Anna is from Texas and her boss threatened to fire her if she opted to participate in International Women’s Day strikes. Kate lives in California and couldn’t afford to cover childcare if she took the day off work. Meanwhile in Maine, Judy lives on a strict budget in an economically depressed area. She supports her household and as well as the women in the Trauma, Recovery and Empowerment group that she facilitates, she was in no position to take International Women’s Day off to strike or rally or march. The irony of last Wednesday’s activities for IWD, was that the women who would benefit most from its messaging, women like Anna, Kate and Judy, were the very ones who couldn’t afford to take action.Last Wednesday, employees across 360i’s four offices marched, striked and rallied on behalf of these and many more women. In recognizing our own position of privilege and our organization’s unwavering belief in equality, we decided to dedicate our actions, channels and voices to women like Anna, Kate and Judy. We collected their stories on our website and blog, and then amplified their names and stories on signs that read, “I’m here for ____________ because she can’t be.”In the end, these women’s voices, and so many others like their’s, were represented among the tens of thousands of people across the country who stood together on International Women’s Day. Read their stories here and see the outcome of 360i’s #EqualVoices campaign below:
Welcome to the third of a six-part collaboration between Mint and Brewing Happiness. I’m Haley, the girl behind Brewing Happiness – a blog about celebrating the small healthy choices we make in our lives, complete with recipes for everybody!In the first two articles I covered grocery shopping on a budget, and provided a healthy 7-day meal plan for under $150! Today I am going to shift my focus to eating healthy while traveling. As a person who has created a career around eating healthy, it is important to me to keep this up even when I am traveling.This past month I set out on a month-long trip around Europe, so I had the chance to figure out the best strategies for eating healthy on a travel budget. I found that there is a delicate balance between penny pinching, eating healthy, and really indulging in the local cuisine. I didn’t want to miss out on any of that, and I figure you don’t either. So today I am going to share my top five tips with you! I promise there is a way to indulge (in a healthy way) on a budget.#1 Come prepared.Avoid wasting money on snacks at cafes or airports or train stations by coming prepared with your own snacks. Maybe this means trail mix, or protein bars, or nut butter or fruit – whatever it is, it’s much more cost effective to buy them preemptively than to buy them on the go. This way you can save your money for the meals that matter. Don’t let hanger drain your bank account!#2 Be choosy.Take time to do your research before visiting a city – search on the internet or ask friends for recommendations – and make a list of the top restaurants you must try. Then you can allocate a larger percentage of your food budget to those specific meals. That way you are nearly guaranteed a food experience that you will like, and you aren’t thoughtlessly spending money at cafes or restaurants that may or may not be worth it.#3 Split food.If you are traveling with another person or a group, splitting meals is a great way to save money. It allows for you to be able to try more dishes at one restaurant without breaking the bank. That way you can experience all of your destination’s food offerings without spending a fortune. It is also very helpful in practicing moderation (see tip 5.) BONUS – it helps prevent food waste!#4 The market (AKA. grocery store) is your best friend.If you run out of snacks or if you are lucky enough to stay in a place with a kitchen, grabbing snacks or meal supplies at the grocery store can save you so much money. Do your big spending at your list of top restaurants, and save the rest of your money by grabbing food at the market. (HINT: cheese and meat boards are a great cheap meal to buy at the store.) You can still try exciting local products at the market that will save you money at the same time. Especially if you are a coffee drinker, buying coffee at the market and making it in your accommodations will save you tons of money on your trip.#5 Practice moderation.It is easy to give into the “YOLO” mentality when traveling, and be tempted to order anything and everything on a menu that looks good. But the truth is that you will enjoy the meal more if you limit your order to one or two items. This way you won’t waste food, and you won’t break the bank. You can always return to a restaurant that blew you away, or save your money to try other unique menu items at the next restaurant you go to. That way you get to indulge in a healthy way!So that’s it – my top 5 tips for eating well and cheaply while traveling! I know that travel isn’t always cheap, but it is possible to do well on a budget, especially when it comes to food. I hope these tips have helped inspire and remind you that eating healthy while traveling isn’t very hard.Follow along!Over the next couple of months I’ll be covering tons of ways to be healthy on a budget. So keep an eye out for those and head over to Brewing Happiness for healthy recipe inspiration in the meantime! Haley Hunt Davis is the voice behind Brewing Happiness, a food blog dedicated to celebrating healthier choices. Haley makes “health-ified” versions of everyone’s favorite foods, like pizza and chicken nuggets, as well as suggestions for how to make every dish fit one’s lifestyle. For more from Haley, follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Related Post navigation
Post navigation When I was growing up, back-to-school shopping equated to a few pairs of clothes, a handful of college-ruled notebooks, and a new backpack. (Note: These was during the age of dial-up internet and when kids had to call landlines to chat with their friends.)These days, school essentials might also mean pricey electronic essentials such as a new laptop, tablet, or smartphone. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), in 2018 parents of kids in grades K-12 spent an average of $685 per child, and $942 for collegiates on back-to-school shopping.Instead of being blindsided by back-to-school spending, why not get a jump on creating a back-to-school spending plan now? Here’s how to go about it:Why You Should Create a Back-to-School BudgetI like to think of budgets as little ecosystems, or separate patches of green in your money garden, so to speak. It’s a lot easier to manage a smaller budget for a set of specific expenses. Plus, these expenses won’t affect your monthly budget. The goal is to have enough cash flow so your budget for your living expenses will continue undisturbed.Itemize Back-to-School Needs I know, itemizing can be a bit on the mundane and tedious side. But if you don’t jot down every single thing and how much it roughly costs, you might find yourself spending more than you can afford. Things to include in your budget: apparel, a backpack, laptop, phone, lunchbox, and pens, pencils, and notebooks. If your kid is in college, you’ll want to toss in furnishings for their dorm or apartment and personal hygiene products.It’s helpful to itemize for two reasons: The first is that if you can see how much you’ll need to save. And once you figure out how much you can reasonably afford to spend for back-to-school expenses, you can start to make trade-offs, or look for deals.What’s also nice about itemizing is that you can do a grand tally at the bottom, and view it like you’re reviewing your cart while online shopping. What items does your child really need, and what can they do without?Plan Around Sales Major sale events such as Labor Day sales and online deals during the summer are opportune times to snag a deal on electronics, clothes, and dorm bedding and furnishings. To cut back on how much you’ll be doling out for your kid’s back-to-school needs, plan your shopping around these mega summer sales.Note: You don’t always have to wait for blowout sales to save a few bucks. Some sites offer Deals of the Day, promo codes and coupons abound, and there are a handful of browser extensions that scour promo codes for you and automatically apply the discounts when you check out. And if you have allegiance to a particular department store or online retailer, there might be an app or mailing list where you can get deal alerts.Another way to make back-to-school spending manageable is by breaking up how much you plan to spend based on sales. For instance, if you estimate needing $700 to cover your child’s back to school needs, you might want to buy electronics and supplies online now, and clothes during Labor Day. By staggering your spending, you’ll have more time to plan and save for such purchases.Made Trade-Offs Speaking of trade offs, what are some ways you can free up cash so you have more for your back-to-school budget. For instance, are there less-expensive ways to have summer fun? If you’re going on a trip, drum up ways you can save on food, or do it on a smaller budget.Or you might hold until a less-spendy time of year (think: potentially during the winter or spring) to plan a longer vacation with the family. That summertime savings could be used toward back-to-school purchases.Make the Most of Gift Cards I like to think of gift cards as financial pick-me-ups. They come in handy when you’re having a lean month. I personally like using gift cards when I’m trying to save up for something else, or to lower my holiday expenses.If you have a lot of reward points racked up on a card, consider cashing them out for a department store home to purchase back-to-school supplies. You might want to do this only if you’re coming up short on your budget. For younger kids, consider handing a gift card to them to spend on supplies or clothes. It could teach your kids money lessons on how to stick to a budget.Stock UpIf you can swing it, consider stocking up on sundry items you know your kid will need throughout the school year. Think of the little things that could add up over time. This could be anything from batteries, pencils, notebooks.If your child is in college, you might want to stock up on personal items such as shampoo and toilet paper. Shopping at a discount retailer or during a sale could be cheaper than buying something at, say, a drug store chain or campus bookstore because you’re in a pinch.Hold on Non-Essential Items If you anticipate falling short of your savings goal for your back-to-school budget, consider holding on making some purchases. Can your child wait until the holidays for a new smartphone or tablet? Perhaps they can add it to their gift wish list. And for supplies that aren’t on sale, you might want to wait until the off-season to stock up. That will help spread out such expenses.There you have it: How to go about creating a spending plan for back-to-school budgets, and also a few tactics you can employ to cut back on such expenses. Even if you don’t have a lot of time to save, buy cleverly coming up with trade-offs and staggering your spending, you might not feel as stretched financially.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) RelatedBack-to-School on a Budget + PrintablesJuly 22, 2019In “Budgeting”Essential Money Skills Your Kid Needs to KnowOctober 16, 2019In “Family Finances”How To Go Back To School As An AdultJuly 30, 2019In “Student Finances”
