Ode to the Amazing Atom

first_imgby Dr. Henry L. RichterCertainly one of the most amazing objects in the universe is the basis of everything: the lowly atom. How atoms exist at all is most remarkable. We can describe them in physical terms, using mathematics, but their “why” is most certainly a mystery. The forces that allow them to form and to exist are truly amazing.The simplest atom is hydrogen with one proton and one electron; the most complex consist of many, many protons, neutrons, and electrons and the largest are extremely unstable, many undergoing radioactive decay immediately, giving them a lifetime of tiny fractions of a second after being formed.Atoms are mostly empty space with a nucleus containing the proton and neutrons, surrounded by a cloud of circling electrons, all in precise orbits around the nucleus. Protons have a positive electrical charge, electrons a negative electrical charge, and neutrons no electric charge. Why don’t the positive protons attract the negative electrons, and pow! – they would neutralize each other and create a neutron? This does not happen because for some reason the electrons endlessly circle the atom’s nucleus containing one or more protons. Why does this happen? As far as I can tell, no one knows why electrons follow prescribed precise orbits around the nucleus.The electrons are arranged into shells with a maximum number allowed per shell. As the number increases in more complex atoms, additional shells are formed, again with a fixed maximum number of electrons permitted each shell. The orbits of the circling electrons in each shell arrange themselves so that they do not bump into each other; again, how could this happen so fortuitously?And also amazing, when two hydrogen atoms combine to make H2 (hydrogen gas), somehow the two electron shells merge to re-form into a figure eight shell. Or when a hydrogen atom loses its electron and becomes a positive hydrogen ion (like in an acidic solution), or in an interstellar plasma, the proton maintains its space. It does not bump into other nearby particles, but remains separate. Sometimes moving with high energy, they do bump into each other causing disruptions.By simply varying the number of protons and electrons, the chemistry and physics of the resulting chemical element changes drastically. One proton and one electron gives hydrogen. H2 can be a gas, a liquid, or even a metallic solid (believed to exist in the cores of some planets). Make it two protons and two electrons and you still have a gas: Helium. Go to three protons and three electrons and now we have the first metal: Lithium. Jump to six protons and six electrons (plus a few neutrons) and we find carbon, the basis of all life and chemical compounds numbering into multiple hundred-thousands of types, each with its own properties.Jump to 25 protons and electrons, and you get Iron, in the midst of a jumble of other metals with close numbers of elementary particles. How amazing that such minor changes in the composition of an atom can result in such wide differences in the resulting elementary characteristics!The beauty of how all the different elements fall into groups of similar characteristics is best shown by the Periodic Table of the Elements, as first proposed in 1869 by the Russian chemist, Dimitri I. Mendeleev (1834-1907).Pictured below, the table is arranged by atomic number (the number of protons in the nucleus). The vertical columns are elements of similar characteristics. This is the most common representation, but there are other ways to diagram the elements, as March Lorch illustrates at The Conversation.Can this be considered an accidental universe? Everything has to work perfectly, particularly the behavior of atoms. Wow!Somehow, when the Universe came into being, atoms were created or formed by some process. We can describe the forces that make sub-atomic particles interact, but forces do not create themselves. They had to be finely tuned for atoms to exist. From the very beginning, they conformed to a scheme that allowed them to remain stable without self-destructing. As explained above, atoms have a configuration requiring negative electrons to assume positions and motions keeping them apart from the positive protons. In the scheme of things, this is a marvelous way to put matter together. How did it happen? It took some unfathomable super-intelligence to do that. And then think of all the atoms in the universe. It is estimated that there are 1022 stars, and probably more than that is the number of planets. All these are made up of tiny, perfectly operating atoms!Isn’t creation wonderful? From the atom to the universe, everything is finely tuned to allow for beings like us to consider, and ponder the wisdom of the Mind that made it all.Update 01/09/19: Dr Richter informed us of an article at Chemical and Engineering News by Sam Lemonick that came out Jan 7, “The periodic table is an icon. But chemists still can’t agree on how to arrange it.” Lemonick shares some little-known background about the table’s history, and the predecessors and successors to Mendeleev. The important thing to remember is that the periodicity of the elements is real in nature, but the ways to represent it graphically are human approximations. Exceptions to the arrangement prove the rule: most elements and their properties follow a periodic order, which the most-common diagram exhibits well in a useful way. Richter comments, “I guess we do not need to rewrite the article.”Footnote: Did you know that 2019 has been declared the International Year of the Periodic Table of the Chemical Elements? Did you also know that the discoverer of this order was a Christian and Bible believing scientist named Dimitri Mendeleev? He is our Creation Scientist of the Month to celebrate this year honoring his “iconic symbol of science.” Dr Richter himself is among the distinguished members of our biographical series.Dr. Henry Richter was born in Long Beach, California, and served a short tour of duty in the U.S. Navy in World War II. From there he received a BS and PhD (Chemistry, Physics, and Electrical Engineering) from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena California. Then he went to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which became part of NASA. While there he headed up the development of the free worlds first earth satellite, Explorer I. He then oversaw the scientific instrumentation for the Ranger, Mariner, and Surveyor Programs. From JPL, he went to Electro-Optical Systems becoming a Vice President and Technical Director. Next was a staff position with UCLA as Development Manager of the Mountain Park Research Campus. He then owned an electronics manufacturing business and afterwards became the Communications Engineer for the L.A. County Sheriffs Department. Since 1977, he has been a communications consultant to Public Safety organizations. He is a life member of APCO, the IEEE, and the American Chemical Society. His book America’s Leap into Space details the origins of rocketry and his own role in the launching of the first American satellite, Explorer 1, in 1958. Henry Richter is also author of Spacecraft Earth: A Guide for Passengers, with co-author David Coppedge (Creation Ministries International, 2016). Creation-Evolution Headlines is honored to have Dr Richter as a contribution writer. See his Author Profile for his previous contributions.(Visited 637 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Van der Merwe lifts Soweto Open title

