How to Enhance Your eCommerce Product Listings With Google

first_img Local SEO 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 10, 2010 12:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Last week Google announced they will be including “rich snippets” to product related search results . What exactly does a “rich snippet” entail? Now product results will have detailed information including price, availability, reviews as well as any specific product offerings.  This recent enhancement comes at an opportune time for eCommerce companies who will be making a big holiday push, but need to act fast to take advantage of this opportunity and capture the attention of those already starting their shopping.Optimizing eCommerce Product ListingsSo, what does an eCommerce website need to do to get their products listed with this valuable information? They need to sign up for Google’s Merchant Center . Once they’ve become a merchant they’ll want to submit their products. Then in order for the rich snippet data to appear eCommerce sites need to follow instructions to marking up structured HTML data for Google to interpret and produce the appropriate snippet of information with the search listing. Ecommerce sites can test if Google is able to view and reproduce the information after they’ve marked up their HTML. Undoubtedly product results with information crucial to consumers purchasing decision will be considered over products with just a basic listing.  Consumers now have the ability to compare product offerings, reviews, and prices from different vendors directly from the search results page, making it even more critical to have information available and enticing enough to elicit a click-through to your website.Besides the recent enhancement to SERP’s eCommerce companies should register with the Google Merchant Center to take advantage of the Shopping search filter. Despite rich snippets appearing in main search results  listing your products with Google to appear in the Shopping search section puts you right infront of users who’ve decided they are searching to shop, and not just to find information which the basic web search filter primarily provides.Improving Your eCommerce Marketing StrategyEcommerce websites need to make sure their products are visible in multiple spaces and marketplaces, including search engines. Your eCommerce marketing strategy should be focused on driving traffic back to your website, but from different avenues including social media, shopping sites, and search engines. Google Merchant Center is just one of many avenues, but including your products and any other information they’ll present on the most widely used search engine is essential to competing on a level playing field.Photo credit: farnoosh last_img read more

What’s Your Facebook Ecommerce Strategy?

first_img Topics: Facebook Marketing 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 28, 2011 12:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017center_img Have something to say? Have a question about eCommerce? Chat with HubSpot’s Top Inbound eCommerce experts on our Twitter list . As was very nicely predicted in an Social Commerce Today article from January 2010 regarding Facebook’s integrated payment system, online retailers are definitely taking notice and looking for ways to take advantage of the massive social media giant Facebook and its expanding ecommerce capabilities. Facebook now has several integrated payment partners.  To name a few: –        Spare Change which facilitates payments using PayPal or major credit cards. –        DAO Pay which allows payments via your home phone bill. –        Ultimate Game Card for online gaming payments and credits. –        And even Amazon Payments , which was cleverly predicted in the article. There are other partners who have joined the Facebook frenzy.   What was once considered a small time scam player called Offerpal , the renamed and reinvented company Tapjoy has legitimized itself by helping Facebook power its ecommerce capabilities, particularly for online gaming and more. Inside Facebook notes that Tapjoy plans to not only evolve Facebook’s mobile and its gaming capabilities, but also to take mobile gaming to a new level.  Tapjoy partners with iOS , Android, and Facebook to offer mobile and online gaming options. How does this relate to ecommerce strategy?   In almost every sense this budding infrastructure will affect ecommerce to its core.  Anyone who conducts retail business online will need to develop a plan to interface to Facebook’s integrated payment systems.  Thankfully a good bit of this work will be performed by partners who already know how to integrate and are popular today with retailers.  Companies such as Amazon saw the writing on the wall, and took advantage of this opportunity early in the game. With the system provided on Facebook, online (and mobile) gamers can purchase “virtual credits” using real money from one of the partnering tools like Spare Change, DAO Pay, or Amazon Payments.  These virtual credits can then be used for online game play enhancements and perks.  What is to stop this very same process from occurring with actual products and services, not just games?   You could build up a Facebook virtual credit line, and then perhaps use it to buy streaming movies, MP3 ’s, or even products that would ship directly to the buyers.  Speculatively, entire promotions could be structured around earning these virtual credits, which would encourage consumers to buy as part of an ecommerce strategy. Could this have any impact in the B2B arena?   Most definitely.  As predicted “long ago” in the 1990’s by Bill Gates of Microsoft, there are online communities being built around “portal” sites like Facebook.  These portals bring like-minded people and businesses together to exchange information, opinions, and to conduct ecommerce strategy.  Businesses can work and trade with other businesses using the same infrastructure.  Just as friends tend to buy products that are recommended (or “liked” on Facebook) by friends, businesses also prefer to look to benchmark against other businesses for what tools and products to use.  Granted, there has been and will continue to be resistance to the Facebook phenomenon.   Some people are definitely alienated by the backend “social graph” that is created using the “Like” and “Share” features of Facebook.  The links created when the user selects “Like” or “Share” has behind the scenes implications, where companies now know and can solicit directly to those users.  How far the “social graph” will go remains to be seen, but users should be aware that those simple buttons can reveal a lot about their buying habits and interests – bordering on invasion of privacy for some.  But because these are voluntary selections, and just as you can voluntarily provide your name and address to any retailer for coupons and promotions, Facebook has emulated this online.  There are still legal challenges to address, but at this point there appears to be no stop to the “like”. As a business person, you should seriously evaluate your ecommerce strategy in regards to Facebook and other social media sites.   Whether you are B2C or B2B, there is an opportunity there where you should gain some real market advantage. last_img read more

5 Steps to Using Twitter for Ecommerce Marketing

first_imgThere is little evidence that, in 2006, the founders of Twitter fully understood what an incredible resource their site would become for businesses. The irony is, Twitter is a marketer’s dream . Overhead is nearly non-existent. The medium is literally in the palm of their hands. All they need to do is come up with an effective approach and time it correctly.Here’s how ecommerce marketers, and you, can do just that: 1. Raise Interest Before Promoting Sales Whether you are new to Twitter or trying to build your presence, you need to start by giving potential followers something to which they can relate. Retweeting interesting tweets is a good start, and perusing trending hashtags can also allow you to jump in and appeal to potential followers by indirectly interacting with them.  2. Before Launching the Effort, Know Your Baseline First, check your number of followers. But don’t stop there. Take a peek at your website’s traffic report and see how many of those visitors are coming from Twitter and which tweets drew them to your site. Quality traffic-monitoring software can tell you bounce rates and conversion rates for Twitter-generated traffic so you can pin down your baseline numbers according to quality and quantity.Continue to track these numbers throughout the engagement effort to see what works and how you can improve. 3. Understand Your Network Since you can’t physically see customers as they ‘walk’ into your online store, you have to do your best to understand them in other ways. Do not assume your network is all young people who have smartphones just because that is the stereotypical Twitter user. Instead, visit as many pages as you have time to visit and note what they tweet, where they shop, and what people say to them.This can give you a fairly accurate picture of what will appeal to your followers, and it will also trigger some creative ideas you may not have considered by showing you what has worked for other companies. 4. Reach Users Outside Your Network Understanding hashtags is the easiest way to reach more users. Do a little research to see which hashtags are both popular and related to your products. Then begin adding those hashtags to your tweets so a new audience has access to you.Promoting other users’ material (e.g. retweeting interesting tweets or linking to other accounts) can be extremely beneficial. Other Twitter users will usually return the favor and share your posts, too when they find them interesting.  5. Intrigue Your Followers; Don’t Give Them Everything The long term goal is to convert these Twitter followers to devoted customers at your online store. In order to do this, you have to actually get them from Twitter to your store by enticing them. Make a conscious effort to write teasers as tweets that make your network think, “I really have to see what this is about.”In other words, don’t always just come out and say, “20% off Red Sox jerseys today!” Rather, try something like, “Click the link and tell me which athlete’s last name belongs on this jersey. Prizes for correct answers!” Then track the number of answers and the number of users who stay on the site and purchase the jersey.If you follow these steps and constantly return to your metrics to check progress, you will grow your Twitter reach drastically. Then you can expand these same tactics to other sites, using Twitter to promote your other social networks just as you would market a product. As I said in the opening paragraph, Twitter is a marketer’s dream. But only if you use it correctly. Are you using Twitter and other social networks to effectively market your ecommerce website? Originally published Oct 3, 2011 5:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 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 Twitter Marketinglast_img read more

