interview questions on UFT for SAP testing automation

All Important Questions on UFT for SAP Testing Answered

Important Interview Questions On UFT For SAP Testing Answered

Flexibility, scalability, and efficiency are a few factors that drive the demand for SAP among businesses. Having said that, the SAP implementation is never easy and the businesses considering it needs to focus on multiple factors including the testing effectiveness of solutions.

Over the years, various testing tools have gained popularity among SAP business owners group. Unified Functional Testing (UFT) is one of the most popular amongst them. What are the other popular SAP testing tools? Why UFT is the best tool for SAP testing? This discussion between Wally Tauriac, Software Engineer and Test Analyst with over 40 years of experience in several fortune 500 companies and author of SAP test automation using HP UFT; and Ben Xavier, CTO, Guruface.com aims to answer these questions.  And also tries to cover all other important questions that you may have in mind regarding the implementation of QTP/UFT for SAP applications.

Questions and Answers on QTP/UFT for SAP Automation Testing

1. Ben XavierWhat are the tools used for SAP Testing?

Wally Tauriac: The top five test tools used for SAP testing are:

  1. Worksoft– known for being a code-free solution, compatible with SAP Fiori supportive, and ALM and Agile.
  2. RightData– SAP HANA migration, good for high validation testing, and supports a validation builder tool.
  3. Testimony– eliminates the manual efforts around test case delivery, execution, and updates for SAP testing.
  4. Micro Focus (QTP) UFT– has been around at the top of marketing supporting SAPGUI testing known as a feature-rich tool.
  5. eCATT– intended to provide the testing support needed for a SAPGUI application.

As I mentioned, UFT is still strong in the functional testing market.

2. Ben Xavier: Why use UFT over other tools for SAP testing?
Wally Tauriac: UFT has been around for a long time and therefore supports multiple versions of SAPGUI, multiple browsers, multiple operating systems, with continually growing functional services to meet customer needs.

3. Ben Xavier: What are the business benefits of SAP Test Automation using UFT?
Wally Tauriac: There are several benefits to name, whereas I believe the following benefits of UFT have contributed to their quick adoption among SAP business owners.

  • Ease of use – the programming language is VBScript which is easy to learn and use
  • Easy to record new scripts ready for execution
  • Easy to identify and define application test objects
  • Capable of identifying hard-to-detect test objects that are not common to applications
  • User-friendly IDE for customizing test object validation and verification
  • Easily adapts to various commonly known test frameworks

4. Ben Xavier: What are the career possibilities of SAP automation testing using UFT?
Wally Tauriac: There are 100s of jobs available for UFT knowledgeable individuals to test SAPGUI applications around the country. The roles are known as Quality Assurance Analyst, Tester, Automation Engineer, QA Engineer, and others.

5. Ben Xavier: How to modify an SAP Portal script?
Wally Tauriac: SAP Portal scripts are one of many supported protocols in UFT. SAP Portal is similar to web UFT scripts. The following image is an example of what a UFT SAP Portal script looks like.

what a UFT SAP Portal script looks like
An example of a UFT SAP Portal script

If you have more time, here is a video that provides a detailed understanding of how this example was developed in UFT.

 

6. Ben Xavier: How do we modify a SAPGUI script?
Wally Tauriac: SAPGUI applications are challenging test objects for test tools. But UFT can adapt to what SAPGUI requires for a test script. Here is what a UFT test script looks like for SAPGUI.

what a UFT test script looks like for SAPGUI
Example of a UFT test script for SAPGUI

For more details regarding viewing and modifying a UFT script for testing SAPGUI, here is a video that is part of my training course on UFT for SAP Testing, published on Guruface.com.

 

7. Ben Xavier: How do we test SAP Portal and SAPGUI applications using UFT?
Wally Tauriac: The UFT IDE is the normal tool used for running UFT test scripts. This includes SAP Portal and SAPGUI applications which are two of many UFT protocols. Because UFT coding syntax is supported by the VBScript language, it is an alternative way that UFT scripts can be executed. And a third method of executing UFT scripts is using its sister product called ALM or Quality Center also owned by Micro Focus.

Do You Want to Learn and Implement QTP/UFT for SAP Testing?
If the answer sounds Yes, you may join an eLearning course on QTP/UFT for SAP Testing by Wally Tauriac on Guruface.com, which is one of the fastest-growing and top-rated eLearning platform. This course is specially designed for those who want to learn or master the art of developing effective ERP test scripts using Unified Functional Testing (UFT).

 

eLearning Course on UFT for SAP Testing
The course is designed to bring UFT or
QTP together with SAP Portal and
SAPGUI application testing activities.UFT-for-SAP
Buy The Course Now!

Software testing professionals working in office

Robot Framework – Things You Must Know About

Things you need to know about Robot Framework are listed as a Question & Answer session

It is quite sure that we dreamed of building and operating or simply operating a robot at some point in our lives. With that dream or its remnants subtly embedded in our consciousness, the term robot framework may like a framework that helps you build or operate robots. Isn’t it? However, this is not the case, the term has nothing to do with any robot, although it sounds similar.
This framework has a certain amount of automation involved, which allows developers to develop and set automatic tests for testing their complex computing solutions. Although popular, this concept still stirs doubts in minds of professionals who may be considering QA Analyst as a career option or those who may be planning to pursue this course.

Question and Answers on Robot Framework

Wally Tauriac, one of the popular trainers on Robot Framework Test Concepts and a Software Engineer and Test Analyst for over 40 years of experience with several fortune 500 companies, sheds light on the importance of this framework and its implementation benefits in an online interview with Ben Xavier, CTO, Guruface.com.