The Caribbean has long been hailed as a vacationer’s paradise, with its coral reefs, bioluminescent bays, white sand beaches and rainforests. Yet there’s a problem lurking beneath the sparkling sea—untreated wastewater.Only 15 percent of wastewater entering the Caribbean Sea is currently being treated, and only 17 percent of Caribbean households are connected to acceptable collection and treatment systems. The majority of the region’s wastewater spews right into the sea, bringing with it pollutants like nutrients, fecal matter, toxins, pharmaceuticals, oil and more. Part of the reason Caribbean governments have not addressed the wastewater issue is because they lack data on how wastewater pollution is impacting ecosystems and human health, or what realistic solutions exist.That’s why WRI recently worked with the Caribbean Regional Fund for Wastewater Management (GEF CReW) Project to improve the region’s understanding of the wastewater issue and provide a resource to assist countries in making a stronger case for investments in wastewater treatment.Digging Deeper into the Caribbean’s Wastewater ProblemWorking with GEF CReW partners (the Global Environment Facility, UN Environment Programme and Inter American Development Bank) and the governments of Trinidad and Tobago and Panama, WRI developed an economic valuation resource guide and piloted it in three sites: Chaguanas, Trinidad; Southwest Tobago; and Isla Colon, Panama. The guide is intended to help policymakers and other officials examine the trade-offs of the costs of investing in improved wastewater management infrastructure and maintenance with the benefits to ecosystems and human health. Our findings underscore the direness of the wastewater problem:Only 12-15 percent of the population in Southwest Tobago and Chaguanas is connected to a centralized wastewater treatment facility, and about 80 percent in Isla Colon. The remaining population uses on-site wastewater treatment like septic tanks and pit latrines. However, untreated wastewater is frequently released in all three sites due to poorly maintained and outdated infrastructure and unplanned (and oftentimes unauthorized) development. Wastewater pollution is degrading ecosystems for areas critical for ecotourism, and creating negative human health impacts. While the full extent of the damage is unknown due to lack of data, we found concerning problems in all three study sites. Isla Colon’s wastewater treatment plant is located adjacent to indigenous peoples’ informal settlements. During periods of high rainfall, untreated wastewater and the pollutants it contains are released directly into these areas. Wastewater pollution is also degrading the Buccoo Reef, the Nylon Pool and the Caroni Swamp, popular sites for swimming, snorkeling, boating and fishing in Trinidad and Tobago. Health problems linked with wastewater pollution in Panama and Trinidad and Tobago include gastroenteritis and ear and eye infections.Working Toward a SolutionThe stakes are high. In addition to the potential threats to human and ecosystem health, tourism and travel represent 14.6 percent of the Caribbean’s GDP and 13 percent of its total employment. A threat to marine ecosystems is a direct threat to the economic and physical well-being of the region. The economic valuation resource guide points to solutions.Preliminary results for the three pilot areas indicate that these issues could be addressed by updating wastewater management systems and connecting more people to centralized wastewater treatment plants. While the pilot areas lacked sufficient data to complete a quantitative analysis, stakeholders were still able to weigh the costs and benefits of wastewater treatment. Each site demonstrated that the benefits to human health, ecosystems and local economies were greater than treatment costs.Moving forward, policymakers, environment ministers, economists and others throughout the Caribbean can use the report to evaluate wastewater treatment costs and benefits in their own communities by using either cost-benefit analysis or multi-criteria analysis. The guide can also help decision-makers weigh the trade-offs between wastewater infrastructure investment types, such as natural infrastructure (like conservation of wetlands) vs. engineered infrastructure (such as wastewater treatment facilities). With the right tools—and the right data—policymakers can protect the Caribbean’s citizens, ecosystems and economy from the perils of untreated wastewater.
Still, there are few things you need to know to write effective blog articles that attract the right audience, build a following and community, and most importantly gives you the opportunity to put your products in front of potential consumers.eCommerce Blog TopicsFirst and foremost, you should NOT always be writing about your products specifically. Instead, blog about general products within an industry. For example, if you sell Canon HD Cameras don’t write specifically about why consumers should purchase Canon HD Cameras from you. Write about HD camera’s in general in ways that your audience will find interesting and helpful. Consider writing about the general industry of photography and videography. People do not know your specific product offerings yet and are not searching explicitly for it. They ARE searching for general information on products, answers to questions they have as well as ways to excel at the professions or hobbies.Think about the problem your product solves or the desire it satisfies. Your blog posts need to show immediate value to your audience to effectively reach them.What did you teach them about the product? What did they learn or take away from the blog post? Originally published Dec 15, 2010 9:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Blog Post Topics Topics: What was the unique insight you provided to them?The answers to these questions should be clear before you begin to write the article. Still, don’t over think your blogs content. As an expert in the industry the knowledge you have that you consider elementary or well-known could be unfamiliar yet extremely valuable to your target market.How Products Are UsedNot every product is self-explanatory or equipped with clear instructions. There may be a number of ways that a product can be used, while the majority of product owners only use it for its basic functions. Open up their eyes to all that it can do.A few examples include:Teach them how they can be more efficient and effective using the product.Explain all of the uses of the product to people that have never owned one.Describe features you believe not everyone is taking advantage of.Giving your audience insight and knowledge they didn’t have before reading the article is going position yourself as a thought leader in the industry. In order to later sell your products to this audience you need to gain their trust and respect, especially if they are comparison shopping.News About the General Product and IndustryIf some news occurs around a product or industry, you want to be the first to break it. Share your opinion on new features or enhancements that are affecting the products you sell or distribute. For example, if you sell running shoes and new technology is arriving that is going help reduce stress on runner’s feet and shins then blog about it. Add your opinion and shape the conversation in your favor. You’re probably already aware of any news surrounding the industry and sharing this news while adding your unique insight will be extremely helpful for your readers.You can also take advantage of spikes in searches around this news by writing about the news and properly optimizing your blog post. These spikes are a great opportunity to generate jumps in traffic by simply discussing hot topics in the industry. For example, all eCommerce companies should have blogged about Cyber Monday the days leading up to online shopping’s version of Black Friday to bring in qualified traffic searching for information about the day.Promotions and GiveawaysIf you have the opportunity to do any sort of promotion or giveaway from your website make sure you blog about it. This post should once again focus on how the target audience could benefit from entering the promotion or giveaway, not just about your eCommerce store or the products. People enjoy contests and free opportunities and these posts can attract a lot of eyeballs and inevitably visitors. Discuss the promotion making sure to consistently explain the value of the promotion in terms of what potential consumers have to gain.As you begin to regularly blog you should analyze which articles generate the most traffic, comments and inbound links to your website to help determine what interest your audience most. This type of information is critical to making the most out of your blogging efforts.What other subjects can eCommerce websites cover in their blog to bring in qualified traffic to their website? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Originally published Jul 6, 2011 9:01:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Curated content, or content aggregated from various sources into one comprehensive resource (be it a blog post, an ebook, a presentation, etc.) can be a valuable part of any marketer’s content mix . That said, the process of actually curating it isn’t easy.There’s a misconception among marketers that curated content is lazy and unoriginal, but we think it’s the complete opposite. It takes time and careful evaluation to create quality curated content, and the result is oftentimes a very valuable piece of content that helps people seeking information on a given topic to cut through the clutter on the web and save time. After all, what’s better than one awesome resource? How about 15 awesome resources? All accessible in one place! There’s a reason art galleries are so popular.So how can you take advantage of the power of curated content? Here are our top 10 ideas for great curated content. 10 Types of Curated Content 1. Expert Tips: One of the great things about curated content is that anyone with good online research skills has the ability to curate. I, for example, may not be an expert on video cameras, per se. However, through some careful research and evaluation, I could probably create a valuable list of the top tips for choosing a great video camera just by pulling the various tips from other video experts into one comprehensive guide. Consider aggregating tips from various experts in your industry on a given topic into a list for one great piece of curated content. 2. Presentations/Webinars: These days, the smartest presenters and speakers are making their presentation slides and webinar archives available online via websites like SlideShare. Search for the best presentations on an industry-related topic by searching with appropriate keywords and sorting by the most popular. Then aggregate the best picks into a blog post by embedding the slide presentations! 3. Quotations: One of our very recent, best-performing ebooks is a great example of this. Our ” 101 Awesome Marketing Quotations ” ebook is simply a compilation of various inspirational quotations from marketing experts, presented in a visually stimulating way. This leads me to another great point about content curation. Oftentimes, it isn’t enough just to aggregate. A blog post listing these 101 quotes would not have performed as well. Many times, by adding value (in this example, by adding visual elements), you can take your curated content to the next level and make it even more successful and valuable. 4. Case Studies : People love to learn by example, and they love social proof. Want to emphasize or disprove a simple point or idea? Pull together some case study examples of others that support or refute that point. 5. Industry Blogs/Sites: What blogs do you turn to for information about your industry? Share them by aggregating a list and offering brief descriptions of the top blogs in your industry or on certain topics. 