The Best and Worst Brand Mascots of All Time

first_img Topics: Branding Tony the Tiger. Count Chocula. The Keebler Elves. Brand mascots have been a part of our lives since we were little kids looking for the next sugar-packed treat to enjoy.But they extend beyond the hyper little kid target market. You know the Michelin Man? That half tire, half ghost-looking giant that represents, well, Michelin? He’s been around since the late 1800s! And though his look has changed since then (and now we have animation to bring him to life) there are many brand mascots that have been going strong for years.At the same time, there are other mascots that brands seem to hold on to for years despite an overwhelming distaste among the general public for their wily ways. This post will examine both extremes — the brand mascots we all love, and the ones we all love to hate. Let’s take a look, shall we?1) Old Spice GuyYou might know him as Isaiah Mustafa, but it’s more likely you know him as “The Old Spice Guy.” He took the world by storm with his ridiculously over the top manliness in the video campaign, “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.” Don’t remember? Here, watch it again real quick:The campaign took off! Since then, the video has seen well over 41,000,000 views on YouTube, and the campaign has yielded countless more commercials, YouTube videos, and social media campaigns. In fact, when Mustafa gave real-time video responses to social media questions directed at him, it was the fastest-growing video campaign of all time, beating out Obama’s victory speech when he won the presidential election. And the thing is, it’s Mustafa that made the campaign successful — he’s hilarious, he’s good looking, he’s over the top, he’s the stereotype of what every man wants to be like, and the stereotype of what every man thinks his woman wants him to be like.2) London 2012 Olympic Games MascotsWhat the … what are these things?Apparently they’re named Wenlock and Mandeville, and according to The Atlantic Cities, they are modeled after, “droplets of steel fallen from the stadium.” Cuddly.The problem with these mascots — aside from having confusing names and being completely unidentifiable as an object, animal, or person of any sort — is that they don’t clearly identify with the city of London, or the Olympic Games in any way. As one blogger put it, “the logo looks like it was dropped on the floor and I think the mascots look like rejects from a kids television show.” In short, these things are super weird, the names aren’t memorable, and most people just plain don’t get it.3) Pillsbury DoughboyDid you know that the Pillsbury Doughboy actually has a real name? It’s Poppin’ Fresh, but come on, he’s the Pillsbury Doughboy to all of us. He was created by Leo Burnett in the 1960s, and that chubby little guy is pretty darn adorable. What brand mascots do you love, and which ones make you cringe?Image credit: HalloweenFashion Originally published May 24, 2012 4:30:00 PM, 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 He’s soft, fluffy, ticklish, and has a cute little laugh. What’s more, he aligns with the Pillsbury product in a way that makes sense — he’s essentially a ball of dough — but he’s also a pristinely white baker, so it doesn’t weird people out that he’s messing around with their food. The Pillsbury Doughboy is non-offensive, non-obnoxious, relevant to the product, charming, and has withstood the test of time.4) Mucinex’s Mr. MucusOn the other end of the spectrum, we have the offensive, obnoxious, and charmless Mr. Mucus. A representation of, well, mucus, this dirty little guy takes on an aggressive persona that tries to prevent you from getting better. The premise is that while he’s tough and stubborn, Mucinex is so strong that it can combat Mr. Mucus.The problem is … this thing is gross. Giving the side effects of an ailment a quippy name doesn’t make it cute, and his appearance certainly doesn’t do anything to help their cause. Business Insider published a study from E-Poll Market Research in which they ranked character awareness, appeal, and other attributes of 1600 brand mascots. How did Mr. Mucus fare in the results? 50% disliked Mr. Mucus, the second most reviled brand mascot in their survey.5) Dos Equis’ Most Interesting Man in the WorldHe’s kind of like the Chuck Norris of the beer industry. And like the Old Spice Guy, the Most Interesting Man in the World is one of those guys every man wants to be. He’s suave, intelligent, worldly, and wildly popular with men and women alike. If it’s out there, this guy’s seen it! Not only that, but he’s helping Dos Equis redefine their brand to be associated with all of those things. And isn’t that the point of a brand mascot?Plus, he has his own meme, which means the public has found him so captivating and humorous they want to riff off of him. This guy has gone viral! What more could a brand ask for from their mascot?6) Mr. SixNot as captivating, however, is Mr. Six, the mascot for amusement park Six Flags. An elderly gentleman like The Most Interesting Man in the World, Mr. Six hasn’t had the same positive effect on audiences.The same study that found Mr. Mucus to be extremely disagreeable also had respondents railing against Mr. Six, with 45% disliking him and calling him “creepy.” It probably doesn’t help that he’s always found dancing erratically to the Vengaboys’ “We Like to Party.” The combination of what some consider to be an annoying song and the disturbing image of what seems to be a young dancer dressed up in geriatric garb has understandably left a bad taste in people’s mouths. And as TIME Magazine put it, why use a creepy old guy to target kids?7) Geico GeckoGeico has had multiple sponsors, but the gecko has consistently risen to the top. Anyone remember the Geico Caveman? He still pops up from time to time, but certainly suffered from some overexposure. Then there was the inexplicable pile of dollar bills with two googly eyes on top. He didn’t do quite as well. The gecko, however, has managed to maintain his popularity since 1999 when he first debuted.Perhaps it’s the British Cockney accent, perhaps it’s that he’s kind of a cute little guy, but I believe his success is mostly tied to the fact that he can convey Geico’s message without being distracting. The Geico Caveman was creative and entertaining, sure, but so much so that people ran with the entertainment value and started offering him a sitcom. On the other end of the spectrum, the pile of dollar bills was a little too confusing to be an effective mascot — people spent more time trying to understand it and less time listening to Geico’s message. The Geico Gecko lets audiences actually listen to the Geico’s message.8) Offensive Sports TeamsI’m not going to call out any cities or team names specifically here, or show any team mascots that give a visual explanation of what I’m talking about. We’ve all heard it before, though. There are some teams that carry historical names that were at the time, or have since become, offensive to certain groups of people. While some say it’s historical and as such the names shouldn’t be changed, the bottom line is it offends people. Lots of them. And most marketers strive not to offend hundreds of thousands of people. Enough said.9) Twitter’s Blue Bird and Fail WhaleNever since the Viagra pill has a “little blue anything” been so in demand. But people love that little, blue Twitter bird …… and they love it’s counterpart, the big blue fail whale, just as much!What’s so great about these two mascots is not only that they’re cute (hey, cute goes a long way in marketing, especially when you’re trying to explain why your product is broken!), but that they have a very clean design. They are whimsical, fun, and easy to riff off of for both users and Twitter’s brand managers. That means they can be easily repurposed for plenty of different campaigns. You could see the little blue bird with a pumpkin pail on Halloween, the fail whale at a pool party in July, or you can just let the users create their own designs and scenarios which thousands of people have already done — just do a quick Google of these brand mascots to see what I mean!10) Burger King KingDoes that guy scare the bejeezus out of anyone else? The Burger King King acted as the fast food chain’s mascot for seven whole years. That’s right, it took seven years of scaring kids and adults alike for Burger King to realize their extremely literal mascot wasn’t the best fit for the burger joint. As TIME eloquently put it, this frightening mascot has been, “stalking people outside their homes and scaring young women” since 2004. Just take a look at this video — how would you feel if you saw that glassy plastic face outside of your window?last_img read more

Is Outsourcing Your Marketing a Good Idea? [FLOWCHART]

first_img 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 Marketingcenter_img 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?last_img read more