Ben Xavier: What is Robot Framework?
Wally Tauriac: Robot Framework is an open-source automation test tool. It integrates with some common tools, such as Selenium, Appium, SAPGUI, Excel, and Python. These tools enhance its ability to provide a robust test framework for different application platforms.

 

Ben Xavier: How do you use a Robot Framework?
Wally Tauriac: Robot Framework is an open-source automation test framework tool. It uses the keyword-driven testing technique approach for its process design. Its capabilities can be extended by the integration of test libraries, such as, Selenium which is implemented by either Java or Python.
Robot Framework has its own set of Libraries known as standard libraries. But Selenium provides a library that can be referenced by a Robot Framework. The diagram above is a sample of a simple Robot Framework test script. The second line demonstrates an import of the Selenium library. The keywords OPEN BROWSER and CLOSE BROWSER come from the Selenium Library. Execution of this Robot Framework script would launch the Chrome browser and link to the home page of the Google website, and then the browser would close. A test results report is automatically generated.
Ben Xavier: How do I use Robot Framework in Excel?
Wally Tauriac: Excel is one of the test libraries that integrates with the Robot Framework test tool. The Excel library provides Robot Framework keywords that support reading, writing, and updating Excel and comma-delimited (CSV) files. The design of the Robot Framework supports the use of the Excel library keywords to process Excel data in a type of function called Suite Setup.
Figure 1 below is a graphic example of potential Robot Framework files that make up a script. The test case file is the main process, and then the Resource files can be called or imported by the main process. The resource files support browser actions, variable definitions, and reusable functions, respectively. In Figure 2 you can see that the variable and test functions can be replaced with Excel Sheets to support and control data management.

graphic example of potential Robot Framework files that makeup a script
Figure 1
In Robot Framework variable and test functions can be replaced with Excel Sheets to support and control data management
Figure 2

Figure 3 can be useful in appreciating a graphic picture of several Robot Framework test component file combinations. The green boxes represent the main test case file. The blue boxes represent resource files providing reusable data for Robot Framework execution. The red box is where one or more Excel test sheets are invoked to drive the testing. Then each row of the main sheet describes a test case for Robot Framework to process.

A graphic representation of several Robot Framework test component file combinations.

Figure 3

Ben Xavier: How do you open the Robot Framework RIDE?
Wally Tauriac: First, RIDE stands for Robot Framework IDE. This is a tool known as the RF integrated development environment to implement automated tests for the Robot Framework using a GUI editor.
To open or launch RIDE requires launching Windows Explorer. Go to the folder where the RIDE is installed. Locate the executable and Right-click, and then select ‘Send To’ Desktop to create a shortcut. Once a shortcut is created on the desktop RIDE can be launched by double-clicking the icon. Otherwise, you would need to double-click the executable from within Windows Explorer.
When the tool is launched it will look something like the diagram below.

Screenshot of RIDE tool launched

When a new test case is requested, the screen shown in the diagram above appears. From here a Robot Framework script can be defined. The minimum is to specify Robot Keyword statements where the line numbers appear. Otherwise, more Robot Framework functionality can be utilized by defining setup and teardown code that can be processed before and after general code at the line numbers.
For those of you who are used to high-level IDE functionality, this is a good tool. I prefer to use the native Robot Framework coding features from a generic IDE like PyCharm for Robot Framework code development.

Ben Xavier: How to create a List in Robot Framework?
Wally Tauriac: Robot Framework supports scalar, list, and dictionary variables. Variable names consist of the variable type identifier ($, @, &, %), curly braces ({, }) and the actual variable name between the braces. A list variable starts with “@” with a variable name inside the braces. (e.g. @{vname})
Ben Xavier: How do I create a List in Robot Framework?
Wally Tauriac: Define a variable in the Variables section of an RF test case or resource file. An example of the syntax is: @{List} Item1, Item2, ItemX
The variable must have two spaces before the data assignment.
Sample definition and reference of Robot Framework List variables:
Robot-Framework-List-variables
Ben Xavier: How do you use RIDE Robot Framework?
Wally Tauriac: This editor is available with Robot Framework which helps in writing and executing test cases. The editor is easy to install and use. RIDE simplifies writing test cases by providing framework-specific code completion, and syntax highlighting. Creation of project, test suite, test case, keywords, variables, importing the library, executing, tagging the test case is easy to do in the editor.

Ben Xavier: How to run a Python Script in Robot Framework?
Wally Tauriac: Robot Framework was built using Python. So, it fits naturally with the Python environment. Python can be defined to run in Robot Framework. There are at least two approaches – a Run Process keyword or referencing Python internal function names.
The Run Process keyword is a simple keyword from the Robot Framework Process standard library. As an alternative, all function names in Python programs can be referenced within a Robot Framework script as keywords. This approach also requires a Resource reference in the SETTINGS section of a Robot Framework script.

Robot-Framework-settings-Resource-reference

Ben Xavier: How do you write Robot Framework test cases?
Wally Tauriac: There are two file types associated with Robot Framework scripts – the test case file and the resource file. The test case file is the main file and is sufficient for a Robot Framework script. The test case file contains up to four sections labeled: SETTINGS, VARIABLES, TEST CASES, and KEYWORDS.
Details writing the test cases depend on whether you are using RIDE or another editor, such as PyCharm. In general, it requires specifying some settings to import libraries and resources, identifying, and required variable definitions, specifying some keywords to indicate a process flow, and defining reusable functions to reference in the test case flow.

