1.9 lakh suggestions on Maratha quota

first_imgAlready under pressure to submit its report on its assessment of the possibility of reservation in jobs and education for the Maratha community, the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission will now have to deal with the 1.9 lakh suggestions and objections. The eight-member panel is, officials said, is wondering how to go through them, given the deadline for submitting its report is November 15. It has already appointed officials, experts and think-tanks to complete collection of data and surveys, but the submissions from the public were unexpectedly numerous. Dinesh Waghmare, Secretary, Social Justice and Special Assistance Department, said, “We’ve asked them to hurry, but obviously the number of submissions is large. It will take time to determine how many of these are for and how many are against reservation for Marathas. The government is doing its best to assist the commission with the scrutiny.” Senior officials said a time-bound programme has already been submitted to the leaders of the community.last_img read more

Gin Kings keep Aces winless

first_imgSonny Thoss was just the third man in twin digits for Alaska with 11.Meanwhile, Star slugs it out with Rain or Shine on Sunday afternoon, looking to not only remain the only undefeated team but also to move closer to the first playoff spot at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.The Hotshots have a 4-0 record and will come into the 4:30 p.m. contest as the favorites over the Elasto Painters, who will welcome back Gilas Pilipinas stalwarts Gabe Norwood and Raymond Almazan.Coach Chito Victolero has been bracing for this game for quite a while now as it starts a tough stretch for his Hotshots, who will clash with Barangay Ginebra next Sunday before colliding with Meralco.Those are first-rate teams and Victolero got the jumpstart he was hoping for last week when Star ran roughshod over Phoenix Petroleum, 100-81.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief “The players are jelling well and are learning their roles,” Victolero said. “This (game against the Painters) will be very crucial for us because it starts a tough stretch for us.”A win would shove the Hotshots to within another victory of nailing the first quarterfinal slot, though Victolero has been very vocal about what the true target of his squad is.“Of course, we want to finish in the top four,” he said as the first four placers earn twice-to-beat privileges in the first round. “But we are taking it one game at a time and we cannot look past any opponent.”Grand Slam-seeking San Miguel Beer, after dusting off the rust in a 115-112 nipping of GlobalPort on Friday, battles rejuvenated NLEX at 6:45 p.m.NLEX has a 5-2 record and can claim the first playoff slot with an upset of the powerhouse Beermen. WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding From mall to medal: Journey on skates ends in gold Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:41RSA reminds Ginebra to stay humble after back-to-back PBA titles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games SEA Games: PH’s Alisson Perticheto tops ice skating short program UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses PBA IMAGESCEBU—It was hard to see anything that would say that Barangay Ginebra was coming off a 21-day break.With three men in its starting lineup finishing with double-doubles and Japeth Aguilar coming off the bench to carve one of his own, Ginebra plastered Alaska, 94-80, to win a fourth straight game and stay in the upper half of the PBA Governors’ Cup standings.ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games LIST: Class, gov’t work suspensions during 30th SEA Games The Gin Kings were dominant right from the start of the Petron Saturday Special Game at Hoops Dome here as they buried the Aces in an avalanche of baskets early to take command and eventually rise to 4-1.Alaska, on the other hand, still didn’t see an end to its franchise mark in futility, dropping to 0-6 overall after losing its 14th straight game dating back to the Commissioner’s Cup. And this one was the most lopsided in this tournament as the Aces simply didn’t have an answer to Ginebra’s game-long intensity.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutJustin Brownlee had 22 points and 10 rebounds, Greg Slaughter contributed 12 and 13, and Scottie Thompson missed a triple double by just two points after plucking down 11 boards and issuing 10 assists.Calvin Abueva, Alaska’s big contribution to the Gilas Pilipinas program, finished with 22 points and 13 rebounds, but import LeDontae Henton sealed his 10th point only inside the final minute when the game was all but decided. LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Read Next View commentslast_img read more

SEA Games: PH squash team settles for another silver

first_imgBrace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC PH squash team after their 2017 SEA Games gold medal match. Photo by Marc ReyesKUALA LUMPUR—The Philippine men’s squash team, which upset Malaysia in the semifinals on Monday, surrendered to Singapore, 2-1, in the final Tuesday night at National Squash Center here in Kuala Lumpur Sports Center.The Filipinos settled for another silver, the other in women’s doubles, in the penultimate day of competition.ADVERTISEMENT Read Next Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH LATEST STORIES UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games PLAY LIST 03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games00:50Trending Articles01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games03:04Filipino athletes share their expectations for 2019 SEA Games00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games MOST READ WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Filipinos bag another silver in sepak takraw Reymark Bergornia dropped the opening match, 11-1, 11-3, 11-16, to Pang Ka Hoe. But Robert Andrew Garcia equalised after beating Benedict Chan, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9, in the second match.That left David William Pelino to carry the fight for the gold but he succumbed to the faster and craftier Samuel Kang, 11-4, 11-4, 11-5, in the deciding match.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief View commentslast_img read more

Business Blog: Why You’ll Kick Yourself Later For Not Starting One Now

first_img One other point of interest from the report was that there are 100,000 (that’s not a typo) new blogs created every day.  I suspect the vast majority of these are being started by individuals, not businesses, but that will likely change in the coming year or so making the pile you will need to climb over even higher if you start then.  This is another reason the age of the blog matters because there is more and more competition in the blogosphere and more competition to get into people’s RSS readers. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack One section of the post hopped out at me.  They did some work on trying to correlate certain events with overall “success” of a blog.  Their definition of “success” is a function of the number of other blogs linking to your blog within the last six months.  The blogs are broken down into low, middle, high, and very high authority based on the overall number of links into them within the six month window.  The thing that jumped out at me was how closely correlated the success/authority of the blog is with the age of the blog itself.  Despite throwing out data that is greater than six months old, the older the blog the more likely it is to gain very high authority.  Have you started a blog for your business yet?  If not, why not?  Leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments. Originally published Nov 9, 2006 2:50:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 OnStartups I can imagine a myriad of reasons for this.  Over time you get more people linking to you from their sites/blogs that produce traffic that builds (particularly if on blogrolls) slowly over time.  The blog starts getting noticed by Google around consistent themes over time as well, so that when someone comes onto Google to search on a certain term, your blog starts moving up the list and gets clicked on more frequently.  Dharmesh’s center_img Topics: blog has been around for just over a year and now gets more than a third of its traffic from natural searches on Google.  Both of these effects are cumulative and climb steadily, so that even if your content does not get any more interesting or frequent, the baseline readership tends to increase.  If you are running a small business in a niche market, I recommend you get the process started of creating a blog sooner, rather than later.  A blog is a tool that can help you “attract” prospects through links and natural search that will likely be interested in your company’s offerings.  A blog is a way for you to “engage” with your prospects enabling them to self-qualify for your offering.  Lastly, when someone visits your website (brochureware), they often just come once and never return, but a blog gives them the ability (through RSS) to subscribe to anything new that comes out and a reason (fresh content) to come back for more. Blog Optimization Technorati is a system used to track, rank, and search the blogosphere which now includes 57 million blogs.  They recently came out with a state of the union post on the blogosphere itself which is a pretty interesting read, albeit a little on the long/complicated side.last_img read more

Chart of the Week: Social Media Budget Time Questions

first_img Learn how to use social media for lead generation. Video: How to Use Social Media for Lead Generation webinar will feature a Case Study on HubSpot’s Social Marketing Strategy. register today Originally published Feb 3, 2010 5:15:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 Not surprisingly, those who have reached the strategic phase of social marketing maturity are far more likely to be producing or at least seeing signs of a return on their investment on the horizon. for tomorrow’s webinar. Based on the findings from MarketingSherpa’s 2010 Social Media Marketing Benchmark Report, the Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Which statement best describes how The 17% of organizations who still believe social media marketing is basically free and should stay that way, are destined to get what they pay for. Considering that social media is at a very early stage in its lifecycle, a 7% confidence rating that it is producing measureable ROI and should be funded liberally is outstanding. Conservative budget increases by almost half of all marketers surveyed — based on the promise that social media will eventually produce ROI — is another vote of confidence for this marketing channel in the longer term. For additional research data and insights about social marketing, measurable ROI Download the free video social media marketing to leverage Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites to generate leads and customers. is perceived within your organization at budget time? On the other hand, marketers in the trial phase of social marketing maturity are more than four times as likely to not recognize the value this tactic has for organizations willing to invest appropriate time and resources.last_img read more

Google Launches Real-Time Search Homepage and New Tools

first_img Google Alerts to give it a try. a real-time feature. – Using real-time search, users can limit real-time updates to a specific location near them or a location they select. Want to know what is the hottest topic in your city right now? Then set your location in Google real-time search. Google’s real-time search feature is currently in the process of being rolled out to everyone. Visit Google Updates – Do you want to get an email the second someone mentions your business on Twitter? Now you can. With the launch of real-time search, Google has made Real-Time Google Alerts Google’s real-time search provides users with a page of search results that automatically update as new updates are created that mention the user’s search terms from social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and more. Included in real-time search are many new features: Look for Local Conversations History Conversation Viewing Google.com/realtime – Using the timeline at the top of the real-time page, users can scroll to a period of time and look at the updates and conversations for specific data and times using Originally published Aug 26, 2010 2:30:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Google’s real-time search . How Does Google’s Real-Time Search Work? Search engines have been working at a rapid pace to improve their systems to handle and deliver results from social networks in real time. Today, the real-time search industry got a lot hotter. Google today turned on a new experiment feature that delivers search results on a keyword in real time. Marketing TakeawayWith the launch of real-time search, Google has reinforced the importance of social media for marketing. Businesses participating in social media will have a clear advantage in getting found online because of their automatic inclusion in real-time search results. Marketers now have a new tool to monitor online conversations about their business and understand which marketing events directly caused an increase in word-of-mouth buzz during a given time. Google real-time search is a huge boost for marketers not only in monitoring but also in demonstrating the value of social media to their business. Topics: To learn about some of the other important features and aspects of Google’s real-time search, check out this quick video from Google. 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

Facebook Now Offers Sponsored Stories

first_img Marketing Takeaway has added a Facebook page admins should see a new “promote” option below each of their fan page stories. Facebook using its self-service ad platform, Sponsored Stories. Facebook’s self-service advertising platform has traditionally allowed businesses to promote their fan pages and to create and display ads on Facebook. Sponsored Stories takes advertising on Facebook a step further. This new ad unit allows page admins to pay for additional distribution of page stories as well as user updates that mention them in Facebook’s ad space. Promoting organic content instead of ads could help your offers get more attention on Facebook’s advertising platform. Test Sponsored Stories to see how the cost-per-lead compares with other paid programs. With the launch of Sponsored Stories, Facebook is directly competing with Twitter’s new Promoted Tweets advertising platform. It seems like paying for extra reach of organic social media content is a trend that is catching on. Once you have edited the ad and set the right pricing and targeting choices for your business, your promoted story is ready to go. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack After clicking on the “promote” link, Facebook opens a pop-up window to explain ad targeting options. At this point, you are going to want to click the “Edit Ad” button so that you can select targeting options before placing the order for the ad. Originally published Feb 9, 2011 1:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Will you test Facebook’s new Sponsored Stories feature? new option for marketers After viewing this window, click “Create Ad.” This will take you to a new screen that will allow you to review and edit your ad. Topics: Facebook Marketing How To Use Facebook Sponsored Storieslast_img read more