6. Infographics: Who doesn’t love a compelling new infographic? If you’ve noticed a few are cropping up in your industry, include them in a blog post and share your thoughts about them! 7. Statistics, Data, Charts, and Graphs : Let’s face it: data is a hot commodity for content, and all content creators out there have struggled at one point or another to find that perfect statistic to back up a point they were trying to make. Consider pulling the top statistics for your industry into one comprehensive resource. Or compile a list of the most interesting charts/graphs. 8. Videos: Are videos a primary form of content in your industry? Perhaps you could collect the best how-to videos and embed them into a post. 9. Books/Ebooks: Why not create a reading list for your own readers? If there are some must-read books or ebooks you think would be valuable for your audience to read, suggest them in a list! 10. Industry Examples: Are you a web design company? Take screenshots of your favorite web designs and explain what’s great about each. Are you a landscaping company? Find pictures of great landscaping jobs and highlight the why they’re each awesome. The possibilities are endless! And for all of the above ideas, as with any type of curated content, always be sure to properly attribute your sources! Importance of Quality & Relevance in Curation Final thought: no matter what type of content you’re curating, quality and relevance should always apply. No one wants to access a list of ten mediocre industry blogs. They want the best . The individual content elements you choose, therefore, should represent the utmost level of quality. In addition, make sure the content you’re curating is relevant to your audience. That aggregated list of funny viral videos may very well be funny, but if you’re not in the business of humor or marketing, it doesn’t belong on your blog. What other types of content curation have you used? Photo Credit: Nazareth College Topics: Blog Post Topics Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Originally published Jul 26, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 We talk a lot about the importance of creating lead generation content, and we often cite ebooks as one of those awesome lead generators. In fact, we invest a lot of manpower into our own ebooks — we’ve hired someone whose entire job is to write ebook content, and lay them out beautifully in InDesign. Thing is … we didn’t always have the resources to do that, and most of the marketers we talk to don’t have those resources, either. So we decided to figure out a way to do it in PowerPoint, and then created a plug-and-play PowerPoint ebook template so you can easily create a beautiful and effective ebook, too!This blog post is going to walk you through exactly how to use the template to create an amazing ebook. You’re going to be shocked at how simple this is, and how flipping fantastic it looks when you’re done! To follow along with the steps in this post, download the ebook template now and save it to your computer. It might be helpful to bookmark this post so you can reference the instructions in the future, too, but the template also contains helpful tips throughout to walk you through how to use it.Ready to get started? Let’s create a beautiful ebook together and generate you tons of leads!Step 1: Get Set UpYou shouldn’t just dive right into your ebook content. Ebooks are long-form content, and as such, it makes sense to treat it kind of like, well, a book. The first few pages should briefly explain what the ebook is about, who wrote it, and the content the reader will find contained therein. This will help them not only get oriented, but also allow them to scroll through to only the sections that interest them — if that’s their preference. Let’s walk through those first three pages now.The first page of your ebook is your cover. Keep it simple, including a descriptive title, your company logo, and a relevant cover image that reflects the content contained in the ebook. It’s important to keep your ebook branded so that when it’s shared, those new readers know who the original author is.The second page of your ebook is the author page, where you’ll include the author name, a little bio that explains who they are (and why they’re qualified to write this ebook), and a head shot. You can even include their social media information to help them gain a little personal clout for their contribution!Finally, fill in your table of contents with the chapter titles and page numbers on which those chapters begin so readers can skip ahead of they’d like. Which brings us to our next step in creating a fantastic ebook …Step 2: Create Chapter Title PagesWe just created your table of contents; those page numbers need chapter title pages to align with! Creating a title page for each chapter helps to separate your topics and help your readers more easily navigate your ebook. Take a look:Your chapter number and title should be big and bold, and the page itself should remain uncluttered so it’s easy for readers to identify the beginning of a new chapter when quickly scrolling through the ebook. You can place a visual on that page, though, that illustrates the concepts in that chapter to kick things off. The first chapter title page will occur immediately after the table of contents, and is also the first page in your ebook that you’ll include page numbers on. We’ve put ours in the bottom, left corner of each page.Step 3: Make Your Content Look BeautifulFrom here on out, it’s easy to just input your content into PowerPoint, but that doesn’t make for a very nice reader experience. You want your content to be reader-friendly, which means putting on your designer hat. Luckily, you don’t have to actually be a designer (I’m certainly not one, and I can use this bad boy) to make your PowerPoint ebook look amazing with this template. Let’s walk through some of the formatting devices and design elements you should implement to turn a boring chunk of copy into words that dance across the page.First, make sure you’re using the same 3-5 colors throughout the ebook. Take a look below, for example … there’s just blue, gray, and black on a white background. And that color scheme is maintained throughout the entire ebook.You should also take care not to use too many fonts in your ebook. Let the reader’s eye get used to two — maybe three — fonts that you use throughout the ebook for a pleasant experience.Consistency also comes with maintaining the same general format from page to page. That doesn’t mean you can’t include interesting design elements (more on that next) and move around your page elements; it just means the basic framework of each page should remain the same like you see in the image below.If you downloaded the PowerPoint template, you’ll notice that we’ve included a spot on every slide for you to put your ebook’s title, just like when you read a real book! Similarly, each page contains social sharing links so your ebook can get in front of more eyes on social media. To set up the links for those social sharing buttons, click here for a simple step-by-step guide to walk you through the process.Now that you have a consistent framework around which to work, you can start to input your content. But don’t just plop words on a page! Think of ways to draw the reader’s eye with visual call-outs, like we did on this sample page:Notice how we used a bright set of quotation marks that are exaggerated in size to indicate that we’re quoting someone? If you have a notable quotation in your ebook, use this to grab the reader’s attention on that page. You can do the same thing with fascinating data points, too — bite size chunks of information like the one you see above can grip your reader, and encourage them to read the rest of the content on the page that’s typed out in a simple text box. If you don’t have data points or quotations to pull out of the text on a page, you can also include a relevant image to make the page more visually interesting. Whatever you do, just ensure you don’t have too much text on one page, or you risk overwhelming readers and losing their attention.To make that text even easier to read, we recommend you use formatting devices found in any WYSIWYG editor, like bold text, italics, bullets, and check marks. You can also call out important keywords in a bright color if it helps convey the meaning of the page, like you see in our sample below. Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Presentations Step 4: Optimize Your Ebook for Lead GenerationFinally, make sure you’re incorporating calls-to-action throughout the entire ebook. These will take a few forms, all of which you see here:First, go back through your copy and see if there are any opportunities to link text to a landing page. You know, your basic hyperlink. Then take it up a notch and incorporate visual CTAs on relevant pages. You shouldn’t do this on every page, but finding a few opportunities throughout the ebook will help you capture conversions for those who don’t read all the way to the end — because at the end, you’ll have a dedicated CTA page like the one outlined in blue above! That page should include a bold, actionable headline, visual CTA, and a short description of the offer. That’s right, you’re including an offer in your offer. How meta — and smart!When including these links, be sure you’re including tracking tokens so you know how many leads you’re getting from your ebook offer. If you need help creating tracking tokens, visit this blog post on the subject.Step 5: Convert Your Ebook Into a PDFYou could keep your ebook in a PowerPoint format, but that’s not really putting your best foot forward since it requires the reader to essentially launch a slide show on their computer. Instead, you could easily convert it into a PDF by simply clicking ‘Save As’ and selecting ‘PDF’ in the ‘Save as Type’ dropdown menu. Before you upload your new ebook offer to your thank-you page, be sure the file name is something logical, like “10 Ways to Braid Your Unicorn’s Tail,” as opposed to “unicorn_ebook_groomin_v4.” Once that’s done, well, congratulations! You just created a spectacular ebook!How do you create your ebooks so they’re reader-friendly and visually appealing? Share your ebook tips in the comments!
Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Aug 1, 2012 1:55:00 PM, updated March 21 2013 Marketing is … well … it’s a lot of work. And if you’re a small business owner with no marketing team, finding the time to do everything you should be doing to market your business can definitely be a challenge. Social media? Content creation? Landing pages? SEO? Email? All those channels — while extremely beneficial to your marketing — can add up to a whole lotta work. That’s why it’s no wonder that 53% of surveyed marketing executives plan to outsource their marketing, according to the Harvard Business Review.But sometimes it’s really hard to know when it makes sense to outsource your marketing functions to an agency or contractor, and when to hire a dedicated team to do it for you in-house. Luckily, the folks over at Mavenlink have created a helpful flowchart to help you weigh the options and factor in your business’ specific variables such as size, cost, skills, and industry knowledge. Follow along for their recommendations, and if you find you could use some help from an outside team, feel free to mosey on over to HubSpot’s Services Marketplace, where you can find HubSpot-certified providers that can help you implement an effective inbound marketing strategy for your business — or even just help you out with a specific marketing channel.(Click the flowchart to enlarge.) Inbound Marketing Topics: Do you have a dedicated, internal team of marketing rock stars, or do you rely on an expert agency for your marketing programs? Perhaps it’s a combo of the two?
