Archive for July, 2014

Shell: a slick effort

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

After a difficult couple of years, trading in the oil major has once again become a very profitable activity. Yet there is more to do

Moscow told to pay Yukos investors €1.9bn

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

The second big legal setback for Russia within days is the largest compensation award made by Europe’s top human rights court

BG warns over Egyptian operations

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

London-listed oil explorer reports a 9% rise in adjusted post-tax profit in the first half at $2.4bn, but its gas output from Egypt is down 52%

How to Find Perfect Experts to Interview on Your Website

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

find experts to interview

Featuring niche influencers on your business website has quite a few important benefits:

  • First and foremost, it sends trust signals to your readers: Seeing a well-know face featured on your site will encourage more visitors to trust your brand as well.
  • Secondly, it engages those influencers with your brand encouraging them to share your content to their social media channels.
  • Lastly, it makes it easier to build relationships online as you can always refer to the experts that chose your blog was great enough to get featured there.

You’d be surprised how many of those busy people would be willing to contribute to your website. Because every opportunity to get featured works well for their branding (there simply cannot be too much publicity right?) But where do you start? How do you find experts with original insights in your industry that will also be willing to take that relationship to a new level?

Over time, using trial and error, you will discover and perfect your own methods. But to help illustrate the general idea, I’ll break the process down here.

How to Find Experts to Interview

Start on websites you are reading regularly. Write them down, and then move on to related sites where those you’ve identified have contributed, or people who have contributed for them. Find out where they have been commenting and reading, or check out their public social media accounts to find out where they are sharing content from.

find experts to interviewThe following tools can help expand your search if you have a specific article idea you need a professional insight into, or if you’re stuck looking for some fresh ideas for your website:

  • HARO is the most obvious source of expert opinions. In most cases, you are sure to get dozens of contributors from a single request (make sure to select the best ones and build your relationship further – don’t stop at just featuring them.)
  • MyBlogU (disclosure: this is my website) is a newer platform geared more towards bloggers than reporters. One of the cool features of it is that you keep track of all the received pitches and ideas, so you can return to them at any time in the future (even if they don’t seem too related to what you are going to write about at the moment). You can open a brainstorm request to get random ideas or a group interview request to generate a complete article with lots of selected quotes in it.
  • BuzzSumo is an awesome content search engine. You can limit your search by “Interviews” and show the most recent ones to discover more experts who are willing to respond to an interview request. Here’s a sample search result.

Crafting The Perfect Approach

Using the tools above, create an “outreach” plan that will accomplish your goals:

  • Get brainstorming help. Oftentimes just seeing what niche influencers work in will give you loads of content ideas.
  • Gather ideas on how to get more out of each contact. Just getting a quote from a niche influencer is a waste of time. You should see many more ways to engage an expert in the life of your brand. See if they may be interested in becoming regular columnists, a brand ambassador, or an active endorser.
  • #BeEverywhere. Find those experts all over the Web (Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, Facebook, etc.) and add them everywhere using new circles and lists in order to keep track. This way, you’ll be able to really get close to important people in your niche and interact with them on a regular basis.

find experts to interview

Make a little list of details for each influencer in a spreadsheet:

  • What do they write about most?
  • What seems to be their biggest interest?
  • What tone do they use?
  • How often do they do interviews?
  • Who has interviewed them?
  • Can they interview you as well?
  • Where else do they contribute and how often?
  • Are they working on, or have they worked on, a major project recently?
  • How can you help each other to co-promote?
  • Are they speaking at, or have they spoken at, a major industry event?

Some people wait to gather these details until after they have made contact, but it’s more useful to have it on hand. Besides, if they say no initially, they might say yes in the future to something else like becoming a regular columnist. Having those details will come in handy.

Make Your First Step Sweet and Short

Niche micro-celebrities get a lot of requests, mail and feedback. Many will take the time to skim emails and, if the messages are too long, they may be deleted or put aside. Your job is to give those influcenrs relevant information as succinctly as possible. Your message to them should be between 3 and 4 sentences long. Short, very well personalized, sentences work best.

Introduce yourself and what you do quickly and include a link to your website. Tell them what you want to interview them about, and have a specific topic in mind. Give them a date and time you are thinking of conducting the interview (unless it’s a written q&a). But tell them you are open to other days that work better for their schedule if necessary. Inviting them for a Twitter interview is another option as well.

Don’t Forget to Follow Up!

Some experts will respond, others won’t. Most will at least provide some kind of follow up, whether it is a yes or a no. If it takes awhile, don’t get discouraged. Remember how many messages these people get on a daily basis. It could take them a while to respond to yours.