7 Companies That Totally ‘Get’ Their Buyer Personas

first_img Originally published Oct 25, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 One of the first things any marketer needs to figure out is who the heck they’re marketing to. That exercise has come to manifest itself in what we in the biz call a “persona,” and there are some companies who have done an excellent job at not just figuring out who their target customer is, but marketing to them in just the right way.If you’ve ever seen a company’s marketing campaign and stopped to think, “Wow. They totally get me!” you’re looking at a company that gets their target audience, and how to market to them. (You’re also probably part of their target audience — but I digress.) It’s not easy to pull this kind of alignment off, so we thought it’d be good to give the marketers that are superb at it a shoutout. Plus, seeing how other companies match up their target personas’ proclivities with marketing activities should serve as guidance for those still trying to figure out how to create marketing their leads and customers will love. Let’s take a look at some companies that totally “get” their buyer personas!SeventeenLet’s start with a little bit of history, shall we? An article on The Awl about the history of Seventeen magazine — which was actually the inspiration for this blog post — highlighted the magazine’s target persona back in 1950. They created a persona named Teena based on survey data from teenage girls and their mothers during the mid 1940s. Here’s how they described Teena:Teena the High School Girl has a peck of problems. She’s what older folks call an awkward adolescent — too tall, too plump, too shy — a little too much of a lot of little things. But they’re big things to Teena. And though she doesn’t always take her troubles to her mother, Teena writes her favorite magazine for the tip-off on the clothes she wears, the food she eats, the lipstick she wields, the room she bunks in, the budget she keeps, the boy she has a crush on.Now, Seventeen has gone through many adaptations of who their prime buyer persona is — this is just who they were targeting in the 1950s. But just look how it manifested itself in their magazine:As you can see from the covers (or maybe not, it’s a little hard to read), there is a strong focus in their feature content on Teena’s insecurities and hang-ups — not that we endorse capitalizing on young girls’ insecurities, this is simply a demonstration, for better or worse, of personas aligning well with a brand’s marketing. For instance, they have content like “Diet with Ice Cream,” an entire “Boy-Girl Issue,” and a story called “Dates (how to get).” These are all things that high school girls are insecure about, and Seventeen channeled what was going on in high school girls’ minds to power their content strategy.AppleApple is known for their outstanding marketing campaigns, but it always seemed a little more geared towards the consumer marketing. No longer. Apple has refocused some of their efforts on a new segment of the market — the business professional who wants to use devices that make their job more effective and efficient. Take a look at an instance of this new persona focus in action in this iPad 2 advertisement:This ad shows the iPad 2 user looking at stock options, investment portfolios, and even images of the brain … a far cry from someone taking video of their family, or rocking out to a killer iTunes library. This commercial is far more akin to what a professional’s work routine might look like, and helps the business professional see how an Apple product might fit into their professional lives.MySpaceMySpace is back guys!!! Hard to believe, I know, because they had a big problem when Facebook came out. Previously, they marketed to people of all ages who wanted to stay connected on social networks. But Facebook proved to be the better and more robust tool. So MySpace redid their strategy — starting with their target persona — and began focusing on a persona that would work better for them: musicians. Many musicians got their start by posting their songs on MySpace, and with a strategy that gave musicians a better tool to market themselves, MySpace was saved. Here, see for yourself:The new redesign features “Listen Now” calls-to-action, thumbnails of album covers so people can immediately listen to their songs, even a feature that highlights events where the musicians are playing. The profiles also have a Pinterest-like set-up allowing viewers to see large pictures of the artist and all that they are doing, further promoting them and their music. This is much more like an interactive, shareable online record store — a site design that is much more appealing to that music-oriented persona.ZipcarZipcar’s main buyer persona is the millennial urban dweller. Zipcar’s services are typically offered large cities around the world, with high populations of millennials who either can’t afford a car, or don’t see the need to own one in the city. With its sharing-focused business model, users pay hourly or daily rates for user of a communal car, without having to worry about paying for things like gas and insurance. What a nice, unburdened lifestyle!When you look at the channels and tone that Zipcar uses in its marketing, it is obvious that this free-wheelin’ (pun intended) audience is who they’re targeting. Just look at this tweet aimed at the millennial world traveler, for instance:Or this tweet with the whimsical, and again, free wheelin’ hashtag, #thatswhereiroll:And the contests don’t end on Twitter — they carry them over to Facebook, too! Topics: In addition to being very responsive on their Twitter account, Zipcar uses it’s Facebook account to answer questions and host contests with its followers. Millennials in particular expect quick answers to their questions on social media, and Zipcar fulfills that expectation. To further appeal to this audience, they host weekly contests to give out fun stuff like free t-shirts and driving dollars. One of their current promotions even involves giving anyone half off Zipcar on Election Day to help millennials get to the voting polls easier. What makes Zipcar’s marketing effective for their persona is not only their responsiveness and tone of voice, but the channels they choose to focus on, too.Goodbye CrutchesOne of HubSpot’s customer, Goodbye Crutches, actually has four buyer personas! Andy the Athlete is an active 21-35 year old who has hurt themself in a sports related injury; Gerry the Grandparent is 55-75 years old, and worries about hurting themselves; Mary the Motivated Mom is 35-55 and has a full and active life, but has to worry about taking care of a family and kids; finally, Woody the Working Dad is concerned about being able to get things done around the house despite an injury. Take a look at how these different personas have manifested themselves in their blog content:This blog post, “Woman’s Guide to Dress For Success with Leg Cast,” is clearly directed at Mary the Motivated Mom — as is the CTA about how to have a great Halloween despite an injury you see on that sidebar to the right. If you keep reading their blog, you’ll find they have a fantastic mix of content that addresses the needs of all their different buyer personas, and they have the accompanying lead-gen content to back it up.JetBlue JetBlue’s buyer persona is the low budget traveler that wants a comfortable yet affordable solution to flying. They are typically a younger audience that likes to be reached through social media channels and, similar to Zipcar, expects quick responses from the company. That audience comes through in their marketing in the medium they use (Twitter, in this instance), the words they use (flying like a “boss”), and even the name of the Twitter handle (@JetBlueCheeps).JetBlue doesn’t just rely on social media to reach their audience, either. They’re leveraging email marketing to keep those “like a boss” campaign multi-channel!Procter & GambleProcter & Gamble produces thousands of products for households, so one of their target personas is, naturally, the person in charge of buying these items. Often this turns into a parent — particularly a mom — that P&G is trying to reach with their marketing. They did a particularly spectacular job with their 2012 Olympics campaign. Take a look, and maybe grab a tissue.In their “Raising an Olympian” campaign, P&G takes a look at the mother’s role in the olympian’s life, whether that’s bringing their child to practice early in the morning or helping them heal from sports injuries. P&G focuses the story more on the mother’s role in her child’s success, tugging on the heart strings of anyone who watches. Especially any mom who has ever gotten up at 5AM to rush their kid to practice. The ads end with “P&G: A proud sponsor of mothers” keeping the focus in the ad on their target persona — the mom who’s in charge of buying the household supplies.Want more inspiration? Learn about the things great marketers do every day in service of things like their buyer personas.center_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Buyer Personaslast_img read more

Finally, Facebook Makes It Easy to Run Contests

first_img Originally published Aug 28, 2013 11:22:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Social Media Campaigns Anyone else feel like Facebook’s rolling out updates faster than the speed of light?It got to be so much I actually asked someone on our content team if we needed to update our Facebook for Business ebook — and she responded with a resounding, “uhhh YEAH.” So we did … and then Facebook went ahead and rolled out another update yesterday.The latest one is only a minor one, so don’t fret. But it’s really cool for anyone who has been doing Facebook marketing for several years — because those who have been doing Facebook marketing for a couple years have probably tried to run a contest at some point, and then learned that running a contest on Facebook is inordinately difficult to do according to its terms of use. Today, you no longer need to sweat it!Facebook Makes Page Promotions Easier to AdministerSo, why was it so hard before? In short, because Facebook used to require that you run promotions through an app. And that meant you had to hire a Facebook app developer — or be one yourself.I don’t know about you, but I don’t be one.Now, businesses can administer promotions on their Page Timelines, or if they really liked the old way of doing it, they can still use a Facebook app. That means you can now use your Page Timeline to:Collect entries into a contest or promotion by simply asking a user to post on your Page, comment on a post on your Page, like a Page post, or message your Page.Use Likes as a voting mechanism.Thank you, Facebook!So, What’s the Catch?There isn’t much of one, actually, just some rules to be cognizant of. It’s not a free-for-all, you know. ;-)Facebook is concerned with businesses being too aggressive in their promotions, and the impact that could have in content legitimacy. So, Facebook updated its Page Terms to prohibit Page administrators from tagging or encouraging people to tag themselves in content they’re not actually depicted in. This sounds like a really random scenario, but the picture Facebook paints is:”It’s OK to ask people to submit names of a new product in exchange for a chance to win a prize. It’s not OK to ask people to tag themselves in pictures of a new product in exchange for a chance to win a prize.”Makes sense. The other big change they made note of is that businesses may not run any of these contests or promotions on personal Timelines. For instance, you couldn’t ask users to share a piece of content on their timeline as an entry mechanism.If you’re looking for ideas for Facebook promotions or contests to run, check out this blog post; and be sure to bookmark Facebook’s updated promotion guidelines.Image credit: owenwbrown Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

