Rural Odisha celebrates folk culture

first_imgHoli and Dola Purnima celebrations in rural areas of Ganjam district in Odisha provide a platform for folk dancers and theatre troupes to showcase their talents.According to Bighneswar Sahu, convener of Odisha Folk Foundation (OFF), the week-long celebrations keep folk traditions alive. At Badakusasthali, the celebrations are part of a biennial folk festival started 136 years ago. Every night during the festival, the deities from the Radha-Krishna temple are taken out for a procession.Troupes of Bharat Lila, Krushna Lila, Daskathia, Ghudki, Gahana, Radha Prem Lila, Prahlad Natak, Jodi Sankha, Parava dance and Bagha Mukha dance are now camping at Badakusasthali. All families in this village have at least a folk dancer or are patrons of folk art forms, said G. Krishna Reddy, a performer himself. Performers enjoy entertaining the audiences here because they do not have time limits, unlike in government-sponsored shows, said Mr. Sahu. Some performances go beyond two nights.last_img read more

Many Indians Returning as Gulf Job Prospects Turning Low

first_imgThose who had shifted to Dubai a decade ago now having difficulty to sustain their families as oil prices take a plunge in the international market. “Education here is expensive. I have two daughters and one of them goes to kindergarten now. My wife had a job too but since we had two children, juggling between work and family became challenging in the absence of a domestic help, which does not come cheap here unlike in India,” says Sahil, a retail employee from Aligarh who went to Dubai eight years ago.Read it at Siasat Related Itemslast_img read more

How to Find Out if You’re About to Get Laid Off

first_imgNewsflash! The economy is not doing so good. Well, maybe that’s not fair to say. It is certainly getting better but, it’s not “happy days are here again.” At least, not yet. (Soon?) Be that as it may, if you are a paycheck to paycheck kind of person, one thing you do not want is a surprise layoff announcement from your boss. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Tardis that would let you peek into the future so you could prepare? Well, I don’t have one to offer you. But, I might have the next best thing.Do you know what a WARN notice is? WARN is an acronym for “Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification” and… well… here is some legalese around that, courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor:“The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988 (WARN Act) is a United States labor law which protects employees, their families, and communities by requiring most employers with 100 or more employees to provide sixty- (60) calendar-day advance notification of plant closings and mass layoffs of employees. It became law in August 1988 and took effect in 1989. In 2001, there were about 2,000 mass layoffs and plant closures which were subject to WARN advance notice requirements and which affected about 660,000 employees.Employees entitled to notice under the WARN Act include managers and supervisors, hourly wage, and salaried workers. The WARN Act requires that notice also be given to employees’ representatives (i.e. a labor union), the local chief elected official (i.e. the mayor), and the state dislocated worker unit.The advance notice gives workers and their families transition time to adjust to the prospective loss of employment, to seek and obtain other employment, and, if necessary, to enter skill training or retraining programs that will allow these workers to successfully compete in the job market.”In a nutshell, if you work for a big company, they have to tell Uncle Sam their layoff plans or get in trouble. Now, how much notice do they have to give you? Of that, I am not sure. My assumption is that big business will do the right thing and let you know ASAP. On the other hand, maybe not. In either regard, you may want to set up an early warning system for yourself. One way to do that is to set up a collection of Google Alerts. Are you hip to Google Alerts? It allows you to automate your searches so that when new information comes into the Google database you are notified. Below is a screenshot of my setting up a Google Alert.Just in case someone does not already know, I am restricting my results to info from the news (arrow 1) as I only want current information and I am setting my results to return as a RSS feed (arrow 2) although I could opt to receive them in an email. On the right side of the screen, Google shows me a sample of what I can expect from the search now and in the future.My search is focused on news of weak earnings by Best Buy. Of course, this type of search is only good for public companies. Why a search for “weak earnings?” (Again, just in case someone has not guessed the logic of this.) If a company is losing money, they may protect their bottom line by laying off workers.Here are some more searches you can set up as Google alerts. Of course, where my searches say “company name,” add in the name of where you work. Capiche?intitle:announces organizational.restructuring | corporate.restructuring “company name”“company name” (debt OR financial OR corporate OR organizational) restructuring“head count reduction” | “reduce headcount” “company name”intitle:rumor intitle:layoffs “company name”company name denies rumorsallintitle:  “company name” denies.rumors (bankruptcy | layoffs)downsizing.employees company.name“cost cutting initiatives” ibmShould I buy “company name” stock?“company name” (to.shut.down | to.close.down)“company name” (branch.closing | plant.closing)“company name to cut *% of workforce”Hmm… I feel like I am missing a step. Oh! (Insert Homer Simpson’s “D’oh” here.) If you want to get a heads up on companies who have already announced layoff plans to the government, do a search for “your state” warn notice 2014 and get results similar to the following:Indiana WARN NoticesAlabama Plant Closing/LayoffsConnecticut Listing of Warn NoticesCA Listings of WARN Notices – 2014If you do not have any luck finding WARN notices for your state, you can (of course) call the Department of Labor for your state and ask for a list as well. After all, it is public information. (smile)Okay, that’s it for now!last_img read more

8 Ways to Manage Your Manager

first_imgEarly in my career, I was under two significant misconceptions. I thought that just because someone was my “manager,” that they, knew everything and had to be right about everything. By the time I was working for about five years, I realized that I was dead wrong about both. The truth is that assistants can be of enormous help to their managers to be better ones. Assistants can be a manager’s most powerful secret weapon.Here’s what happened to me.For 25 years I worked as the Personal Assistant to Oscar winning actress Olympia Dukakis (Moonstruck, Steel Magnolias.) What I experienced is that people would say things to me as her assistant that they would never say directly to her. This automatically meant that I had information that she did not have. Using this information in productive and proactive ways is a key element of managing your manager and potentially sticky situations.I could give Olympia a heads-up about issues that I knew she would want to know. How did I know this? I asked the question, “May I tell you what I think is going on?” and inevitably, the answer would be, “Yes, of course.” Was I always right? No, but over time, Olympia came to trust this information as important pieces to a project’s puzzle, whether it was a movie, a play, or the bathroom renovation.Around the world, this is the dynamic of the assistant/manager relationship. In general, people censor themselves around “the boss.” That’s just the way it is and it probably always will be. Therefore, the most talented assistants make themselves accessible to receive the truth about any given situation and the smartest managers are the ones who recognize that the assistant can be their eyes and ears and value them as such. The manager empowers the staff to say what they see and hear. An assistant is so much more than “just an assistant,” and in fact, is an integral part of the management team.Here are 8 of my favorite ways for assistants to “manage up.”1. Have Mutual Respect – No relationship is worth anything without mutual respect. Managers have a tough job to do as do assistants. Everyone has an important role to play and the most healthy relationships are built on a foundation of respect. Not everyone is cut out to be a great manager, just as not everyone is cut out to be a top-flight assistant. Acknowledgement of one another’s roles is vital. It’s as simple as an assistant truthfully saying, “You handled that really well. I learned a lot from watching you.” Managers need feedback too.2. Show Empathy. Put yourself in your manager’s shoes and act accordingly. Imagine flying the red-eye and then having to hit the ground running at the 9AM client meeting. If you have ever done this, you know how tough it can be. Working through jet lag remedies and making sure your manager’s favorite energy-boosting foods are waiting for her/him at the meeting, are examples of how empathy serves everyone. Say, “I know that next week is going to be a bear for you. Here are 3 ideas of what we can do to make it go easier. What do you think?” The better you get to know your manager, the more you can just go ahead and make these things happen without asking. Olympia would say, “If you have respect and empathy, everything is possible.” Yes, indeed.3. Help your manager be successful. The best way for an assistant to not come off as a threat to a manager is to help her/him be successful and to look great. Exceed expectations and offer ideas that may be new ones to your manager. When he rocks the PowerPoint presentation that you designed or she hosts the lunch meeting at the trés cool restaurant you discovered, congratulations are in order for both of you. Then you get to move on together to the next project. The healthiest assistant/manager relationships are ones where each of you is invested in the other’s success.4. Scratch their itch and ease their pain. What is keeping your manager up at night? My wise colleague Nancy Fox (The Business Fox) told this to me years ago. She said that if an assistant can figure out how to (figuratively, of course!) scratch their manager’s itch and ease their pain, that they will never be unemployed. An assistant can stay alert to the hottest angst-producing issues and come up with ways to alleviate them. Make it your business to know your manager’s immediate and long-term goals.5. When is doubt, ask. Still in doubt, ask again. Assistants can support their managers be better managers by the thoughtful asking of questions that helps to clarify situations. Don’t assume and make a poor decision out of insufficient or inaccurate information. The best managers understand that it is a sign of strength to ask questions when you are unsure.6. Speak truth to power, Become your manager’s most valuable asset when you can be depended on to say the hard thing that needs to be said but no one wants to say it out of fear. Assistants need to be supported to say what they know. If you are unsure, try saying, “I have a thought about XYZ. Would you like me to share it?” It is respectful to ask first and wait for the answer. See what happens. If it doesn’t work out the first time, don’t let it stop you from trying again.7. Don’t Suffer in Silence. It is not a matter of if but when problems are going to arise. Assistants need to address them quickly, directly, and thoughtfully. Managers are depending upon assistants to tell them what they need to know, even if it hurts a little. Many are oblivious or clueless to issues, mainly because their staff erroneously protect them from the reality. The best managers will not kill the proverbial messenger for telling them the truth. Hey, I never said it was easy being an assistant or a manager! That is why each of you needs to be compensated well. Bullying behaviors are unacceptable and not to be tolerated at any time. Speaking up is imperative to create awareness. Only then can solutions be found. Do not reward bad behavior by permitting them to poison whole offices. Assistants can be integral in short-circuiting workplace bullies by supporting their managers to take action to build cultures of respect.8. Assistants can be good managers too. – Read and study leadership and management books and articles. Take professional development workshops and classes. Ideally these will be paid for by your manager and company. Be your manager’s invaluable right arm when you strengthen your own leadership muscles. Two heads are definitely better than one. After all, being a good manager takes training and practice, just like everything else.Leadership expert Jack Zenger conducted a 2012 poll of 17,000 worldwide leaders around the world. He calculated the average age that a leader received their first training in learning how to manage people – 42. Given that the average college graduate is in their 20’s, it is easy to do the math and realize that managers need as much support as they can get to be effective managers. Assistants can help them to do precisely that.last_img read more