Once you get a positive response, you can be less succinct in your communication. Use some of your social media channels to thank them publicly as well. You may also want to work out things like links, projects they want to promote, etc.

find experts to interview


Here’s a quick checklist my old friend and team member Phil Turner helped me with:

  • Find people who have unique viewpoints, rather than just those who will regurgitate the same old topic.
  • Prepare open-ended questions that allow interviewees to expound on each one.
  • Beware of off-putting questions like, “What makes you qualified to answer this?” Instead, phrase it as, “Please outline your own experience in this area.”
  • Narrow down the focus of the interview.  The best interviews are highly focused (i.e. SEO for high street retailers rather than SEO today).
  • Promotion is easier if you have high-profile interviewees because each one will promote their interview.
  • Try to incorporate some visual stimulation. Perhaps an infographic or a video that you request comments on. This makes promotion easier, too.
  • Re-connect with your interviewees often to make sure you are developing that relationship into a mutually beneficial partnership.


To find experts to interview is an involved process – but surprisingly simple.

More importantly, it adds that “influencial voice” to your branding efforts that could really sky rocket your website and social media presence (when done right, as always).

What has worked for you when you’ve needed to find experts to interview?

Interview Concept Photo via Shutterstock, Questions Photo via Shutterstock, Checklist Photo via Shutterstock

The post How to Find Perfect Experts to Interview on Your Website appeared first on Small Business Trends.


Business this week

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Politics this week

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

KAL’s cartoon

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

European Court Issues EUR 2 B Verdict in Yukos Affair

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

The European Court of Human Rights ruled that the former shareholders of the former oil concern Yukos are to receive a EUR 1.9 B compensation from Russia.

This is the second sentence Russia has faced over the nationalization of Yukos in just a few days.

Moscow has seriously pushed down the value of the enterprise with fantasy taxes and a manipulated auction, the court found.

Russia’s Justice Ministry criticized the verdict for being one-sided and unfair. An appeal is possible within 3 months.

On Monday, Russia was sentenced to pay a USD 50 B compensation to the former shareholders of Yukos by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague, Netherlands.

The enterprise used to belong to president Putin’s government critic – Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

The former oligarch wasn’t among the claimants because he dropped the fight for his property after years in a camp and an amnesty by the president Putin.

His speaker was very happy about the verdict, though. The decision was unprecedented.

Never before has the European Court of Human Rights gave a tougher verdict, Olga Pispansen said.

In 2011 the court announced in a temporary verdict that no disproportionate intervention of the Russian government in the destruction of Yukos was found.

The former shareholders of Yukos have sued Russia in Strasbourg demanding USD 38 B collectively for the 55 000 shareholders.

Besides, the court sentenced Russia to pay EUR 300 000 of taxes and case costs. Russia announced it would appeal.

Russia, which has been threatened by a recession and sanctions because of the Ukraine conflict, will have to begin the payments until the 15th of January. Otherwise interest will begin to accumulate.


BSP MP Tables Space Exploration Draft Law

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

In the last days of outgoing 42-nd National Assembly, the MP from the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) Martin Zahariev tabled a draft law on space exploration. 

According to, last week, when it became clear that Parliament won’t function normally till the early end of its term on August 6, Zahariev, who is the former publisher of the Bulgarian edition of Playboy magazine, joked that now was the time to table laws, which will never be passed. 

The law on space innovation and exploration is the brainchild of former foreign minister of the Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha government, Solomon Passy. 

He went to Parliament last November to seek support for his project for a law encouraging investments in space technology and exploration. 

According to Zahariev, Passy and he sought the expertise of German specialists.


Get Out of the Dark Ages: A New Type of Business Internet Connection

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

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ethernet over t1

You look at your outdated laptop with disgust as you try to work, only to find it takes FOREVER to do anything. It ran fine five years ago when it was the latest-greatest. Now, it boots up slowly and runs even slower with all the RAM-hungry software you want to use on it today.

That’s the problem with staying in the dark ages. Maybe you are saving money by not updating your laptop to a newer generation model, but you sacrifice performance. And in the end it could cost you money because of slowness, freezes, crashes and unexpected failure.

Your business Internet connection can be viewed similarly to that older laptop. If you choose old tech over new tech when it comes to your connectivity, you are missing out on all of the benefits.

When you are considering broadband connections for your business, the following question may pop up, “I have been quoted by my local phone company for a T1 line and a Metro Ethernet provider for Ethernet services — which do I choose? Aren’t they the same?”

Really, the only thing about the two technologies that appears similar is that they carry higher speeds than standard Internet connections.