first_img18 April 2011Izak van der Merwe went one step better than he did in 2010 when he captured the Soweto Open men’s singles title at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Centre in Jabavu after a hard-fought battle against fellow South African Rik de Voest on Sunday.The final had been moved back a day because of rain and rain, once again, made an appearance in the final, forcing the players from the court for over two hours with Van der Merwe leading 6-7 (4-7), 7-5, 3-2, and the contest on serve. Ultimately, he went on to a 6-7, 7-5, 6-3 victory.The victory, his second in a Challenger Tour event, has lifted Van der Merwe to a career-high ranking of 134th in the world.Last year, he made it into the final but was beaten by Dustin Brown. This time around the fourth-seed made sure of success by defeating the German 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) in a hard-fought semi-final.Tie-breakersIt was far from an easy walk to the title for the big-serving South African who played tie-breakers in every one of his matches.Van der Merwe began his title challenge with a tough 7-5, 7-6 win over Englishman Daniel Cox in his first round match. He followed that up by sending another Englishman packing after defeating Chris Eaton 6-4, 7-6.In the quarterfinals, he faced seventh-seed Andrej Martin and once again it proved to be a tight contest. Van der Merwe won it 7-6, 7-6, claiming both tie-breakers 7-2.Path to the finalOn his way to the final, De Voest, the sixth-seed, recorded victories over fellow South African Raven Klaasen, Denys Molchanov, and Michal Przysiezny before facing Australian Greg Jones in the final.It took a gritty comeback for De Voest to win a match that was interrupted by rain. When the heavens opened, he was 3-6, 4-3 down, but went on to win 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2.In the final, he became the only player in the tournament to win a tie-breaker against Van der Merwe. By reaching the title-decider, he improved his world ranking to 158th.Women’s titleThe women’s honours went the way of Russia’s Valeria Savinykh, who proved to be a giant killer on her way to lifting the title.She ousted fourth-seed Eva Birnerova 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the first round. Then, after an easy 6-2, 6-2 win over Oksana Kalashnikova in the second round, she upset seventh-seed Corinna Dentoni 6-4, 6-3 in the quarterfinals.Savinykh followed that up by disposing of top-seed Ann Keothavong in the semi-finals when the Briton retired at 6-3, 3-0 down.In the final, second-seed Petra Cetkovska proved no much for the 20-year-old Russian, who cruised to a 6-1, 6-3 victory and the biggest win of her career.South African women failed to make an impact as none of the four players in the draw made it out of the first round.DoublesGermany’s Michael Kohlmann and Alexander Peya of Austria claimed the men’s doubles title with a convincing 6-2, 6-2 victory over South African-born Australian Matthew Ebden and Germany’s Andre Bergemann.Sadly, the women’s doubles final was a victim of the weather and was not played.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Mike Gamboa signs 1-year deal with Phoenix

first_imgDon’t miss out on the latest news and information. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netMANILA, Philippines—Mike Gamboa is going to get another year of living his PBA dream.The diminutive 5-foot-6 guard signed a one-year deal with current club Phoenix in what he described as the culmination of all his hard work.ADVERTISEMENT Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte View comments SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion Hotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issue Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion Blackwater taps Rommel Adducul as big man coachcenter_img “Thank you to God, my family, mom and dad I love you! My supportive brothers I love you all. And to everyone who has helped me in this journey,” said Gamboa through social media. “To my fiancé Carmen and baby Mikee, you’re the reason why I made it and each practice/game is dedicated to you! I love you both! Let’s go Phoenix!”Gamboa started his basketball career at Ateneo before moving to University of the Philippines in the UAAP but decided he would go into the corporate life when he graduated in 2013.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionFollowing a year of working in an office, Gamboa tirelessly worked hard in achieving the dream he almost lost. He eventually became the ninth pick in the second round of the 2014 PBA Rookie Draft by Rain or Shine.Gamboa, however, wasn’t signed and he went on to play for Bread Story and Hapee in the PBA D-League. He also played for Pilipinas MX3 in the ASEAN Basketball League in 2016. LATEST STORIES TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next The year 2017, though, was the toughest for Gamboa as he was an almost invisible figure basketball circles until Phoenix head coach Louie Alas sent him an invite to try out for the Fuel Masters.It was also at this time that Gamboa found out he was about to be a father, and the looming family life was what ignited the fire within the point guard’s heart.“Everyone kept on telling me what my plan should be and I should start facing reality,” said Gamboa. “Only my girlfriend and a few friends believed that I was still going to make it to the PBA, it was then I always asked God why He put me back to playing basketball again.”“I found out that my girlfriend was pregnant and immediately finding out that I was going to be a father, I had that fire back and I knew I had to give it one last shot for my future baby and family.”Gamboa played a total of 12 games for the Fuel Masters in the 2017-18 season, averaging 2.1 points, 0.6 rebounds, and 1.3 assists.ADVERTISEMENT Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? MOST READ LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviñolast_img read more