Is It Time to Reform the 401(k)?

first_imgGetting physically fit takes discipline, effort, and more than a little energy to get to where you want to be. Regularly moving your body and sticking to a fitness plan isn’t easy, and doing so is certainly commendable—and comes with… Full Story,Table of Contents Benefits of Working During Retirement Phased Retirement Types of Employment Recommended Jobs for Seniors  Resources for Seniors  Retirement looks different for everyone. Some people dream of playing golf and visiting their grandchildren, while others see it as… Full Story,A study conducted by Charles Schwab just last year found that three in five Americans live paycheck to paycheck, yet only one in four has a written financial plan. In fact, the majority of Americans are hesitant to receive any… Full Story,Life is unpredictable. Some days aren’t all sunshine, like when your car breaks down or your house needs a repair. These situations happen to everyone. That’s why it’s important to save while things are going well, so you can cover… Full Story,Structure is the key to growth. Without a solid foundation – and a road map for the future – it’s easy to spin your wheels and float through life without making any headway. Planning allows you to prioritize your time,… Full Story,Car accidents are not only scary but also a monumental hassle. That’s largely thanks to what comes after the accident itself.   After an accident, you’ll likely have to spend ample time on the phone with your insurer. Then there’s dealing… Full Story,If you’re a furloughed government employee, you are likely feeling a good deal of stress and uncertainty about how to manage your finances during the government shutdown. While missing a paycheck is a financial moment no one wants to experience,… Full Story,Buried underneath paying bills, digging out of a debt hole, and saving for your kids’ college is the marathon of money goals: retirement. Cue the fantasies of spending your days at a leisurely pace, working on The Great American Novel—at… Full Story,When I’m on top of finances, I’m all up in my money management apps, checking my balances and the swift progress I’ve been making on my savings goals. But when things aren’t going so hot? I’m like an ostrich with… Full Story,With all of today’s home-based tech gadgets and virtual personal assistants, smart homes are quickly becoming ubiquitous. And with high demand for connected products, so too comes ease of use, accessibility and affordability.   But as with all expenses, it’s important… Full Storylast_img read more

Ask Farnoosh: “I Got Laid Off. Now What?”

first_imgHey Farnoosh, I recently lost my job at a tech startup in California. I don’t have much in savings because of student loans and credit card debt. I’m receiving one week’s worth of severance. I am confident that with my skills and network I can find another job within a few months, but how can I make ends meet in the meantime? – Karen, San JoseWhen I got laid off in 2009 it was in the thick of the financial recession. My chances of finding another position similar to the one I’d lost (and with a similar salary) were slim. It was then that I decided to do the inevitable – join the ranks of the self-employed. I’d pondered making the move several months prior, always too frightened to quit my job and make the leap. How would I afford health insurance? What if I didn’t make money for several weeks or months?Now with a pink slip in hand, the decision had been made for me. And I was grateful for the kick-in-the-pants to finally go it alone.I was fortunate to receive about four weeks of severance. I also had a savings cushion to pad my bank account for several months, as well.Still, I had to follow many of the following steps to get my financial ducks in a row and avoid falling behind on bills. Here’s my advice:Apply for UnemploymentThe sooner you apply the faster you can expect to receive unemployment benefits from your state. The maximum claim in California is $450 a week, depending on how much you were making at your previous job. California’s Employment Development Department says this: “Weekly benefit amounts range from a minimum of $40 to a maximum of $450 depending on the claimant’s quarterly earnings. To qualify for the maximum amount each week ($450) an individual must earn at least $11,674.01 in a calendar quarter during the base period (an individual’s earnings during a specific 12-month period).Secure Health InsuranceDon’t risk falling into even more debt because of an unexpected medical bill during this time period. I know it may not seem like you can afford health insurance, but try to prioritize this expense, if at all possible.You can opt to keep your previous health insurance plan provided by your employer through COBRA, a federal program, for up to 18 months. This can be pricey since you have to pay not just your portion of the cost, but also your employer’s, plus typically a 2% fee.  Your employer should send you the election form within 30 days. You have another 60 days to apply. Coverage begins on the date of your last day or the date when your benefits end.Some more affordable alternatives: If your spouse has health insurance from his or her employer, see if you can piggyback on that.You could opt for a healthcare plan via your state’s Marketplace, too. While the open-enrollment period is generally in the fall, if you lose your job at any point and expect to lose coverage in 60 days, you may be eligible for a “special enrollment period.” To learn more, visit HealthCare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596.Finally, if you’re a member of a union, a professional organization or taking courses part-time at local school, you may be able to get more affordable, group health insurance.Shore Up CashSelling belongings and performing part-time tasks in your spare time can help you shore up much needed cash, as you secure your next job. Web sites like Moonlighting, TaskRabbit and UpWork may be able to connect you with quick local and virtual gigs that can help you bring in a few extra hundred dollars per month, maybe more. And check out my previous post here on where you can sell your unwanted belongings for the best price.Revisit Loans and Card BalancesYou mentioned you have some debt. It’s important that you do everything you can to avoid falling behind on payments. Get ahead of any potential financial challenges by speaking to your lenders and creditors about alternative payment options. For example, if you have federal student loans you may be eligible to defer payments until you secure your next full-time job. You may also want to look into transferring your high interest credit card debt to a 0% APR credit card to avoid interest payments for the next year. Be sure you can also pay off the debt within the 0% introductory rate term.Protect Your 401(k)You may be tempted to cash out your retirement savings to make ends meet, but remember you face taxes and a penalty for an early withdrawal from your 401(k) before age 59 ½. It’s better to leave your money in the account until you start your next job. At that point you can roll the account into your new employer’s 401(k) plan. Or, you can opt to do a direct transfer now into an individual retirement account or IRA penalty and tax free.Pare Down ExpensesWith just a week’s worth of severance and little in a savings account, it’s definitely time to cut down your monthly spending from food to clothing and cable. Monthly subscriptions (think: gym membership, cable plans, subscription boxes) and all other recurring expenses that are not necessary, should be suspended first.Some Tax RemindersKeep in mind that your job search costs may be tax deductible. That can help to reduce your taxable income. Be sure to collect receipts that reflect your job searching status such as resume and business card printings. The same goes for relocation costs related to moving for a new job and any mileage you rack up driving to and from interviews.Also important to note: unemployment benefits are considered taxable income, per the IRS.  You’ll receive Form 1099-G that will entail you how much unemployment you have to report. Post navigation Have a question for Farnoosh? You can submit your questions via Twitter @Farnoosh, Facebook or email at farnoosh@farnoosh.tv (please note “Mint Blog” in the subject line).Farnoosh Torabi is America’s leading personal finance authority hooked on helping Americans live their richest, happiest lives. From her early days reporting for Money Magazine to now hosting a primetime series on CNBC and writing monthly for O, The Oprah Magazine, she’s become our favorite go-to money expert and friend. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Relatedlast_img read more