Who Should You Outsource Social Media to? [Marketing Cast]

first_img Weekly Marketing Cast Who would you outsource your social media and content creation to – marketing experts or journalists? In the previous episode we discussed whether businesses should outsource social media marketing. The topic sparked a healthy discussion, leading to more than 20 thoughtful comments by our readers! If you need some help with content creation and social media marketing, David recommends hiring a journalist. You could outsource to a newspaper reporter, a magazine writer or a photojournalist. “Those people know how to tell a story,” David says. They work well on deadlines and are able to tackle different stories with skill. Inbound Marketing Topics: Hire Journalists of the Originally published May 30, 2011 11:00:00 AM, updated July 08 2013 Don’t Outsource to Marketing Experts  Marketing experts are good at hyping product. But this is not what you need, says David Meerman Scott. You need someone who is good at telling stories. This is the backbone of inbound marketing—creating valuable content to attract visitors to your site and to convert them into leads and customers.   Social Media Some said that real industry experts should be the ones sharing content. Others pointed out some legitimate concerns with outsourcing. Let’s continue this discussion with a slight twist: if you decide to outsource your social media marketing, who would you hire? 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

An Insider’s Secret to Avoiding Marketing Content Shortages

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 These days, inbound marketers have to crank out content like never before. Between blog posts, ebooks, webinars, videos, podcasts, and more, it’s hard to keep fresh topics on the horizon. So how can you make it easier to produce remarkable content at such a fast pace? Let me introduce you to your new sidekick, the editorial calendar.So, you have a pretty good sense of the audience you’re targeting and what kind of content you will most likely need to create to drive sales and happy customers. (Wait — you don’t? Read this first.) The next step is to create an editorial calendar that lays out when and where to share that content. An editorial calendar is like a roadmap for content creation, showing you what kind of content to create, what topics to cover, which personas to target, and how often to publish to best support your inbound marketing strategy.Here are 7 simple steps to set up your own editorial calendar:1. Choose a template. Create a Google calendar or a spreadsheet to record your editorial plans. You should plan at least three months in advance, but it’s even better if you can develop a plan for the next six months — or even an entire year.2. Decide on your goals. Work backwards from your marketing goals to guide your plan. Look at how much traffic, how many leads, and how many customers you are aiming to generate each month. Analyze your previous marketing efforts to determine how many pieces of content you will typically need to reach those goals. For example, say in the past you produced 1 ebook and wrote 15 blog articles in a month, which generated X visits and X leads. If you’d like to double the amount of traffic and leads you generate in a given month, it might be safe to assume you’ll need to produce 2 ebooks and 30 blog articles next month. The trick is to experiment, and over time, you’ll be able to notice patterns that will help you determine how much content you need to create (and how much promotional muscle you’ll need to put in) to meet your goals.3. Schedule your content. Fill in the dates on your calendar with specific publishing tasks, such as updating your blog or social networks daily, posting new videos or podcasts each week, publishing an ebook or hosting a webinar each month, and so on. For each date, list the topic, the title of the piece, and the targeted persona. The goal is to create a good mix of content types, topics, and personas to make sure you’re covering all your segments.4. Write down the focal points. Note the SEO keywords, the stage of the buying cycle, the call-to-action, or other inbound marketing goals that each piece of content must address.5. Mark other significant events. Make note of important dates or external events that are good hooks for specific topics or types of content. For example, retailers could highlight major holidays such as Christmas, Halloween, or Mother’s Day and plan content that fits with the seasonal theme. B2B marketers could note important industry trade shows they plan to attend, and schedule blog updates, recaps, or videos generated at the event.6. Find opportunities to repurpose content. For example, the publication of a new whitepaper/ebook or research report could generate several weeks’ worth of blog posts that each share details or small nuggets of data from the complete report. (Like this blog post does!) Or the transcript from that webinar you produced could get translated into an ebook.7. Organize by content type. Create separate tabs in your editorial calendar document for each kind of content you publish, such as blog posts, webinars, ebooks, videos, etc. That way, you can make sure you’re publishing enough of each kind of content, and spreading that content appropriately among your targeted personas and stages of the buying cycle.By the end of this process, you’ll find that you’ve filled up most of your calendar with detailed plans for content. No more coming to work in the morning wondering what you’re going to publish to maintain your inbound marketing goals!And don’t worry — if there are a few holes, that’s okay. You want the flexibility to capitalize on news or hot topics as they arise over the course of the year. For those weeks when you can’t find the inspiration for, say, another blog post, calling up your calendar will give you a great visual reminder of what you’ve covered already and what you’re planning to cover next week or next month, so you can at least narrow down your options.So what are you waiting for?  Start filling up that calendar with great content, and get publishing!This post is an adapted excerpt from our free ebook, A Practical Guide to Killer Marketing Content. To learn more about keeping those great content ideas flowing, download the free ebook here! Originally published Jan 30, 2012 12:00:00 PM, updated July 03 2013last_img read more

Reality Check: How to Tell if Your Marketing Content Is Actually Valuable

first_imgYou don’t necessarily have to go this far, labeling your content with skill-level tags. But you should keep in mind your reader’s level of understanding of certain concepts when creating content. After all, a piece of content that’s either too elementary, or goes right over their head, doesn’t offer them a ton of value.3) It’s aligned with the reader’s stage in sales cycle.Before you ship a piece of marketing content, consider whether it’s the right type of content — or even the right channel to publish that content — considering your readers’ stage in the sales cycle. There are certain channels, content types, and subject matters that are really only appropriate for readers at a certain stage in your marketing funnel. Here’s a general guideline to keep in mind:This means you don’t saturate your Twitter account with links to product data sheets — nobody cares. It also means you don’t bombard your marketing qualified leads (MQLs) who are just trying to get your purchase order signed off on by legal with invites to top-of-the-funnel webinars. Swap those two, and you’re doing alright.4) The tone is clear and accessible.It’s always healthy to do a business babble check on your content. Business babble is how people who want to sound wicked smart talk and write.”Sound” being the operative word.Read through your content to see if you’re saying things as clearly as possible. If you have trouble nailing an accessible tone in your writing, a good rule of thumb is to simply write how you speak to a friend. I’ll use the example of explaining what SEO is to my grandma — this is a real-life example from the last time I went home for the holidays :-)”You know when you go to Google and type something in — like how late the grocery store is open? Well, you usually click on the first few results, because they answer your question the best, right? That’s what SEO is — it stands for search engine optimization, and it’s all about finding a way to get your grocery store to show up in the top of Google.”And for comparison sake, the business-babbley way of explaining that would be:”SEO describes the practice of optimizing the instances and placement of your site’s web pages in the SERPs based on a user’s search query to help solve for greater traffic and conversions.”Some of us can probably parse that second one … but why should we have to? Just make it easy to get through, and don’t leave anybody out by speaking in more complicated terms than are absolutely necessary.5) It’s written with specificity.Part of writing with a clear tone means writing with specificity — in other words, writing exactly what you mean, and avoiding broad, general statements. Or at least avoiding broad, general statements that you don’t couple with specific details that help clarify your meaning.Here’s what I mean. (See?! We’re doing it right now, guys!)If you’re writing a blog post about how to measure the ROI of your Facebook presence, one of your points would probably be about the importance of measuring the month-over-month growth in engagement on your page. But are you going to explain exactly why this is an important metric to measure? Or is it just part of a laundry list of things you should measure … without detailing the purpose of performing that measurement? Furthermore, are you going to tell the reader where in their Facebook account they can get metrics like this?As a reader, I’d want to see information like:Growth in engagement is important to measure, because more engagement means that you’re probably showing up in Facebook’s News Feed more often.That’s because of the way Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm works — favoring content from brands that receive a lot of engagement.As such, it’ll be easier for you to grow your reach on Facebook, and this is an important metric.If you want to measure the growth of your engagement, you can go to Page Level Insights in Facebook and export consumption metrics into Excel. I might even want some screenshots.Prescriptive content like this, which bridges the gap between theory and execution, is way more valuable than general content that touts best practices but doesn’t tell the reader how to do anything.6) You use examples to clarify your theories and instructions, and those examples are relatable.Dude, we just did this. A few times, actually. It’s why I did a business babble compare and contrast, and why I included a screenshot of an ebook with a skill-level tag in it. Examples demonstrate the concept you’re trying to explain in a real-world scenario. And real-world scenarios mean way more to a reader than hypotheticals.You should also make sure your examples help demonstrate how the concept you’re writing about would work in your readers’ daily lives. Selling SEO software to lawyers? Use examples about conducting keyword research around legal search terms. Selling children’s clothing to moms? Use examples that talk about getting grass stains out of the knees of your kids’ jeans. Even if you’re selling across multiple industries or targeting more than one persona, you can still try to find some common ground. That’s why examples in our content are often about marketing — people reading a marketing blog all have a basic understanding of the concepts, so the examples will resonate.7) You use benchmarking data.A simple way to make your content incredibly valuable is by adding benchmarking data when it’s available. It’s a way to let your readers know whether they’re on the right track with whatever it is you’re teaching.For instance, when we wrote a blog post about how to properly launch a mobile app, the first thing we told people to do was define success so they knew whether their app launch was, you know … successful. That’s why we gave them this benchmark: Content Marketing Because without it, it wouldn’t be that valuable. I mean, how would they know if they were successful without knowing what “success” is? If you can provide some sort of data point that indicates whether your reader is doing something right or wrong, or even that helps illustrate a trend your reader should know about, your content will be far more valuable.8) You selected the right content type to explain your concept.Finally, whether your content is valuable or not has a lot to do with the shape it takes — blog post, ebook, tip sheet, video, podcast, infographic, visualization, graph, cartoon — you get the picture. There are some concepts that are best communicated in some of these forms, while the other content types should really be left for other subject matters. If you’ve selected a content format type that aligns really well with your subject matter — like a video and accompanying blog post to explain how to set up your Facebook Timeline — the content will be easier for your audience to consume. And the easier it is to consume, the more they’ll get from it!Don’t Underestimate the Value of Pure EntertainmentThis is all a lot of work. Can’t we just have a little fun once in a while?Yeah, you totally can. I think there’s a lot of value in publishing content that is just there to entertain … once in a while. You might learn a little bit along the way, too, but it’s alright to intersperse your educational content with a little fun. We like to refer to this as the dessert at the end of a healthy meal. You finished your peas and carrots content, now you get a scoop of infographic ice cream. Enjoy. In fact, our readers were lucky enough to have some ice cream for breakfast yesterday morning, with this blog post and slideshow relating social media to coughSEXcough.It’s good to give your readers’ brains a breather once in a while with content that’s a little bit lighter. Plus, it helps you build your brand, be more likable, and strengthen the emotional ties your reader has with your content.What other qualities do you think inbound marketers should check for to assess whether they’ve put out a valuable piece of content?Image credit: SeattleClouds.com We marketing folk talk a whole heck of a lot about “creating valuable content.” In fact, a quick site search of our own blog turned up over 1,400 results for the term “valuable content” alone. And that doesn’t even include the multitude of other variations of the phrase we’ve used, like “helpful content,” “educational content,” “remarkable content,” or “quality content.”But let’s be honest with ourselves, marketers. Is our content actually helpful? Or is all this talk just lip service to the oft-cited “create remarkable content” inbound marketing credo?I think some of us might be coming down too hard on our content, while others are probably being too lenient. So I thought it might be good to create a checklist of sorts that we can refer to as a reality check when we’re publishing content. It might quell the fears in some anxiety-prone marketers that their content truly is valuable … and send some back to the drawing board. Don’t worry — it’s all for the love of marketing!The Qualities of Truly Valuable Marketing Content1) The topic addresses your target persona’s needs and questions.One of the first questions a content creator should ask is, “For whom am I writing this piece of content?” (Brownie points from the grammar nuts?)You’re going to have a tough time creating a piece of valuable content if you haven’t identified who your target persona is, because it’s hard to know what kinds of questions they have that need answering. Once you’ve created your buyer personas and sussed out what their pain points are, ask yourself whether the piece of content you’re creating addresses an aspect of those pain points.For example, the reason I’m writing this blog post is due to the fact that several leads and customers have asked if I could check out their blog content to see if it’s the kind of educational content great inbound marketers create. Hmmm … if leads and customers are asking this kind of question — people who we’ve already identified align with our target persona — it’s pretty safe to assume there’s hundreds, thousands, MILLIONS (okay, maybe just thousands) of people out there that need help figuring out what are the concrete qualities of valuable marketing content.2) It’s aligned with the reader’s understanding of the subject matter.You might find that there are certain pockets of your audience that are more advanced with industry concepts than others. We’ve certainly found that — some of our readers are just learning about inbound marketing, while some have been practicing it for years. Or perhaps there are readers out there that have been inbound marketers forever, but they just decided to get started using LinkedIn. That’s why we started putting skill-level tags on all of our blog posts and ebooks, so readers could gauge whether the content was right for them before they invested too much time in it. Topics: Originally published Nov 8, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 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