Robot Framework screenshot

As said before, a Robot Framework test case includes up to four sections: SETTINGS, VARIABLES, TEST CASES, AND KEYWORDS. The example below demonstrates three of the four sections. The SETTINGS section is referencing a library reference and a resource file reference. It also references two SUITE keywords which execute browser keywords to Open the browser at the beginning of the test run, and a Close browser at the end of the test run. Several variables are defined in the Variables section. The Test Cases section assigns a test case name Valid Login. The remaining keywords provide test functions for the test case.
Ben Xavier: How to write test cases in Robot Framework?
Wally Tauriac: To write a test case using RIDE, right-click on the project. Click New Test Case. Enter the name of the test case and click OK. There are three tabs shown for the test case created − Edit, Text Edit, and Run.
Otherwise, like PyCharm, under the project, you can create a robot file. Double-click to open it and begin defining the sections and then the settings, variables, test cases, and supportive keyword functions.
Ben Xavier: How do I read a file in Robot Framework?
Wally Tauriac: The Excel library for Robot Framework supports reading XLS, XLSX, and CSV file extensions. It contains the necessary keywords to process these files.
The most important keyword from the Excel Library is the OPEN EXCEL statement. In the Test Case file, it is important to provide a Library statement referencing DataDriver. If that statement references an Excel or CSV file, the DataDriver will automatically read each row or record in the file one at a time. Otherwise, the OPEN EXCEL statement can be referenced in a Robot Framework Resource file.

What’s Next?
If you are interested in learning the framework and its implementation, you may join the online course on Robot Framework offered by Wally Tauriac on the top-rated e-learning platform – Guruface.com. This course is specially designed for those who want to improve their knowledge in automated testing by employing various features and functions of Robot Framework and exploiting its ability to integrate with Python, Selenium, and Excel.

Online Instructor Final

How to Establish Your Credibility as an Online Instructor

How to Safeguard the Credibility of Online Instructor?

Your success as an online instructor hinges on whether or not your audience finds you credible enough to teach the topics in your course.

Here’s the thing, no matter how effective and game-changing the ideas in your online course might be, all of it is going to be useless if you cannot convince your audience that you are a credible enough online instructor.

After all, no one likes to gamble with their time and money, right?

I mean, why would they even spend their money on buying your course, if they have no idea about your skill level or whether or not you can give them a satisfying enough solution to their needs, right?

That’s how crucial establishing your credibility is if you’d like to become an online instructor.

The good news is, while building your credibility might not be an easy task, the roadmap to making this happen is quite simple.

And that’s what I’m going to share with you today. If you’re looking to establish your credibility as an online instructor, then this guide is for you.

Let’s hop right in.

Increase your visibility in forums or Q&A sites.

This game plan is designed to get your audience to trust you even if it’s the first time they’ve seen or heard about you.

Here’s the scenario that we’re trying to imagine. Let’s say someone is looking for tips on how to earn online through publishing ebooks. They’ll then visit the forums and Q&A sites to start a thread, or to ask a question (or to look for existing threads that can answer their question).

Since you’re *already* on the platform and they can see your answers, they’ll be interested in learning more about you. They’ll then click your profile to have a better understanding of what your expertise is.

Also, it’s quite common for forums or Q&A sites to show the threads that you’ve started, the comments or answers that you shared, etc… When they visit the other threads that you’ve been commenting on and see how value-packed your ideas are, they won’t have second thoughts about trusting you since you clearly know what you’re doing.

When they see what kind of “Karma,” upvotes, or the connections you have on your profile, they can easily be convinced of how trustworthy you are.

Of course, when they see your website and see the courses that you’ve published as an online instructor, making the decision to buy becomes a lot easier for them because they already trust you.

Guest post.

Imagine being an online instructor that specializes in Search Engine Optimization. How do you think your target audience would feel if they find out that you are a contributor to sites like Moz.com, Hubspot.com, or SearchEngineJournal.com (and other sites of the same caliber)?

Can you imagine their trust-o-meter shooting off the roof?

I mean, how can your audience not trust you if the editors of the hard-hitting sites approve of your ideas to the point of them allowing you to share it with their audience, right?

Another benefit of guest posting is the fact that they can read your content and the kind of ideas that you’re sharing. This gives them an idea of how knowledgeable you are in your craft.

Think of your guest posts as your appetizers for your audience. If they love it, they’ll be more than happy to devour the main course (the actual course that you are selling) that you’re going to offer.

If you aren’t quite familiar with how to start guesting posting, then allow me to share with you the gist of how the process works:

  1. Compile a list of high-quality sites that are relevant to your industry.
  2. Check out each site’s editorial guidelines then pitch their editors accordingly.
  3. Once their editors accept your article ideas, you can then start writing the article based on how you and the editor agreed it to be written.
  4. Send the article to the editor. If they accept your content, then they’ll tell you when your article is going live.
  5. If there are edits that they’d like to be made, then just do the edits until they accept your article.

The process is quite easy to follow, isn’t it? What isn’t easy however is executing the steps. It requires perseverance and mental grit.

Once you start working on the process, you’ll realize that some of the steps are quite boring. You’ll also notice how most of the webmasters/editors that you’ll send your pitches to will outright ignore you.

Don’t let these challenges get to you. Just continue doing what you’re doing (while trying to improve your steps as much as you can), and you’ll surely get results.

Create case studies.

When you mix testimonials, data-backed how-to articles, and success stories, what you’ll most likely end up having are case studies.

Pretty amazing, huh?

That’s why most companies pay premium rates to writers for case studies since it can get the job done. Whether you want more customers, brand recognition, leads, or just to solidify your brand as an authority in the industry, publishing case studies can almost always help you with just that.