Why Making the Home Page of TechCrunch is Better than Digg

first_img Visitors from social bookmarking sites need to be roped toward your money pot slowly and strategically. PawSpot.com Originally published Jan 25, 2007 5:47:00 PM, updated March 21 2013 The toughest part is knowing when these events are going to happen. However, if you did know, I might prepare in different ways. . They are explorers obsessed with remaining on the frontier of innovation as they chase their personal aspirations of fame, fortune, or both. Some are entrepreneurs looking for creative inspiration from your product that they can apply to their own. Others are simply looking to get in early on the next big thing. Either way, TechCrunch visitors come to try your product and will give it a genuine shot, willing to work through bugs or user experience flaws in order to understand your reason for being. What were the actual traffic metrics? classic early adopters the real value comes in the brand awareness you gain for making the home page If they end up on your site in a heated debate over your article, show them related discussions in your forum or on other blog entries. Recognize when they are engaged and seize that opportunity to convert them to a registered user or subscribe to your RSS feed. Now you have them in the funnel and can work them toward a close. Social bookmarking visitors will have a small close percentage but the top of the funnel is enormous. The table below shows the page views per visit from each site. As one might expect, social bookmarking visitors came for a single glimpse, with a metric barely above 1. TechCrunch folks dug much deeper into the site, yielding 5 page views per visit on average. Sure. The graph below plots total referral visits against the number of days after the home page appearance occurred for each of these sites. As you can see, the social bookmarking sites yielded much higher traffic initially, with average visitors of about 8,500 in the first day. However, the daily visitors fell off quickly after the first day. TechCrunch, on the other hand, did not quite generate the same initial spike, with a little over 1,000 visitors on the first day. But a reasonable proportion of the original traffic levels was sustained even weeks after the mention. . Despite being fairly new-to-the-block in the media world, TechCrunch carries amazing prestige. To be honest, when TechCrunch covered us, we were still in user experience testing and had not even officially launched the site. However, the mention alone led to coverage by at least 50 additional blogs and invitations to a number of speaking engagements within the next few weeks. Add TechCrunch to your PR firm’s target list and buy Arrington a drink when you see him out on the town. “You have ten seconds. Show me why you are cool. If I like it, I will hang out longer.” . Over the past six months, PawSpot has made an appearance on the home page of each of these entities. Here is his reflection on the experiences. If you had to pick one, which home page would you choose to appear on? I believe TechCrunch visitors want to get right to your value proposition. . For the most part, they come for the sole purpose of the article at hand. The only potential distraction of slightly more importance is the commentary, and hopefully heated debate, that follows the article. If you are lucky, the debate will spill over from their social bookmarking site onto your site. However, the visitors will probably not even realize it, remaining heads down in the verbal onslaught. The analogy here is a bar fight that suddenly spills over into the pet shop next store. There is really no controlling it. You just need to let it fizzle out on its own and hope that more good than harm is done. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack passionate, active participators that thrive on controversy If your small business made the home page of TechCrunch or Digg, would it solve all of your problems? OK, probably not. But if you could choose between the home page of Digg, TechCrunch, Netscape, or Reddit, which would you prefer? To provide some insight, we have brought in guest blogger, Mark Roberge, CEO of For the most part, your site is probably structured reasonably well to suit their needs. Just make sure you have a path for really smart visitors. These folks may know your competitive landscape better than you do so fast-track them to your key differentiation. As one may expect from the above figures, registered user conversion was many multiples higher from TechCrunch than from the social bookmarking visitors. TechCrunch visitor conversion fell in the three to five percent range. Social bookmarking visitors were a fraction of that figure. We found TechCrunch visitors to be the What are the qualitative observations about these visitors? By far TechCrunch. Personally, I do not think the direct visitors you attract from any of them will make or break your business. As successful as these sites are, the demographics of their subscribers represent a small portion of the mass consumer markets. I think What is the best way to capitalize on these home page appearances? We found social bookmarking users to belast_img read more