The Business Blog Editorial Calendar Every Marketer Needs [Free Template]

first_img8 Real-Life Examples of Engaging Pinterest Contests bit.ly/RwzFID via @pamelump— spiral16 (@spiral16) December 5, 2012 Make sure you jot down some notes under the ‘Content/Details’ column too. The body content is the meat and potatoes of your blog. You should be solving customers’ and prospects’ problems, earning their trust and becoming your industry’s leader by demonstration.Here, you’ll want to include a quick synopsis of each article to create a backlog of posts and ensure that your new content is fresh and unique. In addition, it’s also important to double check that your title accurately reflects the content of the article. After all, your blog title doesn’t just live in a silo on your website. The title of your blog post will also show up as a result in search. And oftentimes, when your post is shared via social media, it will look similar to the following, just the blog title and its link: Sure — your article may have a lot more context on your blog, but that context can easily get lost once it’s shared externally. Think of how your stand-alone title would appear in a Facebook post or among a litany of other tweets in a user’s Twitter feed. Does the title clearly reflect the content that’s inside? Failing to align your article’s title with its content is a sure-fire way to lose trust in your readers … and ensure they never come back to your blog for more.Keywords and Target PersonasYour company has a mission, right? And if you’re blogging, that mission likely includes providing expertise in certain areas that can be explained in a few keyword or key phrases that people use to search. Well, it turns out blogging plays a HUGE role in improving your company’s search rank. Okay, okay — no surprise there. But you’d be surprised how easy it is to overlook SEO when your main focus is content creation.Make sure you’re not only consciously integrating the keywords your company is trying to rank for into your blog posts, but that you’re also listing them in your editorial calendar. Consistent use of these terms is one way Google will rank you, so make sure your keyword strategy is baked into your blog and tracked here. It will also keep you focused on blogging about the topics that you want to get found for, which should also help you cater to your …… target readers! Visualize the people reading your blog as people you want to buy your products or services. Considering that vision, wouldn’t you want to tailor your content to something they’ll want to read and learn from? If you’re still a bit hazy on who your buyer personas are, check out this post, which is everything you need to research and create detailed buyer personas — with its own template and all! Then, fill in this this column before you publish anything. If you can’t identify the specific target persona for a particular post, is it really worth writing?It makes the most sense to use these two sections in tandem. Put yourself in the shoes of that target reader, and think about which keywords he or she may be searching to find you. Use those keywords as the starting point for topic ideas. Then, analyze the performance of those articles in terms of metrics like views, social shares, leads generated, as well as feedback from comments. This is a great way to determine which topics resonate best with your various buyer personas, which should help to inform your future blog topic ideas.Offer/Call-to-ActionSpeaking of leads, you want to generate leads from your blog too, right? That’s why every blog post you publish should include a call-to-action (CTA) for an additional lead-generating offer that visitors must fill out a form to obtain. This provides you with their contact information (which enables you to nurture them later) and thus helps push readers closer and closer toward becoming customers. This is where the lead gen aspect of your blog really shines. To learn more about proper CTA selection, check out this blog post.On the flip side, if you have a great new marketing offer you want to promote, this is another strong starting point to brainstorm your next blog post. Can you write a blog post on a similar or related topic that enables you to incorporate a call-to-action for your desired offer? Consider how you can use your blog to promote your amazing offers, and come up with article topics from there. Use this column in your template to keep track of which offers you’re promoting in each post. This can also come in handy for making sure you’re not mistakenly using the same CTAs over and over … and over … again — particularly if you have a lot of high-performing offers to choose from.Now that you’ve got a sense of what this template can help you accomplish, give it a try! Depending on how much content you publish (or want to publish) and how far in advance you want to do your planning, you can customize and build out this template to cover a month’s worth — or even a whole year’s worth — of blog content. But you’ve got to download it first 😉 Topics: Originally published Dec 20, 2012 2:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016center_img At this point, we know that consistent, frequent blogging is critical to your business’ online success. In fact, according to the 2012 State of Inbound Marketing, 70% of companies that publish articles 2-3 times per week have acquired a customer through their blog. Furthermore, according to our 2012 Marketing Benchmarks report, companies that increase blogging from 3-5X/month to 6-8X/month almost double their leads. So how do you turn your company blog into a thought leadership-building, lead generating machine so you can achieve this kind of success?I’ll give you a hint: organization and consistency is key! One of the greatest blogging challenges is not the actual writing. It’s stuff like brainstorming topics, targeting the right readers, and optimizing posts with the right keywords and calls-to-action. Lucky for you, this is where our new blog editorial calendar template comes in handy! This free template is designed to keep you on track as you develop awesome content that your prospects, customers, and fans will fall in love with. Download this template to stay organized, monitor your keyword use and topic balance, and manage your blog’s timing and deadlines. In this blog post, we’ll pick apart the pieces of your new editorial calendar template so you can use it to to its fullest potential.Authors and Due DatesShare this calendar with anyone who will be contributing to your blog (in fact, consider plopping it into a Google doc for sharing and collaboration purposes!), and make sure they know when they’re being asked to contribute. It also makes a lot of sense to assign due dates that are at least a few days ahead of your planned publishing date. I’d recommend giving them a full week — you may want a larger buffer in case your bloggers need extra time to complete their assignments. This will allow you the time you need to review their articles, go through the necessary rounds of feedback and revisions with writers — so your writers can improve over time — and do your final editing and prep work.And don’t forget about guest bloggers, either! Getting external writers to contribute is a great way to not only fill gaps in your editorial calendar, but also to boost social sharing, reach, and the inbound links coming in to your blog content. Guest bloggers are generally proud to share their words on your awesome, thought-provoking blog, so they’ll be eager to push their contributions across their network. It may not be wise to share your internal Google Doc ed cal with external contributors, but be sure to include their contributions in your planning, and give them due dates and deadlines like you would your internal contributors. And to maximize the reach of your guest contributor’s articles, consider scheduling them for publishing on the days during which people are more active in social media (Tuesday-Thursday).Titles and Content DetailsRemember: An engaging title can make or break a blog post. After all, who’s going to read a post that has no hook? Follow the six characteristics of exceptional blog titles: Be actionable, brief, keyword-conscious, clear, definitive, and intriguing. Creating a sense of urgency (e.g. “7 Common SEO Myths to Throw Out the Window Immediately”), or being controversial (e.g. “Is PR Dead?”) are also great attention-grabbing tactics. (Just don’t be controversial for the sake of being controversial.) “How-to” titles, because they imply that the reader will get actionable advice on how to do something specific, also work great.In your blog editorial calendar template, make sure you write out your full blog titles to ensure you’re using a mid of title styles and techniques. This will help you maintain a balanced mix of how-to’s, numbered list posts, thought leadership-style content, etc. Remember: Variety is the spice of life! Design Templates Don’t forget to share this post! 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The Definition of Closed-Loop Analytics [In Under 100 Words]

first_img Originally published Nov 16, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: The first time I heard “closed-loop analytics” I thought … “Uh oh, is that something I’m supposed to know?”Luckily, it’s aptly named, so it’ll be easy to give a succinct definition.Ever wonder what path your customers took to close? Closed-loop analytics tells you.Closed-loop analytics lends insight into the entire customer lifecycle — from the time they first interact with you, to the time they become a customer. It helps tremendously with Sales and Marketing alignment, because you can actually see what activities are most likely to yield a customer — “closing the loop” on your marketing efforts.Whatd’ya think of the off-brand Fruit Loop image? Too corny? Sales and Marketing Metricslast_img read more