Yet, from the technology standpoint there is a clear winner here. It’s the new technology. To see why the new technology is a winner over the other, you simply need to understand what they are.

Let me explain first by talking about the products themselves. Then I will get into advantages and disadvantages, before giving my conclusion.

What is a T1?

A T1 circuit is a dedicated (which in this sense means “not shared”) point-to-point line from your business’ network to the telephone company’s central office and then in some cases to the Internet provider, which could also be your phone company. A T1 line can also be used to link shared data between offices as well.

The T1 will require specialized equipment at each location, that you must have the phone company install. This line can carry data at a rate of approximately 1.5 Mbps. You can bond T1′s together to increase the bandwidth to roughly 1.5Mbps for each additional line.

Mbps stands for “megabits per second.” Notice we are not talking megabytes. Megabits refers to the transfer rate of data, or stated differently, the download speed. Megabytes refers to a file size. A megabit is one-eighth the size of a megabyte. What does that mean? It means, to download a one megabyte file in one second, you’d need 8 megabits of download speed (or 8 Mbps). This handy Google megabits to megabytes converter demonstrates how that works.

What is Ethernet?

Some time ago, T1 lines were the common method for receiving a high speed Internet connection. That started back in the day when slow dialup Internet connections were widespread. A T1 line was perceived as a faster and better choice — and sometimes the only high-speed choice available to businesses in a service area.

However, Internet demands are growing so rapidly that T1s aren’t able to handle the bandwidth capacity as easily as they used to. That’s why many businesses are turning to Internet using Ethernet.

On average, Ethernet service is delivered to a customer with a minimum speed of 10 Mbps (which, to compare, is equal to more than six T1s bonded together). Ethernet can go all the way up to 1 Gbps and beyond, depending on the service provider. One gigabit is equal to 1024 megabits — a tremendous speed advantage! So, as you can see, Ethernet can be orders of magnitude faster than a T1 line.

Even better, Ethernet’s high level of bandwidth comes at a relatively low cost since Ethernet cables and equipment are inexpensive. Well-defined industry standards make installation collectively simple and economical throughout the industry. In fact, the cost structure is generally lower than that of a T1 and in a managed Ethernet scenario you would not have the costs of equipment to buy and maintain.

How Do I Choose Between T1 and Ethernet?

When comparing T1 lines and Ethernet, the important things to note are:

Bandwidth Availability

Bonding T1′s will be limited by the equipment you own. Bonding up to 7 T1′s would get you to approximately 12 Mbps. However, you can easily exceed those speeds with a single Ethernet connection.

Service Level Agreements (Also Known as SLA’s)

Both types of services offer high up-time. So on this point there’s not much difference.


Link bonding is a traditional method used for bonding T1′s together, but this technology requires all links to be up at all times to work. One circuit failure (physical or otherwise) will take down the entire data link. Ethernet uses a newer technology called loop bonding. If a single loop fails the other circuits will continue behaving as normal providing you with continued (even if slightly skewed) bandwidth during repair. You may not even notice the failure of a loop.

Expansion Capability

Adding T1′s requires additional equipment. That could make expanding your capacity a costly scenario.

Adding T1’s not only costs you extra equipment (T1 cards that typically your equipment vendor sells you and installs) but it also costs you time. The phone company has to physically install another line to your office, which may take months.

With Ethernet, not only do you not need any more equipment, your service provider can bump up your capacity remotely, with a few keystrokes.

Quality of Service

Generally both offer high quality of service, depending on carrier of course. So deciding to move to Ethernet will not impact the clarity of your VOIP call or your video transmission, for instance. In fact, more available bandwidth with Ethernet may mean more calls can take place without interrupting other Internet-based services.


Overall, Ethernet offers much better cost efficiency and in many cases you can get Ethernet in a 20Mbps connection for the same cost as a single T1.


The availability of T1 and Ethernet services depend on the physical distance between each location and the central office of the provider you are choosing and also the physical delivery method. If the technology is delivered over copper wire, the distance for availability is considerably shorter than if fiber is the available conduit.

T1 technology has been around and in use for a very long time and the telco providers have central offices very well spread out because of phone services, so T1 technology is more readily available.

Ethernet is still young and thus availability is smaller. However, as competition mounts and more fiber is being lit across the U.S., Ethernet will become every bit as available. Be sure to thoroughly check out the providers in your location and what they offer.

As you can see there are some great reasons to consider the new technology — Ethernet — as and when it becomes available in your area.

Ethernet Cable Photo via Shutterstock

The post Get Out of the Dark Ages: A New Type of Business Internet Connection appeared first on Small Business Trends.


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