In Brazil’s Drought-ravaged Caatinga Ecosystem, Small Farmers Know Best

first_imgAdapting to Heat and DroughtFor generations, small farmers in the Brazilian drylands have learned how to adapt to extreme temperatures and severe droughts, but their local knowledge on agroecological practices was scattered. A recent WRI Brasil working paper found strategies that may help turn this challenging climate into an opportunity to restore landscapes and generate income for farmers.The study analyzed the agroecological knowledge of farmers from Pintadas, a town of approximately 10,000 people in the heart of the Caatinga. Located about 1,600 kilometers (990 miles) from Rio de Janeiro, or about the distance between Miami and Washington DC, Pintadas has become a leader in using unexpected plants to boost fertility of semi-arid land.The factory offers jobs to women in an area where most jobs are traditionally held by men. Photo by Luiz Fernando Ricci/WRI Brasil Landscape restoration could help make the Caatinga more resilient to climate change. Unfortunately, Brazilian expertise on restoration has been more focused on forest areas like the Atlantic Rainforest rather than semi-arid regions like the Caatinga, where restoration has generally been done on a small scale and in patches isolated from each other.Drylands are present all over the world, so success in Brazil’s Caatinga might offer insights for semi-arid regions elsewhere. Some good ideas on how to accomplish this may be hiding in plain sight, in the expertise of the people who live in the Caatinga.The fruit comes to a local processing plant by motorcycle. Photo by Luiz Fernando Ricci/WRI Brasil Northeastern Brazil’s Caatinga semi-arid region is a living laboratory for the impacts of climate change on a vulnerable, distinctive ecosystem. The Caatinga – “white woods” in the local Tupi language – is a very dry region that is nevertheless extraordinarily biodiverse, with a landscape characterized by shrubs and small trees, cactus and thorny plants. When it rains, the landscape gets greener and full of life, home to such iconic and endangered animals as the Brazilian three-banded armadillo and the Spix’s macaw.The Brazilian drylands have experienced the most severe drought ever recorded in the region from 2010 – 2016. If the global mean temperatures rise by 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) over pre-industrial levels by the end of this century – as some forecasts suggest – the resulting drought in the Caatinga could trigger widespread agricultural losses, which would decimate food security in one of the Brazil’s poorest regions that is home to 20 million people. The Caatinga stretches across 10 different Brazilian states to make up 11 percent of Brazil’s territory, with an area twice the size of California.Harvesting acerola fruit from trees planted among farm fields. Photo by Luiz Fernando Ricci/WRI Brasil These farmers integrated a native tree called quixabeira into farm fields to create cooling shade, reduce soil temperatures and drop leaves to serve as a natural fertilizer.They also planted a cactus known as palma, or prickly pear, to help retain soil moisture, which is very important for biomass production in the semiarid climate. Palma can improve the soil, creating the conditions to later restore the landscape with native species.In Pintadas, using agroecology to help restore land has the added benefit of empowering women in a rural area where most jobs and income formerly went to men. Through a network called Adapta Sertão, women joined together to create a cooperative company with 200 members and a fruit pulp factory called Delícias do Jacuípe that employs 20 women. The factory buys fruit – including mango, pineapple, tamarind, guava and acerola (a type of cherry) – from local communities, using it to produce frozen fruit for juice. This offers an economic incentive for small farmers to plant trees and invest in an agroforestry system. Landscape restoration that benefits the soil can help farmers improve their agricultural production; planting fruit trees to feed the factory moves the local economy. When the trees are intrinsically connected to income, farmers have the necessary incentives to restore landscapes, and the outcome is a better environment for all.Frozen fruit pulp being bagged at the factory. Photo by Luiz Fernando Ricci/WRI Brasil Steps to ScaleThe experience in Pintadas is part of a global restoration movement that is occurring even in arid and semi-arid areas. WRI research in West Africa’s Sahel in 2017 offered six steps to restore landscapes in arid and semi-arid climates, setting out a framework to scale up restoration initiatives.This framework is necessary because Brazil urgently needs to scale up restoration. The country made bold commitments in the 2015 Paris Agreement to tackle climate change. Brazil has promised to restore 12 million hectares (nearly 30 million acres) by 2030. The bottom-up approach, working with small farmers and underpinned by a cohesive framework, can be a way to restore degraded landscapes. The results would be a more resilient Caatinga and wealthier small farmers.last_img read more

Water Is a Growing Source of Global Conflict. Here’s What We Need to Do

first_imgThis blog was originally posted at WEF Forum.The most intensive drought ever recorded in Syria lasted from 2006 to 2011. Water scarcity hit households, businesses and infrastructure, while in the countryside crops failed, livestock died, and entire families moved to the country’s cities. The subsequent eruption of civil war in 2011 led to as many as half a million deaths, as well as massive migration flows to neighbouring countries and beyond, and untold misery. Syria’s war has been a tragic illustration of the central, driving role that water insecurity can play in instability and conflict.This is no surprise. In 2017 alone, water was a major factor in conflict in at least 45 countries, including Syria. Its importance as a resource means that water-related insecurity can easily exacerbate tensions and friction within and between countries. It can be weaponized; nefarious actors can gain control of, destroy, or redirect access to water to meet their objectives by targeting infrastructure and supplies. Advancements in cyber attacks on critical infrastructure raise further concerns as to the security of water systems.The World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report (GRR) has listed water crises among the top-five risks in terms of impact for eight consecutive years. In the most recent version of the report, it remains nested among a cluster of other risks that are rated as having both a very high likelihood and a very high impact. These include extreme weather events, natural disasters, the failure of climate change adaptation and mitigation, man-made environmental disasters, biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse, interstate conflict and large scale-involuntary migration.These risks are increasingly interconnected. Failure to mitigate climate change could lead to more extreme weather events, ecosystem collapse and a greater likelihood of man-made environmental disasters. All of these can exacerbate food and water insecurity, which in turn can lead to human deprivation, and could make these and other risks like migration and conflict more likely in a negative feedback loop. Around two thirds of the world’s population, or 4 billion people, currently live without sufficient access to fresh water for at least one month of the year.Further complicating the picture is the reality that securing water for food and economic activity will only become more difficult over time. As economies develop, their water consumption patterns shift and overall demand rises dramatically to meet the needs of food production, thirsty manufacturing and other industries, thermal power plants and households. However, water supplies are often damaged by poor management, pollution and over-consumption, in addition to supply-side reductions due to climate change impacts and the ecosystem degradation mentioned above.Many of these drivers of insecurity can be seen in the Inner Niger Delta area of Mali, a marshy wetlands along a stretch of the Niger river. Disruptions to the Delta’s waters, for instance through the construction of two upstream dams, risk destroying fragile ecosystems and further destabilizing the entire region. Altering downstream flows can jeopardize traditional economic activities that underpin the viability of Delta fishing villages, destroying livelihoods and exacerbating social tensions such as intergenerational friction.Combined with reductions in available farmland associated with rising temperatures and desertification, such environmental degradation risks further fuelling mass migration to the Malian capital Bamako and Europe. The journey is not a safe one, with criminalised trafficking routes that pass nearby between the West African coast and the Sahara. The history of radicalization in the region by extremist groups that have established themselves in northern Mali further illustrates the vulnerabilities facing the displaced and disenfranchised. People whose access to water is limited risk becoming increasingly marginalized, and a target for recruitment by radical groups. Water is critical to the region’s security.The Inner Niger Delta illustrates the critical role that water insecurity can play in exacerbating other risks, and the necessity of holistic policy approaches. Unfortunately, water insecurity is not yet taken seriously enough by all actors, despite its central role in our economies and in human lives and livelihoods. In most scenarios, the true security threat caused by water insecurity is not a ‘water war’, but rather in its secondary impact on associated human security, that which can then exacerbate local, regional and international security threats.It can impede or reverse economic development, and prevent countries from playing their art in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It can also affect the private sector, for instance by affecting critical parts of complex supply chains. Robust solutions to the water security challenge are critical for everybody from public policymakers and businesses to the wider public and the international community. A new generation of public-private partnerships can be part of the solution to such complex and interrelated risks, responding with urgency and innovation to manage the ‘less for more’ challenge of reduced supply and increased demand.Advances in technology can play an important role in this new era of collaboration. Real-time data is already being used to generate insights about the interplay of risk factors, allowing the development of sophisticated early-warning tools. The Water, Peace and Security Partnership partnership, for instance, crunches vast amounts of data, using machine-learning and other technologies to identify patterns that indicate the high risk of a conflict situation developing. It does not simply flash a warning light, but points to the factors that need to be addressed through capacity-building and stakeholder engagement to mitigate any potential conflict.The tool, presented to the UN’s Security Council in 2018, aims to build cohesion for collective action among diplomats, defence analysts, development and humanitarian experts and environmental scientists. Another partnership, Digital Earth Africa, is developing an open-access platform of analysis-ready geospatial data for public use that will enable African nations to track environmental changes across the continent in unprecedented detail, including flooding, droughts, soil and coastal erosion, agriculture, forest and land-use change, water availability and quality, and changes to human settlements.Such insights can help governments, businesses and communities better understand and address the interconnected web of environmental risks, in particular the impacts of climate change. From variations in rainfall patterns to extended periods of extreme weather events, building resilience across agricultural, industrial and domestic water supplies is a key priority for increasing water security.The complex challenges and impacts of water crises will certainly make it difficult to shift from the top of future global risk lists. But real progress can be made, especially through cross-sectoral partnerships and platforms that can engage with such complexity. The 2030 Water Resources Group, which works across a network of more than 600 partners to tackle the water supply-demand gap in 14 different geographies, is a promising blueprint for effective public-private cooperation.Access to better data can bolster such collaborations and lead to more effective solutions, for instance through mapping water risk, and generating greater understanding of how physical water shortages affect societal tensions, political disruptions and cross-border migration. These are just a few examples of how the world is already developing the types of ‘next generation’ insights, tools and partnerships needed to tackle water insecurity. But what the Global Risk Report makes clear is that any solution needs to be underpinned by an increased awareness of the scale and interconnectedness of the water security challenge before us.last_img read more