12 Essential Elements of Guest Blogging Proposals That Get Accepted

first_imgI’d like to submit my article to your site (attached). This direct subject line is a simple, declarative sentence. The approach works well, because it is very clear and short. Most editors trolling through their inbox will see it and quickly understand what’s inside. The little word “attached” at the end may pique their curiosity enough to open the email. Request for guest posting. Article included. This subject line is a lot like the ones above. It puts forth the intent of the email, and mentions that the proposed article is attached.4) Use a professional from line.Just as significant as the subject line is the “from” line. Most email programs are set up in such a way that you can see both the “From” line and the “Subject” line.It’s fairly obvious that a subject line is important. But keep in mind that your “from” line has just as much of an impact on whether or not your email gets read and/or accepted.The best email address is yourname@yourcompany.comSteer clear of stuff like this:pixiedust002919@hotmail.comfirebreathingdragon76@comcast.com82worldofwarcraftchampion_tobyman_righton@aol.com5) Use the recipient’s name if you can.If your email is going to an individual’s email address, then common courtesy is to address them by name.“Dear Sir or Madam” is superfluous. “To Whom It May Concern” is cold and impersonal. A simple and polite “Hi Jane” is just fine.Using the recipient’s name also strengthens your first line, which is critical. Many email programs (I’m looking at you, Gmail) show the first line of an email, even without opening the message.Often, I don’t even open email if the first line tells me that the email useless. I suspect that many site owners operate in the same way.6) Tell them who you are.Start your email by stating who you are. This is not rude or arrogant. It’s polite.Think about it. You’re sending an email to a stranger. The least you can do is identify who you are. You should do this in one line or less.“My name is Neil Patel, co-founder of Kissmetrics.”“I’m Puri V., professional tech journalist.”“My name is David Vanderkaamp, and I’m a designer for skateboarding apparel company, JumpShock.”If your title is “Linkbuilding Specialist” or “SEO Promotions Manager,” I would go ahead and change your title to something more innocuous for the purposes of a guest blogging proposal — editors might think you’re solely in the guest posting game for link building. You can also link to your LinkedIn profile, a Twitter account, or another social network to help confirm you’re a real person.7) Tell them why you matter.This next section is the most important line in your entire email.You have to matter. Somehow, someway, you need to validate yourself in the consideration of the site manager.There are several ways you can do this:Tell them other places for which you’ve written. “I’m a regular contributor to Forbes, Inc., and HuffPo.” Be sure to provide links.Tell them something you’ve done, as long as it fits within the website’s niche. “I founded the company WriterBuzz which analyzes a writers’ web reputation.”Tell them about your current project. “I’m bootstrapping a boutique travel company, Action Journey, based in Wellington, NZ.”Even if you aren’t a big deal, you need to sound kind of like you are. Don’t be deceptive, but don’t downplay yourself either. 8) Prove your position in their niche.Every website is about something, and you must make it very clear that you are well positioned within that website’s niche.This takes just another line or two. Your goal is to describe yourself as someone who is an active participant in the website’s space. (And because you’re only pitching relevant outlets, you should already be active in the industry.)If the website is about conversion optimization, then you need to be well-versed in conversion optimization.If the website is about personal finance, then you need to be a skilled credit recovery expert.If the website is about Mac rumors, then you need to be a former Apple executive.Go ahead and use buzzwords or jargon if it proves your point.“I’ve helped companies like Lifeproof and Otterbox with CRO and sales funnel analysis.”“As a reputation management consultant, I regularly write articles for Reputation.com, and RepManagement.com.”My point is this: Each proposal must be crafted with laser-like precision to the site you’re pitching. Research the site, research the readership, analyze their content, read everything you can. Get a pulse on the most popular posts they’ve produced. Know the site, and use that knowledge to craft a more compelling, relevant pitch.9) Give them your content.See if you can spot the mistake in these concluding sentences to a guest blogging pitch:“If you want to see it, let me know.”“If you think this would work, I’ll share the file.”“See if this is a good match, and then we’ll talk about payment.”The mistake is the word “if.”Website owners don’t have time for that. “If” is a word that transfers responsibility to them. Now they have to do something — reply to your email, ask you for the article, etc. Either way, it puts them into an uncomfortable position.Guest blogging means that you’ve already done the work. You have an article, and you can send it to them.If the website has a good reputation, then don’t worry about your content getting stolen. And, in case you didn’t realize, you’re doing this for free. Payment isn’t an issue, so there’s very little risk in sending them your content.The only caveat is if you’re pitching a lot of sites for a guest blogging position. You don’t want to send the same piece of content to 20 sites and run the risk of several of them publishing it. That makes them look silly, and in turn will make them less likely to work with you in the future.10) Link to a Google Doc.Even though your subject line will often say an article is “attached,” when you send your article, don’t actually attach it. Some email clients filter out attachments, and some users have a visceral reaction to seeing a “.docx.”While researching this article, I read this as a tip for pitching a guest post:  Tip: start a new blog post draft on your blog, write and edit your guest post on it, and then copy/paste your html version into .txt file. Once you’ve created the .txt file, delete the draft.Huh?!Here’s an easier way: Put your content in a Google Doc, and share it.You probably want to allow anyone with the link to view the content. (Yes, I know that they can still copy/paste it, so it’s not completely protected.) What I’ve found is that when an interesting article hits their radar, it gets sent around to scheduling assistants, editors, co-editors, managers, and other people who will touch the article before it hits publication.Rather than restrict the content to a specific email address, it’s okay to go ahead and allow viewing by anyone — it makes it much easier on the editor (and the rest of their team) to get the post prepped for publishing.11) Flattery isn’t required.You don’t need to gush all over the place to get accepted as a guest blogger.This is a mistake that many rookie guest bloggers make. They will write things like, “I’m a lifelong reader of your site. I just love it so much!”That won’t make editors any more likely to accept your guest submission. At worst, it will make them throw up a little bit in their mouths.People can see straight through flattery. They already know how awesome their site is. They care about making it better. If your article or your reputation can accomplish that, then you’re in.Cut the fluff, and make your request.12) Don’t make a single mistake.If you have a single typo in your proposal email, you’re doomed. When an editor spots a mistake, he knows what that means — “This person can’t spell. I’ll have to really be careful when editing their articles …”Unless your name is Elon Musk, Warren Buffett, or Abraham Lincoln, then your reputation probably won’t be enough to overcome errors. Editors don’t want to deal with errors. They want publication-ready, pristine content.Bonus: Advanced Guest Blogging TipsPrepare for rejection.Any published author probably has war stories of how many times they were rejected before they finally got their book published.It can be like that with guest blogging, too. Using the formula above, you’ll vastly improve your chances of getting accepted, but you will never hit a 100% acceptance rate.Form relationships; don’t just throw them content.Site owners can totally tell if you’re just attempting to build backlinks.You need to be different. Your first goal is not to get backlinks — it’s to deliver high-quality content. As you do this consistently and carefully, try to build a relationship with the guest owners.Here’s how:Consistency. Be sure to submit on a regular basis. Once a site finds a great writer, they try to work with them on a regular basis. Be a writer they can rely on.Responsiveness. Even if you are a great writer, editors will often ask for revisions to your article. Don’t take this personally. Every site has a unique set of guidelines, and they simply want to make sure that your particular piece of content upholds those standards. When asked for revisions, do your best to respond quickly and completely with their requests.Correspondence. Go above and beyond, and stay in touch with editors, site owners, and webmasters at the site. The stronger relationship you build with them, the greater your likelihood of maintaining your position as a valued contributor.Enlist help.If you plan on doing a lot of guest blogging, you’re going to need some help. Guest blogging can get complicated, with all the different site editors, tracking submission deadlines, and a variety of guidelines for each site.Managing it all by yourself can get a little bit hairy. The last thing you want to do is miss deadlines or violate editorial guidelines. You may want to hire a virtual assistant or an editor (or at the very least, set up a bunch of recurring reminders for yourself). The more you guest blog, the more you’ll guest blog.Guest blogging is like money. The more you have, the more you can make.Once you land a spot as a contributor for, say, Mashable, it’s pretty easy to secure a guest blogging position with other sites. When your list of guest sites glistens with a high profile site, you’ll be able to get people’s attention and score more sites.But in order to get to that point, you need to start small, and then build up.ConclusionGuest blogging is not easy. But it’s worth it. I expend a lot of time, effort, and resources to do guest blogging. I’ve discovered huge upsides, and I know you can do the same.Do you have any guest blogging proposal success or mistakes? Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Guest Blogging Topics: Originally published Dec 8, 2014 6:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 We all know that guest blogging, as a whole, isn’t dead. We also know that it’s a very effective form of brand building. And we know that we need to pitch guest blogging proposals in order to secure a guest post.But how do we actually do it? How do we create a guest blogging proposal that gets accepted?This is one of the biggest sticking points in guest blogging. If only we could create a proposal that would score us a writing spot in top blogs …It’s possible. Let me show you how.1) Choose sites carefully.Everything you’re about to read is absolutely useless unless you follow this first point. You must — absolutely must — choose guest blogging sites carefully and intentionally.I’ve explained a thorough process of how to find spots for guest blogging on my own blog, and highlighted some of the key points below, too.Know your audience.There are two main reasons why you must understand the audience you want to reach.In order to create exceptional content, you must be able to provide value for your audience, which comes in the form of expertise, experience, humor, exclusive information, unique point of view, etc.For your own sake, you want to make sure you’re reaching the audience that’ll help build your thought leadership and drive real ROI.To do this, you need to make sure you understand exactly who your audience is and how they behave.Quality over quantity.The only way to get your promising guest blogging career off to a good start is by choosing the very best sites. If you choose low quality or suspicious sites, not only will you diminish your own reputation, but you might also devalue your own site with any backlinks that come your way. So do your homework by checking out the site’s page authority, domain authority, trust flow, citation flow or whatever other metrics you prefer. (Moz and MajesticSEO have great tools for doing just this.)The best way to advance your guest blogging pursuit is to score a post with a single, top-notch site — and to do that, you’ll need a quality submission. Landing one quality guest post spot becomes like a trophy that you can show to other sites, signaling that you are a writer of solid reputation. Earning that spot shows you’re serious about what you do and you’re good at it — the qualities most editors are looking for in incoming writers.2) Send an email.I recommend keeping your pitch as simple and straightforward as possible. Simply use email. Send a message to the site owners or editors using the submission form or whatever email address you can find.If you simply cannot use email, then you may be forced to second-best options such as LinkedIn, Twitter DMs, or Google+ messages. These shouldn’t be your first choice, though. Go directly to the best source — email.3) Use a professional subject line.Your subject line is your calling card. Your subject line will decide 1) if your email gets opened, and 2) how your email is received.Anything foolish or unprofessional is going to be discarded:“Lucky you! Hire me as your guest blogger!”“CHECK TIHS OUT! IM AN AMZAING BLOGGER!”“ZOMG, I found a haunted house, and you’ll never believe what I saw when I opened the door. Number 7 gave me nightmares for weeks!”Reading those, I hear an editor clicking the trash can and “mark as spam” button as fast as she possibly can.Go for a subject that is straightforward, honest, clear, and professional:Guest Submission: 17 Techniques to Enhance Your LinkedIn Reputation. This subject line is very clear regarding it’s purpose (“guest submission”). I intentionally didn’t use the term “guest blogging,” because that word can sound spammy to some people. Besides, many site owners don’t consider their website to be a blog. In this subject line, I also included the title of a proposed article. (Click here to learn more about creating engaging titles.)last_img read more