6 Power Tips To Use Google Like An Expert

first_imgA few weeks ago, I authored an article here with some quick tips on how you could improve your Google searches.  It provided some of the most useful features of Google that are relatively straight-forward, but few people knew about.  Originally published Mar 30, 2007 12:14:00 PM, updated March 21 2013 The response to the article was overwhelming.  Both those relatively unfamiliar with Google’s advanced features and those that were Google experts seemed to like the article.  The experts likely bookmarked the article to send to their friends and family. If you have some favorite tips that I missed above, please share them in the comments.  Seems that there is no end to the creative uses for the Google search engine. 2.  Current Time In Major Cities     Example:  The Lookout     Example:  100 Euros in US dollars     Example:  time in Tokyo     Example:  72 inches in cm 6 Power Tips To Use Google Like An Expert :  You can have Google tell you the current time in most major cities of the world. :  Find the approximate value of one international currency in another.     Example:  weather in 02142 3.  Currency Exchange :  Find the local weather in any area in the United Statescenter_img 1.  Unit Conversions      Example:  GOOG 5.  Movie Schedule 6.  Stock Quotes 12 Quick Tips To Search Google Like An Expert Here’s the first article, if you haven’t read that one yet:  :  Enter the name of a currently playing movie and Google will help you find local showings. :  You can enter common units and convert from one to the other. :  Just enter the stock ticker symbol as your query. In any case, as a follow-up to that article, I’d like to share another set of quick tips to improve how you use Google’s search bar.  Many of these were user contributions as comments to the original article.  Thanks to those that shared their favorite tips. 4.  Check The Weather     Example:  The Lookout in 02142 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

9 Ways to Encourage People to Comment on your Blog

first_img Topics: If you can get comments on your blog, you’ll increase both your SEO benefits and your status as an industry leader. Each new comment adds more valuable content on that post, so yes, you can start ranking for different variations of keywords that are naturally mentioned in your comments. Also, the more comments you have, the more clout you appear to have, because people are interested enough in what you have to say to bother commenting.So the question is: how do you get people to bother to comment? Here are 9 ways to encourage people to comment on your blog:Download 6 Free Blog Post Templates Now1. Close Each Blog Post with a QuestionAt the end of every one of my blog posts, I ask a question. It takes about 5 seconds to formulate a question, even something as simple as “What do you think about X?” or “Do you agree? Share your thoughts in the comments below!” Asking for feedback from your readers will show them that you care about their opinions. Even though blog commenting is more anonymous than if that reader was asking you a question in person or from a conference audience, people can still be fairly shy online. But asking them for their opinions may help them feel more comfortable leaving a comment. Also, bold your question so that it stands out at the end of your post.2. Ask Readers to Add to Your Numbered ListMany of the most enticing blog articles are numbered lists. Numbered lists make a blog post easy to read, and people know when they click on a post like “ 9 Worst Ways to do Twitter for Business ,” they’re going to come away with at least 9 clear takeaways from that blog post. The best way to get comments from people on these types of articles is to ask them to add to the list. In the case of my 9 Worst Ways article, I asked my readers to contribute #10, and got 59 comments to date.  Not too shabby!3. Write Something Insightful and Thought-ProvokingTry to write a blog post that gets people to think, or pushes them in a new direction. This is what a truly remarkable blog post will do. This type of post will definitely push the limit of a typical 200-400 word blog post, but every once in a while, take a bit of extra time to come up with a concept, theory, or idea that makes your readers think. THIS is the type of blog post that will make you an industry leader. This is also the type of post that gets people to comment.4. Be ControversialSome of the HubSpot blog articles with the most comments include “ 7 Signs You Should Run Screaming From An SEO Consultant ” and “ Why a Social Media Policy is Stupid .” The titles alone are controversial, and can elicit an immediate reaction. Either you go “Haha yes! That’s so true!” or you go “WHAT? I’m an SEO consultant!!!” or “I have a social media policy!!!” This type of reaction usually triggers the need to respond with either wholehearted agreement, or fervent disagreement. Either way, you’re bound to get more comments, and since this type of article usually has more viral potential and social media, you’ll probably get many more page views out of it as well. And yes, being controversial is a delicate balancing act, but you can certainly be controversial without threatening your brand image.5. Reply to Your Comments to Keep the Conversation GoingIf you ignore all your comments, you’ll let the conversation dwindle off, so reply to your audience to keep the conversation going. If readers see that you care enough to reply to comments people leave on your posts, they’ll be more encouraged to leave a comment as well. Just like you don’t want to blog out to an empty void, people don’t want to comment to an empty void either. Answer any questions you receive, and thank people for commenting. If you’re getting too many comments to reply to individually, wait a day or two and then comment thanking all of your readers for their insightful comments.6. Make it as Easy as Possible to CommentMake sure that your comment box is located directly below your blog post/social sharing icons/call-to-action, rather than placing it below the comments so that the user would have to scroll way down to find it. Also, remove any barriers to commenting, such as requiring people to log in. The fields for name, email, and comment are all you really need.7. Comment on Other BlogsMake insightful comments on other relevant or industry blogs. Don’t just comment with a simple “Thanks for this great article!” Actually add value to the conversation. This way, the blog author may visit your site to return the favor. This should also help you get more traffic, and possibly even more inbound links, to your blog.8. Create Blog Posts Around Top CommentsIf someone leaves a spectacular and insightful comment around that blog post, use that comment as inspiration for your next blog post. Open with a snippet from that comment, with a link to that reader’s website, and then follow with your opinion. Then reach out to that reader via email to let them know that their comment inspired you! This offers you the opportunity to provide your top commenters with recognition, so that they keep coming back to participate.9. Ask for Feedback on Social Media ChannelsInstead of just tweeting and Facebook sharing your article with the typical format of “Title – Link, ” ask for feedback. “Title – Link – Would love your thoughts, please comment” is a type of tweet or update that once again shows that you care about what your audience thinks, rather than just promoting your own point of view. What would you add as the #10 way to encourage blog comments? Let me know in the comments below! Diana Urban  is a User Experience Manager at HubSpot. You can follow her on Twitter  @dianaurban . Image courtesy of ClipArtOf Originally published Jan 26, 2011 8:00:00 AM, updated October 07 2019 Growing Readership 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

