Web Analytics Originally published Oct 6, 2006 3:25:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Too Many Tools To Get The Picture Below is a picture of the tabs of my browser session right now. As you can see, I have our SmallBusiness2.0 blog up; Technorati up to see who is linking to us and what our rank is; FeedBurner up to look at the number of people “subscribing” to the RSS feed; Google analytics to see how many visitors we are getting and from what geography; and Alexa up to see how we are doing relative to every other website/blog on the planet. I tend to go through the exercise of looking at all of these tools once a week prior to our weekly meeting to update the team on how the top of our funnel looks relative to previous weeks/months and I also tend look at this information during the day that I post a meaningful blog article that I think should get traction. I think all these tools are great if you are a professional blogger or are a dedicated full-time marketing analytics person, but it is pretty cumbersome to track all this stuff if it’s not a fulltime job. This is especially true for a small business where everyone in the company wears multiple hats. For those of you who have day jobs beyond report creation out there, do you feel like I do? Not Real-time Enough The other thing that frustrates me about all these tools is how they are not “real-time” enough for me. I wish Technorati updated the inbound links more often and had more real-time rankings. I wish FeedBurner showed you what was happening at the very moment versus just a daily snapshot and I also wish they updated their data at 12:01am for the previous day. I wish Google would stop the sandboxing process for new domains and I wish they would update their PageRank information (shown in the Google toolbar) more often. I wish Alexa would show better data on what is happening in the last week and rankings in real-time for smaller sites. For those of you who use these tools, do you have the same wish-list as I do? GoogleTrends for My Small Business I’m not sure if you have had a chance to check out Google Trends, but I think it is rather addictive. My only issue with it is it does not work at a company level (unless you are a massive company) and it does not allow you to put in custom events to show how your marketing activities correlate with traffic. For those of you addicted to GoogleTrends, do you agree? — Brian Halligan 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 Jun 24, 2009 8:45:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 When I wrote about the need for a social network like Twitter – several years before Twitter was conceived – I never thought that my days would be filled teaching veteran marketers how to build social media service offerings. Based on my daily interactions with marketing agencies, I believe we’ve finally reached the point where convincing companies that they need to be using social media to build awareness, audiences, traffic and leads is almost over.Now it’s about being able to speak to them in terms they understand (rather than in terms our social media peers understand), to explain why a social media strategy is absolutely necessary.A new e-book from Channel V Media (a HubSpot customer and partner) lays out a good plan for agencies and companies trying to develop a social media plan.They’ve spelled out 12 key things you must consider when developing a social media program for your business.It’s a good handbook for in-house marketers, as well as agencies, who are still trying to figure out how to replace their piece-meal campaign-after-campaign approach with a full-blown social media program.Here’s the 12 Steps:Audience Identification. If you know who your audience is, you’re already one step ahead of the game. The next step is to figure out where they interact online.Platform Development & Design. Figuring out how to engage and interact with this audience.Brand Campaign Integration. It’s possible for a social media program to piggyback off a good brand campaign, but it has to be transformed into its cooler younger brother.Content Creation/Coordination. You must create a consistent message.Goal Mapping. In other words, how do you measure your success? Is it brand mentions? Traffic? Email sign ups? Leads? Sales? Brand Identity. Everyone that is engaging via social media on your team must understand your goals and messaging.Audience Attraction. Larger brands like to start spreading the word of their new, fancy and glossy initiatives at the outset, but if your social media program is good, your audience will find them on their own and the spread the word for you. Social Media Listening. If you don’t know what people are saying about you and your products, their related interests and more, how are you going to interact with them?Community & Social Responsibility. Social responsibility is increasingly expected of everyone – and this engagement is an essential part of your online identity. Internal/External Community Engagement & Response. Be everywhere. All the time. It’s up to you to let people know that you are listening, engaging, helping, and offering solutions.Brand Advocacy. Authenticity and transparency are such huge aspects of social media, your social media and management team must be 100% on board.Customer Service. Good customer service involves listening (within and outside of social media) and responding appropriately. Photo: fotopakismo
, soldering list on Twitter, your business will have one more way get found by prospects. lists. Watch For example, say you’re interested in following the people at HubSpot. There are over 100 of us here now, so it’s a lot of work to follow us all individually. Now, instead of following each of us, you can go to our HubSpotters list page — Inbound Marketing Stars Lists are collections of Twitter users that you can follow all at once, instead of one by one. They’re Employees twitter.com/HubSpot/inbound-marketing-stars lists are great places to find out more about HubSpot. In case you missed the news last week, Twitter solder paste (1) Start following a few popular lists. , –Lists are a new tool. They’re going to evolve, and the best practices for using them as marketing tools will also evolve. In order to get the most out of them you should keep trying new ways of using them. Customers and the one we’ve setup at HubSpot . . ? Once you’re created a few great lists, share them with your network. Post them on Twitter. Post them on Listorious. Post them on your blog. When you share your list, make sure you share your list page. The URL should look something like this: Inbound Marketing News Watch this free webinar to learn everything you need to know about marketing with Twitter Lists. You’ll find out how Twitter list can be useful to marketers and how to get started with them. There are lots of ways to become a thought leader, and lists augment them all. If you sell soldering supplies and you set up Lists will help companies solidify thought leadership. THE A key part of marketing today is using search, social media and content to establish yourself as the thought leader in your industry — whether it’s — and follow us