Originally published Sep 10, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated August 28 2017 Images In a world where 40% of people respond better to visual information than plain text, it’s probably a good idea to optimize your social media channels with visuals. And one of easiest ways to take advantage of visual content on social media is through your cover photos — sitting right at the top of your profile, they occupy a huge piece of very valuable real estate. And right about now, I know what you’re thinking. Yes, visual content is important … but what about those companies in “boring” industries? Can they really create make the most of this hot visual real estate?Free Templates: Facebook Cover Photos for BusinessesAnd the answer is yes. Check out the 25 brands below to see how even “boring” companies can create engaging social media cover photos on five of the most popular social networks. Tired of scrolling already? Here’s a quick overview of the rest of the post: These 25 brands are inspiring because of their stellar social media cover photo designs, despite being considered by most to be companies in “boring” industries. Using typography, photos, cartoons, and platform-specific technology, these brands take their social media cover photos from “meh” to “marvelous.” If you’re already feeling inspired to create your own social cover photos, check out our free social media cover photo templates here. Facebook1) Agilent TechnologiesWe’re digging the scientific measurement technology company’s out-of-the-box thinking here. According to the cover photo’s description, each block of the image’s design represents a different aspect of its business. You probably have something in your business that could translate well to visuals — find it and use it.2) Maersk Line This Cover Photo is awesome because of the way it positioned its design elements. We love how Maersk Line right-aligned the elements of its cover photo — it’s a much more effective use of space than if the ship and text were aligned to the left of the image. 3) CventFacebook used to have a 20% rule in place — only 20% of your cover photo image could be text. But we’re glad that it did away with that rule, because of cover photos like Cvent. Using icons and some text, Cvent gives you a concise description of who the company is so you can decide if you want to Like its Facebook Page … or not. 4) SalesforceNeed a cool idea to promote an event in your Facebook cover photo? Look no further than Salesforce’s cover photo. We love how sophisticated this cover photo looks with the speaker headshots and geometric shapes — but how easy it could be to replicate with resources that almost any marketer has at his or her disposal.Bonus: The cover photo description has a shortened (and trackable) link so Salesforce can track how many people clicked on the link within the description.5) GraingerBesides having a somewhat veiled Ghostbuster’s reference, this facilities-management company’s cover photo is great because of the way that it integrates the design of the photo and text. Notice how the text is right-aligned in the overall design of the cover photo, and how the all-caps bold lettering allows it to stand out from somewhat confusing colors in the background.Twitter6) Organik SEOOkay, we’re a little biased — we think SEO is awesome and interesting — but lots of non-marketers have no idea what SEO is, never mind actually care about it. So that’s not the only reason we included this Twitter profile header on this list. We love how Organik SEO merges its header photo and profile picture into one big image. It’s a great way to have one cohesive design on a social platform where it’s easy to distract users with random profile pictures, header images, background images, etc. 7) PGiSoftware can be really hard to showcase through visual content — but PGi’s header image shows how you can still incorporate product images into visual content. The cover photo is much more than a product screen shot. It’s much more visually pleasing to have the software featured in a photo with a real human using it. I also love how PGi darkened the cover photo so that the white text pops from the white image background.8) VMwareSometimes, you don’t even need a photo of your product or company at all — you can use a photo that encapsulates your brand’s message to communicate that message for you. VMware did just this in its Twitter cover photo. A building surrounded by a big blue sky isn’t what VMware sells, but it does make you think that VMware is an innovative software company.9) Neenah PaperWith more and more companies going digital, companies that produce paper products have a tough road ahead … but that doesn’t mean they can’t produce engaging, digital, and visual content. Neenah Paper does just that with its header image by adding small design details to communicate what the product is. I love how the lines on the Post-It note resemble the inside of a tree — which further drives home the point that Neenah Paper makes high-quality paper products. 10) BearingPointLike VMware, BearingPoint includes a symbolic photo about its company as its header photo — with a twist. In the top left corner, BearingPoint includes its logo in a shape that matches the rest of its digital branding. It’s kind of a meta-branding move, but we think it’s a great way to showcase cohesive design elements across platforms. LinkedIn11) The BOSS SnowplowIn this snowplow company’s LinkedIn cover photo, I love how the image and text pairing scream that BOSS Snowplows are tough. The all-caps letters with the highlighted words “BOSS COUNTRY” on a stark white background all make this cover photo one of my favorites. These design elements all help communicate the company’s brand: a tough, hearty machine that gets the job done.12) ChevronFor an oil company with some crises in its past, it’s even more important for the company to maintain a human brand image. Politics aside, Chevron does have an engaging LinkedIn cover photo featuring portraits of its community members. We think this is smart to have in a LinkedIn cover photo because the people Chevron will try to recruit through LinkedIn will get a better idea of Chevron’s company culture and priorities right off the bat with this visual.13) Magna PowertrainMagna Powertrain speaks to the interests of its audience (people who love the inner-workings of vehicles) with the visuals in its cover photo. People who love car parts probably want to look at renderings of them — not just pretty pictures of cars. Know what your audience likes — and cater to that — even if it’s not what the “average” person likes. 14) AccentureThis is another example of a company using abstract visuals to communicate messages about its brand. While the visual is definitely inspiring and engaging, I love how Accenture explains its business in the top right corner. People don’t need jargon about what your technology does … they want some quick-hitting explanations of the business. 15) Allstate Insurance is something that most of us want to set and forget about — it’s something we deal with when bad things happen in life. To help alleviate some of the anxiety that comes with dealing with insurance companies, Allstate uses calming blue colors and cartoon images.Just something we should all think about — what kind of mental state will people be in when interacting with our company? And how can we make that experience better?YouTube16) CiscoWhen you go to Cisco’s YouTube page, you can’t help but stare at its cover photo — and that’s what you want when people come to your YouTube page, as well. Bonus for this image: it looks like a stock photo you could easily customize with text. Cisco uses this real estate to feature key URLs and hashtags to connect its cross-platform campaign.17) OracleAgain, here’s a company that uses cartoonish images to convey a very abstract concept about the company, while also making it seem much more approachable and friendly. Oracle’s use of red — while on-brand — also makes the “Subscribe” button pop, which is the goal of most YouTube pages. 18) DeloitteFor one of the top financial companies in the world, it’s important from a branding and recruiting standpoint to get human faces in your visuals. Deloitte did just that in its YouTube cover — and it’s working. I especially love how the Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ buttons appear right in the cover photo. It helps connect your audience with you across multiple channels and drives home the point that Deloitte has real people working for it. So go ahead — make sure your entire YouTube bio is filled out!19) EMCWe’ve mentioned this before and we’ll mention it again — your ‘boring’ product can often be a part of a much more sexy product. Here, EMC is featuring a picture of a Lotus car part that their company helped produce. It’s much more engaging than a screenshot of a piece of software. Try to think out of the box for your company, too. 20) KinaxisHere is another very accessible design from an “unsexy” business. Using geometric and colored shapes, Kinaxis shows off its data-driven personality. The best part is, you could easily recreate it in PowerPoint.Google+ 21) IdeaPaintWhen you first see IdeaPaint’s cover photo, you aren’t too impressed — it’s people, sitting at a conference table. Cool. But if you scroll up, you get a surprise: The entire conference room is filled with people writing on whiteboards. We love how IdeaPaint used Google+’s technology constraints to delight its Google+ visitors. 22) Caterpillar Inc.Like other companies with heavy machinery, Caterpillar features real people in its cover photo on Google+. We like the balance of real people and really big, impressive machinery — the two most important things to Caterpillar Inc’s buyer personas. 23) IntelTaking a photo of a computer processor isn’t super engaging … but what about a design that looks like one? We love Intel’s design not only because of its geometric shapes and bright colors — but also because it reminds us of the product itself. Definitely a hard feat to accomplish for Intel and its products. 