Want More Leads? Get a Responsive Website

first_img Originally published Sep 17, 2013 4:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Like it or not, the first experience most people have with your company is going to be your website design. Do you want them to see a flat, bland, and impersonal electronic brochure? Or rather, an individualized, warm, and interactive experience that gets prospects connected with your company from the very first visit?More importantly, which experience do you think will generate more leads? After all, inbound marketing teaches us that our goal is to generate leads, right?Your prospects are making their purchase decisions during their first visit to your site. That’s because we (human beings) make most purchase decisions emotionally first, and then rationalize the decision second. As a result, when prospective clients land on your site, if you don’t capture them emotionally and give them an amazing, personalized experience, they might just end up at your competitor’s site.How a Responsive Website Can HelpDelivering an amazing experience for your prospects has to be realized whether they visit your website via computer or smart phone. This means your site has to work perfectly on every device. If you’re still unsure if you need your site to look great on a smart phone or a tablet, here are some cold hard facts:“Some 88% of U.S. adults own a cell phone of some kind as of April 2012, and more than half of these cell owners (55%) use their phone to go online,” said Aaron Smith, senior research specialist, Pew Internet & American Life Project.The Pew study also found that 45% of those who use the internet on their phones prefer web browsing on their mobile devices.The same study found that, overall, 17% of the U.S. cell phone adult users prefer going online by using their phones instead of desktops, laptops, or tablets. These stats mean your website has to be what is called, “responsive,” so that it works beautifully on all devices, including computers, smart phones, and tablets. Here are a few snapshots from the responsive Square 2 Marketing website and how it looks on a laptop, iPhone, and iPad:Your inbound marketing strategy can help inform your website redesign if you decide to go responsive. Responsive sites deliver either altered navigation or menu options, so your strategy can help you decide what content should go where. You have to plan this out in advance to ensure that the most important pages and pieces of content (from your prospect’s perspective) are prominently delivered.It’s also important to view your new responsive site on as many devices as possible. Since you may not have each potential device at your disposal, you can use a Google Chrome plug-in called Responsive Site Viewer or try out HubSpot’s Device Lab, currently in beta, to view your website on different devices right in your browser. Looking great is certainly important; however, delivering great results is even more important. Here are some data points that show a dramatic increase in leads once we moved to a responsive site in May:Our inbound leads increased by 66% immediately, and then continued to show an increase of 34% over an average of pre-responsive months.Usage from devices other than laptops also increased from 11% of total traffic to 15%, which means that people may have been sharing links from smart phones and tablets after experiencing our site.Our site-wide conversion rate also increased from 2% to 5.6% once the site went responsive.Adding Personalization to the MixBut a responsive site is just a piece of the puzzle. The other key ingredient to an amazing website is providing a personal experience. To date, delivering a truly personalized experience has been owned by the major website companies, such as Amazon, Netflix, and Zappos. While these sites have taught us a lot about how to personalize a visitor’s experience, the tools have been limiting.Here is an example of a client who provides IT consulting and outsourced technical services to small- and medium-sized businesses. Its website home page allows visitors to self-select whether they are a business owner or an IT professional:Once they pick a path, they then tailor the message, headline, web page copy, pictures, and call-to-action buttons directly to their specific issues and challenges.Here you see a snapshot of both secondary pages. One targets the business owner, with specific pictures, headlines, and offers, and the other for the IT professional, with relevant content, copy, and images.While this client is early in its program with us and its traffic numbers are still climbing, these two pages are in the top five for visits and conversions. For most company, the results of personalization will be dramatic.Gravity, which calls itself the, “Interest Graph Company,” has seen these dramatic results first-hand. It delivers personalized content to visitors of sites like The Wall Street Journal, TIME, and TechCrunch. For the first time, the company has shared its initial user engagement statistics, comprising data from the past six months. The results, if accurate and sustainable, seem impressive.Gravity reports have delivered an average of over one million personalized content recommendations per day to more than 400 million users per month over 10 initial sites.Across these partner sites, they say that click through rates have grown two to three times.Site loyalty, as measured by monthly return rate, is up three fold.Finally — and this is a hell of a claim — its partners have seen pageviews increase more than 40 percent on average.What does this mean to you? It means you have to take a long hard look at your website. If you are like most business owners, CEOs or marketing professionals, your website is two or three years old. While your last website redesign project might have been painful, it’s probably time to start considering another upgrade. The number of people viewing and interacting with your company’s website via mobile devices, smart phones, and tablets is only going to continue to increase. If your site isn’t usable on these devices, and if the experience is subpar, there is a great chance that your potential customers are going to look elsewhere for your products and services.If your site doesn’t have personalization today, and you’re not prepared to deliver a more personal experience in the future, you are going to be at a competitive disadvantage with businesses that are more proactive in this area.Today, the tools, expertise and information are available for your business to deliver a “world-class” website experience to your prospects. The data shows that this experience influences people to buy from you, to share your site with other people like them, and to help move your business to the next level.To learn more about other elements to consider in a website upgrade project, click here to download our Free Report, Website Design That Turns Heads and Drives Leads. Co-founder and president of Square 2 Marketing, Mike is passionate about helping entrepreneurs, CEOs and marketing professionals think differently about how they marketing their firms. Mike works daily to help them move from interruptive marketing to highly efficient and lead generating inbound marketing. Mike is the author of the popular blog, Inbound Unwound, a guest blogger for a number of marketing-related blogs including HubSpot, SmartBlogs, Talent Zoo, MarketingProfs and Business 2 Community, a frequent public speaker on the topic of Inbound Marketing and a regularly quoted marketing expert in the media.  Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Responsive Designlast_img read more

The 100 Most Loved Companies in the World

first_img 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 Marketing Case Studies Originally published Oct 30, 2013 3:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 A version of this post originally appeared on Up & to the Right, a new section of Inbound Hub. To read more content like this, subscribe to Up & to the Right.It’s maddeningly difficult to figure out what makes people love a brand. But that’s what makes marketing fun, right? Cracking that code and finding a way to get people to have an emotional connection with a company or product is a big part of what marketers do.Download Now: Free Brand Building GuideAnd some brands have an advantage, which is why it’s maybe not surprising to see the Walt Disney Co. ranked as the most-loved brand in the world, according to a new (and fairly exhaustive) survey conducted by APCO Worldwide, a PR consulting firm. Who doesn’t love those cute cartoon figures? And who hasn’t had a good experience at a Disney park?But the APCO list does contain some surprises. For example: Yahoo, which most techies don’t respect very much, nevertheless ranked second on the APCO list.Moreover: Yahoo, Google, and Sony — yes, Sony — actually ranked higher than Apple, a brand that I’ve always thought of as one of the most beloved on the planet.APCO surveyed 70,000 people in 15 countries about 600 top brands to develop its list of the world’s 100 most loved companies. APCO used a methodology it calls “Emotional Linking” to measure the emotional attachment that people feel toward brands. The survey measured eight emotions: admiration, approachability, curiosity, empowerment, identification, pride, relevance, and understanding.“The best brands are those that build a strong, enduring emotional attachment with consumers,” Bryan Dumont the president of APCO Insight said in a press release announcing the results.Here’s the Full ListChart: APCO Worldwide.Other FindingsTech companies rate well across all eight emotions that were measured, while retailers tend to do well on approachability.Whole Foods ranked #8. Apparently people just really love those stores.Coke beat Pepsi. Coca-Cola ranked #14, while PepsiCo was #17.HTC (#30) beat Samsung (#35) and LG (#36), its smartphone rivals. Which is weird because those companies are beating the heck out of HTC in the market.Facebook ranked #81, which confirms an amazing conundrum, one that a lot of other surveys have shown, which is that people really, really do not like Facebook — even the ones who use it incessantly. Facebook is like the modern-day version of the phone company, something everyone uses and yet everyone resents.What companies would you add or remove from this list?last_img read more