If small or big businesses are using it, then why shouldn’t you?

You can publish case studies on your website where you talk about the problems of one of your customers, then talk about how they used your course, the steps that they took to solve their challenges, and the kind of amazing results that they’ve gotten. When your audience reads your case studies, they can easily imagine themselves to be your client (the one in the case study) since they can pretty much relate to the problems. At that point, since your course was the one that helped your client achieve success, it gives more weight to how credible you are as an instructor.

When your audience reads your case studies, they can easily imagine themselves to be your client (the one in the case study) since they can pretty much relate to the problems. At that point, since your course was the one that helped your client achieve success, it gives more weight to how credible you are as an online teacher.

What’s next?

What are some of the tips that you can share with other online instructors to help them establish their credibility online?

Was there a silver bullet strategy that helped you achieve the level of trustworthiness that you have achieved? Please share your ideas in the comments section below. Cheers!

client referrals

6 Things You Need to Know When Asking for Client Referrals

Six Tips to Know Before Asking for Client Referrals

1. Don’t beg. Position your ask strategically.
2. Ask when you are praised for your effort or output.
3. DO NOT ask when you have unfinished business with your client
4. Be careful with the timing you ask for a referral.
5. Build a meaningful relationship with your clients.
6. Be confident when asking for a referral.

You’ve heard it haven’t you? You’ve heard others say how powerful of a tool client referrals can be when growing your client base.

I for one would attest to that. I’ve been using referrals for quite some time now and it has helped me get more clients, even without me having to do my usual client acquisition strategies/methods.

If you’re looking to learn more about how to ask for client referrals, then this guide is what you need. The tips and ideas that I’ll share with you will help drastically increase your chances of getting your clients to say, “Sure!”, when you go for the big ask.

Let’s hop right in.

1. Don’t beg. Position your ask strategically.

Don’t make your client referral ask sound like you’re begging.

If you’re reaching out to them telling them that you don’t have enough money to pay your bills, so you’d appreciate it if they’ll refer you to their community, you’re doing it wrong — terribly wrong!

Instead of going the “pity-me” approach, ask in this manner instead, “Hey (your client’s first name), is there anyone you know who might need my services?”

Asking in this manner will make you sound like you just want to help others solve their problems.

2. Ask when you are praised for your output. No matter how small of praise it might be.

This strategy has worked wonders for me.

Whenever I ask for referrals immediately after my client praises me, they almost always respond very positively.

I mean, when I ask on a normal scenario where they haven’t praised me or anything, I tend to get a, “Sure Jim. I’ll help you”, reply. However, whenever I ask for a referral where my clients have just praised me, they reply with, “Absolutely Jim! You’re the man and I’ll be more than happy to tell the world about how awesome your work is…”

The difference in their replies are like night and day.

Follow this strategy and you’ll never get a negative reply from your prospect clients.

More importantly, they tend to take action on your referral ask immediately in scenarios like these. I know this because minutes after they’ll tell me that they’ll refer me, they’ll get back to me saying 2 – 3 of his/her contact will connect with me today or within this week to discuss the possible opportunity.

Isn’t this strategy amazing?

All you need to do is provide solid work (just like you normally would), then you’ll manage to get more clients.

3. Do not ask when you haven’t completed your work, or proven your worth yet.

If you’ve heard of others saying that they ticked off their client because of their referral ask, then you need to dig deeper and learn about how they asked for the referral, and when they did it (among others things).

Here’s the thing, just like in most things in life, there is a right way of asking for referrals, and the wrong way.

Of course, asking for referrals when you have not yet established how “referral-worthy” you are is a terrible mistake.

This mistake is so wrong in so many levels, mind you.

In your client’s point of view, when you ask for referrals even if you haven’t shown him your work could mean that your just interested in getting more projects.

That’s a big “no no”.

You need to show your existing clients that you are focused on their project alone, and that you aren’t thinking of any other clients but them. You need to make them feel confident that you are giving their projects your best efforts.

4. Be careful with the timing.

It goes without saying that if your client isn’t in a good mood, you ought not to ask for referrals. Asking for referrals when your client is seeing red can cause you all sorts of problems. Enough said.

5. Build a meaningful relationship with your clients.

Having a meaningful relationship with your clients (or to everyone for that matter) almost always pays.

When you’ve reached a point where you can chat, or laugh with your clients casually, there’s just no reason why they would take offense in you asking for referrals, right?

However, as you can probably imagine, you’ll only get to a point where you can have an established enough relationship with your clients if you are consistent in giving them quality results.

It will only happen if you’ve won their trust, and they see you as someone who has genuine concern for them.

6. Be confident when asking.

There are a lot of misconceptions about asking for referrals.

Most freelancers think that doing so is beneath them, and that their clients might get turned off because of them asking.

They can never be further from the truth.

Look. Even if you ask seasoned freelancers (and business) who are worth their salt, they’ll be upfront in telling you that they are keen on asking for referrals.

They have a totally different mindset about it.

They rarely worry about blowing off a relationship with their clients because of referrals, because they know that it rarely happens.

Not asking for referrals is a mistake that most beginners make. I know this because I had the same mindset as well during my first few months in freelancing online.

It was only when I heard a podcast about the techniques on asking for referrals that I ended up trying it. And guess what… it works! It actually works quite well!

In fact, I’ve been trying to ask for referrals whenever I can from my clients, ever since my first success with the strategy.

Here’s the kicker… I don’t ever remember anyone getting annoyed at me for asking for referrals. In short — I didn’t have any burned bridges because of me asking for referrals. Not a single one.