How to Create a Winning Contest with Social Media

first_imgIn just a few days, the contest has already generated hundreds of tweets and thousands of new visitors to HubSpot’s website, and the numbers continue to climb. 1 Social Media Contest Example 2: In the summer of 2010, the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago launched a contest that required a web –savvy individual to live in the museum for 30 days and report observations to the outside world. The museum offered the contest winner a prize of $10,000, tech gadgets, and an honorary lifetime membership to MSI.To generate some pre-contest buzz, the museum started conversations on Twitter (using hashtag #MATM) and inspired bloggers and mainstream media channels to cover this unique experiment; BoingBoing, Mediabistro, PBS, The Huffington Post, ChicagoNow, and other mainstream outlets and local blogs wrote about the contest ( see example ). The coverage generated hundreds of comments, tweets, and video impressions. The Museum of Science’s video channel also generated more than 240 new subscribers and more than 15,636 new likes on Facebook. 2 Tips and Takeaways Run contests using social media, not just your website . Social media can be more than a promotional tool; it can also be a utility. In the case of HubSpot’s Website Grader contest, using Twitter to tweet your website’s grade is the required method for entry. This implementation takes advantage of user-generated content and, in turn, further promotes the contest to a wider audience. A win-win for all. Use an integrated strategy. Don’t just rely on one outlet for promotion. In addition to traditional marketing methods, use all the social networks that are important to you and your audience. Many successful giveaways expand their reach to multiple sources utilizing blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn (to name a few). Make your contests easy to share. If people can’t share your awesome contest idea, it may not go very far. To ensure your giveaway gets some traction, use a URL shortener like bit.ly to create shortened links for others to share on Twitter. Also, add “Tweet This” or “Share on Facebook” links on your website or blog so visitors can easily share your content with one click (AddThis is a great tool for that). Wherever your contest is promoted, make it easy for others to share it. Generate pre-contest buzz. Don’t forget that you can start promoting your contest even before it officially starts. Use social media to start conversions so people are already lined up and waiting when it launches. The Museum of Science did a fantastic job of this by starting conversions with bloggers and followers on Twitter. Track your success. To know that your contests are successful, use a unique tag, phrase or link for tracking. Whether it is a hashtag on Twitter or a unique landing page on your website, put processes in place to identify the results you generate from social media initiatives.Contests present a terrific way to create PR opportunities and to reach out to your target audience effectively. They’re fun, and they help you get noticed by both customers and the media. Social media has become an excellent resource and tool for turning good contests into great ones.Do you have any great ideas or examples to add? I would love to hear your feedback! Credits: 1. Source: Inbound Marketing Blog 2. Source: 11 Examples of Online Marketing Success eBook   Social Media Campaigns It’s a fact: people like to win stuff. When you pair the word “prize” with an objective, you can generally expect a good outcome. Because of this, holding contests or sweepstakes is a great way to drive more sales, leads, donations, or whatever you’re trying to get more of.Contests have been a fun and effective promotional strategy for decades, but since the success of an online contest hinges so closely on generating a large volume of participants, having the right promotional strategy is crucial.Social media, specifically, enables you to reach a very large audience for little cost, which makes it a superb outlet for contests and giveaways. People love to share great content, and the social channel only makes it easier to spread the word about your promotion. When done right, social media will help your contests go viral.Before we dive into some tips of running a successful contest using social media, here are some great examples: Social Media Contest Example 1: Looking for some extra cash? HubSpot is currently giving away a $100 Amazon gift card to a lucky winner every day. All you need to do is grade your website and tweet about it ( official details here ). Not only that, but there is also a grand prize of a free iPad, which will be awarded to a winner who, not only tweets, but blogs about their results. Originally published Jun 1, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017center_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 SlackSlacklast_img read more