14 Ways to Get More Use Out of Your Buyer Personas

first_img Topics: Ah yes, the excitement of creating your company’s first buyer persona.The interviews, the surveys, the extensive research … the PowerPoint presentation you put together so you can properly unveil your personas in all their persona-y glory. “Turns out, Sample Sally checks her Facebook religiously, but isn’t too keen on using Twitter,” you explain to your team, who are visibly dumbfounded by your amazing insights. “Also, Example Eddie hates Snickers bars,” you continue, “but he’s quite partial to Toblerones.” Of course, after the ceremonial unveiling of the personas, there’s the requisite “I-just-made-our-company’s-buyer-personas” honeymoon period, which is typified by congratulatory handshakes from execs and a newfound “marketing rockstar” status that you maintain around the office for the next few weeks. And then what happens? Well, naturally, you take your carefully crafted buyer personas, put them on display on the lunch room refrigerator, and never think about them again.  Wait a sec … what’s wrong with this picture?Download Our Free Buyer Persona Guide + Templates Take Your Personas Off the Fridge and Put Them to WorkMarketing isn’t arts and crafts. The goal here isn’t to make something pretty that you can take home to Mom (sorry, Mom). Instead, the goal — simply stated — is to generate leads and convert leads into customers.So, once you’ve taken the time to create buyer personas for your business, don’t let them go to waste. There are lots of ways you can use your personas to drive results.Here are 14 ideas to get the wheels turning:1) Reallocate your ad spend.After creating your personas, you’ll have a better understanding of where your personas spend their time online. And — ideally — you’ll also know what their favorite online publications and news sources are. Armed with this knowledge, you can audit where you’re currently spending resources (e.g. on Facebook ads, retargeting, etc.) and reallocate those resources based on your persona research.2) Reallocate your human resources.The same principle can be applied to personnel: If you know the majority of your audience is on Twitter, you’ll want to make sure you — or someone on your team — is regularly monitoring that network and engaging with people who belong to your target persona.The goal here isn’t to hunt people down (you’re not Dog the Bounty Hunter … are you?). Instead, you just want to make sure you’re hanging out where you’re personas are hanging out.3) Use the lingo that your personas use.Once you know how the people in your different persona groups communicate, start speaking their language! Use the buzzwords they use. Use the slang they use. After all, you’re not some foreign entity that has maliciously transplanted itself into their world (if you are, Dog the Bounty Hunter is coming for you). You’re a member of the community and have a deep understanding of how people in that community like to interact. Using their lingo should come naturally.4) Segment your list of contacts by buyer persona.List segmentation is the key to delivering more personalized experiences to your leads and customers. Once you’ve segmented your list by buyer persona, you’ll be able to do all sorts of fun stuff. (Just keep reading!)5) Write an ebook with a specific persona in mind.Creating buying personas gives you an enhanced knowledge of what your ideal customers like and respond to, as well as what they struggle with. Using those insights, you can create a targeted ebook that solves a common problem — or answers a common question — that a particular persona has. And if you’ve segmented your contacts list by buyer persona, guess what? You can easily share that ebook with just the group of contacts who you know will be interested in it.6) Write blog posts with specific personas in mind.You can target very niche long-tail keywords, and eventually, you may even decide to create persona-specific sections or channels for your blog. 7) Create a video with a specific persona in mind.Of course, creating content for your personas isn’t limited to ebooks and blog posts: There are tons of other content formats out there that a persona might prefer. In fact, you might discover during your research that one of your personas hates reading, and would rather watch short videos than read 400-word blog posts.By catering your content formats to the preferences of your personas, you can deliver a more enjoyable experience. 8) Audit your existing content for persona alignment.Perform an audit of all your content and try to figure out which persona each piece aligns with. If you discover content that doesn’t align with any of your personas, you might to consider updating it or — if it’s had zero success in generating leads — just get rid of it.At the end of the day, to attract the right people, you need to create the right content.9) Combine personas with lifecycle stages to map out content ideas.In addition to targeting content according to personas, you can target content according to another dimension: lifecycle stage. Lifecycle stage refers to how far along someone is in your sales cycle (and how close they are to making a purchase).By adding this dimension to the mix, you can ensure that you’re not only creating the right content for the right people, but that you’re also creating it for them at the right time. Want to learn more about content mapping? Download our free content mapping template.10) Optimize landing pages for personas.When you offer up a new piece of targeted content, make sure that the accompanying landing page conveys to your persona — in their language — how that content can help them solve a problem or add value to their lives.Not sure what call-to-action copy is going to drive the best results? Run some A/B tests to figure it out!11) Use dynamic content to tailor your website to different personas.Say goodbye to the one-size-fits-all website. With dynamic content (at HubSpot, we call it Smart Content), you can display different messaging to different people based on what persona you have them assigned to.12) Do some co-marketing with companies that your personas dig.Whether it’s a webinar, a co-written ebook, or simply a guest blog post, working with other businesses that you know a particular persona likes and respects can score you some serious street cred.Let’s face it: Businesses, like people, are often judged by the company they keep. So make sure you’re always in good company.13) Segment out your negative personas.A negative — or “exclusionary” — persona is a fictional representation of who you don’t want as a customer. This could include, for example, professionals who are too advanced for your product or service, students who are only engaging with your content for research/knowledge, or potential customers who are just too expensive to acquire.If you take the time to create negative personas, you’ll have the added advantage of being able to segment out the “bad apples” from the rest of your contacts, which can help you big time with lead generation and lead-to-customer conversion rates.14)  Put your negative personas on a dartboard and throw darts at them.Just kidding, that’s not nice.Voodoo dolls, on the other hand …Have some other ideas for what you can do with your buyer personas? Let us know in the comments section below! Originally published May 22, 2014 10:30:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Buyer Personas 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

World Cup 2019: Collingwood takes field for England after multiple injury scares vs Australia

first_imgEngland have been hit by injury woes even before they kicked off their World Cup 2019 campaign at home. The hosts and overwhelming favourites’ first warm-up match against Australia on Saturday got off to a horror-start as pacers Mark Wood and Jofra Archer suffered injury scares.England were short of personnel so much so that their assistant coach and 42-year-old former cricketer Paul Collingwood was forced to take the field. Collingwood, their fielding coach, wore Mark Wood’s shirt and came on as a substitute fielder for the side, led by Jos Buttler.Mark Wood walked off the field after suffering what was seemingly a hamstring injury in his fourth over at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton. Wood did not take any chances as he quickly left the field.Wood was replaced by Jofra Archer, who was rested for the first warm-up match. However, Archer, who was included in the England squad in the eleventh hour, walked off the field after seemingly injuring himself while fielding at the deep.Joe Root, who was given rest for Saturday’s warm-up match, was called onto the field.Notably, England had already lost Eoin Morgan to a finger injury. The skipper suffered the injury during a training session on the eve of their warm-up match against Australia. He has been ruled out of the warm-up fixtures but will be available to take the field for their World Cup 2019 opener against South Africa on May 30.With Adil Rashid, the leg-spinner, also missing out due to a shoulder issue, England were forced to bring Paul Collingwood onto the field.advertisementCollingwood hadn’t played international cricket for England since 2011. He retired from competitive cricket in 2018. Collingwood played 68 Tests, 197 ODIs and 36 T20Is for England and was rated one of the best fielders during his heyday.Despite losing key players to injuries, England have managed to keep Australia’s scoring rate under the check. Liam Plunkett picked up the dangerous wicket of David Warner (43), who was looking set to big after getting a solid start.Also Read | World Cup 2019: Steyn’s fitness will decide team composition: du PlessisAlso Read | 2019 World Cup: Relief for Team India after Vijay Shankar’s scans show no fractureAlso Seelast_img read more