How to Grow Your Email List by Running a Contest

first_img Originally published Mar 17, 2015 4:00:00 PM, updated August 27 2017 Email Lists and Segmentation Topics: Marketers often think of running contests for things like branding, customer delight, and fan engagement — but that’s not all they’re good for. Created a certain way, contests can also help you fill your funnel, making your audience and your boss happy at the same time.Convert more visitors into leads. Try HubSpot’s free email capture software here.We’ve seen this happen first-hand at HubSpot. Last December, my team had the idea to run a contest, but wanted to see if there was a way to tie it more closely to business objectives. Our idea? Run a holiday-themed contest and give away eighteen $100 Visa gift cards, one for each winner and an additional gift card for one of their colleagues.The aim of the contest was to delight customers, increase engagement, and increase brand awareness … while also generating actual email contacts. Would it work? I’ll spoil the ending for you: It sure did. To help give you ideas if you want to run a similar contest, I’ve broken down the approach below that we took to running the contest.How to Run a Contest1) Choose a PlatformWhile you don’t necessarily need a platform to run a contest, I would highly recommend shopping around for a platform built explicitly for such a purpose. Contest platforms provide functionality that you wouldn’t necessarily think you need at the beginning of your contest (but will appreciate later). For example, it was extremely helpful to have certain features built in from the start, such as multiple types of contest entries, quick tallies of the entries, and random selection of the winners.The type of contest you’re running will usually dictate what features you find important and what functionality you’ll need, but there is one key feature all contest platforms should have: social sharing integrations. Getting a contest to go viral is the best way to make it bigger and better than you initially imagined — and having certain social sharing capabilities in the platform will make that much easier. So when you’re considering platforms, think about what kinds of social media activities you’d like entrants to do.In our contest, we primarily wanted people to enter with an email address (it was designed to help us build our database, after all). We also wanted to get a larger reach from our contest, meaning we counted the following actions as extra entries:Following HubSpot on TwitterTweeting a link to the contestSharing via emailSharing via FacebookAfter perusing a few of the major platforms I settled on using Gleam because it allowed me to directly integrate with HubSpot, entering contestants into a list automatically. Most platforms require you to export contacts from the contest platform and into your database (one extra step that I’d rather avoid). Gleam also has functionality to disqualify people if their email address doesn’t exist, and it won’t let them enter the contest if they are outside of the U.S. and you’ve selected U.S. only.2) Set Up Your ContestDeciding how many winners there will be, how long your contest will run, and where to promote it are often the biggest items on your to-do list when you are just getting started — but that’s not actually the best place to start. Instead, think about the ultimate, bottom-line goals you’re hoping to achieve, and backtrack your contest-specific goals from there. So if you’re hoping to generate 100 leads from the contest, and you know that your typical visit-to-lead conversion rate is 10%, you know that you need 1,000 visits (at least) to your contest. And knowing that visit goal can help shape how you promote your contest (and the rest of the other items on your contest to-do list).When we ran the Holiday Hero Contest, our goals were of net new email addresses, number of shares per channel (email, Twitter, Facebook), and number of selected winners. Outlining these goals helped keep our expectations both realistic and achievable, and it also provided a benchmark of what success for this contest (and future contests) would look like.3) Run the Contest (But Make Sure to Check on It)Now’s the part you’ve dreamt about: Actually pushing your contest live, promoting it, and getting entries. How you exactly do that will depend on your contest goals, but if you need some ideas on how to promote your contest, check out this free resource.To generate interest, my team shared the contest across multiple channels: We created a dedicated landing page for our contest, then blogged about it, emailed it to our database, put together specific Pinterest boards, and shared that landing page all over social media. Since the contest was only available in the U.S., we made sure to share it with that audience.Throughout the promotion cycle you’ll also want to “take the temperature” of your contest. Are your promotions successful? How is your contest doing across various platforms? Is your technology working the way you expect? Are contacts being properly fed from the contest app into your database? Are contestants getting a follow-up email about their entries?These are all questions that can only be answered by frequently checking on your contest settings. I would recommend checking these settings every day or every other day just to ensure that if you do run into any hiccups, you can quickly address them.4) Choose Your WinnersSo now that you’ve gotten all of your entries, you’ve got to select your winners and let them know they’ve won. If your platform lets you randomly select a winner, we’d highly recommend using that (unless your contest rules say otherwise). Once they’re selected, it’s up to you to do the reaching out.In our contest, we chose to email the winners to let them know. We also emailed the rest of the entrants to let them know that winners had been chosen, as one big complaints about contests is the mistrust as to whether anyone actually received the prize.The best part of running a contest has to be the delight that people experience when they win. It is incomparable to anything else — and if you are lucky, sometimes winners will share a story with you about them winning. (I was lucky to receive such an email … I’ve still got it tucked away in my inbox!)5) Analyze Your ResultsLike you would with any other marketing campaign, you should always analyze the results of your contest. Which channels drove the best results in terms of traffic, entries, and new contacts? Did certain promotions and/or messaging get better results? What would you try differently next time? Taking the time to look in your marketing analytics and analyze your results will ensure you are setting your next contest up for success.All in all, I’d say our contest went really well — we had hundreds of new participants each day and over 20% of the total entrants were new to our database. While there are definitely things we’d change for next time around, we were proud with how this contest turned out.3 Lessons Learned From Running Our ContestNow that the contest is over, there are some general things I learned that other companies should keep in mind when running a contest:When planning a contest, make sure your prizes are relevant to what your company does and what your audience needs. If you offer promotional items that are vague or random then you are less likely to get qualified leads.Before creating your contest, check in with your company’s legal department to make sure terms and conditions are properly stated. Set big, virality-specific goals to help you achieve your bottom-line goals. Just because you’re ultimately aiming to drive bottom-line growth doesn’t mean you can ignore top-line goals. It’s really good to know how many shares you are hoping for on each social media platform so that you can better analyze your promotional strategy at the end of the contest. Have you run a contest before? What tips would you suggest to marketers who’ve never run one? 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

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

12 Handy Tips for Running Better Remote Meetings

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 Remote Working Whether you’re meeting with colleagues who are working from home that day, or with clients located half a world away, running a productive and effective remote meeting can be a challenge.When you’re face-to-face with people, it can feel much easier to communicate efficiently and gauge how they’re feeling and reacting to different ideas.But when you’re meeting virtually, it can seem like some attendees sort of … disappear into the abyss.Here’s a pretty hilarious video poking fun at some of the challenges people face when conducting a remote meeting:Hits a little close to home, doesn’t it?While remote meetings will likely never achieve the same level of intimacy as face-to-face meetings, there are ways to make them more effective and productive. To help you get more value out or your remote meetings, we’ve come up with 12 top tips for running better ones. Check ’em out.12 Tips for Better Remote Meetings1) Choose the right remote meetings tool for your needs.Perhaps the most important thing about running a remote meeting is the tool you use to run it. Different team and meeting arrangements may call for different types of tools. If you’re meeting with someone for the first time, or you’re meeting with people in a country whose meeting tools you aren’t familiar with, consider asking them ahead of time which tools they’d prefer. Not everyone is familiar with the ones you use on a day-to-day basis, and you don’t want to add any stress to the meeting around logistics.Here’s a list of some of the best ones out there. If you’re looking for even more tools, here’s our full list.GoToMeeting: A robust and reliable online meetings program that boasts screen sharing and great call quality.Google Hangouts: Often the most convenient options, thanks to the ubiquity of Google — especially if you’re using Google Calendar to manage your schedule.Join.me: Great for fast and easy screenshare meetings.Kato: Lets you use chat, video, audio, or screen sharing to collaborate with your coworkers — for free. Bonus: All of your conversations are searchable.Uber Conference: No meeting PIN numbers, among other features, means a much less painful conference call experience. It also allows screen sharing and has a mobile app.Skype: A decent option for chatting with folks all over the world — even though it can be a little finicky sometimes.2) Include a dial-in option.This deserves its own tip. Many remote meeting tools are designed to work primarily over internet connections. But what happens if someone’s internet goes down or slows down? It’s important to give the option for folks to listen to the meeting and talk over the phone.3) Be mindful of time zones.If you’re the one setting up the meeting, be sure to set it for a time that works for everyone on the attendee list. There’s nothing worse than realizing you’ve been scheduled for a meeting that at 6:00 a.m. your time — or in the evening when you’d normally have other plans.There are a lot of great time zone apps out there, but we recommend World Time Buddy:4) Avoid rescheduling or canceling last-minute.Hey, having to reschedule or cancel a meeting last-minute happens. What’s important is how you go about doing it. Before you simply change the time on the calendar invitation and call it a day, put yourself in your meeting attendees’ shoes. What inconveniences might you be causing? What special plans and arrangements might they have made around your meeting?A meeting is a commitment, and rescheduling or canceling last-minute is (under most circumstances) a bit rude. If you really have to do it, send a personal note apologizing and explaining the situation.5) Be crystal clear about how people will be connecting.This is where the description in the calendar invitation comes in. Don’t assume people will see the meeting link you might have attached to the calendar invitation. Instead, be very clear with your instructions on how everyone will be connecting in the calendar invitation description so everyone has it in one place.Here are some details to include:Repeat the name of the meeting, the date, the time + time zone, and the duration.”HOW TO JOIN:” followed by the meeting information like the meeting PIN number, dial-in number, and any access codes or websites.Contact information for those who have trouble connection.Also, specify whether video is required beforehand. Ever joined a call with video on when everyone else had it switched off? Awkward.Pro tip: If you’re only meeting with a handful of people who are remote, you may want to require video. It helps people stay focused when they know everyone can see them. Plus, it helps people identify more personally with remote colleagues.6) Choose your location wisely.A colleague of mine once had a call with a client whose neighbor was mowing the lawn right outside his home office window. Sounds super distracting, doesn’t it?Moral of the story: Be mindful of where you are and what’s going on in the background. Certain rooms are noisier than others, even if you’re at home. And while it’s probably adorable when your dog jumps on your lap and peers into the camera, you’re typically better off letting pets go outside to play before the meeting starts.7) Have a mobile hotspot ready.There’s always, always a chance that the WiFi where you’re located for the meeting will fail right before your meeting starts. That feeling of panic is never a good one. Thankfully, most smartphones have the ability to turn into mobile hotspots — which has saved me on multiple occasions. Keep in mind that it may add to your data usage and cost you extra. If you have iOS 7, you’ll be able to monitor how much data you’ve used. If you’re desperate, though, it could be worth it.How to Make Your iPhone a Mobile HotspotGo to Settings > Cellular > Personal Hotspot, and then tap to turn on the hotspot. Then, follow the instructions on that screen. (Click here for more detailed instructions.)How to Make Your Android Phone a Mobile HotspotThe exact menu names can vary slightly, but for most Android phones, go to Settings > More > Wireless & networks > Tethering & portable hotspot. Here, you can choose from a few different tethering options, along with the option to give your hotspot a strong encryption if you’re in a public location. (Click here for more detailed instructions.)8) Join the meeting five minutes early.Whether you’re running the meeting or just attending it, don’t waste valuable meeting time setting up the meeting on your end, or troubleshooting if something goes wrong. Instead, plan for at least five minutes of set-up time ahead of schedule whenever possible.9) Introduce everyone at the very beginning.It’s a personable way to get the meeting started, and it lets everyone know who’s actually in attendance — both in the main office room and on the phone.10) Mute and silence any distracting sounds.Mute your microphone while others are presenting to silence any overwhelming background noise (like that darn lawn mower).In the same vein, turn off your computer sounds and notifications, especially if you’re sharing your screen with the group. It’s super distracting for everyone else in the meeting to see pop-ups on your screen while trying to take in the information you’re presenting.11) Don’t be too apologetic or deferential when people start speaking over each other.My colleague Corey Wainwright describes it like driving up to a four-way stop with other cars who get there at the same time. Everyone’s gesturing and mouthing to one another, “You go,” “No, you go,” “No, it’s fine, you go!” Then, everyone goes at the same time. And then everyone stops again. That’s what happens when people try to talk in remote meetings. It’s inevitable that two or three people chime in at the same time. At that point, one person should just take the lead instead of being overly apologetic and just talk. 12) Ask for feedback on how people are feeling or what they’re thinking throughout the meeting.When people meet remotely, especially if there’s no video involved, you’re missing out on the ability to read facial expressions and body language. That’s why it can be useful to solicit feedback on how people are feeling throughout the call. Every five or ten minutes, ask the remote attendees how they’re feeling and whether they have any concerns. This’ll help the folks who are remote feel involved and like their thoughts are heard and cared for. It also helps you keep track of the emotional pulse of the “room.”What tips do you have for making remote meetings better? Share with us in the comments. Topics: Originally published Dec 22, 2015 6:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017last_img read more

How to Write a Resume in 7 Simple Steps [Infographic]

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 Originally published Mar 8, 2016 7:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Resume and Cover Letters When you’re applying for a brand new job, simply adding a few lines to your old resume and calling it a day isn’t going to cut it. First, you have to research your target job market — because once you get an idea of who’s gonna read your resume and what’s important to them, you can shape your message accordingly. Then, you’ve got to format your resume properly, structure and write your role descriptions in a compelling way, pick the interests that are relevant to the job and the company’s values, and so on and so forth.Download our 10 free marketing resume templates here. But wait … how many pages should my resume be again? What’s the best way to write those role descriptions? And what are the buzzwords I should be avoiding at all costs?Don’t worry. The folks at StandoutCV have you covered. Check out their infographic below to learn how to write a standout resume in seven simple steps, including all sorts of helpful tips and tricks along the way.187Save187Savelast_img read more