5 Lessons Trick-or-Treaters Can Teach Us About Inbound Marketing

first_img Originally published Oct 31, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 Inbound Marketing 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 This is a guest post written by Kimberly Lindquist. Kimberly is a project manager and in-house social marketer at ListEngage, a full service interactive marketing firm. She can be found tweeting about marketing, content, Boston, and other ramblings @lindquik.Each Halloween the ghouls, goblins, and princesses come out and parade their costumes en masse across towns and cities everywhere. With hundreds of houses and apartments to pick from, what makes some places a raging success, while others can’t get a ‘treater to save their lives? It turns out all of those little super heroes and skeletons can actually teach us a thing or two about our own inbound marketing efforts.Lesson 1: Make Sure They Know You’re HomeRemember those houses with the lights off, no cars in the driveway, and no decorations adorning the walkway? Not only were they spooky, but you had no idea whether anyone was home to give you candy! Although the occasional trick-or-treater might be brave enough to run up and ring the bell, these houses are generally overlooked even if they have great goodies inside.Marketing Takeaway: Make sure people know you’re open for business. For marketers, this means always keeping your website up-to-date and providing fresh content through your various online channels such — posting often to your blog and social media accounts, making sure your landing pages are optimized and filled with valuable offers and content, etc. No matter where your visitors stop by, they should always feel like “someone’s home” to help them out.Lesson 2: Tell a Great TaleWhether it’s like a haunted mansion, a spooky graveyard, or a zombie apocalypse – what makes your house stand out from the rest? Pull in the candy-grubbers with a great, consistent tale about your home and goodies. Parents and kids alike always remember the places that surprise, enchant, and entertain them, so slap those bolts to your neck, get out the green face paint and lab supplies, and get your Frankenstein on!Marketing Takeaway: Telling compelling stories is a major part of getting your new audience’s attention. Captivate them by telling the tales you know best. While for trick-or-treaters, this might mean tales of ghosts and gore, for your business, this means sharing riveting case studies, addressing industry problems on your blog, or creating a valuable ebook to attract and generate leads at the top of the funnel.Lesson 3: Give Out the Good Stuff (But Don’t Just Give it Away!)If telling great stories is a major part of getting new ‘treaters to your door, then another big piece of the pie is: what kinds of goodies do you have? The best houses don’t hand out lollipops and hard candies. Instead, they give out the chocolatiest chocolate bars, the chewiest gummies, and the sourest sour candies! Make sure you’re offering the best of the best, and never just leave your goodies on the doorstep unattended. The smart candy-givers know it’s a two-way street: trick-or-treaters request their loot, and candy-givers get a chance to enjoy their goofy little costumes and squeaky thank you’s!Marketing Takeaway: Give away valuable content freely, and always interact with the folks who stop by! Find your customers’ pain-points, have the conversations they want to hear about most, and talk about the technologies you see revolutionizing your industry in the next few years. Then create ebooks, webinars, podcasts, and other content around these great topics. Just like you require a “trick-or-treat” in exchange for candy from the kids who knock on your door on Halloween, make sure you’re distributing your marketing content in exchange for lead information; use landing pages with lead-capture forms and plan to follow up on visitors’ clicks, form submissions, and downloads with a phone call or a timely lead nurturing campaign.Lesson 4: Be Prepared. Don’t Run Out.When you decide to open up your doors to the candy-frenzied masses, don’t get caught off guard when your house is a wild success. Be prepared to bring out more goodies, as the zombies, witches, and dinosaurs keep asking for them. Remember those houses that *gasp* ran out of candy when you were little? Definitely don’t make that same mistake.Marketing Takeaway: There’s nothing worse than disappointing potential new customers with false hopes of content. Letting potential enthusiasts down on their first visit can almost guarantee they won’t make a second. For marketers, this means having a long list of ideas and content lined up as users come to your site looking for more great resources. Create content calendars, crowdsource new ideas from your employees and customers, and collaborate with like-minded businesses to make sure you can keep delivering those “delicious” goodies that feed your visitors as well as your inbound marketing programs.Lesson 5: Reward Your Biggest FansRemember that pirate who’s been coming to your haunted house for years and bringing new friends every time? Don’t forget to say thank-you and give him the candy bar you know he likes best. Or maybe even an extra one for good measure.Marketing Takeaway: When it comes to your business’ top fans who absolutely love what you’re doing – send the appreciation right back their way! For Halloween, this might mean a King Size candy bar for your loyal ‘treaters, but for your business, this likely means sending the retweeting love, celebrating your Facebook fans with “insider” perks, or running a special contest for your biggest advocates. No matter how you choose to thank your best fans and customers, just remember to pay it forward. Who knows, down the road they might even help keep those naughty older ‘treaters from egging your house!What else can trick-or-treaters teach you about inbound marketing?Image Credit: scott feldsteinlast_img read more