What’s next?

Have you been asking your existing clients for more referrals? What are some of the techniques that you’re using to get them to say “yes”, and to increase the chances of them taking action in their commitment to helping you with referrals?

Please share your ideas in the comments section below. Cheers!

Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) Certification with Guruface

Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) Certification with Guruface

The Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) designation is a professional certification from International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®), for individuals with extensive business analysis experience.  Anyone looking to validate and quantify their Business Analyst experience may be interested in pursuing the CBAP credential with Guruface.    What does a Business Analyst actually do?  A business analyst’s daily job duties can vary greatly, depending on the nature of the current organization and project. However, there are some activities that the business analyst will commonly do in the course of every project. They include:

  • investigating goals and issues
  • analyzing information
  • communicating with a wide variety of people
  • documenting findings
  • evaluating solutions

For a given project, the business analyst will usually try to define and oversee a series of carefully structured tasks aimed at achieving the general goals of analysis, synthesis, planning, and evaluation. Of course, these tasks are bound to require a flexible approach matching the circumstances.  The CBAP certification requires professionals to demonstrate approximately six years of practitioner experience in the Business Analysis function.  For obtaining CBAP, a candidate has to fulfill the following prerequisites:

  • Minimum 7500 hours (5 years) of BA work experience aligned with A Guide to the Business Analysis Book of  Knowledge® (BABOK® Guide) in the last 10 years
  • Minimum 900 hours (6 months) in four of the six knowledge areas
  • Minimum 21 hours of Professional Development in the past four years
  • Two references from a career manager, client or Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP®) recipient
  • Signed Code of Conduct

Certifications provide can serve to lift your profile with clients, potential employers, proposal reviewers, industry peers, etc. with an assumed baseline of a person’s experience and expertise.  CBAP® recipients are identified as the senior members of the Business Analyst profession, and organizations have begun to compensate them as such.

According to Payscale the Average Salary for

Certification: Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP)

 

Job Title National Salary Data
Business Analyst, IT 77 salaries $56,873 – $107,733
Sr. Business Analyst (Computer Software/Hardware/Systems) 41 salaries $68,172 – $120,894
Business Systems Analyst 28 salaries $49,807 – $93,837

 

With Business Insider the average salary nationally for a CBAP certification holder is $106,933.  The CBAP® designation has been around for  10 years.  The overall first time pass rate of those taking the CBAP is between 80% and 90%. Note that is not an official number, just our best guess.  It is high partly because the IIBA® screens applications so well and demands so many years of experience. It is also high because examinees so far have been super-prepared to pass.   Guruface will be offering online courses in CBAP certification, contact us to learn more about this offering.

writer's block

Tried And Tested Tips to Get Rid of the Writer’s Block – Part 2

Note – If you missed part one of this 3-part series, then you can click this link to access the previous post.


Did you take the time to implement the tips that I shared on the previous post? If you didn’t, then I urge you to give them a try right now, before you even start reading this second installment of our series.

However, if you feel like the tips that I shared previously aren’t resonating with you, allow me to continue with these second set of tips.

Let’s carry on from where we left off…

5. The story telling approach.

While there are several different stages (or phases) that you can use to write a story, I use the 5 different phases that I found at Changeminds.org. These stages were described by Gustav Freytag as:

Regardless of what topic you’re writing about, you can almost always create a story-type write-up where you’ll follow the pattern above.

If you’ve had your fair share of reading blog posts on the internet, I’m sure you’ve read somewhere how storytelling is a powerful tool that businesses or marketers can use to keep their audience from clicking away.

True enough. It is.

The thing with storytelling is, the readers tend to get drawn in the world that the writer has created. They almost always end up asking the question, “What’s next?” after reading every line since they want to know how the story will unfold.

Having said that, the storytelling approach is also an effective strategy that you can use to reduce your website’s bounce rate.

6. The Skyscraper method.

Great. You have a topic in mind that you know your audience will love.

When you Googled the topic, however, you realized that there are already several articles written about it.

Now here’s a question for you? Would you…

1. give up and look for another topic to write about?

2. still write about the same topic with half of your efforts, since you know that your article will become “just another article” about the topic?

Or…

3. gather all the information that you can find about the topic, then put together one massive — let alone value-packed — guide that will blow your audience’s minds!

Choose the latter option. Choose the Skyscraper method!

At this point, I hope you’ve already figured out why the technique is called as such. Because your content will tower over all the other content online, your article becomes a “skyscraper article”.

You can read Brian Dean’s blog post about the Skyscraper method to learn more about it.

What makes writing easier when using this method is you don’t have to formulate your ideas from scratch — or at least most of it.

All you need to do is gather the ideas that are shared by others, put them all together in one massive article, add your own wisdom bombs into the mix, and voila! Your epic content is created.

As you can probably imagine, writing using the Skyscraper method is a lot easier since the ideas are already out there, you just have to rephrase them, and add your own twist to the ideas.

Note – DO NOT copy and paste content from other websites. What you need to do is to learn the concept behind the ideas that they are sharing, and share it to your audience using your own voice and understanding.

7. Do the next right thing.

One of the reasons why people experience the writer’s block is they tend to get overwhelmed by how huge or challenging their writing project is.

Imagine having to write a 20,000 word guide.

When you put together your first few sentences, there’s a good chance you’ll experience the writer’s block because you’ll feel a sense of overwhelm. And you feel that way because you are comparing where you are at right now — where you’ve written very little to no words — to how the end product looks like (which is 20,000 words). When you see the huge gap, you tend to get overwhelmed and stressed, which leads to you experiencing the writer’s block.