24) Media TempleLike Caterpillar, Media Temple features photos of real people … but instead of being one static, non-scrollable image, you uncover more photos as you scroll up. The collage of images is a great way to make Media Temple — a web hosting company — feel more human to its Google+ followers.25) SAPThe best cover photos on Google+ are those that look great in their automatic small form, but that also look great once users scroll up to reveal a larger photo. SAP’s cover photo is both visually appealing in the small form and informative in its larger form — which solves for the visual and textual needs of Intel’s Google+ followers.Which of these cover photos is most inspirational for your business? If you’re ready to amp up your social media cover photos, download our free template as part of our visual content crash course.Image credit: lisa hickey Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Have you made a New Year’s resolution yet? If you’re like me, you’ve probably already made five and broke three (40% ain’t bad … right?). But in case you’re different than me (and, for your sake, I hope that’s the case), what about this one: Be a bit better in 2014.Not by leaps and bounds, but bit by bit. And not in just one area of your life, but across your life. Wouldn’t you be a better person? Wouldn’t you have a better year?Now, what if you applied that to your fundraising? What if you tried to get just a bit better across things like retention, acquisition, brand awareness, customer support, communications, etc.? I can almost guarantee that if you and your organization improved in a variety of areas, you’d be better off.So … how do you get a bit better in 2014? Well, one way you can do so is by reading and learning. I know I’ve personally grown a ton through managing my own blog, re: charity, and constantly reading and learning from others when looking for inspiration.With that in mind, here are seven blogs you’d be wise to follow this year if you’re looking to bolster your fundraising efforts.7 Blogs Fundraisers Should Follow in 20141) Future Fundraising NowIf you want an official education in fundraising, there are a number of schools that offer degrees and certificates. If you want an unofficial education on fundraising, though, read this blog.The runner of this blog, Jeff Brooks, who is also the Creative Director at TrueSense Marketing, has a background in direct mail, copy, and strategy. His Future Fundraising Now blog is one of the best pure fundraising blogs you’ll find. He’s not afraid to call ’em like he sees em (for example, check out this post featuring what he deems stupid nonprofit ads) and does a great job of curating other great fundraising and related blogs on the web.2) StayClassyA “new-school” fundraising blog from some Californians, this blog leans toward online giving, social media, and peer-to-peer fundraising. StayClassy is great at giving you ideas and tips, offering useful ebooks and downloads, and drawing from real-life experiences and case studies. The world of charity and fundraising has changed a lot in the past 10 years, and StayClassy’s team does an excellent job of keeping up with what’s current and what’s next. As someone who specializes in those areas (online and social fundraising), I can say these folks know what they’re talking about.3) 99UHow can you be more productive? Why are bad habits so hard to break? How does the brain process visuals? These are the types of questions the 99U blog asks. While they may not be typical “fundraising” questions, you as a fundraiser will be much better off after exploring this well curated site. In addition to having loads of great content from a variety of different people and viewpoints, the blog’s aesthetic/layout/design is top-notch. You should expect nothing less from the folks at Behance. And when beauty and brains combine, it makes for an excellent blog-viewing and reading experience.4) BloomerangA great and innovative fundraising software product, in a market that is desperate for some innovation, that also has a great blog. With the product’s focus on donor retention and data management, you get a lot of expert tips, stats, and how-to’s around those topics without getting battered over the head to sign up and buy their product.It’s not just about data management on Bloomerang, however. Increasingly, the blog is covering digital and curating the web for useful infographics and videos. It also offers some great free and on-demand webinars and ebooks to provide even more concrete help for those in need.5) Seth GodinWhen I read one of Mr. Godin’s posts in the morning, I find I have a better day. If that’s not a good reason to follow this blog (if you don’t already), then I don’t know what is. His gift is making the complex simple — and simple can be powerful. Godin covers all kinds of topics — he even produces some nonprofit-specific posts from time to time — but the emphasis is on marketing … which is fundraising. If you follow only one marketing blog this year (beyond a fundraising one), this should be it. 6) npEngageAn aggregate blog from the various companies, products, and people at Blackbaud, this is a premier, one-stop source for a variety of information. npEngage offers you nine different sections within the blog, ranging from analytics to nonprofit management.The blog’s reach in the industry is immense, which gives its benchmarks, studies, and reports a lot of weight and credibility. If you want to get a pulse of where things are at in the nonprofit world, then this blog may be perfect for you.7) NTENA smorgasbord of intriguing tidbits and news for the tech lover (and even those in search of tech info). With a bunch of different contributors from consultants, advisors, and practitioners from across the sector, NTEN is where you want to head to get your nonprofit technology questions answered.NTEN has some easy-to-digest posts for beginners, provides some nice blog series’ to let you dive a bit deeper, and even offers 100+ page guides for those who want to nerd out on nonprofit and tech. All in all, this is a prime resource for the sector, when it comes to technology.I consider this to be a top-of-the-line list to get you going with nonprofit and fundraising blogs, but these are by no means the only blogs for you to read and follow in the months ahead. Beth Kanter’s blog, The Agitator, and our Ideas Blog at Peer Giving are also great ones, for example, that can help you improve in 2014.The point isn’t that there is an exact formula to becoming a better fundraiser or marketer or that there’s some secret sitting in a blog post out there that you have to uncover. The point — and my hope — is that you have a new or renewed focus to get better this year, and reading blogs and discovering other people’s thoughts is an awesome and simple way to do that.Good luck!What’s on your blog reading list? Any good nonprofit- and/or fundraising-related blogs out there you enjoy reading regularly? Originally published Jan 28, 2014 4:30:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Blog Examples Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Nov 25, 2014 4:00:00 AM, updated August 27 2017 Twitter Marketing Data There are 284 million monthly active users on Twitter and chances are, you’re one of them — we certainly are. Unfortunately, just because all of us are active on Twitter doesn’t mean we’re using it the right way. And thanks to SocialBro, we have new data from over 200,000 corporate tweets to prove what works on Twitter … and what doesn’t. While some of it confirmed what we suspected, we were also shocked by some of the results. Have a read below and let us know if any of these stats were surprising to you, too.Click here to access a free Twitter for Businesses kit.1) Tweets from businesses that contain images are 34% more likely to get retweeted than tweets from businesses with no image at all. (Click to tweet!)Are you using images on Twitter yet? If not, keep in mind that photo file sizes can be up to 5MB and animated GIFs can be up to 3MB. You can even tag other users in your photos — just like on Facebook! 2) Tweets from businesses with a URL placed in the middle of the tweet are 26% more likely to get retweeted than those with a URL placed at the beginning or end of the tweet. (Click to tweet!)I had no idea that this was the case and upon review, I was most often placing the URL at the end of the tweet — lesson learned!3) Tweets from businesses that include hashtags are 33% more likely to get retweeted than tweets without hashtags. (Click to tweet!)Be clever with your use of hashtags — keep them around 11 characters (more on that later) and even try to incorporate them into the actual copy of the tweet. 4) Tweets from businesses with one hashtag are 69% more likely to get retweets than those with two hashtags. (Click to tweet!)When it comes to hashtags, remember that more is less. 5) Hashtags with 11 or more characters get 117% more retweets than those within 6 and 10 characters. (Click to tweet!)That gives you just enough space to come up with something catchy and on-brand for your tweets. 6) Twitter direct message campaigns get on average a 300% higher click rate than one-off email campaigns. (Click to tweet!)SocialBro actually has a tool that allows you to create really targeted DM campaigns, keeping you from annoying or spamming your audience. 7) 90% of Twitter users who engage with Twitter-based marketing campaigns will not follow the company on Twitter after the campaign interaction. (Click to tweet!)90% is a massive number! Have you got a strategy in place to retain the reach from your Twitter marketing campaign after the campaign ends? Check out the best practices listed in The Science of Success on Twitter. 8) Businesses will on average lose 15% of new Twitter followers within three weeks unless they make an effort to engage early. (Click to tweet!)So if you do manage to convince the tweeps from your marketing campaign to follow you, the work doesn’t stop there. You need to retain your followers by being engaged with your community. Speak to them on a one-to-one basis, ask them questions, post funny, honest, and human tweets, and above all, share awesome, valuable content that they will find super valuable. 9) Over half (57%) of businesses are spending at least 50% more on Twitter marketing compared with two years ago, with 15% of respondents stating that their spending has tripled. (Click to tweet!)If you’re not experimenting with content amplification on Twitter yet, you’re missing out on a very big opportunity. Twitter’s targeting features could help you better reach your desired audience.