all at once. twitter.com/HubSpot/hubspotters (4) Keep experimenting with lists. is a great place to browse Twitter lists. I’m also a fan of why should you or any other marketer care What have you learned about Twitter lists? Let us know in the comments below. Lists will make companies more transparent. , the internal conversations of your company will become more transparent. That will give prospects another way get to know your company and to build trust, which will leads to more sales. One last note: Keep in mind that lists aren’t perfect right now. It’s very hard to add people to them. You can’t change the names. It’s hard to browse a lot of them. But this doesn’t mean you should ignore them. They represent a significant change in the way Twitter works — and, increasingly, that means a significant change in the way marketers do their jobs. Successful inbound marketers know that transparency builds sales. It builds trust, which makes deals easier to close. Here’s how: Go to your Twitter home page. In the right-hand column, about halfway down the page, you should see a “New List” option. Click this and you’ll see instructions that will help you create a new list. Try to create a descriptive, unique name. And make sure you select the “Public” option. changing the way people use Twitter Partners Our If your company sets up a list of all employees using Twitter like (2) Start building your own lists. New York Times lists Twitter Marketing Topics: golf training How to Get Started With Lists , (3) Share your lists. — Listorious Once you’ve create the list, start adding people to it. This can be time consuming. Right now the best way is to go to the profile of the user you want to add, then click the white lists tab above the user’s updates. You’ll see your new list in the pulldown. or something else. What’s a list — and Once you take a look at few lists, jump in and build your own. . Don’t share the page you use to manage your list. and Free Twitter Lists Webinar: Everything You Need to Know About Twitter Lists announced a major new feature: , and they’re set to become an important new tool for inbound marketers. the free webinar now There are at least two ways that lists will become important tools for marketers: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack list are great places to find out more about inbound marketing. The fencing Originally published Nov 2, 2009 10:08:00 AM, updated October 20 2016
: query matching in the domain name; exact match domains by top-level domain (TLD) extension; keywords in subdomains; on-page keyword usage; link counts and link diversity; TLD extensions; length of domain, URL and content; website homepages; and anchor text link matches. Some of his best tips? Make sure your experiments have clear goals, conduct your experiments in labs that aren’t on your main website or online presence, and don’t be afraid of failure or to get your hands dirty. Author: Her article covers tips for choosing the right screencasting tool, putting together a script, capturing the actual screencast and editing it for the best quality and results. 1. Audrey Watters Inbound Marketing of SEOmoz Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Rand’s analysis and conclusions cover the following SEO factors that contribute to how a website/page is ranked Our top Author: SEO is constantly changing. Understand how search engines rank websites to ensure you’re optimizing your pages appropriately. To help you create these types of posts for your own blog, Rohit highlights some common features that make an article an ideal fit as a content time bomb: Marketing Takeaway: Think critically and creatively about trending topics to come up with unique, yet valuable, takeaways for your readers. Kimberly Turner Rohit Bhargava Ever wonder how you can take advantage of hot, trending topics in the news and current affairs for your blog? Kimberly’s article identifies that, no matter what your niche is, there is often a way to apply trending topics to your topic to make it interesting for readers. They key, she says, is to take the time to research and understand the individual story’s details and think creatively about how it can apply to your Think about creating some great content time bombs in your own industry that stand the test of time and help generate additional traffic long after they’re initially published. niche. Author: Screencasts are a great type of Don’t be afraid to do some marketing experiments of your own. Take a risk, try something new and apply the lessons learned to future endeavors. On-Demand Webinar: How to Use SEO & Social Search for Lead Generation Claudio Gennari Content time bombs are valuable because they are written for the long term (e.g. a timely news post is Chris Brogan Author: Download the on-demand webinar now Marketing Takeaway: on Influential Marketing Blog It engages a broader audience. article of the past week provides some great research and insight into the way Google and Bing compare in how they rank websites for search engine results. 2. 4. Tips for Making a Screencast for Your Startup of chrisbrogan.com Marketing Takeaway: “‘content time bombs’ are 3. online video Marketing Takeaway: inbound marketing not blogging 5. Photo by Using the Blogosphere’s Trends for Your Niche Rand Fishkin that are written to remain online until someone needs to know about that specific topic, and then they ‘explode’ as those people find them (usually through search engines). They are the social media equivalent of land mines, but in a good way.” According to Rohit, ! How often do you experiment in your marketing? Brogan’s article emphasizes Originally published Jun 14, 2010 8:00:00 AM, updated July 19 2013 keywords How Writing “Content Time Bombs” Can Double Your Blog Traffic Screencasts can be a great instructional tool for your company’s products or services. Try creating one for your business. Topics: Join Mike Volpe, VP of Marketing at HubSpot for insights on how to generate leads with SEO and social search. Author Rand Fishkin’s article compiles his research on the different ranking elements of Google and Bing, providing valuable information for people looking to optimize their websites for these specific search engines. of ReadWriteWeb frequently. It can remain “dormant” until needed. It uses She proves her point by providing a number of examples of recent, timely news stories and how they were successfully and creatively covered by bloggers in unexpected niches. Marketing Takeaway: pieces of content The Vital Importance of Labs to showcase and explain how a new product or feature works, but how do you create one? Audrey’s article offers some great advice for creating screencasts, outlining the step-by-step process to help you get started. Author: It targets a specific audience or need. an example); they address common questions people ask. on Problogger the importance of experimentation Google vs. Bing: Correlation Analysis of Ranking Elements , stressing that it is a vital element in the growth of any business and that the most innovative companies are constantly experimenting. He offers some of his best advice about using labs for experimentation.
