities. Continuous remediation processes provide early warning or vulnerable code to developers so that they can fix it at an early stage. The benefit of the whole process is that it makes the organization bug free and makes employees more productive. 

Ensuring Proper Remediation in Build Pipelines

On a daily basis, a product management organization releases thousands of lines of code for a variety of reasons, including the introduction of a new product or fixing a vulnerability in an existing application. Developers are usually good at what they do and take great care when writing code, but human error is always possible. There is a requirement to incorporate security into the CI/CD security pipeline so that when code is delivered, it can be checked to determine if it contains vulnerabilities before being uploaded to the production server.

There are different countermeasures organizations can take to build proper remediation and detection in the CI/CD pipeline. 

A lot of organizations use SAST tools to perform the scanning of the code. Static analysis tools are crucial because they can perform checks on the code of an application before it is deployed to ensure that it does not include any software vulnerabilities or coding errors. They are identified when the code is deployed. If there is any vulnerability, the code merging fails, and it needs to be fixed. 

Companies should require the use of

IDE plugins

and linters by the entire team when installing these utilities in order to standardize their efforts to incorporate security into their projects. Some open-source components on which these projects rely have not been updated in a long time, they may contain some of the known vulnerabilities. 

They should also use code quality tools that are specifically designed to analyze open-source components for known vulnerabilities. A lot of different tools are available which can connect with different building tools such as CircleCI, GHAS, and SonarQube. They detect the errors before the code is merged into the production.

Lots of organizations are now integrating peer review of code before it is merged into the productions, and this is becoming increasingly popular. As a result of this, organizations can improve the quality of their code through the use of rigorous inspection procedures. Having said that, they are unable to analyze every line of code, but they are able to examine some of the more fundamental aspects of the code, such as input validation. 

All development teams should adhere to the

OWASP security best practices

while auditing their code, such as scanning for input validation errors and looking for components that may contain known vulnerabilities. It is possible to do these checks manually while keeping typical vulnerabilities in mind throughout the development process as well.


The methods I have outlined in this post can be used by any business, regardless of its size or financial ability, to protect itself from vulnerabilities in the CI/CD process. A number of others may exist, but they will differ greatly from organization to organization. 

Net Zero Vs. Carbon Neutral

Net Zero vs. Carbon Neutral

Two of the most common climate pledges made by organizations around the world

Written by

Kyle Peterdy

Published January 4, 2023

Updated February 9, 2023

Reviewed by

Noah Miller

What is the Difference Between Carbon Neutral and Net Zero?

Carbon neutrality signifies that an organization and its management team is responsible for removing the same amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere as it is emitting; net zero, on the other hand, means the organization is removing an equal amount of all greenhouse gasses (GHGs) as it is creating.

CO2 is one type of greenhouse gas, albeit a very important one. All GHGs are expressed in tonnes of CO2e. CO2e represents carbon dioxide equivalent and it serves as the common measurement unit in carbon accounting and other climate-risk concepts like carbon markets and carbon credits. For example, even if measuring a different gas (like methane), for the purpose of comparability, the emissions are expressed using CO2e. 

Both carbon neutrality and net zero are climate pledges being made by management teams and government organizations. Each is considered a noble commitment with a similar end goal – to remove as much harmful pollution from the earth’s atmosphere as the organization is emitting.

Key Highlights

Carbon neutrality means that an organization’s management team is responsible for removing as much carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere as it is emitting.

Net zero means that an organization’s management team is responsible for removing as much greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as it is producing.

Carbon offset credits, which trade on voluntary carbon markets, are employed to achieve both net zero and carbon neutral claims.

Carbon accounting has become a core requirement for many publicly traded firms in order to support the mandatory disclosure of company emissions.

What are Greenhouse Gases?

GHGs trap heat in our planet’s atmosphere, creating and compounding a warming of the earth’s surface commonly referred to as global warming.

CO2 is often cited as the main culprit but there are many other dangerous GHGs including nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), methane, and sulfur dioxide. 

While some GHGs do occur naturally in our environment, the scientific community has long asserted that excess greenhouse gasses are the result of human activity. These include agricultural practices (like livestock production and other agribusiness functions), generating heat and electricity for commercial operations, and the burning of fossil fuels for transportation.