Education Marketing For most schools, the idea of creating content from scratch is overwhelming. Luckily, schools are never really starting from scratch. You have countless resources at your disposal to build blog posts, ebooks, webinars, and social media content without exerting too much time, money, or energy. In the content creation process, marketers should be editors, not writers. Your writers are all around you on campus.The first thing you have to do when choosing what types of content to create—and who should create it—is to answer this question: Who are you trying to reach, and what action do you want them to take? Everything you do should direct back to these questions.Both of these answers should be reflected in your school’s student personas—semi-fictional representations that stand in for your real-life audience, who encompass the desires, goals, and behaviors of potential applicants.Who Are Your School’s Personas?Schools are generally pretty clear on who their personas should represent: potential students and adults who are aiding in the decision-making process. But who exactly are those prospective students? Where are they in their decision-making process? What factors influence their application decision? Consider the following questions to help really bring your personas to life.What are your target applicant’s common behavior patterns in-and-outside of school?What are their academic research pain points?What are their academic and extracurricular goals and wishes?What is their basic demographic and biographic information?Your content should be tailored toward people at the other end of these questions. (Don’t forget, while they aren’t the first priority, content should also appeal to your current students and alumni.)Who Can Help Create Content For Your School?Using these personas, you can hone in on the information that will help your prospective students and their parents move down the admissions funnel. You can leverage resources across your organization to create substantive content that meets these queries. To help get started, here are eight resources to consider.1. Current Students It may seem like a no-brainer, but your current students are by far the most helpful resource for creating all kinds of unique content. They know how to attend to prospective students’ pain points and wishes because they once stood in their shoes.Students can use their experiences to write helpful posts on topics like, “What I Wish I Knew Before Coming to College,” “How to Adjust to Campus Life as a Freshman,” “How to Form New Relationships In a New School” and other content that touches on the concerns prospective students may be searching for answers around. Current students can also offer insight for students searching online for program information that digs deeper than a sample course list of program overview could. Consider the value of posts like, “The 10 Best Hidden Study Spots on Campus,” “The Coolest Classes You Must Take,” or “My Study Abroad Journal” to a prospective student. 2. AlumniJust like current students, alumni have also stood in the shoes of prospective students. They went through the same decision-making process and ended up not only applying to your school, but attending, and graduating. Alumni have the benefit of hindsight, so they can contribute insider content on topics like “How I Learned to Survive Finals Week,” “The [Your College] Bucket List to Do Before You Graduate,” and “5 College Traditions I Miss in the Real World.”Alumni are often looking for ways to give back, and creating content can be a great alternative to a monetary donation. Keep in mind that Alumni can also be resources without being writers. Think: a “Where Are They Now?” round-up of successful alumni. 3. Professors and Department HeadsProfessors and department heads are experts on the academic programs your audience is evaluating—and they already have all types of content around those programs on hand. Department overviews, class presentations, projects, lectures, and research can all be repurposed as offers to help prospective students get a better understanding of your school’s curriculum. 4. Your Admissions DepartmentYour admissions department is well equipped to answer your audience’s most pressing questions. It’s what they do on a daily basis! Repurpose fliers and pamphlets for content such as “10 Best Tips for Acing a College Interview,” “Writing a College Essay that Will Get You Admitted,” “Questions You Should Ask on a School Tour,” “Do You Have to Choose a Major?” or even “What to Expect at Orientation.” Consider posting a video of a campus tour, or virtual maps and photos of campus. This type of content will be particularly helpful for families who haven’t gone through the application process before, or don’t have the ability to visit your campus first hand.5. ResLife StaffFor many students, going to a boarding school or a college is the first time they will live away from their childhood bedroom. Offering information about residential life and an inside peek into the dorms and student programs on campus can ease a lot of worries. Post video tours of your dorms, or have a ResLife staff member write a post on “The Top 10 Best Decorated Dorm Rooms on Campus.” ResLife can also recap on-campus events and repurpose other student wellness content they already share with current residents.6. Your Athletics Department If your school already has a vibrant, separate Athletics website, there’s no need to start from scratch. Repurpose content about game days, game recaps, and pictures from fans in the stands. Add a personal touch by featuring stories about your student athletes, marching band members, and more. Even if a prospective student isn’t an athlete, this content can still answer questions about the school’s culture and extracurricular life.7. Your Campus Career OfficeParents and students both want to ensure their school offers not only a great education, but a chance to succeed in the real world post-grad—particularly for graduate schools and specialized schools like law schools, technical schools, and medical schools. Your campus career office can repurpose content to create posts to showcase their knowledge around career-prep, for example, “10 Tips on Interning When Still In School,” “How to Make a Winning Resume,” and Q&As with alumni who have found career success. While prospective students aren’t job-hunting yet, seeing the support the career office has for students will alleviate some fears on investing so much money into a school.8. Partnerships with Regional Associations and InstitutionsBuild a win-win relationship—you get free content and they get exposure to thousands of young adults—by asking local museums, festivals, tourism boards, and other institutions to pass along content for your school blog. It can offer prospective students a look into life in a new city, off campus.To build a better content strategy for your school, repurposing content is not only allowed, it’s encouraged. Don’t be afraid to loosen your grip on the reigns and act as an editor, rather than author. You might just find that amazing content and content creators are already swarming all over campus. Originally published Oct 21, 2015 7:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! Topics:
The downward spiral of traditional advertising’s effectiveness started nearly two decades ago, when marketers simply cut and pasted print ads onto their digital properties.Today, a clever ad is no longer enough to stir up consumer interest in a brand. It’s become clear that companies desperately need to rethink their marketing strategies, focusing on owned content instead of advertising.Consider the pitiful state of online ads. More than half of consumers feel ads are insulting to their intelligence, according to research by HubSpot and AdBlock Plus. Another 63% feel most of these ads don’t look professional. If that doesn’t convince you of the futility of online advertising, maybe this will: Just 7% of consumers find them compelling. Online ads are not just hard to like — they’re deceptive, unimaginative, inefficient, and ineffective.Medium’s recent abandonment of paid ads should put an exclamation point on the general consensus of online advertising’s ineffectiveness. Unfortunately, many enterprising agencies continue to waste money, time, and effort on traditional marketing pathways.The Cost Vs. Benefit of Online AdvertisingInstead of pontificating on how ineffective online ads can be, I’d rather paint a much brighter picture — one where agencies transform into newsrooms and evolve toward a more journalistic ethos.In my opinion, smart brands should run from antiquated paid solutions and embrace owned media. Blue ocean opportunities abound for any agency that focuses on what consumers desire: advice, information, stories, and sometimes entertainment. It’s no longer about talking at consumers but rather to them.This shift represents a much more efficient use of funds. In 2015 alone, eMarketer found that display ads cost companies $4.6 billion in invalid traffic. Another $1.1 billion was lost to malvertising, in which attack code is hidden in legitimate online advertising to spread a virus or spyware.Not to mention that a continued devotion to paid media wastes much more than money. It also drains agencies of precious time and resources as they scramble to understand each new technology, constantly pivot as media platforms change algorithms without notice, and scramble to justify ambiguity to tight-fisted brands.My company recently worked with a large brand that was so disillusioned with the ambiguity tied up in paid media that it elected to pull its entire seven-figure marketing budget, discount its product, and instead sink money into channel partnerships and slotting fees.This product wasn’t new to the market. It was an iconic staple of homes everywhere, and it had a proud advertising heritage. But its ads, both online and offline, were no longer generating any measurable value, so the brand pulled the cord. A modest owned media initiative was put into place and, after 12 months, proved to exceed the ROI of the paid efforts at 25% the investment. Sadly, paid media’s lack of results hasn’t precluded the majority of agencies from fighting to keep spending and efforts status quo. These agencies are simply stuck in a bygone era, and will either have to catch up (and fast) or will risk being left behind entirely.Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained: 3 Reasons to Focus on Owned MediaA shift in mindset from the value of paid advertising to the value of owned content can be a challenge for many brands. Content creation has its own set of trappings, and you may have the impulse to spit out as much content as possible to see what sticks.Like paid advertising, owned media requires a strategy for the content to effectively reach and engage an audience. But once you do the legwork to understand the needs of your customers, produce the content they want, and earn their trust, the gains can’t be beat.The upsides include:1) More robust lead generationDeveloping owned content offers the rare opportunity to practice what you preach. And if you adhere to a strict content calendar, it’ll drive new business to your door, thanks to carefully crafted calls-to-action and API connectivity to your favorite CRM.But don’t just produce content to produce content. You must make a concerted effort to stand out from the pack.Enlist the help of staff to create thought leadership based on their areas of expertise. Look at what consumers want in information and advice, and then develop content around those needs. Move beyond just building your business — strive to own your category with content. With a true ethos you can start to create industry vernacular and set the tone and tenor for your peers and competitors.2) The expertise of a delta force of specialistsFull-time employees will always be preferred when it comes to content creation, as it can be risky to hand over the voice of your brand to a complete stranger. But the publishing business model does lend itself well to leveraging contract writers and editors and building a strong team of specialists. You can task them with hyper-specific assignments — and on an as-needed basis, no less.To make the best use of guest writers and editors, you’ll first need to start thinking like a publisher. What will your publishing schedule look like? Will your content be short and snappy or long-form and serious? Do you need writers who can turn in super-polished prose, or do you have staff members who can elevate writers’ initial drafts?Find professionals with experience in your subject matter. You’ll often find that they can offer unique angles on the topic at hand. With the help of contract staff, you’ll be able to curate a ton of content without ever having to pay payroll taxes. It’s a relatively risk-free way to break the old-school advertising mold, venture into the world of content, and have a team of pros at your disposal.3) Fewer overhead costsWith proper editorial standards and protocols, a progressive agency can leverage more junior writers — in other words, more affordable employees. Given proper direction, we’ve found the output of younger writers to be double that of more senior ones. They also have a natural inclination to drive positive company culture.But don’t just hire anyone in an effort to save a few bucks. Look for young writers with real potential and the ambition to leave their marks. Then, team them up with your more experienced writers so they can learn the ropes. This pairing can be a lethally effective combination as far as content creation goes.Owned content offers brands the unique opportunity to lessen their marketing load while increasing results. After all, it’s not like many consumers go around sharing or retweeting ads with their family and friends. But they will share informative, engaging content, getting your business in front of individuals who are more likely to be qualified leads.Instead of throwing ads out there, hoping the right eyeballs will see them, create some useful content. There’s no real code to crack — go for it. Originally published Mar 21, 2017 5:00:00 AM, updated March 21 2017 Don’t forget to share this post!