all the leads you get for them The only person marketers have to blame when they get little to no respect is themselves. You can whine all you want about how your sales department doesn’t appreciate Real-Time Marketing for Business Growth , how your boss is ignorant and doesn’t understand your strategies, or how finance shouldn’t question your expenses for a direct mail campaign. I’ve been in marketing for more than 20 years, and each time I feel I’m not getting the respect I deserve, I know it’s not “their” fault; it’s really mine. Image credit: Most good marketers I know are opinionated – and I mean that in a good way. They are smart, have good insight into issues, and are not afraid to voice their opinions. When positioned incorrectly, this can come off as being arrogant or stubborn. You can quickly be identified as ‘not a team player,’ and once that’s affixed to you, it’s hard to rub off. the ROI on a campaign The key to getting respect is to collaborate as much as possible. Reece says “marketing is uniquely positioned to align the entire organization around the customer.” Instead of building up your department or showing people how smart you are, you should be trying to break down the barriers between departments and collaborate, because your goal and your company’s are one and the same – to meet the needs of your customers. Reason #2 for Lack of Respect: Department Mentality Rodney Dangerfield Album Cover Marketers can bring the intelligence (i.e. research) to help sales better understand their customers and prospects Originally published Jun 20, 2011 11:39:00 AM, updated July 03 2013 : Reason #1 for Lack of Respect: Communication Topics: Too often, marketers think of themselves as part of the marketing department. Technically, they may be correct, but practically, that’s the best way to separate themselves from others. And when you act separately, you set yourself for an “us” vs. “them” mentality. According to Monique Reece in her book What do you think? Do you feel you get the respect you deserve as a marketer? . Marketers can position the products around the needs of the customers. Marketers can find new ways to reach new prospects. And they can do all of this by collaborating with everyone else in the process. When they collaborate, sales will get a better understanding of what marketers bring to the table. Your executives will appreciate your leadership skills, and finance will finally get a handle on the ROI that marketing can bring. Marketers are responsible for creating and communicating the positioning and messaging of their company. The problem is they do a bad job communicating internally to their bosses, the sales team, finance, customer service, operations, etc. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Branding . By communicating your efforts in a timely and effective way, you can avoid many of the issues that give marketing a bad reputation. Internal PR is really a marketer’s best friend. There is nothing a sales person hates more than seeing an ad the same time their prospect does. Executives don’t have time to read through a 30-page report, no matter how wonderful it is. And your CFO’s job is to challenge your expenditures and see “Organizations need to think beyond marketing as simply a department because the role and meaning of marketing has evolved way beyond this. It’s time for CEOs, marketing and sales professionals, and other business executives to work together to create a new definition of marketing. This role should include priorities such as leading change, deepening the organization’s understanding of customers and how to build loyalty, and implementing new communication and alignment processes to improve strategy execution.” Reason #3 for Lack of Respect: Opinionated
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
top social network for business professionals can have a number of business benefits, including brand management, community building, content promotion, and lead generation, to name a few. With the rising popularity of social media, it behooves all businesses to start using them to achieve business goals. That said, MySpace has approximately 130 million active users, whereas LinkedIn has about 115 million. While one could argue for MySpace in this case, the numbers are still indicative that LinkedIn is growing in popularity — and MySpace is lagging. LinkedIn Marketing And according to CNN.com, MySpace may not keep their 3rd place status for very long. With MySpace experiencing half the traffic it did in June 2010 and Twitter accumulating 30.6 million visitors in June, Twitter Originally published Jul 12, 2011 12:40:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Facebook, still in first place by far, amassed 160.8 million unique visitors in June. Has your company gotten started this news Fewer than 33.5 million Americans visited MySpace in June, falling off by about 1.4 million U.S. visitors from May. According to comScore, LinkedIn had 33.9 million unique visitors in June, an increase of about half a million from the month before. Marketing Takeaway: It looks like we’ll soon be looking at Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter as the big 3 of the social networking world. Is your business utilizing these helpful marketing tools to its advantage? To be honest, when I first saw is expected to overtake MySpace as the 3rd-most popular social network in the next few months. Participating in social media Topics: and other social media sites for business? Photo Credit: Nan Palmero using LinkedIn Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack , I couldn’t believe MySpace was the second-most popular social network until now. And by “most popular,” we’re referring to web traffic here. LinkedIn, the , is now the number 2 most popular social network on the web. Here are the stats:
Originally published Sep 27, 2013 1:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Networking 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 Did you know that Garth Brooks sang a song about the importance of networking?Well, pretty much. Here’s the scoop: Brooks left a relationship that wasn’t fruitful anymore, but because he has contacts all over the place, he knows he’ll be able to bounce back. And while Garth might be going through a rough breakup, he hit on a principle that we as professionals abide by: It’s all about who you know.Our contacts help us get jobs, mentor us, and provide us with a sounding board for professional questions. But before that person ends up as a trusted connection, you have to cultivate a mutually-beneficial relationship, one that provides value to your professional life in some way or another. You know what I’m talking about, people: Networking.If you cringed a bit at that word, it’s okay. For a lot of people, especially introverts, the thought of networking with complete strangers is about as awkward as it gets. The entire platform of networking has largely moved out of our local coffee shops and onto online sites like LinkedIn, taking the need to be physically present to cultivate relationships out of the equation. Unfortunately, that’s left some of the professional world feeling more comfortable interacting with people online than in person. But it’s important to be able to network both ways, so that you can get the most out of being in the workplace, going to industry events, and generally being able to have real-life professional conversations. There’s just something about that face-to-face conversation that can’t be replaced by a keyboard and a mouse.So, that’s why we came up with these 3 brilliant icebreakers for in-person networking that you can use anywhere — at work, at a conference, out to lunch with colleagues — to really hone on in the core skills of networking. Keep these icebreakers in your back pocket for your future networking events.The Networking Trifecta of Icebreakers#1. “Oh, you’re from [X Company]? How did you end up there?”No matter how good or bad you think you are at networking, you really can’t mess up with this question. At the surface, it’s a pretty standard question when getting to know someone. It’s a question the other person has undoubtedly answered before, so it won’t catch them off-guard. But for you, it’s a chance to practice a skill that many want, few have, and even fewer do well: Listening. You know when you’re telling a story and the other person seems really into it? They’re nodding at the appropriate times, probably giving you a few “oh yeah!’s” and “really?’s”? That’s because this person is giving you their undivided attention, and it makes you feel good, maybe even really confident about whatever you’re talking about. This is what you should aim to do with every professional conversation you have. One tip from Ivan Misner, the founder and chairman of business networking organization BNI, suggests that focusing on maintaining eye contact with the person you’re interacting with will help you listen better and drown out other distractions around you. If you’re networking at a big event, you’ll need to really be able to focus to practice listening.