The solution? “Do the next right thing.”

I learned this from having listened to one of Michael Hyatt’s podcasts.

He mentioned how we should stop thinking constantly about the stage where we’re at on completing the project, as compared to how the completed project looks like, since it can cause us to be overwhelmed.

Of course, before you even do any kind of work, you need to plan accordingly and set up your roadmap to reaching your goal.

This ensures that all of your actions (or your written content) won’t stray away from what your main objective is for writing the article.

Once you’re done with the planning stage, you can now follow the, “Do the next right thing” advice that Michael Hyatt shared.

When  using this strategy, you first need to figure out what your “next right thing” is. In my case, when I have a huge writing project that I need to deal with, I think of my “next right thing” as completing 1 thousand words (maybe 2 – 3 thousand words, even).  Or I can say that my “next right thing” is completing 1 chapter.

With this kind of mindset, I am not constantly thinking about completing a 20,000 word guide (which is overwhelming), my mind is only focused on finishing a 2 thousand word write-up which is really simple to do.

What’s next?

Alrighty! Now we’re done with the second installment of our 3-part series on how to get rid of the writer’s block.

At this point, I hope you’ve found some very helpful tips that you can use to speed up your writing, all without compromising the quality of your work.

Can you share your thoughts on the list of tips that I mentioned? Has any of them worked for you? Better yet, can you share your own tips for getting rid of the writer’s block? Please share your ideas in the comments section below.

Important Note – I will be publishing my 3rd and last post this Monday. Please stay tuned. I’ll add the link here once my last post goes live. Cheers!

writers block final

Tried And Tested Tips to Get Rid of the Writer’s Block – Part 1

I know. It’s nerve-racking — writer’s block, that is.

With how valuable content has become for businesses and consumers, it has become the perfect time for writers to make a living out of their skill. Of course, the more articles the writers can push out, the more income they earn.

You can probably relate to that, huh?

While the statement above is certainly true, thinking that being a writer is all daisies and butterflies is a terrible mistake. Writers contend with a very serious challenge that makes them rethink about whether or not they’re on the right field.

Of course, the challenge that I am talking about is the writer’s block.

If you’ve had your fair share of experiencing the dreaded writer’s block, and are sick and tired of it, then allow me to share you some tips that will help remedy just that.

If you’ll take the time to understand and take action on the tips that I’ll share, I promise you that you’ll be able to avoid the writer’s block, AND be able to compete those articles in no time.

Let’s hop right in.

1. Ask questions — TONS OF THEM!

It’s all about value, right?

Even if you publish a 10 thousand word article, your audience will still ignore you if they feel that your content is all fluff, and are not providing real value.

The thing with your audience is, when they’re at your page, they just want their questions answered. If after reading your article they end up saying to themselves, “I’m glad I landed on this website, now I know how to solve my problem…”, then your audience will surely be appreciative of you and your content.

What has this got to do with getting rid of your writer’s block and writing fast, you might ask?

Everything.

To use this strategy, you just need to put yourself in your audience’s shoes, then start writing the questions that you think that they’ll end up asking you. These questions will be your actual subheadings.

Imagine writing down 15 questions, and answering them comprehensively. If you’ll give each question an answer that’s about 200 words or so, then you’d have ended up writing 3000 words (minimum) in no time. Mind you that the figure still doesn’t include your opening and closing paragraphs.

With the kind of approach that we’ve taken, I’m sure you can tell that we’ll end up writing something useful (since we’re answering your audience’s questions), and not something that’s all sizzle but no steak.

* Important tip – Use Q&A sites and forums to figure out the kind of questions that your audience are asking. That way, you know that you are answering the actual questions that your audience are thinking about, and not just the questions that YOU THINK they are wanting to ask.

2. You versus them.

The word “versus” might have been too strong of a word.

What we’re merely trying to do using this strategy is to compare your your take on a specific topic, over other people’s opinion.

Here’s an example. If you’re writing about a specific product, you can tell your audience your opinion about that specific product, and how your opinion differs to other people’s.

Of course, you don’t necessarily have to limit yourself into talking about opposing opinions only. You can also talk about opinions that are aligned to yours.

In terms of getting your readers to engage with you, this strategy works quite well especially if your opinion challenges the opinion of most people — or if your opinion is seemingly against the standards that most people adhere to.

What I like the most about this strategy is there are a lot of publishers on the web. Since that is the case, you can simply look for publishers that have a decent amount of clout (or followers), take note of their opinion about the topic that you are writing about, then compare / relate your opinion to theirs.

Once your article goes live, you can even Tweet them, or send them an email telling them that you mentioned them in your article.

This strategy increases the chances of others sharing your articles to their community.

3. Breakdown the topic.

I have yet to come across a topic that cannot be broken-down using subtopics. Regardless of what you’re writing about, there is always a way to break it down into bite-sized-pieces.

That’s why this strategy is so easy to use.

Try to picture out drawing a mind map on a sheet of paper.

You have the main topic in the middle of your paper, then you start listing the subtopics around your main topic, and enclosing them in a “bubble”.

After writing about 10 – 15 subtopics, you’ll then draw another arrow pointing to another bubble where you can write your ideas pertaining to the subtopic.

Once you’re done writing your ideas on each subtopic, how long do you think your write-up would have been at that point?

Pretty interesting, huh?

If you’re trying to introduce a new idea, or perhaps something that your audience aren’t quite familiar of, this strategy is one of the best ones that you can use — along with strategy number 1.

4. Use the cause and effect approach to prevent experiencing the writer’s block.

I especially like using this approach when talking about the problems that my audience are experiencing — and the solution to their problems, of course.