7 Important PR Lessons Every Content Marketer Needs to Learn

first_img 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: Originally published Jul 1, 2015 12:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 Public Relations I tried to explain public relations to my grandmother once …This was many years ago, back when PR pros cut press coverage from publications we could actually hold in our hands, and few marketers talked about SEO in everyday conversation.“So, it’s advertising,” she’d say, and I’d try again to explain that, no, it’s not.“Advertising is about paying for attention; PR is about earning it.”I don’t think she ever got it, and she’s not alone. Most people still think PR is some kind of black magic flacks work on the press — you sprinkle a little witch’s potion, and TA-DA! You’re in The Wall Street Journal. But PR is a more strategic, sustained practice than that, and it’s a field content marketers need to understand as owned, earned and even paid media continue to intersect.Below are seven PR lessons for content marketers (and for my relatives who still don’t understand what I do).Download Now: Free Press Release Template7 PR Lessons Every Content Marketer Needs to Learn What is PR?If your impression of PR pros is influenced entirely by Publicist Samantha Jones from Sex and the City or Fixer Olivia Pope from Scandal, you probably think the whole industry is busy planning parties and solving national crises (while wearing really fabulous pantsuits). The reality is somewhat less exciting — but it’s also much more relevant to content marketers.PR is about getting a company in front of the right audiences at the right time, with messages that make its spokespeople sound like human beings, not marketing super bots.Today, that effort has a lot to do with content creation and distribution. The press, analysts, bloggers, prospects, venture capitalists, and other influencers want compelling content. In real life, Samantha and Olivia would be spending much of their days drafting articles for contribution or creating premium content with a team of writers and graphic designers.What do journalists want from external content creators?Every publication that accepts contributed content has some kind of guidelines for what they’ll take, and most follow the same best practices content marketers do. Editors will ask you to draft articles that keep their audiences in mind, offer helpful guidance to readers, are compelling and easy to read, leave out the promotional stuff, and deliver something fresh that won’t be published anywhere else.Sound familiar?These are many of the same parameters content marketers follow everyday.Are contributed articles the only content PR handles?The short answer? Not by a long shot.Strategic PR is about solving business problems, so if the business problem is, say, a lack of leads at the top of the funnel, content can be a big part of the response. Depending on the exact scenario and the resources, a full-service PR team might recommend publishing on various social media channels, launching a comprehensive blogging program, creating a push around premium content (such as an ebook or series of infographics), putting out an email newsletter, or even a combination of these tactics.Whatever the recommendation, a PR team can explain the supporting assets and workflows that need to be in place, as well as measure the results to determine what’s working and what needs to shift.Do PR and content marketing compete?Content and inbound marketing evolved at a time when PR was evolving, too. Just as marketers started to embrace strategies for drawing target audiences to them instead of pushing messages out to the masses, PR was experiencing a shift driven in large part by the shrinking media landscape.There are now fewer journalists typing away in newsrooms and reporting back from the field — 20,000 fewer than in 2008, according to a count Gigaom put out last year before closing its own doors. But that doesn’t mean there’s less need for copy.And while many web-based publications are eager to publish more material to attract readers (hello, inbound), editors are looking for expert content contributions. If an editor wants a 2,000 word article from your CEO on an industry issue, is that a PR request or a content marketing request? Or is that question completely dated in the integrated marketing era?Is PR measurable?Yes, and if anyone tells you differently, run in the opposite direction.Just like content marketing, goal-based PR should provide tangible business results — not just a list of press hits. The metrics marketers use to measure awareness, engagement, lead generation, investor interest, sales, and other goals are the same ones you can use to measure PR.”Of course, your PR efforts are even more measurable when your website is well-equipped with lead generation forms, tracking tools, and automated follow-up systems that allow you to capture visitors and convert them into real prospects and customers,” explains Rod Thomson, president of The Thomson Group, a Sarasota-based PR and messaging firm.And while it can be challenging to sort through all of the information at hand, it helps to use questions to focus your analysis.Are you getting mentioned in analyst reports? Are influencers talking about you on social media? Are readers clicking through to deeper content from your blog? Where are visitors going once they hit your landing pages? Are they converting? After a quarter, six months, or a year of PR efforts, how have you progressed toward your primary strategic business goal?These are the kinds of questions PR pros should be able to answer about any campaign.If PR and content marketing overlap so much, what’s the benefit to having both?If you’re lucky enough (or smart enough) to have PR and content marketing experts on your team, you’re in great shape to influence targets everywhere — from the media to analysts to website visitors to social media followers and beyond.Your PR pros and content marketers can support each others’ activities, inspire each others’ creativity and keep messages coordinated to better support your overall strategic goals.How can content marketing teams best align with PR? Content marketing and PR teams need to communicate.If you’re promoting a new ebook, for example, your PR counterpart might be able to repurpose that asset for contributed content, social media outreach, influencer engagement, media pitches, and more. On the flip side, a successful media campaign should spark ideas for you about which messages are resonating, what prospects want, and how to incorporate that into future content creation.These days, it’s my kids who are asking me to describe what I do for work. I have been much more successful in explaining it to them than I ever was back when I first entered PR and relatives asked me to define the industry.To my daughters, I say, “I help companies tell stories people want to hear.” I imagine content marketers tell their families something similar, and that is a good thing for practitioners in both fields.last_img read more