#2. “You know, I recently read that [insert relevant industry news here]. Have you heard about that?”Think about your favorite blog. Maybe you read it every day, or once a week, or maybe only once a month. No matter how frequently you read it, the point is that you keep coming back to that same blog instead of choosing a similar one with the same topic. And why wouldn’t you? It’s your favorite. And whether you know it or not, one of the reasons it’s your go-to source on whatever the topic is because it provides value to you in some way.If you want people to think of you, remember you, really connect with you on a personal level — you have to provide them with some value. And there’s nothing more valuable these days than the exchange of information. If you want to be perceived as an expert in your field, you need to contribute something of value to the conversations going on in your field.You can practice doing this in a safe place — your workplace. Find those people you really want to make a connection with and strike up a conversation in the kitchen about the latest and greatest article you’ve read.(Tip for HubSpot customers: It’s really easy to stay on top of industry news if you’re using Social Inbox. You can create streams of any keyword that’s relevant to your industry, or monitor a Twitter list of thought leaders.)#3. “Hey, I’d love your opinion on [your latest project]. Do you have a minute?”“Oh, you would?” At least, that’s what I think when someone asks me for help with something that’s important to them. It makes me feel appreciated, respected, and knowledgeable. Clearly I’ve devoted some time to whatever topic they’re asking me about, so it feels good to put what I know to good use.Now that you know that, pretend you’re the person who’s looking to make a connection with me. Why would you hesitate to ask my opinion or for my help on something if you know it makes me feel this way? There’s no reason to. So, don’t.In the Inc.com article “Networking Tips: Go From Awkward to Awesome,” author Patricia Fletcher explains that asking for someone’s advice about a topic they know well is a great way to get a conversation started and bonds formed. “It’s pretty cool,” she says, “to have your ask turn into a successful person’s thoughtful input on what they would do if they were in your shoes.” Take advantage of these successful people around you, either the ones you work with every day or thought leaders in your industry, by tapping into their knowledge and asking for help.Don’t Hesitate. Just Network.So the next time you’re faced with the opportunity to network in-person, don’t shy away. If you can remember the networking trifecta — listening, providing value, and asking for help — you’ll make those uber-important trusted connections that will serve you well in your professional years to come.And, once you’ve done it a few times, it’ll feel more and more natural until you find yourself doing this without thinking about it. You’ll be surprised how easy networking can be with a little strategy and the right tools. Because you know what? You never know when you’ll need to pull a Garth Brooks and call on some trusted connections for a little help.Image credit: langleyo
Topics: Blogging Advice By now you’re probably just about to sign out of your email and get ready for that New Year’s party. But before you go, just a quick reminder about what’s coming up in the New Year …On January 2, the 30-Day Blog Challenge will begin. We are challenging everyone to committo blogging more in January to increase traffic to your blog.Why should you join the challenge?Glad you asked.Companies who blog the most have a chance to be profiled on the HubSpot blog, which has more than 1.5 million readers a month.Winning companies will receive a complimentary ticket to INBOUND 2014To prove that you can!How do you enter?Start blogging!Submit your blog URL on this page at the beginning of the month.We will be in touch toward the end of the month to gather metrics and other information about how your blogging improved.Winner(s) will be rewarded in February.Happy New Year, and Happy Blogging!What are you doing to prepare for the 30-Day Blog Challenge? 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 Dec 31, 2013 3:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017
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!
To avoid leaving potential customers struggling to put the disconnected pieces of your business together, consider the benefits of creating a style guide. A style guide can encompass everything from the tone of voice you’ll use to the color scheme you’ll employ to the way you’ll position certain products or services.By taking the time to define and agree upon these considerations, your brand will benefit as a whole.3) EmotionCustomers aren’t always rational.How else do you explain the person who paid thousands of dollars more for a Harley rather than buying another cheaper, equally well-made bike? There was an emotional voice in there somewhere, whispering: “Buy a Harley.” But why?Harley Davidson uses emotional branding by creating a community around its brand. It began HOG — Harley Owners Group — to connect their customers with their brand (and each other).Source: HOGBy providing customers with an opportunity to feel like they’re part of a larger group that’s more tight-knit than just a bunch of motorcycle riders, Harley Davidson is able to position themselves as an obvious choice for someone looking to purchase a bike.Why? People have an innate desire to build relationships. Research from psychologists Roy Baumeister and Mark Leary best describes this need in their “belongingness hypothesis,” which states: “People have a basic psychological need to feel closely connected to others, and that caring, affectionate bonds from close relationships are a major part of human behavior.”Not to mention, belongingness — the need for love, affection, and being part of groups — falls directly in the middle of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which aims to categorize different human needs.The lesson to be learned? Find a way to connect with your customers on a deeper, more emotional level. Do you give them peace of mind? Make them feel like part of the family? Do you make life easier? Use emotional triggers like these to strengthen your relationship and foster loyalty.4) FlexibilityIn this fast-changing world, marketers must remain flexible to stay relevant. On the plus side, this frees you to be creative with your campaigns.You may be thinking, “Wait a minute, how am I supposed to remain consistent while also being flexible?”Good question. While consistency aims to set the standard for your brand, flexibility enables you to make adjustments that build interest and distinguish your approach from that of your competition.In other words, “effective identity programs require enough consistency to be identifiable, but enough variation to keep things fresh and human,” explains president of Peopledesign, Kevin Budelmann.A great example of this type of strategic balance comes from Old Spice. These days, Old Spice is one of the best examples of successful marketing across the board. However, up until recently, wearing Old Spice was pretty much an unspoken requirement for dads everywhere. Today, it’s one of the most popular brands for men of all ages.The secret? Flexibility.Aware that it needed to do something to secure its place in the market, Old Spice teamed up with Wieden+Kennedy to position their brand for a new customer base.Source: Works Design GroupBetween new commercials, a new website, new packaging, and new product names, Old Spice managed to attract the attention of a new, younger generation by making strategic enhancements to its already strong brand.So if your old tactics aren’t working anymore, don’t be