Why Gratitude Is the Secret to Good Health & Happiness [Infographic]

first_img“Gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging everything you receive,” wrote Marelisa Fabrega in her book How Gratitude Can Change Your Life.Practicing gratitude doesn’t just make you a more likeable person, but it can also benefit your health. In a study of character strengths, gratitude was found to be the best predictor of wellbeing. Another study found that men and women with heart disease who practiced gratitude showed significant improvement in heart health.Not to mention, it can also make you happier. Research shows gratitude trumps optimism, spirituality, and emotional self-awareness when it comes to bringing greater positivity and satisfaction into our lives. Need more reasons to practice gratitude during the season of giving thanks? Check out the infographic below from Happify to learn how else gratitude can increase health and happiness.92Save 92Save Originally published Nov 26, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics:center_img Happiness at Work 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

Fonts & Feelings: Does Typography Connote Emotions?

first_img Topics: Originally published Jan 2, 2017 8:00:00 AM, updated April 18 2018 Don’t forget to share this post! Font Selection Think about your favorite book for a moment. How did it make you feel when you read it? Is that part of what made it such a compelling story?My favorite book series is Harry Potter, and apart from the awesomeness that is a magical boarding school, the font in which it was published may have influenced my affection for the series.Free Workbook: How to Plan a Successful Website RedesignYou see, visual elements are just as important as the words on a web page or blog post. And fonts serve as a visual marketing tool for publishers to leverage when compiling their story. The font you choose ultimately plays a hand in conveying the message you want to send your readers.In this post, we’ll explore how fonts can influence reader emotion and how marketers can use this information in their content.Fonts vs. Typefaces: What’s the Difference?“Font” and “typeface” are two terms that are often incorrectly used interchangeably.A font is one particular weight and style of a larger typeface. Typefaces are categories comprised of many different fonts. For example, Serif is a typeface, and Times New Roman is a font that is part of the Serif family.There are a variety of different typefaces and fonts. Here’s a quick rundown:SerifSerif fonts are identifiable by the small lines on the edges of letters (called serifs) that make the font easier to read in print.Fonts in the Serif typeface include Times New Roman, Georgia, and Book Antiqua.Sans SerifSans serif font letters don’t have a serif attached to them, so they display more clearly on websites.Fonts in the Sans serif typeface include Arial, Verdana, and Helvetica.Here’s a diagram of the difference between Serif and Sans Serif:Source: CreativeBloqScriptFonts in the Script typeface are meant to imitate the fluidity of human handwriting.Fonts in the Script typeface include Comic Sans, Kristen, and Lucida.Here’s an example of Kristen below:Source: FontsPlaceModern or DisplayThe modern typeface is characterized by variance between thin and thick bold lines in the lettering.Fonts in the Modern typeface include Impact, Rockwell, and Agency.Here’s an example of the Impact font:Source: FontCoMonospacedMonospaced fonts have larger spaces between each letter and were designed to look like text was written using a typewriter.Fonts in the Monospaced typeface include Courier, Consolas, and Monaco.Here’s what Courier looks like:Source: PrePressureThese different typefaces and fonts are widely used across the internet, and research has been conducted about the impact of fonts on communication and overall perception. Let’s dive into the data and see if you agree with their findings.Which Fonts Connote Which Emotions?Wichita State University’s Software Usability Research Laboratory conducted a survey in 2006 to determine if different fonts had different emotions and personalities associated with them.In the survey, they asked more than 500 participants about their perceptions of a variety of different fonts across the typefaces outlined above. The fonts that respondents answered questions about were:Source: UsabilityNewsDifferent uses of each font were evaluated in the survey, such as emails, letters, spreadsheets, web pages, headlines, and news articles.Respondents were then asked to assign personalities and emotions to each font, and the results were organized according to personality factors that the different fonts shared most frequently. The fonts within specific typefaces ended up grouping together, as you can see in the diagram below:Source: UsabilityNewsThe study then produced a detailed breakdown of the fonts most commonly associated with both positive and negative emotions and personality traits. The results are intriguing:Serif fonts were rated as “stable,” “practical,” and “mature.”Sans serif fonts didn’t receive any particularly positive or negative personality associations.Script fonts were perceived as “feminine,” “funny,” and “casual.”Modern fonts were categorized as “masculine,” “assertive,” and “coarse.”Monospaced fonts were called “dull,” “plain,” and “unimaginative.”Here’s the full breakdown of the top three fonts for each emotion and personality trait in the survey:Source: UsabilityNewsWhile that study provided some interesting insight around the way people view specific fonts, there are numerous other studies and theories that point to why certain fonts connote specific emotions.For example, in a 2014 study, medical patients received the same set of at-home care instructions in different fonts, and the harder-to-read fonts made patients think the tasks were harder to do. This is an example of cognitive fluency, a theory that posits when our brains have difficulty processing information, the task at hand appear more challenging.Similarly, a 2008 study, in which participants were presented exercise instructions in hard-to-read fonts, revealed that the challenging font choice made the task seem to require more time to achieve.The lesson? Based on cognitive fluency, if something is easy to read, it also seems easy to do.But that’s not all. The semantic memory associated with fonts also influences how readers feel about the fonts and the content they’re reading. For example, the Helvetica font is used on United States tax and Internal Revenue Service forms, which influences how the font is perceived — depending on their experience with the federal tax system.All of this is to say that there are numerous theories surrounding the psychology and emotional response to different fonts. In marketing specifically, fonts can capture your audience’s attention and help reinforce your brand’s messaging, so let’s dive into some actionable takeaways for content marketers getting ready to type.3 Takeaways for Selecting Fonts to Use in Your Marketing1) Choose fonts strategically by focusing on readability and legibility.Creative Bloq created an infographic that outlines many factors to consider when choosing fonts for different projects, and they found a few trends in which fonts are widely used specifically among blogs:20% of blogs use Georgia (Serif) for header text10% of blogs use (Sans serif) for header text10% of blogs use (Sans serif) for header text20% of blogs use Arial (Sans serif) for blog body copy10% of blogs use Helvetica (Sans serif) for blog body copySans serif fonts are particularly clear to readers: Without the serifs on the lettering, Sans serif fonts like Arial are easy to read even on small screens, where users are spending a lot of time online these days.Based on the research, fonts on your web pages and blog posts should be clear and easy-to-read. In fact, the simpler the better — that way, articles will be readable on a variety of different screen sizes, and your content won’t be associated with difficulty or inconvenience. Below, you can see that The Atlantic publishes articles in Proxima Nova, a Sans serif font that is one of the most popular fonts among internet publications.Source: The Atlantic & Fount2) Use typography that communicates to visitors who you’re looking for.If your goals include attracting a broad audience to your website, use typography that makes your content as universal and accessible as possible.On the other hand, if your content is meant to communicate particular emotions and messaging, you can communicate that with your font choices.For example, childish, playful fonts like those in the Script typeface may be the right fit for children’s clothing websites. Below, you can see that a Serif font was the right choice for Pottermore — it makes readers remember the classic Serif font used in the Harry Potter books themselves.Source: Pottermore & Fount3) Remember: Things seem easier to do when they’re easier to read.Make sure that fonts for your calls-to-action, headlines, and landing pages are bold, clear, and motivate site visitors to fulfill the task you want them to with your content. Here at HubSpot, we used a clear Sans serif font for our homepage and calls-to-action to make the information crystal clear to site visitors.Source: HubSpot & FountThe visual elements on a web page are just as important as the content you’re writing about, so experiment with different fonts that send the right message and elicit the feelings you want from your audience. When you’re ready to start typing, read more about how to choose typography and text layout on our blog.What’s your favorite font to use for blog posts, landing pages, and calls-to-action? Share with us in the comments below.Want more typography tips? Check out this list of the best free fonts available to download.last_img read more