11 Brilliant Tools for Organizing, Developing & Sharing Your Ideas

first_img Originally published Jan 4, 2016 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Having an idea is one thing; executing on it is another entirely.Ideas come to us in all shapes and sizes, in all levels of importance, and at all different times of day. Sometimes, we get inspired by something we read online and want to capture it and comment on it. Other times, we come up with an idea out of nowhere and want to jot it down, or say it out loud into our phones before we forget it.When we have these ideas, it’s far too easy to forget them or let them slip through the cracks — especially if we don’t have a system for organizing them. Thankfully, there are some amazing tools out there that can help us track and organize ideas in all different situations.Here are the best tools out there for organizing your ideas — including note-taking tools, visual organization tools, collaboration tools, and general organization tools.Organizational Tools for Work:EvernoteMicrosoft OneNoteTrelloMindMeisterXMindPinterestGoogle DocsBasecampBoxGmailDiigo (Read this blog post to learn about more tools for organizing your email inbox.)11) DiigoPrice: Free for Basic, $7/yr. for Social, $40/yr. or $5/yr. for Standard, $59/yr. or $6/mo. for ProfessionalIf you want to organize your ideas by highlighting passages on webpages, adding sticky notes, and sharing with friends, then give Diigo a try. It’s a social bookmarking website that lets you tag and save online resources like webpages, and then highlight and add notes to the sections on those resources and webpages that inspire you or that you’d like to comment on. For example, if you see a website design you like and want to share it with a colleague along with comments, you can capture the page, mark it up, and share it.Using the Outliner feature, you can organize your links, references, and notes to create a simple but structured research base. Here’s a video from Diigo that shows you how it works:Diigo V4: Research ~ annotate, archive, organize from diigobuzz on Vimeo.Which tools do you use to organize your ideas? Share with us in the comments. Topics: Business Tools The Best Note-Taking Tools1) Evernote Price: Free for Basic, $24.99/yr. for Plus, or $49.99/yr. for PremiumEvernote is one of the better-known apps for note-taking and organizing information. I most often use it for organizing research and interview notes, drafting blog posts and ebooks, saving articles to read later, and storing important information — like my favorite code snippets — for easy access.The best part about it is that it syncs across all your devices. So if you think of your next big campaign idea when you’re out with friends, all you have to do is whip out your smartphone, open Evernote, and either jot down your idea, record your idea with its audio recording feature, or even take a picture.It also has a number of free add-on products that make saving stuff to Evernote easier, like their Chrome extension Evernote Web Clipper that lets you save texts, links, and images you see online into your Evernote account with one click. Image Credit: FocusalotLike what you see? Here’s another blog post we wrote on how using Evernote can simplify a marketer’s life.2) Microsoft OneNotePrice: FreeSimilar to Evernote, Microsoft Onenote lets you take notes and share them across all your devices. The kicker is that you need to be a Microsoft user: In order to access OneNote, your device has to have Microsoft Office installed or have access to the OneNote website. Also, unlike Evernote, it doesn’t have an audio recording capability.If that’s not a problem for you, OneNote can be a powerful tool. It lets you take and organize notes and import documents and images, including PDFs. Another cool feature? If you send or forward emails to from your account, they’ll go straight into your notebook.There are a number of apps that connect directly with OneNote, too. One of my favorites is their integration with Feedly, which is a news aggregator app: You can save articles to OneNote directly from Feedly with one click.Image Credit: SnapFilesThe Best Visual Organization Tools3) Trello Price: Free for Basic, $8.33/user/mo. for Business Class, or $20.83/user/yr. for EnterpriseTrello is a well-known app that’s especially good for tracking and visualizing the progress of your ideas. Using their card-based layout, you can create a card for every idea and then jot notes in there, organize these ideas into categories or lists, create task lists and checklists within cards, color-code them, attach files, and so on. To track the progress of that idea, simply drag and drop the card into a new location.For example, I used to drag and drop blog post ideas among columns, which I named “Idea Backlog,” “In Queue,” “Research/Interview Stage,” “Draft in Progress,” “In Editorial,” “Scheduled,” and “Published.” Okay fine, the last one was called “DUNZO.” To each her own.Image Credit: Cloud Coach4) MindMeisterPrice: FreeIf you’re looking for more of a mind mapping tool for brainstorming and planning, MindMeister is a great choice. It has plenty of diagram templates to choose from, along with a built-in icon library to make organizing easier (and more fun). It is entirely web-based, though, so the interface isn’t quite as flexible as an app, and you’ll need working internet to access your mind maps.If you want to share your mind maps with others, you can share them publicly and/or collaborate with colleagues on them in real time. In the screenshot below, you’ll notice the chat feature open at the bottom.Image Credit: MindMeister5) XMindPrice: Free for Basic, $8.33/user/mo. for Business Class, or $20.83/user/yr. for EnterpriseWhile MindMeister is a great basic mind mapping tool, if you’re looking for something more professional, then XMind might be perfect for you. John Halko, mechanical design lead at prototyping company Oat Foundry, uses XMind to “organize everything from business strategies to product needs and specifications.”It offers cloud storage and automatically syncs across your Macs and PCs instead of existing entirely on the web, like MindMeister does. Plus, their recently redesigned interface is beautiful and intuitive. It has a plethora of predesigned templates and themes to choose from, along with an icon library.If you’re using one of the more advanced versions, you can map out the progress of different tasks using what they call a Gantt Chart — including start and end dates, assignee, priority, and progress. You can also use their Timeline feature to show events in chronological order to track milestones and schedules of different projects.Image Credit: XMind6) PinterestPrice: FreeFinally, if you’re just looking to organize ideas and inspiration, Pinterest is a simple, fun, and social way to do it in a visually pleasing way.When you’re brainstorming ideas for a piece of marketing content or a campaign, you might use Pinterest to save articles, visual content, or other useful pieces of information you find on the internet. That way, when you’re writing the post or looking for inspiration, you can go back to your boards. Another way to use Pinterest is to save images and other visual content for social media you can pull from at any point — like prepping for vacation.Here’s an example of someone who uses Pinterest to collect design ideas and inspiration:The Best Collaboration Tools7) Google DocsPrice: FreeWhile Google Docs can be a great note-taking tool thanks to its familiar, document-style layout, its best features are the ones related to collaborating with others. It’s super easy to share files, and multiple people can edit the same file — even at the same time and in real time. Watch this video to learn more about how to share using Google Docs:There are a few, lesser-known features in Google Docs related to collaboration. For example, if you want to ask questions about, make notes in, or highlight changes you’ve made in a Google Doc you’re working on, you can leave comments directly in the document. The comments can act as a conversation thread, as people can reply to them and carry on a conversation.Another example? The Revision History feature lets you see all of the changes you and someone else has ever made in a Google Doc, and when. Read about the awesome, lesser-known features of Google Docs here.(HubSpot customers: Did you know HubSpot integrates with Google Docs? Learn more here.)8) BasecampPrice: Free for Individual Account, $29/mo. for Team Account, $79/mo. for Team Account with ClientsThere are a lot of collaborative project management tools out there, but Basecamp is one of the best out there for managing projects, groups, and client work. It works really well for communication around teams and projects. Plus, the user interface is simple, intuitive, and easy to navigate. When you want to discuss projects and share files, you can use either the instant chat feature or forum-style messaging. The calendar function lets you schedule appointments, events, and milestones. The to-do list feature lets you list out shared team tasks — and, within each task, you can create a series of to-dos and assign them to individual team members, or leave them open for people to assign themselves.Image Credit: filehorse9) BoxPrice: $5/mo./user for Starter, $15/mo./user for Business, Individual Pricing Plans for EnterpriseIf you’re less interested in detailed collaboration and more into file sharing, Box is a great cloud-based platform where you can store, share, and manage all your company’s files. It’s private and secure, too, so any confidential business information you want to share can be stored safely. Plus, it’s accessible across all your devices, including mobile and tablet.While its file-sharing features are the most well-known, you can also collaborate with colleagues using the commenting, @mention-ing, and task assignment features. This is a great help in cutting down on email. If you want to stay updated on what’s happening with specific content, you can also choose to get notifications every time someone uploads, edits, comments, or downloads something.Finally, Box integrates with a number of apps you may already use regularly, like HubSpot (learn more here), Google Apps, Okta, Slack, and over 1,400 more. Here’s a promotional video right from the source that’ll give you some insight into their value proposition:General Organization Tools10) GmailPrice: FreeA lot of ideas, resources, and sources of inspiration are inevitably going to come at you through email — and it’s far too easy for these emails to get lost in your inbox. For many of us, our emails become our to-do lists, in a way. Some of our emails are threads around a pending projects, while others are ideas your boss sends you that you don’t want to forget.So, in addition to another organization tool, it’s really helpful to organize your email account in a way that makes it easy to find and sort through those emails. Thanks to Gmail’s labeling system and multiple inbox features, there are some great options for organizing your emails.The Multiple Inboxes feature lets you create new, mini inboxes alongside your primary inbox to organize your inbox into multiple sections based on email type. Click here for step-by-step instructions.The Special Stars labeling feature, alongside Multiple Inboxes, is my personal favorite: You can set up multiple inboxes to organize emails into categories, like “Needs Action/Reply,” “Awaiting Reply,” or “Delegated,” and then use “special stars” (i.e. one of Gmail’s labeling systems) to easily stick different emails into their appropriate inboxes with one click. Click here for step-by-step instructions. (Bonus: Achieving and maintaining inbox zero is also part of this methodology. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Inbound Marketing for Independent Schools