afraid to change. Just because it worked in the past doesn’t mean it’s working now.Take the opportunity to engage your followers in fresh, new ways. Are there some out-of-the-box partnerships your brand can make? Are there attributes about your product you never highlighted? Use those to connect with new customers and remind your old ones why they love you.5) Employee InvolvementAs we mentioned before, achieving a sense of consistency is important if you wish to build brand recognition. And while a style guide can help you achieve a cohesive digital experience, it’s equally important for your employees to be well versed in the how they should be communicating with customers and representing the brand.If your brand is playful and bubbly through Twitter engagements, then it wouldn’t make sense if a customer called in and was connected with a grumpy, monotone representative, right?To avoid this type of mismatched experience, take note of Zappos’ approach.If you’ve ever been on the line with a customer service representative from Zappos, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, check out this SlideShare which details some of its most inspiring customer support stories.Zappos is so committed to ensuring that not only its brand, but all brands, remain consistent across digital and human interactions that they’ve dedicated an entire department to the cause called Zappos Insights. Come join us and learn the Zappos WOW approach to customer service! Learn more about the Zappos School of WOW: https://t.co/g3tU4179q9 pic.twitter.com/eRkpcfYAKD— Zappos Insights (@ZapposInsights) August 21, 2017By holding all Zappos employees to its core values and helping other companies implement the same approach, Zappos has built a strong reputation for solid, helpful, and human customer service.6) LoyaltyIf you already have people that love you, your company, and your brand, don’t just sit there. Reward them for that love.These customers have gone out their way to write about you, to tell their friends about you, and to act as your brand ambassadors. Cultivating loyalty from these people early on will yield more returning customers — and more profit for your business.Sometimes, just a thank you is all that’s needed. Other times, it’s better to go above and beyond. Write them a personalized letter. Sent them some special swag. Ask them to write a review, and feature them prominently on your website. (Or all of the above!)When we reached 15,000 customers here at HubSpot, we wanted to say thank you in a big way, while remaining true to our brand … so we dropped 15,000 orange ping pong balls from our fourth-floor balcony and spelled out thank you in big metallic balloons:And while it may have seemed a little out of the ordinary to some folks, for those who know our brand, the gesture made perfect sense.Loyalty is a critical part of every brand strategy, especially if you’re looking to support your sales organization. At the end of the day, highlighting a positive relationship between you and your existing customers sets the tone for what potential customers can expect if they choose to do business with you.7) Competitive AwarenessTake the competition as a challenge to improve your own strategy and create greater value in your overall brand. You are in the same business and going after the same customers, right? So watch what they do.Do some of their tactics succeed? Do some fail? Tailor your brand positioning based on their experience to better your company.A great example of how to improve your brand by learning from your competitors comes from Pizza Hut:@TheRealElysium You know our vote. ^AB— Pizza Hut (@pizzahut) March 20, 2016 Let’s say you’ve come to the difficult realization that quite frankly your brand — if you can even call it that — is all over the place. Or perhaps worse, you have a defined brand, but you’re noticing that it just doesn’t seem to mesh with who you really are and what you really do.Don’t panic.Before you get all hung up on what shade of green to use for your logo or what tone you’re going to use when engaging with people on Twitter, you need to step back and take a look at the big picture.Download Now: Free Brand Building GuideWhat is Brand Strategy?Brand strategy is a plan that encompasses specific, long-term goals that can be achieved with the evolution of a successful brand — the combined components of your company’s character that make it identifiable.(We’ll get into that more in a bit.)A well-defined and executed brand strategy affects all aspects of a business and is directly connected to consumer needs, emotions, and competitive environments.First, let’s clear up the biggest misconception about brand strategy: Your brand is not your product, your logo, your website, or your name.In fact, your brand is much more than that — it’s the stuff that feels intangible. But it’s that hard-to-pin-down feeling that separates powerhouse and mediocre brands from each other.So to help you rein in what many marketers consider more of an art and less of a science, we’ve broken down seven essential components of a comprehensive brand strategy that will help keep your company around for ages.7 Components for a Comprehensive Branding Strategy1) Purpose”Every brand makes a promise. But in a marketplace in which consumer confidence is low and budgetary vigilance is high, it’s not just making a promise that separates one brand from another, but having a defining purpose,” explains Allen Adamson, chairman of the North America region of brand consulting and design firm Landor Associates.While understanding what your business promises is necessary when defining your brand positioning, knowing why you wake up every day and go to work carries more weight. In other words, your purpose is more specific, in that it serves as a differentiator between you and your competitors.How can you define your business’ purpose? According to Business Strategy Insider, purpose can be viewed in two ways:Functional: This concept focuses on the evaluations of success in terms of immediate and commercial reasons — i.e. the purpose of the business is to make money.Intentional: This concept focuses on success as it relates to the ability to make money and do good in the world.While making money is important to almost every business, we admire brands that emphasize their willingness to achieve more than just profitability, like IKEA:Source: IKEAIKEA’s vision isn’t just to sell furniture, but rather, to “create a better everyday life.” This approach is appealing to potential customers, as it demonstrates their commitment to providing value beyond the point of sale.When defining your business’ purpose, keep this example in mind. While making money is a priority, operating under that notion alone does little to set your brand apart from others in your industry.Our advice? Dig a little deeper. If you need inspiration, check out the brands you admire, and see how they frame their mission and vision statements.2) ConsistencyThe key to consistency is to avoid talking about things that don’t relate to or enhance your brand. Added a new photo to your business’ Facebook Page? What does it mean for your company? Does it align with your message, or was it just something funny that would, quite frankly, confuse your audience?In an effort to give your brand a platform to stand on, you need to be sure that all of your messaging is cohesive. Ultimately, consistency contributes to brand recognition, which fuels customer loyalty. (No pressure, right?)To see a great example of consistency, let’s look at Coca-Cola. As a result of its commitment to consistency, every element of the brand’s marketing works harmoniously together. This has helped it become one of the most recognizable brands in the world.Even on the surface of its social media accounts, for example, the seamlessness of its brand is very apparent: Don’t forget to share this post! Originally published Oct 11, 2017 8:12:00 PM, updated May 11 2018 When a pizza lover posed this question to his Twitter following, Pizza Hut didn’t miss a beat, and playfully responded in minutes, before Domino’s had a chance to speak up.If Domino’s is keeping an eye on the competitors, they’ll know to act fast the next time a situation like this arises.For HubSpot customers, keeping tabs on your competitor’s social mentions is easy using the Social Monitoring App. Check out this article to learn more about how to set up custom social streams.And while staying in tune with your competitor’s strategies is important if you want to enhance your brand, don’t let them dictate each and every move you make.Sure, you probably sell a similar product or service as many other companies, but you’re in business because your brand is unique. By harping on every move your competitor makes, you lose that differentiation. Branding Topics:
Oklahoma State’s collection of linebackers this year is a good microcosm for its linebackers historically. Guys who give great effort but are probably a little undersized and lack the speed to be elite. A solid group with no huge names (although Jordan Burton’s star status has grown) or egos that works hard and more or less gets the job done.OSU’s main trio of Burton, Devante Averette and Chad Whitener has combined for 113 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, three interceptions and maybe most importantly has stayed mostly healthy for the entirety of the season.One of the main issues I have noticed with this linebacking crew is its propensity to drop too deep to help in coverage while teams rack up first-down conversions on long third downs. Opponents are completing third downs at a 36 percent clip which is barely top 50 in the country (although it is better than last year).Maybe they feel the need to help out with a secondary that has been pretty poor so far or maybe it’s jut the opponents they have faced so far, but Spencer’s dudes have been out of position a lot throughout the first six games which has led to a so-so performance in points per drive allowed so far.They have also made some great plays. Jordan Burton had an interception against Baylor and then another wilder one against Iowa State last week when Averette tipped the ball to him. “We have had some good quarters this year,” said Spencer on Wednesday. “Not just that [final one against Iowa State]. We have yet to put together a whole game, which is what we need to do. To answer the bell, we had to do some things to win that game. We had to produce, we had to get the ball back. That was a lot of possessions for us – 17 possessions. So they answered the bell a lot of those possessions, in a critical time.”OSU has faced a lot of possessions without a ton of help (only 24 teams have faced more plays). The next-leading tackler behind those three main LBs though is Justin Phillips with 13 tackles which is I believe the same number he had in a single game against OU in Bedlam 2014 as a freshman. After that nobody else has double digit tackles.Calvin Bundage has been a fun addition at times, but it’s clear the staff doesn’t trust him as much as it trusts its veterans. Kevin Henry and Gyasi Akem have combined for 15 tackles over the first half of the season.So from a statistical standpoint, OSU has been pretty decent. And I’m certainly glad for its ability to stay healthy at a seemingly thin position thus far. But it has also whiffed in big spots (the Central Michigan game comes to mind — 8/15 on third down conversions).As a group, we gave the linebackers a B which coincides with what my grade for them was as well. A solid group with one star (no pun intended) in Burton and a lot of room for improvement. Heck, that kind of sounds like the OSU team as a whole.Grade: B 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.
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. The Denton Ryan Raiders secured their second consecutive unbeaton regular season this past weekend, with a 38-14 win over the Wichita Falls Riders on Friday night. The win boosted the Raiders to a perfect 10-0 record on the season as they captured the District 5-5A title.Oklahoma State quarterback commit Spencer Sanders lead the way on the night on offense, throwing for 296 yards and accounting for four touchdowns. As a team, Ryan earned nearly 500 yards and jumped out to a commanding 38-0 lead.Sanders showed off a few tools in the arsenal that has earned him a four-star ranking from 247sports, and one of the top dual-threat quarterback recruits in the country. When he has time in the pocket and a chance to step into the throw, he’s one of the most accurate quarterbacks throwing down the field. He’s perfected the run-pass-option offense for Ryan, something that OSU will almost certainly be able to utilize him in during his time in Stillwater.And he’s a heck of a competitor who isn’t afraid to pull it down and call his own number, as you can see around the 4:00 minute mark where he tucks it to run from about 35 yards out:Here’a a recap of Sanders’ scores from the game (via Sportsday Dallas):54-yard TD pass24-yard TD pass32-yard TD pass33-yard TD runRyan will travel to Fort Worth Brewer at 7 p.m. Thursday for its first-round game. The Spencer Sanders Raider team has not lost a regular season football game dating back to Nov. 7, 2014, per the Denton Ryan Chronicle. Sanders is currently the only player committed to Oklahoma State in their 2018 recruiting class.
Oklahoma State’s true freshman tailback Justice Hill’s emergence has catapulted him into an elite group. In Saturday’s game against TCU, he launched himself to No. 1 in rushing yards among OSU true freshmen, passing hall-of-famer Thurman Thomas in the process. He did so with this run.Here is the list of freshmen rushing leaders for OSU.Mike Hamilton (961 yards)Justice Hill (943 and counting)Jamaal Fobbs (928 yards)Thurman Thomas (843 yards)And here’s the list of true freshmen:This seems pretty good. pic.twitter.com/dSyAS8p3lf— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) November 19, 2016 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.
Great at-home visit with @danhammer11#GoPokes #PistolsFiring?? pic.twitter.com/Wak6IxSBoZ— Malcolm Rodriguez (@malcolmlrod) December 9, 2016Wallace twins still locked inThe Wallace duo of Tylan and Tracin are one of the most intriguing in the class. Tylan is an elite receiver, and Tracin, a dual-threat QB, projects as an athlete who could play defense for OSU at the next level. They got a visit from receivers coach Kasey Dunn and his incredible beard on Thursday.https://twitter.com/OfficialTylan2/status/807075360730976256Keeping the two in the fold has been huge. Even with Tracin’s ACL injury, he still appears to be a promising recruit. They will both be exciting players to watch in orange and black.Gundy takes his mullet to schoolThe most underrated recruit for Oklahoma State in the 2017 class in my opinion is San Antonio offensive lineman Derek Kerstetter. He has earned Army All-American honors and at 6-5 280, the coaches are very high on him and his potential as a left tackle.https://twitter.com/derekk40/status/806946893876133888Dunn it againReceivers coach Kasey Dunn was also in Arlington on Thursday to pay a visit to receiver commit Braydon Johnson of Arlington Bowie.Great home visit with Coach Dunn ?⚫️? pic.twitter.com/xu6f1HEWiN— B ⚡️ (@GLOing_817) December 8, 2016 MULLET POINTSTop 100 combo guard Amauri Hardy is making his decision on Friday night. Oklahoma State is the favorite.Former Iowa Hawkeye running back commit is back on the market, and has his eyes on Oklahoma State. Earlier in the week, the Cowboys first commitment of the class, Brendan Vaughn, had an in home visit with defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer. Outside linebacker. 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. The latest rumors and news surrounding Oklahoma State’s recruiting, with an ear to the ground for what to expect in the future.Canada, eh?Mike Yurcich and Marcus Arroyo made the haul to Canada on Thursday to pay a visit to Oklahoma State running back commitment Chuba Hubbard. Hubbard is a speedster from Bev Facey, who will be one of OSU’s highest rated running back recruits since Herschel Sims.Had a great home visit today with coach @coacharroyoosu and @Coach_Yurcich! Honestly such a fun time! OSU? #pokes pic.twitter.com/rvPB2PajTt— Chuba Hubbard (@Hubbard_RMN) December 9, 2016Hubbard is one of two recruits currently committed at running back in the 201 7 class. Not only is he a highly rated recruit for OSU — he’s the highest rated Canadian prospect, who turned down offers from Alabama, Oregon, TCU and a list of others to pick Oklahoma State.Latest in-state commit gets visitJust a week after committing to the Cowboys, Coach Duffie and Coach Hammerschmidt visited with safety recruit Malcolm Rodriguez of Wagoner, Okla. Rodriguez is fresh off a state-title game win over Oologah — their third consecutive title behind Rodriguez at QB.