4 Ways to Use Audio in B2B Marketing

first_img Originally published Mar 22, 2017 6:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! B2B Content Marketing Topics: When you’re trying to get somewhere — by foot, train, bus, or car — how do you pass the time?I’m one of those people who always has to be listening to something. Whether it’s a new Spotify playlist or the latest episode of a podcast, I use pretty much every opportunity to consume audible content.I’m hardly the only one who’s partial to audio in this way. According to the 2016 Edison Research Infinite Dial report, despite our content consumption becoming increasingly digital, we still love sound and sound alone. Online radio listenership, for example, has increased by 35% since 2005. But what does that have to do with us? Download Now: Free Social Media CalendarWe believe that this listening behavior creates a tremendous opportunity for marketers — especially those in the B2B sector — to create branded, audible content. Audio is often associated with consumer marketing, but those kind of assumptions create a missed opportunity for B2B brands. After all, here at HubSpot, we create content for marketing and sales professionals in a variety of formats, and if you read our blog, it’s no secret that we’re constantly nagging you to do the same — even with audio. So let’s explore the ways that can be done, starting with a look at the science behind the act of listening.The Listening ProcessBefore you start creating audio content, it might be helpful to understand how and why people listen. The act of listening, according to Merriam-Webster, is “to hear what someone has said and understand that it is serious, important, or true.”It also helps satisfy different physiological goals. We listen to alter our moods, stay alert, and figure stuff out. In humans, that’s been the case for pretty much as long as we’ve been in existence. The process starts when we receive auditory stimuli, which our brains then have to interpret. That’s aided by other senses — like sight — and helps us better figure out what we’re hearing.Once our brains have interpreted these auditory signals, we follow a series of steps that consist of recalling, evaluating, and responding to the information we consume:Source: Matthew Edward DysonIt’s that third step in the process — recalling — that might be the most important one for marketers. Numerous studies have discovered how listening triggers a widespread network of activity throughout the brain. That activity is what links auditory stimuli so strongly to memory.That might be why we love to talk about things we’ve heard, like a great song, for example. We’re actually sharing a story about our memory of what we heard. And that comes back around to what we do as marketers. We share the stories of and about our brands in a way that will get people to pay attention and listen to us.So, let’s get started, and begin creating content that people will listen.4 Ways to Use Audio in B2B Marketing1) PodcastsBranded PodcastsAccording to Edison Research, podcast listenership has been on a steady rise since 2006 — in fact, it’s grown by 25 percentage points. Source: Edison ResearchPeople often make the mistake of thinking that podcasts are largely consumer-facing. We think of those that are aired on public radio or hosted by celebrities for the masses of bored commuters trying to pass the time. But in reality, there are a number of B2B podcasts out there, like Duct Tape Marketing, ZenDesk’s Relate, and HubSpot’s The Growth Show.But when it comes to creating branded podcasts, many B2B marketers make similar objections that we used to hear about blogging — such as, “I don’t have time,” or, “I don’t have anything to say.” Podcasts, like blogs, follow the pillars of inbound marketing, in that you’re creating valuable, educational content for people who are searching for information on what your business does best. That’s one way The Growth Show works, for example. Because HubSpot’s marketing, sales, and CRM software comprise a growth stack, we use our podcast to discuss related topics with business leaders who have accomplished notable growth, and who have good stories.“Companies — especially B2B companies — have such a hard time telling their organization’s story,” says Kierran Petersen, The Growth Show’s associate producer. “Creating a branded podcast is the perfect opportunity to do that. It’s such a personal way to give people insight into what you do, by showing your audience who you actually are.”That’s where the answer to the second objection — “I don’t have anything to say” — comes in. When people tell us that’s why they can’t invest time in blogging, we usually say, “Write what you know.” The same thing goes for podcasting, but instead of writing, you’re speaking about what you know. And for some, that might even come easier than writing.Of course, creating a branded podcast isn’t as simple as recording 30 minutes of stream-of-thought remarks on your business. It helps to approach this content creation the same way you would for a blog, and create an editorial calendar to plan and outline different topics, as well as people who you’d like to interview. You should also consider how you’re going to distribute that content and the different platforms that your audience can use to consume the podcast. For beginners, we recommend free tools like SoundCloud, or experimenting with different ways to share the audio across social media.Repurposing Blogs as PodcastsIf you’re still feeling a bit uncertain about creating an original podcast, you can start on a smaller scale by repurposing your existing content. On some blogs, you may have come across the option to listen to an audio version of the post. That’s one fairly easy way for businesses to create original audible content — take what you’ve already written, and turn it into a spoken-word version.There are several ways to pull that off. Some brands turn their blog posts into full-blown podcasts of varying length, complete with an introduction, music, quotes, and sound effects. That’s what National Public Radio — better known as NPR — often does with its various news stories. Notice how this piece, for example, has both full text and audio, the latter of which can be heard below.But others, like The Atlantic, take a different approach, and dictate the full text of articles, treating it like an audiobook. Check it out:There’s no “right” way to repurpose existing content for audio this way — that largely depends on the length of the piece, or if you want to abridge the writing for the spoken word. The important thing to remember is that it’s not impossible, and with a bit of creativity, there are numerous ways for B2B marketers to create audible content of this kind.2) AudiogramsSnippetsIn February, you may have noticed that HubSpot’s co-founders, Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, penned a special post on the Marketing Blog dedicated to the 2016 year in review. But it didn’t end there. Across our online presence, HubSpot distributed year-in-review messages in various formats, including nifty little audiograms.“But what’s an audiogram, Amanda?”I thought you might ask that. Well, an audiogram is a snippet of — imagine that — audio that overlays a still image. We curated a collection of these on our website, and posted some on Facebook, like this quote from Bertie Ocampo, Hubspot’s APAC event & field marketing manager.Audiograms can be shared on Instagram, too, which is “mobile first, so odds are good that folks will have their headphones in,” says Marissa Emanuele, HubSpot’s social media manager. But she encourages providing context — don’t just post a snippet over a picture and expect people to understand its purpose. “Audiograms are always better,” she explains, “if they incorporate text or captioning of some kind.”… Or LongerThis strategy can also work with longer audio files, says Chelsea Hunersen, a social media manager at HubSpot. “We’ve shared some videos,” she says, for example, “that play an episode of The Growth Show, with an image that says, ‘this is audio’.”That means you can use this same technique with audio samples that are “longer than 30 seconds,” says Hunersen. So when you’re thinking about ways to distribute your podcasts, here’s one — consider turning them into audiograms, or pairing them with these images-as-video.3) Facebook AudioSource: FacebookIn December 2016, Facebook announced its latest live content feature: Live Audio. “Sometimes,” read the official announcement, “publishers want to tell a story on Facebook with words and not video.” That’s usually due to two reasons:Audio is often a bit lower-maintenance than video, in that it requires less hardware — like cameras — and lower connectivity.It’s also a bit easier on the listener. “Audio is a really low commitment way to consume content,” explains Hunersen. “I can have the audio open in my browser and listen to something like I would a podcast, even if I don’t watch it at the same time on Facebook.”Facebook Live Audio has flown a bit under the radar since this announcement, and it’s unclear whether or not it’s actually available to marketers yet — so far, we haven’t seen it used. Plus, Hunersen explains, “It’s supposedly only available on Android” devices.But it does present another audio content distribution option for marketers, however: To double a podcast recording as a Facebook Live broadcast.How does that work, exactly? Well, perhaps you’ve seen videos of radio hosts broadcasting live videos of themselves in the recording studio, and sharing a visual version of the interviews they’re conducting, for example. Here’s one example of a German radio station that created this kind of content with independent musician Astronautalis:While that example might fall into the B2C realm, it can easily be adapted by B2B organizations. It also shows how a Facebook Live stream of your podcast recording or interview can be repurposed as pre-recorded video later on. Film a brief intro from your guest, and follow it with a clip of one of the most interesting moments from the conversation. It also brings up a great way to keep the audience engaged — ask them for questions they’d like to ask your guest in real-time.4) Other Spoken ContentWhen marketers set out to create content, accessibility isn’t always something that’s top of mind. For individuals with visual impairment, for example, something like an infographic or a flowchart isn’t the most consumable piece of content.That’s just one reason why adapting your visual and written content into audio versions can be so valuable. Not only does it create a way to consume what you’ve created in a portable way, but also, you’re making it available to a broader audience.It’s like creating audible versions of books, for example — that allows people to enjoy or consume novels or nonfiction when reading isn’t an option, like while driving. B2B marketers can do the same thing with their ebooks and whitepapers. But be certain that it’s still interesting to the listener. There’s nothing less engaging, for example, than a computerized dictation of written content. When you record the spoken versions of this content, make sure it’s read aloud by someone who can bring energy to the words, instead of just reciting them in a monotone fashion.Start TalkingI don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited. I feel a newfound motivation to get out there and create something for people to listen to, and I hope you do, too.As these examples show, using audio in B2B marketing doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking — it can be as simple or as large-scale as you want, depending on your resources. You can create something completely new, or repurpose what you’ve already got.Just remember: Always keep it engaging. And whatever you create, we can’t wait to hear it — we’ll be here, listening.How have you used audio in your marketing? Let us know in the comments.last_img read more