Why is Tracking GHG Emissions Important?

With the emergence of ESG (Environmental, Social & Governance) as a focal point in today’s business landscape, management teams are increasingly concerned with accurately tracking emissions in order to fulfill various environmental mandates (like mitigating climate risks, preparing public ESG disclosure, and managing stakeholder expectations).

Every organization emits carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses, both within its operations and across its supply chain. For example, fossil fuels are burned to support distribution, and electricity is used to power offices and other facilities; this aggregate emissions figure represents an organization’s carbon footprint.

Management teams generally first seek to reduce company emissions where practical, but it’s nearly impossible for an organization to eliminate its entire footprint. As a result, leadership teams are facing increasing pressure to make pledges about how they intend to address these residual emissions; carbon neutrality and net zero emissions are two such commitments.

How is Net Zero & Carbon Neutrality Achieved?

Net zero and carbon neutrality are both achieved using offset credits, which are traded on carbon markets. Carbon markets have emerged as a mechanism to support emission reduction efforts, particularly residual emissions that business leaders can’t eliminate through fundamental changes to their operations. 

The premise of a carbon market is that a unit of GHG/CO2 released through an organization’s core activities can be counteracted (or “offset”) by removing or sequestering an equal amount of GHG from somewhere else in the earth’s atmosphere and that stakeholders should be able to trade these GHG reduction “units” accordingly.

So, emission removal projects are undertaken; they may be natural (like wetland restoration, reforestation, etc.) or mechanical (like carbon capture technologies, green energy infrastructure, etc.). A project is initiated by a project developer and then verified by one of many standards (including Verra[1] and Climate Action Reserve[2]), at which point offset credits are generated according to the estimated amount of emissions that will be eliminated. 

Other stakeholders may then purchase these credits and retire them with a reputable registry, thereby “offsetting” their own emissions. 

If a management team retires enough offset credits to counteract the company’s residual carbon emissions they’re said to be carbon neutral; if they retire enough credits to offset the organization’s entire GHG emission footprint, they’re said to be a net zero emitter.

Who is Making Net Zero & Carbon Neutrality Claims?

There is much public discourse today about climate commitments being made in the corporate world, but for-profit corporations (and the management teams that run them) are not the only stakeholders that can leverage carbon markets to make net zero or carbon neutral pledges. 

Indeed, many NGOs and nonprofits are joining the fight against climate change, and governments (at all levels) are also looking to lead by example in making climate reduction pledges of their own.

Increasingly, many individuals (including celebrities and prominent public figures) are seeking to offset carbon emissions in their own personal lives as well. They often work off estimates of the emissions created by their daily commutes, package deliveries, or their family’s air travel, etc. 

Related Resources

How To Build A Successful Remote Marketing Team

7 Secrets Of Remote Team Collaboration

The ultimate goal of every small marketing business or a large corporation is to build a team culture where productivity will thrive and where all people are tied to the belief that “none of us is as good as all of us.” If you are sharing an office with a couple of people, with your mind set on one thing only, you become a part of a flow and the culture naturally happens.

However, if you are miles away from your marketing team, building a culture and becoming a part of it doesn’t just magically happen. While there’s no doubt that remote working is a growing trend, the question still lingers:

How to build trust and leverage the way marketers work together no matter where they are or what time zone they belong to?

Here, we’ve rounded up a few ways how you can build a vibrant working culture even if your marketing team is hundreds of miles away from you.

1. Use the right technology

The principal charm of working in an office environment is that it gives you the ability to feel how your marketing team reacts and feels about even the most trivial things that happen during the day. In other words, just by being surrounded by people helps you build their trust. Since working with virtual marketing teams lacks this essential feature, it’s imperative to create a virtual office that will help you avoid any traps of miscommunication.  

Mark Mortensen at Harward Business Review suggests focusing on the criteria that shape your daily routines and choosing the tools that are simple, reliable and accessible. With a plethora of applications available on today’s market, this may be easier said than done. However, if you focus on the technology that allows you to communicate with your marketing team in real-time, you are on the right track.