Two highly touted football recruits from Texas made their way to Stillwater on Saturday to watch the Cowboys take down Texas 84-71. Four-star linebacker Chad Bailey and four-star tight end Mustapha Muhammad both made unofficials.Muhammad, a 6-foot-4 prospect from Missouri City (Texas), has more than 30 Division I offers that includes Clemson, Texas A&M, Florida State, Ohio State and many others. 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. Fellow teammate Chad Bailey doesn’t have an offer reported according to 247 sports, but the interest between both parties is there. Oklahoma State will likely take another inside linebacker in the 2018 class alongside Blake Barron, and Bailey could be an option here. He has good size at 6-foot and 240 pounds, already garnering offers from Houston, Colorado, Ole Miss, Missouri, Indiana, Minnesota, SMU and UTSA.While there likely won’t be any action stemming from these visits, having recruits of the caliber of these two prospects is definite positive. Tight ends coach Jason McEndoo has made Muhammad a top priority after extending an offer last year, and the interest is still there between both parties.I wouldn’t expect a decision to come anytime soon from either — Muhammad and Bailey are the type of recruits who will likely have the luxury to wait until later this year or closer to signing day before committing. But hey, for them to drive all the way to Stillwater to visit on their own dime from Missouri City should tell you everything you need to know. Perhaps this won’t be the last time they visit.
We talked about the defense and what Coach Gundy had to say already, but I also wanted to jot down a few notes on Mason Rudolph and Co. on offense from Wednesday’s practice.• On offense, LSU transfer Tyron Johnson was among the firsts to get reps at receiver. He lined up on the right side (where James Washington normally is). I could not see Washington from where I was standing, but I did see him later in practice.• Johnson has a big, tall frame. Looks like an NFL receiver already, no wonder he was a 5-star recruit. He looks like Marcell Ateman but a couple inches shorter. Also, he has more tattoos than I can begin to count.• Elsewhere at receiver, Dillon Stoner looked good, Washington looked better, but Tyrell Alexander looked best. Yes, Tyrell Alexander.• Receivers coach Kasey Dunn was running the jugs machine for the receivers, who got as close as five yards away. Alexander kept catching them, and with each catch, Dunn’s “DAMN, Tyrells” got louder and louder. He called Alexander the most improved after the first day in pads, and he said that about 30 seconds into the first drill.”DAMN, Tyrell.”–@kasey_dunn #OKState pic.twitter.com/xf8Hev8X6U— Hayden Kyle Barber (@HK_Barber) March 23, 2017• Dunn had fun picking on redshirt freshman walk-on Mitchell Perkinson who dropped the first ball that was shot at him. Dunn shot a few more at him then told him to get out of the drill and said, “Sorry. That’s my fault. I should have thrown it better.”• Dunn asked Washington how his dislocated finger was doing. I couldn’t hear what Washington said back, but Dunn responded with a relieved, “Good.”• Got to talk with new running backs coach John Wozniak for the first time. Seemed like a good dude. Dare I say Underwood-esque. No, not in the negative way. We had a funny conversation about Jeff Carr.As Carr was jogging out to practice, someone threw him a ball, and he caught it with one hand and kept running.• Also spoke with newly hired offensive line coach John Henson who said the transition back home has been anything but difficult.• Rudolph’s cadence was much deeper and louder than any other quarterback’s. It was almost uncomfortable how piercing it was. I’m not sure whether that’s new, but I think center Brad Lundblade will hear him just fine.• Rudolph threw the ball well, but out of the couple of throws I saw out of redshirt freshman Keondre Wudtee, he did not.• Lastly, Vincent Taylor and Jhajuan Seales were there working out that Body By Glass. They were mostly on the resistance bikes with the injured players. They looked fine though. Probably just stir crazy. 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.
Behind the quote barrage coach Mike Gundy was giving reporters at the Oklahoma State football team’s second day of padded spring practice, there were in fact humans warming up to play a game called football.There was no Animal Planet back there or rattlesnakes or Wild Bill, no. But there were some entertaining and interesting moments from the first 15 minutes of practice. Here they are in all their glory:• Gundy showed up to practice about 20 minutes after Mike Yurcich and Glenn Spencer got the offense and defense going on their walkthroughs. That is indeed when the viper talk began.• He also talked about other things, like football.• Filling in at Richards’ former position to start were redshirt senior Darius Curry and sophomore A.J. Green, who wears No. 4 (he wore No. 22 last year). Again, not much to see from the 15-minute non-contact portion the media could see, but there are two names for you.• The second fleet of corners were sophomore Madre Harper and redshirt freshman Rodarius Williams.• The corners’ coach Tim Duffie was wearing an OSU baseball cap. I think that was a first for me, not just seeing Duffie in one, but any football coach.• Former safety Kenneth Edison-McGruder was in there as a would-be starter at star linebacker. Calvin Bundage was his No. 2.• Along the defensive line, there was some news to report. Defensive end Jordan Brailford wore pads and was full-go in all of the drills. He came in second during the walkthrough behind last season’s starter Cole Walterscheid.• Brailford looked big, much bigger than last year. Last year Brailford was listed at 245 pounds. He did not play because of a stress fracture in his leg. On this year’s roster, he is at 250, but, man, he looks more like 275. He said he is happy to be back.• Senior defensive end Tralund Webber was there, but he wasn’t in pads.• Vili Levini was there, too, but he also wasn’t in pads. He is recovering from a season-ending injury he suffered last year against Kansas State.• At linebacker, there seemed to be a collage of guys rotating in and out. Edison-McGruder was there. Chad Whitener of course was there to start. Justin Phillips was one of the first three getting reps. Bundage, junior college transfer Patrick Macon (who rocks that No. 44 jersey) and Kevin Henry got time in, too. Good, solid core of guys for sure. 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.