Company Culture Whether you forgot a deadline, accidentally CC’d the CEO in a snarky email about the annual holiday party, or got caught insulting your boss on Facebook, embarrassing yourself at the office can feel like the end of the world.But while your little (or big) mistake might feel like a major setback in terms of career growth, it could also be an opportunity to showcase some hidden strengths — like humility, honesty, and accountability.It’s all about how you handle yourself after the incident that matters — and what you learn from it, moving forward.Let’s take a look at eight potential office blunders — and the solutions you need to help you recover.Click here to download leadership lessons from HubSpot founder, Dharmesh Shah.At the very least, remember that your embarrassing office blunders will probably make for some hilarious stories … eventually. How to Recover from 8 Office Blunders1. Forgetting About a MeetingWe’ve all been there — you’re sitting at your desk, happily eating a bagel and checking your email, when you realize you’re the only one from your team who is at her desk, happily eating a bagel …We’ve all been there, right … ?The best thing to do when you forget or miss a meeting is to acknowledge it and apologize, ideally face-to-face. While it’s tempting to just send a casual “sorry about that!” email, it will seem more sincere if you seek out your manager and show you understand your mistake.When you apologize, acknowledge your mistake, own up to it, and show you’re committed to changing your behavior. For example, you could say something like, “This doesn’t reflect my usual work behavior. I’m sorry, I messed up. It won’t happen again.”Avoid making excuses. Your manager doesn’t need to hear that your cat kept you up all night, or you hit traffic on your way to work — just accept responsibility and promise it won’t become habit.To prevent this from happening in the future, set up calendar notifications to remind yourself of upcoming meetings. When in doubt, double-check your calendar the night before.2. Accidentally Hitting “Reply All” to an EmailOn any given day, dozens and dozens of emails end up in your inbox — from advertisers, friends, coworkers, and your boss. In the interest of productivity (and sanity), you probably find yourself skimming quickly, and maybe even replying hastily.With so many messages flying in and out of your inbox, it’s easy to accidentally hit “reply-all”. This can seem disastrous, especially when your message definitely should’ve been kept private — like hitting “reply all” to a company invite for the next holiday mixer: “Do they really think this will be fun?”The best thing to do is hold yourself accountable. While it might seem compelling to hide under your desk or say someone hacked your account, you should avoid making excuses for the slip up — it will just draw more attention to a mistake you want everyone to forget.Instead, “reply all” to everyone in the email thread, this time with a short and sweet, “Sorry about that, meant for someone else.” If your original response was rude, seek out the affected parties offline and make amends — don’t continue to use the email thread.To prevent this from happening in the future, double check your “to” field before sending an email whenever you’re in an email thread with more than one person. And remember that Gmail has a nifty “undo send” feature you can turn on. Also, do your best to avoid sending anything unprofessional or rude via email to anyone, even your closest work friend — that way, a message ends up going to the wrong person, it’s no big deal.3. Insulting a Coworker or Boss — While She’s NearbyWhen you get closer to colleagues, the lines between professional and personal can blur. And while it might be (sometimes) okay to disclose Bumble-date horror stories on your lunch break, it’s never a good idea to start bad-mouthing a coworker or boss while you’re still in the office.But none of us are perfect. You said something mean about your boss, and she heard you. Now what?Unfortunately, the damage is done. But just like there are ways to apologize to a friend after a bad fight, there are ways to make amends with your boss.First off, don’t try to explain yourself — your boss doesn’t need to hear why you think she was rude in that meeting.If possible, apologize in person, and fully own up to what you said: “I’m sorry for what you heard. I was letting some frustration out, but I shouldn’t have done that in the office. It was unprofessional. Next time I have a problem, I’ll come straight to you to work it out.”This way, your boss understands that your words came from some heated emotions, and are not necessarily how you actually feel.Next time you have a legitimate problem with a coworker or boss, approach them to discuss it directly. And if you really need to let your frustration out by talking to someone else, do it outside the office.4. Missing an Important DeadlineIt happens. Maybe you got swamped with a last-minute project, maybe your basement flooded, or maybe you simply believed you could finish by Tuesday, but now it’s Monday night and you’re panicking because you know you’re going to miss the deadline.Here’s what you do: first, if at all possible, let any stakeholders know ahead of time that you’re going to miss the deadline. Hearing “Something came up, and I’m probably going to miss my deadline for Monday. Let’s move to a backup plan,” is definitely less frustrating than hearing about it after the deadline has already passed.When you can’t deliver on time, it always helps to offer your stakeholders some alternative options. Make the case that getting an extension will enable you to produce a more complete product. Or, mention that in exchange for their flexibility, you’re willing to add additional services, free-of-charge.Whatever it is, people like options.Most importantly, giving options shows the other person that you’re taking this missed deadline seriously — so seriously that you’re willing to put in more of your own free time and effort to ensure they’re even happier with the result.Of course, you don’t want this to become habit. In the future, perhaps you could start assigning yourself deadlines a day or two before they’re actually due — allowing yourself some breathing room next time that basement floods.5. Using Office Technology for Personal ReasonsWhen you’re sitting at your computer at work, particularly if no one else can see your screen, it can be tempting to cross off personal items from your to-do list … even when those items involve freshening up your resume, mindlessly scrolling through Twitter, or finally finishing Stranger Things season two.Even if you feel like you’re not really wasting time, using the hours that someone else is paying you to accomplish these tasks is not only disrespectful, but it can also get you fired. You never know who is monitoring your activities.The best way to avoid getting caught wasting time is to stop wasting time in the first place. Don’t use office technology for anything besides your job. When you’re at work, imagine that your CEO can always see your computer screen. If you’re really anxious about crossing things off your non-work to-do list, take a personal day, or do it on your lunch break.6. Sharing Too Much on Social MediaThese days, we share everything on social media. On Snapchat, we share our most disgusting post-gym-sweaty-walking-home faces, on Instagram, we share our favorite Saturday-night-party pictures, and on Facebook, we share everything from our political views to our favorite dog videos.Sometimes, we share so much that we forget what should be off-limits. Our Snapchat ‘sweaty-at-the-gym’ pics might turn into ‘I-hate-my-boss’ pics, and those Facebook rants could become complaints about our colleagues.Try to keep these lives separate. No matter how private you think your settings are, there still might be content accessible to people you know from work. You never know who someone knows, or when something will be screenshotted and shared. When it’s on social media, it’s out of your hands.So take precautions: don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your coworkers or boss to see. If you’ve already posted something unprofessional, delete it.Next time you have a funny story about a colleague or you’re frustrated about work, tell your friends over brunch instead — it will be more satisfying to get their in-person feedback anyway.7. Trying to Prove Yourself at Someone Else’s ExpenseI recently took an SEO course. The teacher had been in the industry for 10 years, and he was currently freelance consulting. He had shown us three of his (well thought-out, well researched) slides, when a hand shot up from a girl in the back.“Do you want to hear my feedback now on ways you can improve your SEO presentation, or do you want it at the end?” she said.She wasn’t being rude or intentionally inconsiderate — she was just trying to prove herself as an educated person in the group.Luckily, he understood this. He smiled at her and then addressed the whole class: “Guys, in this course, I’d like you to focus on improving yourself, not proving yourself. You’re here to learn.”He had a great point: many of us get so caught up in thinking of how to interrupt the meeting with our Legally-Blonde-courtroom moment that we forget that, in many instances, it’s more important to listen.If you’ve insulted someone by giving feedback at the wrong place or time, apologize and humbly admit you should’ve listened to their opinion before offering yours.In the future, keep in mind there are appropriate times to give your feedback: if your manager asks for feedback, if you’re brainstorming with your team, or if you’ve been with the company for a few months and have recognized some weaknesses in the system.But don’t forget the importance of listening to your smart and insightful colleagues. Make sure you fully understand them before offering feedback — you might find out that your advice has been considered already, or that it doesn’t fit, after all. If you’re dying to give feedback but aren’t sure how it’ll be received, run it by a coworker first to see if it’s productive.8. Doing That Really Bad Thing That No One Else DidYou’re preparing for your first big marketing presentation by taking meticulous notes and rifling through your company’s CRM, when you press something.You don’t know what you pressed, but now — the database is gone. Gone. You’ve just deleted it.The worst part is, when you point it out to your manager, he clicks around on your computer and after a moment says to himself, “Huh… I’ve never seen anyone do that before.” (In your mind, you translate this to: Huh… I’ve never seen anyone screw up like this before.)The best way to recover is to be humble and honest. Point out how you innocently made the mistake, own up to it, and admit that there are still a lot of things you don’t know and need to learn. Don’t blame the system, the WiFi connection, or anyone else.Hopefully, you’ll eventually be able to laugh about it, like, “Hey, you think you’ve got it bad? I once deleted the whole CRM database before my first marketing presentation. Whoops.”Although there’s no way to foolproof yourself against these kinds of mistakes, you can prevent most of them by being patient with yourself when learning a new skill or software, asking for help whenever you’re confused … and reading the fine print carefully. Topics: Originally published Feb 13, 2018 6:00:00 AM, updated February 13 2018 Don’t forget to share this post!