5 Psychological Concepts That’ll Strengthen Your Social Media Strategy

first_img Topics: Originally published Jun 17, 2016 6:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Most of us joke about being addicted to things like Snapchat or Instagram, and we’re all probably guilty of compulsively checking our phones for updates. However, social media is changing more than just our immediate behavior.Think about it: We’ve all seen the infamous commercials illustrating the effects of various illegal substances on your brain, but most of us haven’t considered how seemingly innocuous things like social media can have a strikingly similar effect on both our minds and behaviors. And as marketers, this is something we should be thinking more about. Any interaction your brand has with a potential customer on social media influences both their conscious and unconscious perception of your brand or company — you probably know that already. But perhaps you’re not aware of how those interactions fully play out, and to what extent.For example, there’s plenty of research that suggests social media usage actually triggers the release of dopamine, causing you to experience a rush of positive feelings every time you post, share, Like, comment, and so on. Not to mention, social media interactions can actually increase bonding between individuals, as we tend to view engagement as an act of human acknowledgement.But there’s even more to it than that. In fact, there’s a lot more going on inside the minds of our followers when they explore and engage on social media than we think. To shed some light on the situation, let’s explore a few psychological concepts as they relate to social media. 5 Psychological Concepts That’ll Strengthen Your Social Media Strategy1) NeuroplasticityThe human brain is constantly altering its behavior and responses to stimuli based on new experiences — this is nothing new. However, the growth of the internet (social media, in particular) has forced our brains to become even more adaptable.  This type of evolution is called neuroplasticity, and the quick, constant evolution of the social media sphere has increased its speed and effects on our collective brains over the past decade or two.For marketers, the intersection of neoplasticity and social media results in two key takeaways:Shortened attention spans = the need for bolder, digestible messaging. Due to the onslaught of information coming at us from various platforms and devices, our attention spans are increasingly divided. In fact, a study from Microsoft reported that people tend to lose concentration after just eight seconds. For marketers, this means finding a way to devise easily digestible messaging that stands out enough to capture the interest of our audience. To give you a better sense of how to craft this type of messaging, check out this post on successful brands on Twitter. From General Electric to Charmin, these brands are finding unique ways to nail their social presence and messaging, while keeping their followers super engaged. Increased multitasking = the need for multi-channel marketing experiences.Secondly, we’ve quickly become a society of multitaskers. And our ability to multitask and interact in several different ways at the same time has trained our brains to continuously switch gears.The same study from Microsoft identified three natural attention modes that reflect consumer use of digital technology. One of which they referred to as attention ambidextrous mode, in which we “blend tasks together across devices.” We do this because we feel it enhances productivity — whether or not that is true is an entirely different argument.For marketers, this desire to multitask presents another interesting challenge. And as a result, we’re ultimately tasked with creating multi-touch or multi-channel experiences in an effort to stay top-of-mind with consumers. To help you devise a social media strategy that spans across multiple platforms, start by reading this handy guide on how the news feed algorithms work on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.2) NeuroeconomicsThe study of neuroeconomics, a combination of economics, psychology, and neuroscience, has become an interesting field for marketers to explore.Why? In short: Neuroeconomics focuses on how the aforementioned fields intersect, and how various factors affect human thought processes and decision making. For marketers, understanding the inner workings behind this type of human behavior is really valuable.  Paul J. Zak, a professor at Claremont Graduate University, is responsible for popularizing the term “neuroeconomics,” and he has a fascinating perspective on what fuels our decisions, desires, and actions when engaging on social media. For instance, a lot of Zak’s research is rooted in the idea that social media has the ability to increase our oxytocin levels — a hormone that’s best known for fueling the bond between mothers and babies. And according to an article from Fast Company, Zak sees oxytocin as “the ‘social glue’ that adheres families, communities, and societies, and as such, acts as an ‘economic lubricant’ that enables us to engage in all sorts of transactions.” In other words, the release of this hormone can have a serious impact on the way we interact with friends, family, and brands on social media. And eventually, it can influence our buying decisions.Check out this video from the Fast Company article for a peek into how Zak sees this concept, and the presence of oxytocin in social media usage, unfolding in favor of brands:3) Transactive MemoryHumans have a “transactive memory.” In other words, we rely on social support — or “external memory aids” — to piece together our own memories.As Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, put it in a 2000 interview with The Atlantic:Memory is a social construct: we store important pieces of it in our friends and our co-workers and so forth.”However, social media has taken this concept to the next level, since we can maintain larger digital networks (both in regard to numbers and reach) than we can in real life.Of course, this has taken its toll on our collective memory and attention spans — and whether that is a long-term net positive or negative is a subject for another day. However, marketers should consider this when creating and placing content meant for social media.People generally won’t invest a lot of time into anything a brand creates in the first place, but that might not be due to lack of interest. We’re just becoming quicker decision makers in regard to what is worthy of our attention. Therefore, not only does a given piece of branded content need to have an eye-catching initial hook, it needs to come from a source that the target deems trustworthy and authentic — someone who triggers that transactive memory.4) FOMO: Fear Of Missing OutChances are that you are familiar with the term “FOMO” — or fear of missing out on a fun or exciting activity.This concept is hardly new, however, it has significantly evolved as we’ve begun to document much of our day-to-day activities on social media. These days, we don’t have to wait for a friend to tell us they are doing XYZ to trigger feelings of exclusion. In fact, all it takes is a quick scroll through your social media feed to spark this type of anxiety. And this is something that brand marketers can use to their advantage in the social sphere.Nearly everyone follows at least a few brand accounts on social media — whether it be Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, etc. For brands, this means there is an opportunity to tap into this psychological fear to suggest that your audience could be missing out if they don’t buy your product, or attend your webinar, or check out your new website, or … well, you get the point. Generating a little anxiety and jealousy goes a long way towards establishing a connection with your target audience, but be sure to use the tactic wisely. Some research suggests that there are several real consequences of FOMO — such as “increased dissatisfaction with one’s life” and a “decrease in privacy” — so for the sake of others, keep things friendly.To help, here’s a great example from the folks at SXSW of how to tap into FOMO the right way:5) Status AnxietyAt this point, we’ve established that social media can make us anxious or trigger negative emotions … but that doesn’t mean we have to use it for evil. Just like we found a positive way to spin the concept of FOMO, we can do the same for status anxiety.Here’s the thing: Humans have had some level of status anxiety for as long as we’ve formed tribes and gathered into groups. We want to be perceived highly. We want to be desired. We want to be thought of as intelligent, attractive, and humorous. And we want to be seen as a valued member of the group.Essentially, we want to be liked — and we want to be “Liked” on social media, too. But growing your Likes, followers, and engagement is a two way street: you have to Like people back, and make them feel good about their interactions with your brand in a way that goes beyond mere reciprocation. You need to do something that is going to elevate their status amongst their peer group.For marketers, this might mean rewarding the MVPs of your audience with social media shoutouts, or giving them exclusive invites or content that they can share with their followers.The ones who get the direct rewards will get the happy chemical reaction, and everyone else will be just feel a little anxious for being left out — which can do wonders in terms of sparking new participation and engagement.How do you use psychology to inform your social media strategy? Share your favorite tips and concepts in the comments below. Don’t forget to share this post! 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12 of the Best ‘Contact Us’ Page Examples You’ll Want to Copy in 2017