I have found that this approach does such an amazing job when it comes to keeping your readers hooked. If your website has a high bounce rate, then you might want to use this approach when writing your articles.

The thing is, when you’re writing about the “cause” of the problem, your audience will be able to relate to it. And because of that, they will want to continue reading your article.

* Bonus tip – one of the things that most seasoned copywriters do to influence their readers to continue reading, and buy their product is to talk about the problems of their readers — and rub it in their faces. This makes their readers emotional, making it easier for the copywriters to influence their reader’s actions.

In most cases, writing about the cause and effect of a topic can cause your article’s word count to skyrocket. When you put into consideration the subtopics that you need to write about as you detail the cause (and the effect) of your main topic, you’ll end up growing the numbers even more, all while providing value to your audience.

What’s next?

Liked what you’ve read so far?

Well. That’s just for starters. I still have about 5 to 7 or so tips that I can share that will help you cure your writer’s block.

I have been using these techniques myself (for years) and they have worked wonders for me. If you’ll take the time to digest and implement the tips that I shared above, I promise you that you’ll see real results.

Stay tuned. I will be adding a link here for the second part of this guide. I will be publishing the next article this Monday. Cheers!

project-management (2)

Project Management PMP Certification : Getting Your Employer To Pay

Having a Project Management PMP certification shows that you meet a foundational framework of knowledge but how do you get your employer to pay for your certification?  Here’s a few tips on how to convince your employer to pay for your Project Management certification.  

Your New Skill & Knowledge Can Save Your Employer Money

You have to paint a picture of how the certification will help you be an even better employee, whether it’s a class that will hone a particular skill that you use on the job, or provide you with a greater understanding of the inner workings of the industry.    The simplest and most powerful way to do this is to show them their expected return on investment.  Explain to them how you will be able to add more value thanks to your training, say for example, “With my PMP certification, I will be able to create more stability and reduce risks in our projects – and both of these are key goals of our organization.”

Support your justification of why your employer should pay for your Project Management PMP Certification by speaking to how you being certified will help your employer avoid becoming one of these four 2015 statistics

  1. One in six IT projects have an average cost overrun of 200% and a schedule overrun of 70%. (Source: Harvard Business Review)
  1. 75% of business and IT executives anticipate their software projects will fail. (Source: Geneca)
  1. Fewer than a third of all projects were successfully completed on time and on budget over the past year. (Source: Standish Group)
  1. An astounding 97% of organizations believe project management is critical to business performance and organizational success. (Source:PricewaterhouseCoopers)

 

Also be sure to let your employer know that having employees with specific and pertinent certifications can help distinguish the company from less-certified bidders and bring in new accounts.  Whether one believes in the intrinsic value of PMP certification or not, the economic reality is many major companies and entities are simply demanding it.   If your company has bid on a government project over the past several years – be it federal, state or local, or even with a Fortune 1000 company, they have likely encountered the PMP certification requirement.  So for example if your business sub-contracts to Government or a larger company, it’s of value to those that you are certified in Project Management.

Further remind your employer certification programs are a great way for them to ensure that their employees’ skills don’t become dated and go stale.   For example Project Managers (PMP) certification requires continued learning and earning a specific amount of PDUs per three-year certification cycle.  By recertifying employers are assured that the skills of their employees remain fresh.

Research the Time and Cost

It’s very important to assure your employer that when they pay for your PMP Certification training and you are in the course it will not take any time away from your current work.   For this point, do some research into the cost and time taken for this certification? Answer questions such as:

  • How much will the exam(s) cost?  
  • Are there any PMP training courses involved? How much will they cost? (contact us here at Guruface and learn the price for live online instructor led compared to prerecorded courses).
  • Do I need any books to study from?
  • Do I need to take any time off?
  • How long will it take me to complete? This can show the company when they can get the benefits of it.

We of course can help you with many of these points however once you know this information, you should be able to prepare a final dollar amount for the certification.   That makes the decision making process clear and complete, you have a better chance to get the approvals required with a clear view of the cost to your employer. Be mindful here at Guruface we offer two e-learning options, live instructor led training and prerecoded courses where the course costs are slightly lower.     Regardless of your schedule, we know you are busy and have learning options that can adjust to your schedule.

How to Use Influencer Marketing to Sell Online Courses – Guruface

online coursesI talked to my friend last night (he also sells online courses), here’s how our conversation went:

My friend: Been marketing the heck out of my online courses, but I’m not getting any visitors on my website unless I use paid ads. It’s expensive. It sucks.

Me: I used to struggle with the same thing. What kind of marketing methods have you been using? Ever tried influencer marketing?

My friend: Yep. Didn’t work for me. Because I’m a nobody online, they’re just ignoring me like I’m a zombie.

Me: Hmm… That’s interesting. The first time I tried it I managed to get decent results. How have you been running your outreach?

My friend: I use an amazing software that blasts hundreds of emails in a matter of…

My friend lost me at the word “blasts.”

Look. If you’re using an “amazing software” (hint of sarcasm, of course) that does the same thing that my friend’s software does, don’t expect to get any kind of decent results from your influencer marketing campaign.

Influencer marketing require finesse, careful planning, and a genuine urge to establish a relationship with others. That is… if you truly want to succeed.

So here’s what we’ll do. Since you’re reading this blog post, I take that you’re looking to unlock the secrets on how to succeed at using influencer marketing to sell your online courses, right?

If you answered that question with a “yes”, then I need you to sit tight. I’ll help you with just that.