10 Social Media Risks MOST Companies Are Too Afraid to Take

first_img Social Media Trends When else do people need to clean up? When it’s party time, baby! This board gives “A little inspiration to make your shindig prettier … then a little help with the post-party clean-up.” So if you think pinners are going to throw your brand out on its toosh if you show up on Pinterest, think again. They’ll only rail against you if you can’t think of how your brand ties into something visually exciting — and if you think really hard, I bet you can figure it out ;-)Are there any things you’ve wanted to try in social media, but have been too scared to actually do? Share your hopes and dreams in the comments … you may just find the support you need to take the plunge!Image Credit: Justin Ornellas Point is, everyone likes to laugh. Loosen up! As long as your jokes aren’t in poor taste — you know this by creating buyer personas in which you get to know your audience’s sense of humor — your readers will appreciate that you’ve infused a little levity into their day. Fact.2) Loosening Up Enough to Make a Joke in Your “Boring” Industry”It’s easy for them to be funny,” you say, “they work in branding and design!” You don’t have to work in a hip industry to be funny in social media. Take a look at General Electric’s Pinterest account if you want proof that “boring” industries can take a risk on humor, too. Here’s one of their latest pinboards: There was a time when just being in social media was a risk for companies. I’m glad we’re (mostly) done with those days, but now we’re into a new era … the era of experimentation.Oooh, I like this era! This is when people really start getting creative. And the more risks brands take, the more we learn what works and (unfortunately) what totally backfires.What you’ll find in this post are the social media ideas that many brands wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole; except, of course, for some special few who said, “Meh, screw it.” And boy do we love those people! Take a look at some risky social media moves that flout convention, and the brands that are pulling it off, anyway.10 Risky Social Media Moves Real Brands Aren’t Afraid to Make1) Loosening Up Enough to Make a Joke in B2B MarketingBusinesspeople don’t smile. They carry briefcases and march around with a withering stare of the utmost seriousness. Except the people at IMPACT Branding. Take a look at their latest Facebook timeline cover photo (which they update pretty frequently, check back often): Originally published Sep 14, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Topics: Uhh, this is $%&#!@$ genius. Yeah, some people don’t like it (though for the record, I totally voted for it). But even if 99% of people despise it, who cares? Now they know. Now they can make educated inventory decisions. Now they can even turn those social media followers into leads (see the first box called out in orange above) by nurturing them with the email address they just input — yes, email was required — in order to vote! And they can even expand their database (see the second box called out in orange above) by asking voters to send this survey to a friend.Bottom line: no risk, no reward. And really, it’s not that much of a risk, anyway. The people who give feedback are often those with the strongest feelings — both negative and positive. So while you may get heated responses from some unhappy people, you’ll also get some overwhelmingly loving responses from your ardent fans.4) Sharing Competitor ContentOne of our product marketing managers wrote a blog post recently that featured Eloqua’s content as an example of exceptional B2B content. Joe Chernov at Eloqua not only tweeted it, but with some kind words, at that:That @hubspot included @eloqua in its “10 B2B Companies that Create Exceptional Content” post = classy. elq.to/MJtHAN— Joe Chernov (@jchernov) August 21, 2012And that isn’t the first time he’s shared HubSpot’s content. And it pays off for both brands, because this is how you look to those that are following the conversation:@jchernov @hubspot @eloqua classy indeed. I love seeing competitors show respect to one another. Well done, folks.— Bryan Jones (@bryanjones) August 21, 2012Give credit where credit’s due. Your prospects aren’t stupid. They won’t get distracted with one social media update from a competitor and then abandon you. They’ll choose their solution based on the research they’ve conducted — with the help of all your valuable content, regardless of source.5) Letting Employees Get Social for Your CompanyLots of organizations cringe at the idea of loosening the social media reigns. I mean, if anyone could tweet as a HubSpotter, how would we keep a lid on or brand image?!Ha, well, you probably know we don’t actually feel that way. Most of our employees actually have @HubSpot in their Twitter bio … probably because we actually encourage them to do it. That’s because we know the more people we have sharing HubSpot content in social media, the more our reach will grow. We trust that our employees have good judgment and won’t tweet something that will damage our brand. We also trust our audience to know that the opinions of employees don’t necessarily reflect those of our organization — so just because an employee with “@HubSpot” in his or her bio tweets something political, for example, doesn’t mean it’s how HubSpot feels. I mean, duh, you know?Are there any other companies that do this? There sure are! Just go take a look at Best Buy’s @Twelpforce for another stellar spin on the concept. Outer space and rainbows. Zero percent luxury car service tie in. One hundred percent awesome.10) Showing Up on Pinterest When You Have No Business Being ThereSooo … vacuum cleaners. They’re really pretty, right?I think there’s a few reasons fathers teach their sons to never give their wives cleaning supplies as a gift; and one of them (just one of them, I know there’s a thousand more) is probably that they’re not really that pretty. People need vaccuum cleaners, they don’t sit around ooh-ing and aah-ing about how cute they are. So why would you create a Pinterest account for them?Well, if you’re Oreck, you do it because you thought of ways to make your product visual. Take a look at three of their pinboards that focus on aesthetically pleasing things … and note the vacuum cleaner tie-in in the board descriptions! This one even has a fun little rhyme going with “Blue, it’s our longtime obsession. Blue, it’s not even a question.” 