first_img The Ultimate “Contact Us” Page Lookbook ‘Contact Us’ Page ExamplesTuneHubSpotChoice ScreeningAtlas 1031 ExchangeMorroniPixpaPeopleMetricsLegaliaWeifield Group ContractingSurvicateYetiGlossierMozZendeskAccentureMelonfreeSribdThe VIA AgencyAtlassianLegwork Studioban.doQuick SproutMediumAchieve3000MarvelDollar Shave ClubMolamilLet’s Travel SomewhereGrammarlyHulu Free Resource Contact Form Best PracticesReview the following list of elements shared by successful contact pages to learn about the features and best practices you should remember to include in your own web form. Great contact forms typically… Are easy to find so a visitor can quickly get in touch should they need it.Explain why someone should contact them, and describe how they can help solve their visitors’ problems.Include an email and phone number so visitors can quickly find the right information.Include a short form using fields that’ll help the business understand who’s contacting them.Include a call-to-action to provide visitors with another option if they choose not to complete the form.Showcase the company’s thought leadership, whether that’s by including a list of recent blog posts or articles about the company in the press.Link to active social media accounts like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn to give visitors a way to engage with the business.Redirect to a thank you page that explains when and how you’ll be contacting them and links to helpful content and resources.Are creative and memorable so visitors associate contacting your brand with a positive or funny memory.Show off what your brand does so visitors and potential customers can get a sense of the work you do before they even get in touch.Avoid unnecessary fields and words so your page remains as straightforward and simple as possible — no fluff!Now that we’ve gone over best practices, let’s review examples of some of the most effective contact pages on the Internet.Time to get inspired.30 of the Best “Contact Us” PagesA well-crafted contact page will enhance user experience and cultivate a strong relationship with your leads. Although every business is different, and every buyer persona requires different things, there are multiple elements in the following examples that you can pull from and include (or not include) in your own contact page.1. Tune[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]There’s a lot going well for Tune’s contact page: the beautiful design, the calls-to-action, the clearly displayed contact information, and the form below the fold for visitors who want to get in touch with specific inquiries.What I love the most about their page, though, is how welcoming they are. With copy like “We’re ready to lead you into the future of mobile marketing” and “Get in touch with us,” it makes visitors feel like they’re being taken care of. Many business’ contact pages are rather cold — but the more friendly you make your page’s copy, the better you’ll make your visitors feel. After all, you should want them to contact you so you can help them and start building a relationship. 2. HubSpot[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]HubSpot’s ‘Contact Us’ page demonstrates how a contact page can be used as a customer service tool. At the top, there are two large CTA’s connecting visitors with the HubSpot Sales and Support teams. HubSpot understands people visiting this page are likely interested in purchasing a product or need help troubleshooting one. By placing those buttons at the top of the page, HubSpot provides proactive customer service to its visitors.Another notable feature is how the contact page is embedded into the HubSpot portal. This makes the page more accessible to the user and saves them time. If you’re working in a HubSpot portal and need to look up the support phone number, you don’t have to navigate away from your account. This creates a more user-friendly and omni-channel experience for the customer. 3. Choice Screening[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]Hands down, the best thing about Choice Screening’s ‘Contact Us’ page is their copy. It doesn’t get much better than this — all starting with that concise, delightful “Talk to a Human” header.Following all that great copy is a well-organized page with contact information including emails for every different department, followed by a form. The form’s a little lengthy for most businesses, but for a business that runs background checks of all kinds, the form fields are likely necessary to help them organize all their inquiries.When considering how long your own forms should be, think about whether you’d rather have more inquiries coming in, or higher quality inquiries coming in. As long as you have other, easier avenues for folks to contact you, a longer form can be OK for some businesses. 4. Atlas 1031 Exchange[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]At first glance, Atlas 2031 Exchange’s contact page doesn’t have the sexiest of designs. But when you look closely, you’ll realize that it has every single aspect of a great ‘Contact Us’ page — and that starts with functionality.The page explains thoroughly how responsive they are to questions: “We are incredibly responsive to your requests and value your questions.” Then they actually list out what people will get when they ask a question, including a promise for a short response time of 12 hours or fewer. The page also includes easy-to-read contact information, social media buttons, links to offers, and even a list of recently published blog posts. Well done. 5. Morroni[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]Let’s be honest … these days, most people would much rather fill out a form than get on the phone and talk to someone. When choosing what to ask people in your forms, make sure you choose ones that’ll help your specific business understand the person contacting you — and even help you qualify them as a potential lead.Of course, some people do like picking up the phone … hence the delightful quip before the phone number. We also like Morroni’s challenge-response test to figure out whether visitors are human: “How’s your math? 2+5 = ?.”6. Pixpa[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]You’d be surprised how many ‘Contact Us’ pages don’t include a call-to-action. Although the main purpose of your contact page is to help people get in touch with your company, there’ll always be folks who land on the page and don’t want to fill out the form. That’s where a little secondary CTA can fit in nicely.It can be as simple as a button leading to your blog. Or, it can lead people to demo your product, download a how-to guide, or watch a video. The folks over at Pixpa chose to add a CTA at the bottom of their ‘Contact Us’ page for a free trial. That way, they’re providing value to the folks who land on the page and really just want to talk to a sales rep directly. 7. PeopleMetrics[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]Sometimes, the simplest approach is the best approach. PeopleMetrics’ contact page is clean, well written, and does exactly what it’s supposed to do. They know that most of the people who land on their contact page are scanning for the easiest and best way to get in touch, so they didn’t let any heavy design get in the way.To make people’s lives even easier, they let you use your Facebook or Google Apps login, shortening the conversion path even further. Plus, we think it’s clever to include an option to subscribe to their blog at the same time as they submit a request.8. LegaliaHere’s another contact page with a clean, functional design. All the information you need to know, including a short form, is consolidated into a smaller space that doesn’t feel crowded. One way they accomplish this is by changing those large images of the building into maps of the locations — which you can do by clicking the “voir le plan” (“view the map”) button below the address.[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]I’d also like to point out a small but important detail for businesses who have international customers. Check out how Legalia included the prefix for their country’s code when listing their contact phone number. Many people overlook this if they aren’t used to dialing international prefixes themselves, but it’s really helpful for your international colleagues and clients to have it right on there. Here’s a list of country codes if you don’t know yours.And here’s what the whole page looks like:[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]9. Weifield Group Contracting[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]With the continuing rise of mobile web browsing and Google heavily favoring mobile-friendly websites on their search engine results pages, it’s important that all pages on your website — including your ‘Contact Us’ page — are mobile-friendly.This includes simplifying your navigation, keeping forms short and sweet, including large CTA buttons that are easily clickable with a thumb, and large form fields that make it easy for folks to fill it out on their mobile devices instead of having to pinch and zoom.The Weifield Group’s contact page is a great example of one that is mobile-friendly and responsive. Check out the desktop version of their contact page first, followed by their contact page on mobile — and note how they’ve optimized every part of their page for mobile. The text is large, the form fields are easy to fill out, and their CTA button is large and easily clickable, making for a much more seamless mobile experience.The desktop version is pictured above, and here’s the mobile version: [View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]HubSpot Customers: If your website is on the Content Optimization System (COS), then your site is already mobile-friendly from a technical point of view. The HubSpot COS uses responsive design to adapt to any mobile device and fully passes the sniff test on Google’s new algorithm. 10. Survicate[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]Survicate’s contact page is another example of a beautifully simple layout combined with friendly, welcoming copy. I love the subheader below the fold and just above the form, which reads: “Let’s talk about your project.” That kind of conversational, colloquial language is exactly the kind of copy that makes visitors feel closer to a brand.The form itself is simple, with large form fields and CTA buttons — making it very mobile-friendly. Below that, they’ve laid out all the typical contact information — office address, phone number, email, hours of operation, etc. — in a way that’s easy to read and scan.Finally, I love that their icons and primary CTA reflect the same color yellow as their logo. All of these simple touches make for a clean, visually appealing design.11. Yeti[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]Yeti sells coolers and drinkware that are built for the great outdoors, and its ‘Contact Us’ page maintains the cool, outdoorsy brand. I especially like the clever tagline encouraging visitors to reach out (“While we’re good with smoke signals, there are simpler ways for us to get in touch and answer your questions.”) and the multiple different ways to connect across platforms.The beautiful image of a hiker in the mountains with a Yeti cooler is juxtaposed with a clean white background to make the contact information and CTAs clear for site visitors, and the link to Yeti’s knowledge base helps them quickly and easily find answers if they don’t want to wait around.12. Glossier[View the full ‘Contact Us’ pagehere.] Skincare and makeup brand Glossier sells aesthetically-pleasing cosmetics in various containers of pink and white — which is reflected on the website, too. The ‘Contact Us’ page is clean, simple, and easy-to-read, but its simplicity belies Glossier’s secret weapon: the gTEAM, its customer service arm that responds to every single message and comment it receives via email or social media.Glossier’s ‘Contact Us’ page offers visitors a variety of different options for contacting the correct team, including its Help and FAQs section, and the web page makes it clear and simple to get the information you need. 13. Moz[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]Moz, a Seattle-based SEO software company, features a bold and clear CTA on its ‘Contact Us’ page. Thisleads visitors to a more detailed ‘Help Hub,’ where visitors can click around to find the help they need for specific software or services Moz offers.[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]With offerings as vast and multi-faceted as those of Moz, it’s a smart idea not to overwhelm someone who needs help right off the bat. Instead, Moz provides the need-to-know contact information on its main ‘Contact Us’ page, with additional, more-detailed resources available once they click ‘Contact the Help Team.’ Plus, it features a neat map of Seattle showing exactly where Moz is for people coming to visit in-person.14. Zendesk[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.][View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]Zendesk is a cloud-based customer service software that focuses on engagement. Over 300 million people around the world use Zendesk’s customer service departments and help desks as their chosen form of support.Everything on the Zendesk website is minimalist, clean and color coordinated. Their aesthetic carries over to their simplistic and effective contact page. When it comes to web forms, businesses that keep them as straightforward as possible experience a greater number of conversions. That is exactly why Zendesk is on this list. The page is branded very clearly but in an understated way, and there are only three form fields for visitors to fill out. Their CTA button also couldn’t be more obvious, which allows leads and customers to feel confident when they hit “Submit”.At the bottom of the contact page, there is an area where visitors are able to browse through Zendesk product support options and review Zendesk office locations. It’s clear the company took the time to build this page with their buyer personas in mind. They considered what their users might be looking for on their contact page and added those items as additional resources. 15. Accenture[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]Accenture offers professional services all around the globe (in 120 countries, to be exact), so suffice it to say, there are probably hundreds of different phone numbers and emails people could reach out to for help.Luckily, this multinational corporation has figured out how to present a lot of information in a compact way on its ‘Contact Us’ page — with expandable sections visitors can click into to get the information they need.The ‘Contact Us’ page is actually chock-full of useful contact information for any request under the sun, but by organizing it in a compact way, Accenture prevents too much confusion while still giving the information needed.[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]16. Melonfree[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]Melonfree, a Paraguayan web consulting agency, does just about everything under the sun to build creative and beautiful websites. And while its homepage showcases its portfolio of interesting and eye-catching work, its ‘Contact Us’ page takes the cake for being the most creative.If you’re a “South Park” viewer, you immediately recognized the avatars of Melonfree’s designer and developer. It made me laugh, especially when I saw the personal touches they added to showcase their personalities, and that emotional response makes a brand more memorable — a connection that’s integral to customer loyalty. 17. Scribd[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.][View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]Scribd is a completely digital library that allows readers to enjoy a plethora of books, audiobooks, news articles, magazines and more right from their browser. Similar to the rest of Scribd’s website, their contact page is engaging and unique. The top of the page includes the location of their company headquarters on Google Maps. They also clearly state their address and provide website visitors with links to all of their social media profiles.Below this is an interactive and engaging map of organized buttons where users can select the resource they need, chat with customer service or send an email address to customer service based on their issue. Scribd ensures that their website visitors can get the help they need right on their contact page, which saves time for both the visitor and Scribd. Not only that, but the contact form design is fun and unique.18. The VIA Agency[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]The VIA Agency, based in Portland, Maine, uses its website to showcase its slick interactive web work for a variety of big-name clients. So it’s no surprise that its ‘Contact Us’ page features similarly high-tech web features, including parallax scrolling, and generally appealing images.Its ‘Contact Us’ page shows visitors the beautiful building VIA operates in, and then it visualizes exactly where its office it alongside the contact information visitors need. It’s beautiful, it’s clear, and it provides the names and contact information of people visitors can reach out to directly as a bonus.19. Atlassian[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]Enterprise software company Atlassian offers a ton of different products for large companies to use to stay organized. But despite that, its ‘Contact Us’ page is extremely well-organized and clear so visitors can easily sort through its website to find the help they need.I particularly like the headshots showcasing the friendly-looking real people who are available to help, as well as the opportunity to submit feedback to Atlassian’s founders front-and-center on the page. It shows a commitment to transparency and an openness to criticism that’s refreshing — in addition to sharing a wide variety of help documents, FAQs, and ways to contact the company.20. Legwork Studios[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]Legwork Studios is an animation and interactive design agency, and its website really speaks for itself. It features cool pencil-style drawings accompanied by eye-catching animations, and the clever website copy throughout keeps visitors engaged and chuckling — and reading more.The ‘Contact Us’ page provides all of the necessary details to get in touch with Legwork, and it features a bear dressed in business casual, hard at work at his typewriter. It’s quirky and memorable, and it shows off their skills to boot.21. ban.do[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]ban.do sells whimsical and creative planners, notebooks, and other accessories, and its entire website reflects its brand style with fun fonts, bright colors, and interesting animations to keep things fun.Its ‘Contact Us’ page features an animation of old-fashioned, colorful phones “ringing,” lots of bright pink, clever and casual web copy, and all of the information a visitor on this page might need. From one page, you can get in touch with ban.do, contact customer service, and get information about returning a product.It’s important for every page of your website — including the ‘Contact Us’ page — to reflect the brand, and this page does a great job of keeping things fun while helping ban.do’s customers.22. Quick Sprout[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]Quick Sprout’s ‘Contact Us’ page is far from traditional — it actually features an infographic. It’s a clever way to showcase the kind of work you can do with Quick Sprout, and it takes visitors on an interesting journey to learn more about the company and the best way to get in touch.The infographic helpfully shares information about the best way to get in touch — including the topics least likely to garner a response, and how short to make the email to get a better reply. It’s unique, helpful, and memorable — a win, win, win.23. Medium[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]When you first navigate to Medium’s ‘Contact Us’ page, you see a quirky custom illustration that is one of the hallmark’s of Medium’s minimalist website with an emphasis on whitespace.Visitors have the option to type in a topic or submit a request — or, if they keep scrolling, they’ll find Medium’s helpfully curated list of knowledge base articles and forums to peruse.[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]24. Achieve3000[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]Like many businesses out there, Achieve3000 has a lot of different types of people visiting their website — and what these people want to contact them about can vary widely. That’s why they’ve decided to go deeper than the one-size-fits-all approach.Below that nice hero image and a few words explaining what visitors will get when they contact them, you’ll find three options: You can request a demo, you can reach out to a sales rep, or you can get in touch with customer support. Each one of these options leads to a separate landing page, like the one I’ve included below this screenshot. What a great way to cater to the most common needs of your various web visitors.Here’s the landing page form made specifically for customer support inquiries:[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.] It’s a clever idea to combine your ‘Contact Us’ page with your knowledge base. That way, on one page, your users and customers can effectively navigate questions and concerns, or reach out, all in one place.25.  Marvel[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]Marvel is a design software helpin users build and produce digital products. The company embraces creativity and encourages customers to “design anything, anywhere.” So, it’s no surprise its contact page is colorful and packed with playful images and designs. Marvel has taken a traditionally formal page and redesigned it to match its brand image.Not only is this approach fun and eye-catching, but it’s also used as a marketing tool. In the middle of the page, there’s a free downloadable offer. Visitors can download images of the product or company logo to share on their personal and professional channels.26. Dollar Shave Club[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]If you’re not familiar with Dollar Shave Club, it’s a razor subscription service that delivers quality razors at competitive prices. Dollar Shave Club is trying to disrupt its market by positioning itself as a cheaper and more convenient shaving solution. To do that, it needs to educate its target audience on what its service is, why it’s different, and how customers can sign up.The contact page accomplishes this by providing a comprehensive guide to the company’s products and services. In the middle of the page sits a drop-down menu listing options including how it works, shipping and delivery, account management, products, and gifting. This type of customer self-service creates more engagement with the visitor and improves your site’s click-through rates.27. Molamil[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]Molamil made our list for two reasons: First, it’s hard to forget a page filled with floating heads. Second, the copy is so genuine you’ll want to trust this company with crafting your product vision. The top of the page tells a compelling brand story and invites the visitor to “come by for a cup of coffee or a beer.” This makes the visitor feel welcomed instead of pressured into making any immediate decisions.Aside from the quirky images and playful text, Molamil highlights its brand values as well. The contact page lists collaboration, exploration, and proactivity as Molamil’s core company values. This lets the visitor know the business may have some fun, but it’s still dedicated to fulfilling customer needs.28. Let’s Travel Somewhere[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]Let’s Travel Somewhere is a travel blog written by a group of contributors who travel around the world. The goal of the blog is to “capture the essence of every country on the planet.” That makes the contact page an essential component to the website. Visitors need to easily access the page and submit their pieces to the editor.Since the editor travels, the blog’s writers need multiple ways to contact her. So, she provides a pop-up form and several social media links, giving the writer multiple communication options. She even notes that because of her frequent travel, she may be slow to respond at times. This outlines expectations for her writers, so they aren’t confused if their pieces aren’t published immediately.29. Grammarly[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]Grammarly is a software reviewing written documents for grammar and spelling errors. Its contact page is easy to navigate and makes it simple for visitors to accomplish their goals. Grammarly knows visitors coming to this page likely have a support request. So, it placed the support link directly in the middle of the page in a bright green color.If the visitor has the Grammarly extension installed, it will insert their user information into the support forms. Users don’t have to spend time filling out the same fields and can skip right to describing their problem.30. Hulu[View the full ‘Contact Us’ page here.]Hulu’s contact page is combined with its knowledge base. Users search for their own solutions, then use the links at the bottom of the page to contact support if necessary. This improves customer experience and reduces case volume for its support team.Hulu also offers a handy chatbot to guide visitors through troubleshooting steps. It starts the chat by suggesting possible questions you might have and provides links to articles that can answer them. And, most of these options are based on popular television events occurring at the time, like in the example below:Source: HuluWrap Up: Contact Form Designs and Pages That WinNo matter your industry or what your buyer personas are like, every business should strive for a great “contact us” page. A well-thought contact form design will make it easy to engage with your audience as well as create a positive, long-lasting relationship with them.Everything on your website should be well-crafted and thoughtfully laid out as well as maintain a professional feel — meaning every detail matters when it comes to your contact form design.A quality form builder can help you create a well-designed “contact us” form in just minutes. Form builders have drag and drop features that provide you with an easy way to embed forms on your website so visitors can begin submitting their information immediately and efficiently. When you think of great website design, you probably think about a website’s homepage, or their blog, or their product pages.But what about a website’s ‘Contact Us’ page?Unlock 42 more inspiring “contact us” page examples to help you reimagine the power of yours. Far too many website designers put contact pages near the bottom of their priority list in terms of copywriting and design. Think about how many contact pages you’ve stumbled upon that look like they were built in the 1990s, even if the rest of the website is beautiful and updated.That, my friends, is a huge mistake. Your ‘Contact Us’ page is one of the most important pages on your website. For most companies, it’s typically one of the most-visited site pages. Originally published Jun 20, 2019 6:00:00 AM, updated June 20 2019 Topics: Hi 👋 What’s your name?First NameLast NameHi null, what’s your email address?Email AddressAnd your phone number?Phone NumberWhat is your company’s name and website?CompanyWebsiteHow many employees work there?1Does your company provide any of the following services?Web DesignOnline MarketingSEO/SEMAdvertising Agency ServicesYesNoGet Your Free Resource Customer Service 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