India made history on Sunday as they crushed South Africa by a record margin in the second Test to take an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the three-match series in Pune after asking the hosts to follow-on before play began on Day 4.India won by an innings and 137 runs as they bundled the South Africans out for 189 on the penultimate day to set the new record for most series wins (11) at home in Test cricket.The Proteas were earlier bowled out for 275 just before stumps on Day 3 in their first innings in reply to India’s 601 for 5 declared, and were asked to bat again by Virat Kohli after the hosts took a 326-run first-innings lead.India win by an innings and 137 runs, sealing the series against South Africa and maintaining their 100 per cent World Test Championship recordWhat a performance from Virat Kohli’s men #INDvSA pic.twitter.com/zvYg1kfIaPICC (@ICC) October 13, 2019In the process, India became the first team to enforce the follow-on against South Africa in 11 years while Kohli became the first Indian skipper to ask the Proteas to follow-on.The bowlers backed up the captain’s decision and showed no signs of fatigue or tiredness after their hard work on the third day as Ishant Sharma struck in the very first over on Day 4 with the wicket of Aiden Markram (0), who registered a pair, to start the damage.Umesh Yadav then joined the party as he removed Theunis de Bruyn (8) thanks to a brilliant catch by wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha down the leg side.advertisementWith two quick wickets inside the first six overs in the first session, the off-spinners were brought into the attack as India kept the pressure on the visitors after the pacers ended their first spells.Ravichandran Ashwin got rid of Faf du Plessis (5) for the second time in this match and then sent back Dean Elgar (48) to bag two wickets in successive overs and reduced the Proteas to 74 for 4 at lunch.With his 2 wickets, Ashwin moved to number 23 on the list of all-time highest wicket-takers in Tests with 356 scalps to his name. He crossed Australian legend Dennis Lillee and Sri Lanka veteran Chaminda Vaas, who had 355 wickets each.After the break, Quinton de Kock couldn’t hang around for long just like the top-four and got out to Ravindra Jadeja in the second over of the second session for 5.Temba Bavuma then showed some resistance and scored 38 off 63 balls before Jadeja sent him packing to bag his second wicket.The tail though, wagged once again for South Africa and refused to go down without a fight as Vernon Philander and Keshav Maharaj frustrated the Indians with their 56-run partnership for the 8th wicket. They took the team to tea at 172 for 7 with India conceding 98 runs in the second session.Umesh then came back for his final spell and got rid of Philander (37) and Kagiso Rabada to break the Proteas’ resistance. In the very next over, Jadeja trapped Keshav Maharaj (22) plumb in front and was given out by the umpire. Maharaj reviewed immediately but saw three reds on the replay.Umesh Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja both finished with 3 wickets each in the final innings while R Ashwin bagged two. Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma got one wicket apiece. Umesh and Ashwin both ended with 6 wickets in the match.This win was India’s biggest innings win over South Africa in Test cricket, beating their previous best of an innings and 57-run victory at the Eden Gardens in 2010. Overall, this was India’s 10th biggest innings win in Tests.South Africa will now look to play for pride and close the series on a high when they take on the in-form Indians in the third Test in Ranchi from October 19.Also Read | Pune Test: Virat Kohli 1st Indian captain to enforce follow-on vs South AfricaAlso Read | Wriddhiman ‘Superman’ Saha: Fans hail wicketkeeper as best in the world after stunning catch in Pune Test
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Philippe Coutinho Rivaldo backs Barcelona target Coutinho to thrive at Camp Nou Jamie Smith 05:40 1/4/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Philippe Coutinho Barcelona Barcelona v Celta de Vigo Real Betis v Barcelona Primera División Liverpool Premier League The former Barcelona player believes the Liverpool midfielder would be a good signing for the Catalan giants Philippe Coutinho has the characteristics to be a success at Barcelona if he moves to the club from Liverpool, according to fellow Brazilian Rivaldo.Barca are reported to be preparing a fresh bid worth an initial €110 million for Coutinho, having failed with a number of offers for the midfielder in August.Ernesto Valverde indicated on Wednesday he was unsure whether the club would move for Coutinho again, the player having been featured on leaked promotional material from Nike this week to spark fresh intrigue. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Barca icon Rivaldo, who won a brace of league titles in his five-year spell at Camp Nou, has backed Coutinho for a switch to the Catalan giants.”Coutinho is a very good player and if he ends up signing for Barcelona, he will succeed easily,” Rivaldo told Marca.”I think he has the characteristics that a footballer needs to succeed in Barcelona.”The style of play will suit him and fans will give him time to adapt, I think he will succeed.”200 #LFC appearances from @Phil_Coutinho And what a goal to mark it… pic.twitter.com/21ohrcKKlC— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 26, 2017Coutinho has been targeted as a potential replacement for Neymar, who left Barcelona in a world-record switch to Paris Saint-Germain in the last transfer window.And Rivaldo, who won the Ballon d’Or in 1999, believes chasing that individual honour was a key reason behind Neymar’s desire to depart the La Liga leaders.”It was a difficult moment, it made the team pessimistic,” Rivaldo said of the €222m deal. “Neymar went, principally, because they made him a very good offer.”Playing in Barcelona, he was in the shadow of [Lionel] Messi and although he was doing very well, Messi is Messi and he has many years left in him.”I think Neymar left here to try to see if he is the best in the world. If he wants to be it, he will have to knock Cristiano Ronaldo out of the Champions League in the knockout stages in February.”As well as Coutinho, Barcelona have been linked with another Brazilian midfielder, Arthur, who has a €50m release clause in his Gremio contract.”I can’t speak about him much because he’s not a player I know a lot about,” added Rivaldo. “I know that he’s a good player with quality, but I don’t know what he would add to Barcelona.”
Auburn20109485770.61 Ohio State201310036370.64 Florida State20139477230.76 Georgia Tech20149935300.53 Wisconsin20119376180.66 OSU20139875080.51 While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. Texas A&M201210255780.56 CollegeYearPlaysPointsPts/Play Baylor201511036250.57 Ohio State201410996720.61 Baylor201310756810.63 Stanford20109285290.57 Oregon201411186810.61 OSU20089085300.58 OSU201210145940.59 Georgia20129245290.57 Boise State20109095860.64 OSU20109825750.59 Mike Gundy didn’t mention me by name, but I’m sure it was just an oversight. At the 7:00 mark of this awesome video (h/t @CoachHuddleston), Mike Gundy suggests that the 1988 Oklahoma State offense would hold up statistically against modern offenses.Here’s what he said.“At that time when we were throwing the ball 20-22 times a game and there weren’t no huddle offenses, our average plays per game was somewhere around 65 plays … what I’ve always said is if you go back and take plays per game and the points and average that all up I don’t think there would ever be an offense that would score this many points in the average number of plays we had in games.”I take that as a challenge, coach Gundy. In the spirit of the presidential campaign, let’s do a little fact checking:• “At that time when we were throwing the ball 20-22 times a game” TRUE. Gundy averaged 21.5 passes per game in the 11-game regular season that year.• “Our average plays per game was somewhere around 65 plays” FALSE. Today’s offenses may play at a faster tempo, Mike, but you didn’t exactly play Iba ball. The 1988 offense averaged 73 plays per game. By comparison, the 2015 OSU offense averaged 75 plays per game.• “I don’t think there would ever be an offense that would score this many points in the average number of plays we had in games” LET’S SEE.First, a caveat. It is nearly impossible to find a box score for the 1998 Holiday Bowl. I could find stats for Gundy and Sanders, but not for the whole team. That said, I obviously know how many points OSU scored in the game (62), so for this analysis I used those 62 points and added another 73 plays onto OSU’s regular season stats from the 1988 season.Now, what offenses should we compare the 1988 OSU offense to? I settled on the following group:• All top 3 S&P+ offensive units going back to 2010, plus:• Every OSU offense going back to 2008This is a group of 18 elite offenses since the start of this decade and every OSU offense for eight years. By the way, the 2011 OSU offense was ranked No. 2 by S&P+ in 2011. I used the metric proposed by Gundy: points per play. Texas Tech201510845860.54 Conclusion: Gundy was not far off base. He may have gone a little overboard in saying there wouldn’t ever be an offense that could score like the 1988 OSU offense, but clearly they were historically great. The only offense in this universe that tops the ‘88 Cowboys is the 2013 Florida State offense that scored 51.6 points per game. That FSU offense, by the way, put *all eleven starters* from their national championship game against Auburn into the NFL. Even our triplets can’t compete with that.The only other offense that came close to OSU was the 2011 Wisconsin Badgers – this was the Russell Wilson/Montee Ball season where Wilson threw for 33 TDs and Ball rushed for 33 TDs.Not breaking news: OSU’s 2011 offense was so good.So, coach Gundy: you were mostly correct that your 1988 offense was in a league of its own. I don’t blame you a bit for coming to that conclusion, and if I’m being honest I was a little sad to find an offense that bettered the ‘88 Pokes. Still, the numbers prove that if any of OSU’s future offenses even come close to the production of the ‘88 team, we will be looking at a very special season. OSU19888765840.67 OSU20159775140.53 OSU20098913690.41 OSU20149073590.40 OSU20119876330.64 Oregon201210596450.61 Arkansas20158864670.53 Alabama20118654530.52