8) Taking a Stance on a Controversial IssueI feel like I’m going to start controversy just by posting this example. But, here’s an example of a brand that knew they’d anger some people with their Facebook post … but went out on a limb and did it anyway: Or if The Office is more your speed, they’ve had a little fun with Dwight “Bears, Beets, Battlestar Gallactica” Schrute, too: That’s a really cool update to read! Don’t you feel like you know the business owner a little better now? And do you notice how she weaved in a fun, controversial topic to get conversation going? Here’s another instance … If you clicked on that link in the update, by the way, it takes you to this page on their website: If you missed the honey badger meme, maybe you’ll enjoy a little something from the How I Met Your Mother genre: Best Buy’s account is managed by over 3,000 Best Buy employees who can feel free to share content and be themselves without constantly worrying they’re “doing something wrong.”6) Letting Users Upload Their Own ContentSpeaking of letting go of your control issues, social media is rife with opportunities for user-generated content. But some brands are scared of what content that freedom will yield. And then there are the ones that remember more than 8 in 10 millennials think user-generated content indicates brand quality, and influences their purchases. So those companies loosen their vise grip a little bit.Pinterest is a fantastic opportunity for this, and some brands are experimenting with it. To let other pinners upload content to your Pinterest boards, you have to actually give them permission. The way ModCloth has approached it is the most common way we’ve seen it done, asking pinners to email them so they can grant pinning permissions. Just look at what happened: It’s so easy for brands to become faceless because they’re concerned about getting transactions, leads, comments, engagement, blah blah blah. Look, that’s all important, but so is just making people feel good. And if you think this whole “having a personality” approach only works for a small business, think again. Here’s one more example from luxury car service Uber: Finally, check out the “Stunning Floors” board, where you can see why “The prettiest of floors need the best of care.” There were, of course, tons of people who said they’d never eat an Oreo again. I don’t think it will have a big impact on their bottom line. Nabisco’s probably doing just fine. A move like this is certainly a measured PR decision, and one thing’s for sure — they had a lot of detractors come out. But there was also a huge, enormous movement of supporters who came out to congratulate Oreo. And a lot of those supporters were new to Oreo’s Facebook Page. That’s one way to generate reach … or just stand up for something your company believes in.9) Posting Content Unrelated to Your BrandOkay, so this is one of those risks that’s a risk because a lot of people think it’s a faux pas. I mean, why should you post content that’s unrelated to your brand, product, service, or industry? That’s what your audience is there to see!True … ish. But honestly? Because it was a sign of a social media screw up for a while, people stopped doing it. And then social media profiles turned into these stale, lifeless things that were full of content everyone expected. That’s screwing up, too! So what’s a marketer to do?Post intermittent updates that show your brand’s personality! It’s really, really refreshing. Take a look at this example from custom jewelry designer Jane Font Jewelry Designs, for example: Nothing bad! Who would’ve thunk it? Not only does this board have a ton of followers … can you imagine a better way to get insight into the interests of your target audience? This user-generated social media content is a persona-development gold mine!7) Giving Away Your Secret SauceWe can’t tell people how we do what we do! They’ll just do it themselves and we’ll go out of business! Lock the doors! Turn off the lights! Burn the documentation!Alternately, you could remember that sites like Pinterest — that’s right, we’re not done with our Pinterest love affair yet — are perfect for how-to and DIY content. In fact, the pins that consistently gets repinned the most frequently on Pinterest include the word “DIY,” according to research conducted by HubSpot social media scientist Dan Zarrella. That shouldn’t come as too big of a shock, either, considering “how-to” content typically performs well in every other inbound marketing channel.That’s why we love that Molly Maid isn’t shying away from teaching people how to maintain a clean home; they know their target customer is interested in these tips and tricks they can do along the way, but still want the bulk of the work to be left to a professional. This pinboard establishes themselves as an authority in their field, without sacrificing clientele. This isn’t great just because it gets people chuckling … it actually expands GE’s audience by thinking about their industry in terms more people can understand. So no, maybe their engineers don’t love this (or maybe they do, because it’s hilarious), but they already have an audience of engineers. You’re not going to grow your reach if you don’t think outside the box!3) Opening the Feedback FloodgatesSome brands are too scared to get into social media because it gives people a place to air their grievances. We get that. We don’t agree with it, but after hearing the refrain so much, we “get” it. Then there are the brands that take it one step further, and actually proactively open the feedback floodgates. Take a look at how UncommonGoods does it on its Facebook page, for example: 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! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more