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. By Kyle Porter and Kyle CoxChris Carson is a Seattle Seahawk, or at least he is for the time being. He was drafted by the ‘Hawks in the 7th Round of the NFL Draft, and they clearly like what he brings to the table. Head coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider recently discussed what they enjoy most about No. 32.Starting at about the 6-minute mark below, Carroll brought up the former Oklahoma State running back and how what he liked about him.“I was hanging on Chris Carson,” said Carroll. “He’s a guy that I found looking through stuff late in the Draft kind of like [we’ve] done over the years and I really love this guy because he’s so physical and tough the way he ran. You haven’t heard a whole lot about him. He hadn’t run the ball a lot but when he did, he to me made a great statement of his style and a style that we really covet.GM John Schneider agreed before Carroll continued.“It’s really the same kind of formula,” added Carroll who said he was one of his favorites. “I kind of caught on to him late and I fell in love with how tough he is and how aggressive he is and that’s something that kind of falls into that same category and we didn’t want to miss him. There was a lot of activity around him, we thought and so we got him with that last shot there.”Both GM and head coach noted that they love the way Carson runs and protects the ball and that he didn’t have as single fumble in 2016.“It’s all part of it,” said Carroll. “It’s all part of it. Yeah. He’s really aggressive. He hammers it and I think you guys are really going to like him when you see him.”Carroll went on about Carson making the transition to D-I call his junior year and his injury struggles early on as a senior “When he finally got his chance, he really tore it up.”John Schneider and @PeteCarroll speak following the conclusion of the 2017 #NFLDraft. A draft that produced 11 #Sea… https://t.co/mm6NzIjMEe— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) April 29, 2017
If I were to guess, I’d say McGraw ends up as an OSU commit sooner rather than later. The Cowboys are in a really good position here for the talented safety from Missouri City who recorded three interceptions and 72 tackles as a junior last season.Kanion Williams — South Oak CliffThe 2018 class is loaded with Texas talent at the safety position, and Kanion Williams is making his case as one of the tops in the state with his recent run on the recruiting trail. Missouri, Arizona State, Houston, OSU, Arizona, Tulane and Illinois State have all offered since the new year. Five of those within one day.“Five offers in a day,” Williams told Scout of his March 28th experience. “It was crazy. Oklahoma State officially offered me and then I woke up and they just blew in. I already had three (previously) and then when Oklahoma State offered, I guess the other schools felt like the evaluation process was good and I’ve been getting good news ever since then.”Look for OSU to continue its recruitment with Williams. Based on his late, meteoric rise, he might string out his recruitment into the fall.Wayne Jones — OwassoThere are two big-time recruits Bill Blankenship is inheriting in his first season as the Rams head coach: Ohio State commit Josh Proctor and fellow safety Wayne Jones.Jones is a 6-foot safety who also has offers from K-State, Michigan State, Louisville, Memphis, Illinois and New Mexico. His recruitment has gone cold over the last several months, however, OSU is still the favorite to land his services according to his 247sports crystal ball.Jones had 56 tackles, 8 pass breakups and 4 interceptions playing in the largest high school classification last season. I expect major schools will again pick up interest this summer and OSU will be battling with the big boys as the fall approaches. Specifically, look for Arkansas to get in the mix. The big board series is back this week with a look at OSU’s top targets at the safety spot — a position of major focus for 2018 as the staff again looks to fill the massive void left by Jordan Sterns and eventually by Tre Flowers.The coaching staff has offers out to athletes across the country, but its major focus is locally in the Oklahoma and Texas area.Below are five prospects OSU is giving the full court press on in the class.Quarterback | Running back | Wide Receiver | Linebacker | Defensive lineLeon O’Neal Jr. — Cy-SpringsCy-Springs safety standout Leon O’Neal Jr. recently trimmed his list of top schools from from 33 to 12. And it’s a list filled with blue bloods: OSU, Texas, Texas A&M, Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Oregon, USC, TCU, LSU, Florida and OU made that list.O’Neal’s crystal ball reads 100 percent in favor of Texas A&M, but the Cypress, Texas four-star safety says he’d be willing to move for the right opportunity.“Staying close to home has been a thought, but then again different things can also be good,” O’Neal told Gridiron Now. “I just want that special feeling you get when you are at a program. I’ve had that feeling with some schools, but I still have a lot of schools that want to get at me and look at me, and I will give them a shot, too.”OSU has long been in the mix with O’Neal, who is ranked as a top-10 prospect at his position and a top-100 overall recruit. But I get the feeling he’s leaning towards a blueblood, which might push the Aggies out of his list.“I think deep down, I’m an SEC guy. Then again I’d play for Clemson or an Ohio State or an Oklahoma. There’s a lot of different schools that I can see myself at. I still want to travel this summer and see a lot of different schools. It’s a blessing and a dream come true.”Taye Barber — Cy-SpringsBarber, a teammate of O’Neal’s, is a quarterback/safety/athlete for Cy-Springs who could play college at a number of positions. Schools at this stage are targeting him at wide receiver, but the dual-threat QB is offered as a safety for OSU — one of two positions he’ll play next season for his high school.Because his relationship with O’Neal, he says the two have considered packaging themselves to their college destination.“We think about it from time to time,” Barber told Pistols Firing in the spring. “It would be nice.”OSU was the first scholarship offer to Barber, who said that sentiment “meant a lot” that OSU was the first school to believe in his abilities. I like OSU’s chances with Barber, who now has 22 offers, more than I do with O’Neal.Rodney McGraw II — ElkinsOSU was the first major school to take a chance on McGraw, who held offers from Tulane, Texas State, ULM, and UNLV. And to this point, I believe OSU is the leader in the clubhouse. McGraw visited OSU this spring, where he was offered on-site. 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.