16 Video Metrics Your Boss Actually Cares About

first_img Topics: Originally published Apr 16, 2018 6:00:00 AM, updated March 29 2019 Don’t forget to share this post! Video Marketing Conventional wisdom tells us that views, especially three-seconds ones, are a vanity metric. But Facebook tracks them for a good reason.In 2016, they analyzed their users’ video consumption data and discovered that 45% of people who watch the first three seconds of a video will keep watching it for at least 30 seconds. Facebook’s study suggests that views are a good indicator of how well your video’s hook performed. But views also have drawbacks, like not being able to tell you who your audience is or whether your video resonates with your audience.Access videos, templates, and tips, to help you launch an effective video marketing strategy. That’s why we created this list of YouTube and Facebook video metrics that’ll shed light on the things your boss actually cares about, like how much your audience engages with your video, what video topics they crave, and how video affects your website’s performance. Read on to learn more.16 Video Metrics Your Boss Actually Cares About1. Watch TimeWatch time is the total amount of time viewers have spent watching your video. It measures how long your viewers engage with your video. YouTube accounts for watch time, not views, when they rank videos for search and feature videos in the related section, so you should try to engage your viewer with a compelling story for as long as possible.2. Average View DurationAverage view duration is the total watch time of your video divided by the total number of video plays, including replays. It measures how long your viewers watch your video, on average. Average view duration is a powerful metric because it reveals your audience’s video length preference. For instance, if your 45 second videos keep getting a 30 second average view duration, you might want to cut those videos down by 15 seconds.3. Average Completion RateAverage completion rate is the percent of each video your audience watches. This metric measures your video’s ability to hold attention. Facebook uses average completion rate to rank videos in users’ news feed, so it’s crucial for your Facebook videos to engage viewers from start to finish.4. Audience RetentionAudience retention shows you the percentage of your audience that keeps watching a video as it plays from beginning to end. Facebook and YouTube will display your video’s audience retention on a graph, like the one below:Image Credit: FacebookDrops in the retention curve help you understand when your audience stops watching your video. If there’s a sudden drop off at a certain point in your video, you should analyze what’s happening at that specific time. You’ll learn what’s causing viewers to bounce, like a certain part or previous parts of the video not piquing their interest.In addition to displaying your video’s audience retention, YouTube will display your video’s relative retention, which compares your video’s ability to retain viewers to all YouTube videos of similar length.5. Re-watchesRe-watches are the amount of times your audience watches your entire video or specific parts of your video again. If a lot of people are re-watching a certain part of your video, which the orange part of the graph below represents, they’re probably interested in the topic your video is covering during that moment. And by using re-watches to determine which topics resonate with your audience, you can refine your video strategy by making videos about these topics.Image Credit: Harvard Business Review6. Click-Through-RateClick-Through-Rate measures how well your video encourages viewers to take a desired action. If your CTR is low, consider altering your call-to-action’s placement in your video. Audience retention graphs show that most people don’t watch videos all the way through, so you could place your CTA at the beginning or middle of your video. Or you could also make your video more engaging, so more viewers reach the CTA at the end of your video. Leaving your CTA at the end could produce more clicks than moving it to the middle or beginning because viewers who watch your video all the way through are more likely to take an action than someone who just clicked play.7. EngagementAccording to Facebook, likes, comments, and shares are the best measure of how well a video resonated with your audience. Engagement is also one of the most important factors in boosting your video’s organic reach — if a video resonates well with part of your audience, then Facebook concludes that it’ll resonate with the rest of your audience.Engagement provides marketers with valuable qualitative data too. Comments can show you the emotional affect your video had on your viewers. Do they seem inspired? Or are they angry you covered a controversial topic? This data can help you decide which video topics to focus on in the future.Social shares can paint a clearer picture of your audience’s brand affinity and loyalty. This metric measures how much your audience values your content and brand. It also builds your brand’s credibility. Since people share content that confirms their ideal self-persona, people who share your video are willing to show their community that they trust and support your brand.Social sharing is also one of the best forms of word-of-mouth marketing. According to Facebook, 48% of all video watch time can be attributed to social sharing.8. Negative FeedbackOn Facebook, negative feedback is how often people hide your video, report it as inappropriate, or unlike your page after watching it. The videos with the highest amount of negative feedback can help you nix ineffective topics from your content mix.Image Credit: Facebook9. Subscriber and Fan GrowthYouTube’s subscriber report will show you which videos gain or lose subscribers, the geographic location of your gained or lost subscribers, and the dates that users subscribe or unsubscribe from your channel. This data is valuable because it can inform your video strategy tremendously. You’ll learn what topics resonate with your subscribers the most and where to target new subscribers.Subscribers are important to your channel because YouTube will send them notifications about your new videos and feature your videos on their homepage. This means they’ll see your videos more frequently, which will help you generate more views. Subscribers also tend to watch your videos longer than non subscribers, so the more subscribers you have, the more watch time your videos will collect, and the more likely they’ll rank on search and be featured in the related section.On Facebook, you can see how each of your videos influences your page’s fan growth. This’ll help you determine which video topics resonate with your viewers the most.10. Top Location & AudienceYour Facebook videos’ top location and audience will help you flesh out your personas and target more precisely when you want to boost your videos. This data helps you discover your most loyal, engaged Facebook audience.For instance, if your top audience is male, age 35-44, and your top location is Missouri, you can target this audience with future videos, which will grow your Facebook following and boost your videos’ engagement and organic reach.11. Peak Live ViewersPeak live viewers shows you when the highest number of viewers were watching your Facebook live video. If a video’s live peak is early, then drops off, the beginning of your video might not be that engaging, leading to your viewers’ drop off. This data will help you adjust accordingly for your next live video stream.Image Credit: Sprout Social12. ReactionsFacebook will display a distribution of your audience’s reactions during your live video streams. This lets you determine the emotions each part of your video evoked, revealing which topics evoke which emotions and leading you toward a more data-driven live video strategy.Image Credit: Sprout Social13. Play RatePlay rate is how many people play your video divided by the number of people who visit the page that hosts your video. If the page’s play rate is low, your video probably isn’t relevant to the topic of your page. A low play rate can also illuminate other problems with your marketing, like your copy not being able to entice visitors to watch your video, the video not being embedded in the right place on the page, or your visitors preferring text over videos when they learn.14. Bounce RateA webpage’s bounce rate is the percentage of people who land on it, but then leave without going to other pages. On your website, most videos should guide your visitors to click on a CTA or explore other pages, like a visitor watching a video on the product page and then navigating to the pricing page. If your videos make your prospects leave your website entirely, then they’re probably not engaging or enticing enough.15. Conversion RateYour video’s conversion rate measures how well your video persuaded viewers to convert into a lead or a customer. You should test whether videos increase or decrease your landing or product pages’ conversion rates. If they do, this means video does a better job of conveying information and evoking excitement in your prospects than text does.16. Who Watches Your VideoWhen you can track which contacts in your database are watching certain videos on your website, it gives you a lot of context on what their pain points are and how you can solve for them. Your marketing team can send them content related to the video topics they watch, and your sales team will know exactly how to help them. You can also move these contacts down your inbound funnel. If a prospect just watched a case study video, you can send them a product overview video the next day.last_img read more