ICC Test rankings: Jasprit Bumrah rises to No. 3 with career-best rating points

first_imgIndia pacer Jasprit Bumrah rose 4 spots to No. 3 in ICC rankings for Test bowlers after a series-winning performance in India’s World Test Championship campaign in West Indies.Jasprit Bumrah has achieved a career-best rating points of 835 and is only behind South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada (851 points) and Australia’s Pat Cummins (908 points).Meanwhile, West Indies captain Jason Holder not only consolidated his spot at the top of the ICC Test all-rounder’s rankings but rose 7 spots to join James Anderson at No.4 in the bowler’s charts.Jasprit Bumrah topped the bowler’s charts in the 2-Test series against West Indies, picking up 13 wickets to help India complete their first-ever whitewash against the Caribbeans. Bumrah also became only the third Indian bowler after Harbhajan Singh and Irfan Pathan to pick up a Test hat-trick when he achieved the feat in the recently-concluded 2nd Test in Kingston, Jamaica.Jasprit Bumrah breathed fire as he turned out to be West Indies batsmen’s worst nightmare in the 2-Test series. In the first Test in Antigua, Bumrah picked up 5 wickets, conceding just 7 runs. West Indies were shot out for 100 in the 2nd innings as Bumrah rattled the stumps with alarming regularity.In the second Test, Bumrah picked up a hat-trick in the first innings and finished with figures of 6/27.Bumrah came up with a masterclass in swing bowling as he troubled the West Indies batsmen by moving the ball both ways at will. While he broke into the scene as a pace bowler who could tail the ball into the right-hander, Bumrah showed he is improving with every passing day by mastering out-swing in the Caribbean.advertisementBumrah troubled left-handers and right-handers alike with some unplayable out-swingers that left the crickter fraternity awestruck.Speaking after India’s 2nd Test win on Monday, captain Virat Kohli said he feels for batsmen who face Jasprit Bumrah and called the India pacer the “most complete bowler” in world cricket at the moment.When Bumrah gets momentum, you know what he can do in 5-6 overs with the new ball. I have not seen many more spells lethal than that.”As a batsman, fielding at the slip, you can feel for the batsmen who are playing him because he confuses you with angle, swing. You know he will set you up for out-swingers and then bowl in-swingers. It’s coming at pace and then he can hit you with bouncers as well.”I think he is the most complete bowler in world cricket right now.”ICC Test Bowling Rankings (As of September 3, 2019)1. Pat Cummins2. Kagiso Rabada3. Jasprit Bumrah4. Jason Holder4. James Anderson6. Vernon Philander7. Trent Boult8. Neil Wagner9. Kemar Roach10. Mohammad AbbasAlso Read | Steve Smith edges past Virat Kohli to become No.1 Test batsmanAlso See:last_img read more

R Ashwin finds himself more sidelined than someone with his record should be: Sunil Gavaskar

first_imgFormer India captain and batting great Sunil Gavaskar has hit out at the Indian team management for not providing the confidence a successful bowler like R Ashwin deserves in international cricket.Sunil Gavaskar said R Ashwin has been sidelined more often than a bowler with his record should be, while pointing out he is one of India’s most successful spinners in the recent past.India vs South Africa, 1st Test Day 3: Live UpdatesR Ashwin returned to the Test XI after nearly an year’s time out of the set-up. Ashwin found himself out of the Test XI due to niggles after just one Test in Australia and the star off-spinner was not included in the side for the 2-Test series in West Indies. Despite having been picked in the squad, India went in with Ravindra Jadeja as their only spinner in the Caribbean.R Ashwin though made an immediate impact on return to the Test XI by picking up 2 wickets towards the close of play on Day 2 of the ongoing 1st Test against South Africa in Visakhapatnam. Ashwin showed signs of his vintage self by getting the wicket of South Africa opener Aiden Markram with a beauty that had flight, dip and turn.However, Ashwin struggled to provide India with a breakthrough in the morning session when Dean Elgar and Faf du Plessis were resisting the Indian charge with sensisble batsmanship against spin.”Ashwin should be a certainty. The fact that he has not been made to feel the comfort level is the reason why we are seeing him struggle a little bit,” Gavaskar told Star Sports during lunch on Day 3.advertisement”He has also got to feel he has got the confidence of the people around him. When you don’t have the confidence of people around you, when you keep getting sidelined, then you try a little too hard.”I think, there is always these little comparisons he suffers from. When playing in Australia, he is compared to Nathan Lyon. Nathan Lyon is doing that doing this. But Lyon is bowling to the Indian batsmen. Similarly, in England, when Moeen Ali got 6 or 7 wickets, you say he didn’t get any wickets’. It can happen.”I think there is more to it than just cricketing performances which is the reason he just finds himself sidelined more often than somebody with his record should be. Somebody who has got almost 350 wickets can’t be sidelined as regularly as he has been.”While hinting India could have afforded to play Ashwin in place of an extra batsman in West Indies, Sunil Gavaskar suggested India don’t need 6 regular batsman at home in the ongoing series against South Africa.”If it’s going to be hot conditions like this, you need an extra bowler. Whether it’s a spinner or seamer, it depends on the surface. I think India can afford to play 5 batsmen and with Ashwin who has 4 Test hundreds and Jadeja who is batting well with due respect to this South African attack,” Gavaskar said.India got an early breakthrough on Day 3 when Ishant Sharma got the wicket of Temba Bavuma but Dean Elgar and Faf du Plessis combined to stitch a hundred-plus stand to put some pressure on India for the first time in the ongoing Test.Also Read | Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah retain dominance in ICC ODI rankingsAlso See:last_img read more

Guardiola lauds ‘essential’ Aguero

first_imgSergio Agüero Guardiola lauds ‘essential’ Aguero after quick-fire double rescues Man City Russell Greaves 02:22 1/7/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments() Sergio Aguero Manchester City FA Cup Alex Livesey/Getty Images Sergio Agüero Manchester City v Burnley Guardiola Burnley Manchester City FA Cup The Argentine scored two in quick succession to bring his side from a goal down to a commanding win over Sean Dyche’s men Pep Guardiola hailed Sergio Aguero as “an essential player” after the striker scored twice to spark a Manchester City revival against Burnley in Saturday’s FA Cup tie.The hosts fell behind at the Etihad Stadium when Ashley Barnes blasted the Clarets into the lead, but Aguero netted a double inside 93 seconds to turn things around in the second half.Leroy Sane and Bernardo Silva added further gloss to make it 4-1 as the Premier League leaders coasted into the fourth round in the end, but it was Aguero who stole the show to earn rich praise from his manager.  Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player “Both of Sergio Aguero’s goals were amazing, they were clever and quick and I am happy with both of his goals,” said Guardiola.”It’s an honour for me to have Aguero under my command. The quality he has is amazing and we need him to score a lot of goals.”Aguero is the kind of player that in a matter of seconds can score two goals. He is an essential player for us.”Sergio Aguero Pep Guardiola Manchester City 06012018Midfielder David Silva was applauded by the home fans in the 21st minute – he wears the number 21 – in support of his son, who was born prematurely and remains in medical care.It was confirmed Silva, who announced the news on his Twitter account this week, would fly back to Spain to be with his family and Guardiola added: “David Silva is a legend for the club for what he has done.”I am happy for him to have made his statement and it is not easy for him to travel to Spain and England back and forth.”last_img read more

Texas Tech Will Not Use #WreckEm in Light of OSU Homecoming

first_imgTECH FANS, PLEASE SHARE:Athletics is asking that everyone please keep OSU in mind as we take them on at the Jones on…Posted by Devin Ward KCBD on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 Out of respect to Oklahoma State and the fan base regarding the recent car accident that killed four and injured dozens, Texas Tech is doing their best to advise fans to refrain from using their popular #WreckEm hashtag on social media.Texas Tech uses the hashtag to aim towards their specific opponent (i.e. #WreckOSU), but they have informed the fans to use the #GunsUp hashtag instead this weekend in light of the recent events that transpired in Stillwater. What a classy move.Also, Tech is planning a black out on Halloween. Here’s what Devin Ward of KCBD shared on Facebook:AdChoices广告 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

PFB Readers: Get a Free Coffee Mug In September

first_imgIf you have read Pistols Firing in the last two years, you know Hoboken Coffee in Guthrie has been our longest-standing sponsor. I drink their coffee every morning while I write the Bullets (or Mullets) which they sponsor, and I absolutely love it.But I also love their business. Its owners (Trey and his wife Mallory) set up shop in Guthrie, Oklahoma where they run their shop and host yoga classes and concerts when they aren’t pouring drinks. They are passionate about their local community (something I could learn from) and love Oklahoma State and great coffee (ditto).Anyway, for the month of September they are offering a free mug (see below) when you buy a bag of coffee online. Here are the details from Trey:Buy a bag of coffee online and get a free mugDiscount code: mulletThe free mug offer will be available all month longThe discount only works when you add one bag of coffee and a mug to the cart, you can’t add several bags and get a free mug.Hope you guys take advantage — you can purchase the coffee right here — and love it as much as I have. 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