first_imgToday nearly a quarter of all K-12 schools in this country are private schools—that’s over 30,000 schools. With 5 million seats to fill each year, these stats demonstrate the urgency for marketers to attract their share of prospective parents, and nurture them along to their child’s enrollment.Every student goes through her own enrollment journey, but the inbound marketing journey phases are the same for every prospect. A key to inbound success is understanding each of these phases and what different inbound marketing strategies and tactics are needed in each.Getting Noticed: Attracting Qualified Prospective ParentsParents can’t enroll their children if they don’t know you’re out there. The first phase is getting attention for your school, but not just from anyone. You want to make sure you attract parents of students (prospects) who are looking for an alternative to public education, who have children who will thrive at your school, and who are going to ultimately help better your school.To make sure you’re attracting the right prospects, you need to understand, deeply, who they are. These are your personas, which you’ll write up in detailed descriptions for fictionalized versions of your ideal parents. You may have more than one persona for your school. For example, parents looking to enroll their child in a private school right from kindergarten, might have different questions and needs than one looking to transfer their students in for 8th grade.  One may be curious about after-school care, while the other might care more about whether or not their child has been adequately prepped for successWhen you do research to build your personas, talk with your academic and career counselors, admissions folks, current students, local libraries, even other schools if possible.  You want to learn what questions and concerns your ideal parents have when they start looking for an independent school.The information you discover isn’t just for your personas. It’s also the foundation of SEO strategy, to guide you in the selection of what keywords and phrases will generate the right kind of organic traffic to your website and blog. The right keywords help keep your traffic targeted.Are you trying to increase awareness for your best-in-class soccer program for the state of Maine? Then search phrases like “youth soccer in Maine” and “Maine soccer leagues for children” may need to be part of your keyword list.Do What Your School Does Best – Educate ProspectsYou want to convert your website and blog visitors into prospects you can nurture. A visitor becomes a prospect when you start learning enough about them to push out personalized content. The best way to do this is offer them some remarkable content for which they’re willing to exchange their email address.Remarkable content has to provide detailed, actionable answers to the specific questions prospects have when deciding whether to go to an independent school versus a public school, how to apply, or how to decide what sort of school or program best suits them.Whether your school is co-ed or single sex, day school or boarding school, you’re driven by a unique philosophy, set of values, and approach to teaching. Your content is a vehicle to showcase what makes you different, and why students might be a good fit for the qualities your school is known for.Return to your personas and what you learned about them during your research. You should see a broad range of concerns, questions, and interests you can dig into. Set out to create remarkable content that educates your prospects about their most pressing questions.Getting Those Applications and Enrollments A prospect can spend a lot of time in the education phase. Use your content and its carefully selected topics to nurture prospects towards inquiries, applications, or enrollments. To do this, nudge prospects along with content that starts answering the questions they have about your specific independent school.You’re still educating them, but now you’re educating about what they can expect at your school and why your school is a good option for them. This is also the time to start “closing” on your best prospects. Include calls-to-action (CTAs) on your blog posts, emails, and other content geared towards prospects in this phase that start building offline connections between them and your school. Strong CTAs for this phase include inviting them for on-campus tours and meetings with career and academic counselors and financial aid advisors. Making this pivot successful requires good timing and persistence. Identify behavioral triggers that indicate a prospect’s high readiness to fix their short list of schools. You can use email series and other automated workflows to drip the right mix of content and CTAs to move a prospect towards application and then on to enrollment.Create Your School’s Best AmbassadorsCongratulations! Your inbound marketing program has resulted in a full enrollment class of exactly the kind of students you want.Your work isn’t done.These students and their parents are an invaluable resource. Use surveys to find what their preferences and interests are. Learn about what the specific motivators were that lead them to choose your school over others.  Do you need to refine your personas based on what you learned?They’re also great content sources. Delighted parents and students can write blog posts, post at-school videos, and share your school’s content through their own social media profiles. So don’t forget to continue to publish remarkable content that appeals to their new questions and challenges now that they’re enrolled. The Never-Ending Cycle As you well know, there’s always another semester and new classes to fill. The more you execute on an inbound marketing strategy, the more you’ll learn about what works, what your best prospects respond to, and what can (and should) be discarded. Use this never-ending cycle of new prospects to keep improving the content and lead nurture flows you implement to enroll your new students. Education Marketing 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: Originally published Oct 11, 2016 7:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017last_img read more

Where We Are: The 2017 State of Content Marketing [Infographic]

first_img Originally published Apr 19, 2017 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! Content Marketing “Less than 10% of those surveyed were definitely sure how to implement content marketing.”Sound familiar?If it does, you’re clearly not alone. Content marketing — and keeping up with it — can be confusing, even to those who understand its importance. Many of us have heard the phrase “content is king.” But what, exactly, does that look like here and now, in such a rapidly changing landscape? Download 195+ visual marketing design templates to use for social media posts, infographics, and more. We grabbed that opening statistic from the helpful, intriguing infographic below, compiled by Zazzle, based on the results of its 2017 State of Content Marketing Survey of marketers in the UK. But instead of simply looking at the latest trends, it sought to examine the pain points and decision-making process of today’s content marketer. And if you’re in the business of making life easier for that audience — well, we suggest having a look.Do you think the same trends hold true in your neck of the woods? Read on, and see where your current strategy and priorities align with the data illustrated here.1K+Save1K+Save 1K+Save last_img read more

AT&T Stadium to Host Big 12 Championship

first_imgWhile 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. AT&T Stadium has been selected as the site for the Big 12 Football Championship, the Conference announced Friday morning.AT&T Stadium to Host Big 12 Football Championship:— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) November 18, 2016The 100,000 seat stadium in Arlington, TX, will play host for the 2017-2021 seasons, where the top two teams in the conference will play each other (again) for the conference championship title. 2017 will feature the first Big 12 championship game since 2010.“There is great anticipation with the return of the Big 12 Football Championship and we look forward to hosting the event in AT&T Stadium for the next five years,” said Commissioner Bob Bowlsby in a release. “The building is a state of the art facility and offers many amenities that will be enjoyed by our institutions and fans.”FOX will cover the championship in 2017 and odd-numbered years through 2023, and ESPN will do the same in even-numbered years through 2024. Here are all the sites that have hosted the championship over the years.screen-shot-2016-11-18-at-4-06-06-pmlast_img read more

Daily Mullets (December 2)

first_imgMore PFBDez ties Michael Irvin’s Cowboys TD total … How could Bedlam affect the recruiting landscape …  Three matchups to watch including Ramon vs. Dede … Three stats to know for Bedlam (this is very good) … How Gundy would solve the CFB Playoff … Does Mike Gundy have an OU problem?I loved this.1st Bedlam win of the weekend! Dez over Sammy B!— Chris Biggerstaff (@cbiggs424) December 2, 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. One more day.The CFB Playoff committee’s conundrumHey Bill Simmons’ site took up OSU’s cause this week.The ones who could unskew this weird situation are instead taking the path of least resistance. The committee could anger multiple fan bases by bumping Oklahoma State up the rankings, which would then also draw attention to the biggest refereeing blunder of the season and subvert the work of officials everywhere. Or the committee could tell us it’s impossible to argue with wins and losses, even though arguing wins and losses is the entire point of the committee in the first place. [Ringer]The part I can’t reconcile is if I’m in the business of arguing for OSU’s loss not mattering, then the natural logic says I’m in the business of saying teams should be determined based on how they play which, in this case, does not help me as OSU played horribly against a crappy team.Getting Turnovers is paramountI mean, yes, obviously, but did you know the company OSU keeps?Only Ohio State, Alabama and Louisville have scored more points off turnovers this season than the Cowboys. The Pokes are going to struggle to keep Baker Mayfield and co. from making their plays; Mike Gundy admitted as much on Monday. The key is whether the Cowboy defense can make their plays, as well. Behind Vincent Taylor, Jordan Sterns and Ramon Richards, Oklahoma State has been tremendous all year at creating big defensive plays. They’re going to need a couple Saturday in Norman to pull off the upset. [ESPN]I did not realize that list of teams getting points off turnovers was so short. Alabama, Ohio State and Louisville. Wow.The President ElectNot Trump. James Washington. OU has respect.In Week 3, he shredded the Panthers for 296 receiving yards, which remains the largest receiving output of any Power 5 receiver this season. No active wideout has more career touchdown receptions than Washington’s 25, either.“A great receiver,” said Oklahoma cornerback Jordan Thomas, who figures to be matched up on Washington early and often Saturday. “He plays the ball in the air well, and wins his fair share of the 50-50 balls. And he’s a bigger guy, he’s just more physical. And on top of that he can run. “He has the whole game.”I’m excited to see what No. 28 can do to a beleaguered OU secondary. Gonna be so much abuse we might have to bring Justice in to close.Truck-stick CarsonGood article here on Chris Carson. Odd that he doesn’t recognize his own ability.“We kind of joked about it in the running backs room, who’s what, what kind of runner?” Carson said. That’s when Carson received an awakening. “Some of the other running backs started saying, ‘I’ve never seen you run over somebody. And you’re squatting and lifting all this weight,’” Carson said. “So that’s something I’ve been trying to prove. And it’s working out.” [NewsOK]If I looked like Carson does, I’d run people over just going to class.Mason Rudolph, massive trash talker?Jenni Carlson on the Rudolph-Mayfield rivalry.Mayfield and Rudolph are already hearing it from each other. Mayfield is known as more of the say-anything guy, but he insists Rudolph is a sneaky trash talker. “He gets his in,” Mayfield said with a smile. “Mason can put on a show for the media, but he gets his in. There’s no doubt about that.” Mason Rudolph, flamethrower? “I throw my flames,” Rudolph said with a laugh. “But I do it privately. No need for y’all to see it.” [NewsOK]Not the first time I’ve heard this. Would love to see Rudolph unhinged with Mayfield next spring after a Big 12 title.Mason Rudolph’s “stuff”I love this from Mike Yurcich on Mason Rudolph.Rudolph is up there, Yurcich said, adding he and [former college teammate] Borchert have an “it” factor. Rudolph’s confidence as a true freshman in only his second game still stands out to Yurcich. “There’s that certain thing whenever a guy makes a mistake that he comes back stronger; I think Rudolph has that ability,” Yurcich said. “I think he has something about him that wants to prove to himself and everybody else that he was better than that mistake and he comes back with an edge to him. He never backs down. He loves the moment.” [O’Colly]I love that last line. He loves the moment. You can tell, too.Updated “Rudolph’s sleigh ride” just in time for Bedlam.— The OG (@GentsOkstate) December 1, 2016Sinor for HeismanAnybody going to take up the cause with me?She saw the “special” Carnley was talking about when OSU offered her son a full scholarship during Zach’s senior season. “That’s in our heads for all these years,” Valerie said. “And here we are. “That’s when you kinda go to your knees and say, ‘How blessed can we be?” [O’Colly]What Makes Justice greatOn how Justice Hill’s dad has helped him with nutrition and sleep and how Hill never hit the freshman wall.Meanwhile, Hill worked on getting his body ready for college football. Derrick has studied nutrition most of his life and healthy eating was a priority in the Hill household. He did not drink soda and steered away from acidic foods. Hill drinks alkaline water, which is supposed to help prevent injuries. Eating and sleeping well have perhaps been the secret behind how Hill has remained so durable as a freshman. [Tulsa World]I could not be more impressed with a freshman. Heck, that’s impressive for a 10-year NFL player!Stoops player abuse tree?Kevin Wilson was fired at Indiana on Thursday.Earlier Thursday, however, a former Indiana player’s father told ESPN that his son suffered a concussion in practice shortly before the 2015 season and was rushed back to workouts, causing his symptoms to intensify. [ESPN]Mangino Leach Wilson fired for treatment of players. A glimpse of the environment at OU early in Stoops career. Winning is tough— Teddy Lehman (@TedLehman11) December 1, 2016Another thing I appreciate about Gundy. Does he run an uber-clean program? I have no idea, it seems like it. But I do think if it’s dirty, it’s not because he’s making dudes play through injuries or locking them in sheds.last_img read more