1. Interview the influencers about THEIR up and coming products.

As you can probably imagine, this strategy is pretty cut and dry:

Step 1 – Look for influencers in your niche. You can do a quick search at Google, or follow the same tips that I detailed on this guide to help you find guest posting opportunities.

Step 2 – Go through each of these influencers and check out which of them are about to release a new product.

Step 3 – Send the influencer an outreach message telling them that you’d like to do an exclusive interview with them about their expertise, and the new product that they are about to release.

Step 4 – Before the interview, tell them that you’ll do a quick intro about YOUR online course. Less than a minute will do.

Step 5 – Once the interview starts and you’re done with your quick intro about your online course, focus on the influencer. This time, forget about your course, this should be all about them.

Step 6 – As your interview ends, mention your up and coming online course again. Of course, you also need to talk about and promote the influencer’s course.

Step 7 – Ask the influencer to share the podcast or the interview to his/her audience.

This strategy is a win-win situation for everyone since everyone can benefit from the interview. Your audience can benefit from the expert advice that the influencer can share (and so does  his/her audience). You can promote your up and coming online course, and the influencer’s too.

2. Publish an expert roundup.

One of the things that will cause the influencers to share something to their audience, is if they are included in that “something”.

Of course the “something” that I’m talking about is a blog post where you feature 10 or more experts/influencers that are connected to your industry.

In short, a roundup.

Because their names are included in the roundup, they can benefit from the free PR, and also in solidifying their personal brand as an authority in the industry.

At this point, all you need to do is mention your online course on the roundup, so when all the other influencers share the post to their community, all of the readers will know about your online course.

3. Write blog posts to pre-market your online course, then include quotes from influencers.

According to Socialmarketingwriting.com’s data, “70% of people learn about a company from articles instead of ads. Invest more into quality evergreen blog posts instead of temporary ads.”

I hope that by now, you can pretty much picture out the value of pre-marketing your online courses using blog posts.

However, I’m not just here to talk to you about publishing regular posts. Because the truth is, even if you publish articles daily, it might still take some time before you get real results out of your blog posts in terms of traffic and leads: especially if your website is new.

Unless, of course… your blog posts are shared by several influencers.

Here’s how we can increase the chances of that happening.

Instead of just writing high quality blog posts with stories and numbers (data), you need to include quotes from influencers. Of course, the influencers that you need to quote are those whose audience are your target customers.

That way, once your post goes live, you can then reach out to them via email or social media to tell them that you included their quote in your post. At this point, the chances of them sharing your post drastically increases, because their names are on your article.

4. Ask them straight up if they’d like to know more about your product.

The success of this strategy boils down to the power of your outreach message.

To increase the chances of them accepting your request, you need to craft your outreach message in such a way that it focuses on the benefits that the influencers can get from learning about your product.

The question that you need to address is, “What’s in it for me?”

Answer that question, and you’ll have a winner pitch.

A couple of things that you need to consider when creating the pitch:

  • Use a killer headline.
  • Keep it to 3 – 4 paragraphs max. Try to limit the paragraphs to less than 3 lines.
  • Focus on the benefits and not the features of your product. Remember, they don’t care about you or your product. All they’re thinking about is how they (specifically) can benefit from it.
  • Leave a clear call-to-action on your email message.

If they’ll give you the go signal, be sure not to send them something that’s overwhelming. The last thing you want to do is to send them an ebook-like guide on how to use your product.

There’s no way they’ll read through the entire thing.

You’ll be better of if you create a short video (3 – 5 mins long) or if you’ll schedule a short video call with them so you can walk them through the process.

What’s next?

What are the challenges that you’ve been facing in terms of promoting your online courses? No subscribers? You feel that the quality isn’t good enough? Or no one’s sharing it?

Whatever your challenges are, please take the time to share them in the comments section below.

© cacaroot / Dollar Photo Club

Online learning can help businesses remain at the cutting edge

Moses Tse for South China Morning Post writes:   Most companies acknowledge the value of continuing education for their employees. It is a straightforward way to ensure staff are up to date on the latest and best ideas, as well as changes in regulations and requirements in a specific industry.

Managers should also recognize that digital technologies can optimize the delivery of continuing education. We advocate providing a mixture of “live” interactive courses that can be attended in a boardroom, via skype or by dialling in with video courses that can be simultaneously deployed to PCs, tablets, and smartphones – enabling learners the flexibility to study at their convenience. By using a blend of classroom-based training and a digital learning environment you can link your staff to experts from inside and outside the business.

We’ve made learning continuous, flexible and increasingly democratised

For live courses, use online sign-ups and offer participants proactive notifications via email and SMS to alert them if their planned/interested courses have last-minute seats available. In addition, promote online discussions to extend the learning process before and after formal training.  (SNIP, click here to read the rest of the article).

GuruFace Comment: GuruFace offers all the tools companies need to conduction training online, regardless of where their employees are around the world.  Online training allows employees to learn at their own pace and at a time that’s convenient for them.  And, no matter which shift an employee works, training is always available anywhere there is an Internet connection, which makes these programs effective for training across multiple locations.  Because all the trainees will use the same program, training materials are standardized. The materials are also easy to update.   Online employee training also makes tracking results easier. In other words, an employer is better able to see who has completed training and review their scores.

3 Keys Questions for Businesses That Use Online Training

  • Is it easy to use?
  • Does it have built-in interactivity? Does the content keep employees engaged in the training?
  • Do materials cover all the pertinent regulations and do they align with your organization’s goals?

The answer with GuruFace is Yes, Yes, and YES!  We make all this possible for your business  Visit us at GuruFace by clicking here.