When it comes to virtual chat, most successful remote marketing teams use Slack or Hipchat to report on the performance of the content or any special marketing project. As for virtual meetings, a video chat like  Google Hangout will help your team have weekly content team meetings where they can review the editorial marketing calendar with product marketers or designers.

2. Build relationships through initial in-house time

One of the common challenges of being a part of a marketing remote team is an inability to feel connected with your employees. According to Google’s Project Aristotle, the most successful teams are the ones that have a higher level of understanding how their fellow team members feel. While using a video chat and video call is the core of successful virtual team collaboration, there is no substitute for face-to-face communication.

Here, at our company, we introduced new content writers to the rest of the marketing team by letting them spend three months in-house before they started working remotely. This not only helped them feel the energy of the marketing team culture, but it also helped them create social sensitivity and get immediate and constructive feedback on their works. 

3. Hire culture-fit people

To be able to build a real marketing team culture you need to have the right people. Besides focusing on creating a highly collaborative marketing team, you need to include a few more principles in your criteria. The fact that your marketing team is geographically dispersed around the globe makes it more difficult to physically manage them and keep track of what they are doing. In such scenario, the only thing you have to rely on is their personality and attitude to work. In other words, you need to hire remote marketers who are organized, motivated, autonomous and who don’t care about social facets of a workplace.

4. Demand feedback

Another thing you need to keep in mind is communication. Ann Macdonald, director of a content strategy at LovetoKnow, says that staying in touch and working through challenges is much easier if the people on the marketing team are communicative. Whether you’re discussing a minor problem or a serious issue that your team may come across in large marketing projects and campaigns, it’s important to constantly encourage your employees to give feedback both on their progress and barriers they run into.

To keep the communication flow at the highest level, combine communication mediums such as video conferencing, 3D environments and telephone calls. Instead of relying completely on virtual chats, organize a weekly video conferencing and allow your marketing team to measure the results of their marketing effort by sharing their ideas or pitfalls they have to tackle. Jake Goldman, a president and a founder of 10up Inc., points out that remote employees need to over-communicate to compensate for reduced face-to-face time.

5. Make clear and transparent processes

When working with freelance writers, PR agencies and social media consultants, online chat is an effective medium of communication. However, the lack of physical contact and face-to-face communication may result in misunderstanding and create a serious bottleneck in your marketing team’s workflow. To avoid such a scenario, you need to keep your team regularly updated and keep your processes transparent at real time. Your marketing team needs to have a clear understanding on the why and the how and the when and they have to be aware of each other’s priorities.

Besides organizing periodic virtual meetings, consider investing in a simple and efficient project management tool. It will clearly define the roles and responsibilities of each team member and create a culture of open communication. Joel Sposky, the CEO of Stack Overflow, uses a technique of emailing updates on weekly basis. He explains that every Monday, everyone at Stack Exchange emails their manager a status update of what has been done the previous week and what kind of challenges they had to struggle.

6. Create a culture of productivity

There’s no doubt that collaboration and productivity are tightly connected and heavily dependent on each other. The healthier the working environment is the more productive you are, and the other way around. Collaboration fosters creativity. Studies show that the most powerful research papers are often the result of “not so bad” ideas made ingenious by group work. In other words, being an integral part of any discussion like weekly content planning and contributing to the brainstorming process in your weekly content team meetings is the key to efficient team collaboration.

7. Develop an efficient work schedule

When working remotely, time differences have a huge impact on the general workflow and the dynamics of the team. Besides being geographically dispersed around the globe, the members of the remote team share different time zones and don’t necessarily have to be at the computer at the same time.

Finally, praise your colleagues. By singling out colleagues for their achievements and sending thank-you emails publicly will boost your remote marketing team’s morale. Stimulate them to feel a common goal and work towards achieving it.

Long are the days when business was viewed as a purely chronological system where face-to-face communication was the foundation of successful team management. With the technological craze that has been taking the world over the last decade, more and more companies are shifting from traditional office environment to remote work. Studies show that remote business model grew by almost 80% between 2005 and 2012, and we are still experiencing its massive impact on business culture in general. Even some of the cutting-edge marketing companies who exclusively operate with geographically dispersed teams have proven that working remotely will be the future modus operandi.

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