LOOK: Is That Mike Gundy Getting His Mullet Trimmed?

first_imgWhile 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. Mike Gundy’s infamous mullet has been one of the more entertaining storylines of the football season. Heck, he even got an entire ESPN feature article dedicated to it.But it’s rise to glory coincided with his team’s seven-game win streak, which has now come to an end after Saturday’s loss to OU.So has he decided to do away with the mullet look? Oklahoma State defensive end Triston Grant spotted the man himself at the barber — and it appears that could be the case.Coach has been spotted?— Triston Grant (@TristonGrant) December 8, 2016Be sure to keep it locked here with Pistols Firing Blog, where we cover the hard-hitting topics that Oklahoma State fans love to read about.last_img read more

OSU Recruiting Less About Branding, More About Winning

first_imgMuch has been made about Oklahoma State returning to San Antonio where so many of its current players are from. Jordan Sterns, Tre Flowers, Ramon Richards, Vincent Taylor, Austin Hays — the list goes on. Glenn Spencer, who recruits the area, has talked about it at length. And OSU has made a concerted effort to clean up in recruiting where others have been sloppy.But Sterns brought up something interesting earlier this week about how it is less about how a school recruits an area and more about what it does on the field.This feels intuitive, but I think we sometimes lose sight of it. Just as content is king when it comes to media, winning is king when it comes to recruiting. Other stuff matters (like getting guys to the NFL and having nice facilities), but those things are largely byproducts of getting Ws.“I told a story the other day when I first got to Oklahoma State nine, 10 years ago, I’m the new guy on the block, I’m from the East Coast,” said defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer. “I’ve very rarely been across the Mississippi River. They threw me down here I think because there would be players — that Houston area, that DFW area, that East Texas, but it took a couple years.“Now I think it’s getting recruited a lot more now, and these four guys to my left are the reason why. They’re saying, ‘geez, these guys from San Antonio are beating our tail every year.’ Last time I checked, our record against Texas schools was pretty stout, and I think they’re all getting smart, which is bad for me, bad for us. But it’s these guys that have — they made the reputation.”Then he talked about the type of marketing you can do when you go to a bowl game and how OSU did it in 2010 when it defeated Arizona in the Alamo Bowl.“I’m sure that you just ride from the airport to our hotel, and I see the billboard, so it’s all about branding, right,” added Spencer. “It’s all about these guys. When Coach Spencer comes into their school, hopefully we’re not just another school. I think success breeds success. That didn’t hurt.”But when Sterns was asked about it, he objected.“Honestly, no [I don’t recall seeing the name brand or do you recall that game when it was played down here in 2010],” said Sterns who was still in high school in San Antonio at the time.“I’m just being honest. But I’ve always liked Oklahoma State for some reason just growing up because of the colors and then just different things. I used to be a running back. I used to like Barry Sanders. When Oklahoma State offered me, I thought — I mean, I was really excited. I remember calling my mom and just being pretty emotional about it. I mean, it was a pretty easy decision. They’ve been winning games ever since Coach Gundy got here, and the year they offered me they just won the Fiesta Bowl. It was a no-brainer for me.”They’ve been winning games ever since coach Gundy got here.Yes they have. A lot of them. And that’s the point. It’s not the billboards. It’s not the barber shop in BPS. It’s not the uniforms. It’s the 10-win seasons which OSU is on the verge of having for the fifth time in seven years with a win against Colorado.“It was like, ‘wow, Vince Taylor, Ramon, Tre, Jordan. That’s where these guys are balling at, and they’re having fun and they’re having success,’ said Spencer. “So I think that’s just a textbook way to entrench yourself in an area, these kids doing right, these kids doing what they’re supposed to, these kids leaving Oklahoma State with a degree and handling themselves on and off the field that all of the Oklahoma State people are proud of.” 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.last_img read more

Spring Retrospective: Receiver Depth Likely Won’t Mean Equality

first_imgWR1Jalen McCleskeyJr. WR3Obi ObialoSo. WR1James WashingtonSr. WR2Tyron JohnsonR-So. Video Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Then there was StonerVideo Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.And of course The President doing Presidential things. Let’s agree to say the spring star was too close to call.Projected Three DeepTwo deep doesn’t give you the full story of the depth at this position. It’s been well-documented that the list of receivers at Oklahoma State might be the deepest in its rich history of ball-catchers, but only so much talent can be on the field at once. Let’s continue the spring retrospective with a look at how reps might be divvied up at the deepest position on the field.SummaryThere are realistically eight true receivers on the spring roster who could catch 10 passes this season. Last year, only five hit that mark.In watching a good chunk of spring practice, the drop off in talent from James Washington to Obi Obialo is not as stunning as the casual fan would predict.Washington of course is probably going to be a Biletnikoff Award finalist if not the winner, and Obialo (who is likely the No. 8 guy) caught just two balls last year. But offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich said something early in spring practice that stood out to me up until the spring game, something that I hope holds some water.“(Receivers) coach (Kasey) Dunn has done a tremendous not only recruiting tremendous talent, but also developing it and making that room a great room as far as team chemistry goes,” Yurcich said. “I don’t know how easy it is to have that much talent in a room but yet get those guys geared and focused on one goal and that’s for the team to be the best that we can be.”Washington needs to catch at least 60 balls. Jalen McCleskey, too. Chris Lacy has earned about 30. Tyron Johnson transferred from LSU after being a five-star recruit; he’s going to need another 30. Marcell Ateman is finally back after what had to have been a grueling season off; he had 45 in 2015. Dillon Stoner, too, is back from season-ending injury, and he will likely want at least 20.Although the second-teamers are almost as talented as those in front of them, the lack in production will be steep. That won’t be because despite the talent, they’ll drop the ball or Mason Rudolph will magically become Daxx Garman and overthrow everyone. They just won’t get on the field as much. Someone (or a couple of someones) will be let down.At face value that makes sense: The backups should not play as much as the starters. But though it might happen, that doesn’t mean it should.The spot to watch is across from Washington. Who will start? Gundy said Lacy and Ateman will split time at about 40 plays each, which he said isn’t a lot for a receiver and will keep them fresh.Add in freshmen Tylan Wallace, LC Greenwood and Braydon Johnson coming in this fall, spreading the ball around doesn’t get any easier. Wallace, too, has a chance to catch 10 balls this season, but the others will get deferred behind a group of seniors that seems nothing other than divine.“I think it worked out well to come back,” Rudolph said. “We’re all seniors together, myself, James, Lacy, all these guys. God had a plan for that I think.”Biggest NewsThere isn’t too much breaking news from the receiving corps, but Johnson’s start to his OSU career has been highly anticipated.At LSU, he played four games, caught nine balls for 150 yards with a pair of touchdowns. Not outstanding, but not bad by any means. By all accounts, he has been the former five-star prospect of old.“So far, whenever the lights come on and we keep score, he makes plays,” coach Mike Gundy said. “And in most team sports, there’s something to be said about that.”In the spring game, Johnson caught one ball for seven yards. Before anyone goes crazy, no, it wasn’t his fault whatsoever. Johnson’s quarterbacks in the spring game were Keondre Wudtee, John Kolar and Jelani Woods. Those three combined for 2-of-10 passing for 13 yards. So in that respect, Johnson accounted for more than half of the black team’s offense. Kidding, kinda.It would have been nice to see more of Johnson in the spring game. He is “shifty,” “durable,” and “has the ability to break tackles.” That mixed with his 6-foot-1, 185-pound frame had Gundy drinking the Kool-Aid.“If he takes care of business like he should, he’s learning to adapt to our culture, he’s gonna get to play a lot,” Gundy said.Gundy said Johnson is a lot like a bigger Josh Stewart. In practice, he made guys miss like Stewart made famous in 2014 games. But Gundy stopped short of comparing him to the mold of anybody who has played in the NFL.Camp StarIt seemed like every week there was a different receiver adding his chapter to the freak show.It started with Tyrell Alexander. WR2Chris LacySr. WR2Dillon StonerR-So. WR1Marcell AtemanR-Sr. WR3Tyrell AlexanderR-Fr. PositionPlayerClass WR3Tylan WallaceFr. 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.last_img read more

It’s Gameday: PFB Again Offering Special Deal on Premium Product

first_imgWe had so much fun with last week’s special deal during the Texas game, we’re doing it again this week for Kansas State.If you sign up on September 28 (today) for our PFB+ Yearly product — which is $80/year — your account will be credited on Sunday $1 for every point OSU scores against Kansas State in this game.So if the Pokes hang 55 on KSU, we refund you $55 and you just paid $25 for a year of PFB+. If they score 85 points (seems unlikely!), we will have to start collecting some Venmo names so we can pay you.What do you get for signing up? Primarily access to our PFB+ portion of The Chamber where we’re dropping rumors and sourced stuff we’ve heard. But you also get access to store discounts, monthly giveaways, background wallpapers and (my favorite) ad-free browsing.You know what stinks? Ads on the internet. I was on a competing site the other day, and I couldn’t even see the words I came to read. You know what’s also necessary? Ads on the internet. That’s how we make a lot of this go. But for 22 pennies a day (and much less after our promotion hits), you can get a reading experience that looks as clean as this one.Screen Shot 2019-09-28 at 2.52.50 PM.pngAnyway, go take advantage of this one-day promotional because our gameday thread is already popping, but it’s for PFB+ members only. You can (and should!) sign up right here.Related: We’re at 556 PFB+ members. If we get to 1,000 before the calendar flips to 2020, we’re going to give away something really special to one or more members. Looking forward to that. Come join us, and let’s roll up the ‘Cats!Sign up here 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.last_img read more

Countdown to 2015 Decade Report (2000-2010) Now Available Online

first_imgPosted on June 4, 2010July 14, 2014Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Countdown to 2015 will officially launch the Countdown to 2015 Decade Report (2000-2010) at the Women Deliver and Countdown to 2015 for Maternal, Newborn and Child Survival conferences in Washington D. C. next week—but the report is now available to download on the Countdown to 2015 website. The Countdown meeting is being held in conjunction with Women Deliver and there will be a special track at Women Deliver for Countdown session participants.From the report:“The Countdown report for 2010 contains good news–many countries are making progress, reducing mortality and increasing coverage of effective health interventions at an accelerating pace. But the news is not all good. Many Countdown countries are still off track for achieving Millennium Development Goals 4 (reduce child mortality) and 5 (improve maternal health) and are not increasing coverage of key health interventions quickly enough…”Download the report and/or the brochure with highlights from the report.Read the press release for the new report.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

Congratulations! You have received an ANA Good Card

first_imgLocate a charity by using the search box or by selecting one of the recomended charitiesClick on the “Donate Now” button, enter a donation amount*, and select “Add to Giving Cart”Click on “Redeem A Good Card” and enter your Good Card Redemption Code (ID#)Thank You! You have just spread help and hope with your Good Card.Trying to designate a specific chapter/program/etc? Simply write-in the information using the Designation section of the Donation Page. Having trouble using your Good Card? We’re here to help! Email us at* Note: Donations made using a Good Card must be equal to or less than the value of the Good Card. You can use your Good Card to support more than one charity, but you must make each donation separately.** Note: The purchase of a Network for Good gift card by ANA  represents a charitable contribution that may be deductible for tax purposes by ANA.  ANA Partners who receive a Network for Good gift code from are acting as the designator of the specific Network for Good charity that ANA is donating to, and thus are neither giving a tax deductible donation nor receiving taxable income. The Network for Good tax exempt ID number is 68-0480736 Type in a charity name or use keywords Keywords:Charity Name:City:State:Select a stateAlabamaAlaskaAmerican SamoaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelawareDistrict of ColumbiaFederated States of MicronesiaFloridaGeorgiaGuamHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndianaIowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMarshall IslandsMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaNorthern Mariana IslandsOhioOklahomaOregonPalauPennsylvaniaPuerto RicoRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermontVirgin IslandsVirginiaWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyomingSelect a stateSelect a stateAlabamaAlaskaAmerican SamoaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelawareDistrict of ColumbiaFederated States of MicronesiaFloridaGeorgiaGuamHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndianaIowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMarshall IslandsMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaNorthern Mariana IslandsOhioOklahomaOregonPalauPennsylvaniaPuerto RicoRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermontVirgin IslandsVirginiaWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyomingZip Code:Category:Select a categoryArts and CultureEducation and TechnologyAnimals and EnvironmentHealthHuman ServicesInternationalCivic and CommunityReligionSelect a categorySelect a categoryArts and CultureEducation and TechnologyAnimals and EnvironmentHealthHuman ServicesInternationalCivic and CommunityReligioncenter_img You received a Good Card. Now it is time to choose the charity(ies) you want to help. Redeeming Your Good Card is as Easy as 123: last_img read more

So Many, Yet Few: Human Resources for Health in India

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on August 17, 2012August 15, 2016Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Earlier this week, Human Resources for Health published a paper, So many, yet few: Human resources for health in India, that explores the information gap around human resources for health in many developing countries and aims to provide a more comprehensive description of the state of India’s health workforce.Take a look at the abstract:BackgroundIn many developing countries, such as India, information on human resources in the health sector is incomplete and unreliable. This prevents effective workforce planning and management. This paper aims to address this deficit by producing a more complete picture of India’s health workforce.MethodsBoth the Census of India and nationally representative household surveys collect data on selfreported occupations. A representative sample drawn from the 2001 census was used to estimate key workforce indicators. Nationally representative household survey data and official estimates were used to compare and supplement census results.ResultsIndia faces a substantial overall deficit of health workers; the density of doctors, nurses and midwifes is a quarter of the 2.3/1000 population World Health Organization benchmark. Importantly, a substantial portion of the doctors (37%), particularly in rural areas (62%) appears to be unqualified. The workforce is composed of at least as many doctors as nurses making for an inefficient skill-mix. Women comprise only one-third of the workforce. Most workers are located in urban areas and in the private sector. States with poorer health and service use outcomes have a lower health worker density.ConclusionsAmong the important human resources challenges that India faces is increasing the presence of qualified health workers in underserved areas and a more efficient skill mix. An important first step is to ensure the availability of reliable and comprehensive workforce information through live workforce registers.A provisional PDF of the full paper is available here.Share this:last_img read more