Why Twitter Is Marketing Wheat Bread (Not Cotton Candy)

first_img blogging Want to learn more about using Twitter for Marketing and PR? Red Sox commentary Demi Moore If you’re like many serious, data-driven marketing professionals, you don’t take Twitter seriously. It seems a little too much like marketing cotton candy. Shaquile ONeal for tips and tricks to drive inbound marketing using Twitter. What type of business value? saying about their company Our blog is not alone. Look at landing pages and healthy use of Twitter Marketing .) It’s sticky. (Who doesn’t want to know what people are and . For regular producers of quality, interesting content, Twitter is core source of traffic. calls to action lead tracking search engine optimization Steve Rubel’s traffic. Pay-Per-Click ads , Twitter can produce real business value. If this is your view of Twitter, you need to re-assess. Today. Webinar: Twitter for Marketing and PR , Referrals. Originally published Jul 23, 2009 8:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 all the time.) ? anitacanita .) P. Diddy Topics: On this blog over the last three months, Twitter was the third-most significant source of traffic, referring almost $30,000 worth of traffic. ($30,000 is what we would have had to pay to buy a similar volume of traffic from Google via It’s sweet. (What could be sweeter than non-stop ? But if you put in the time, make Twitter a part of your daily diet and engage with your network, Twitter will help keep your marketing strong. Photos: And, to some, Twitter seems low on substantive business value. ?) Of course, this type of referral traffic doesn’t happen without work. You can’t buy $30,000 worth of visitors from Twitter. You have to build a network, engage with that network, then share your quality content with that network. And even if you do that, you won’t see returns overnight. sierravalleygirl Download the free webinar It’s colorful. ( Twitter is not cotton candy — it’s wheat bread, a staple of a healthy marketing diet. Balanced with Or Fred Wilson’s , 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 Amazing Mobile Marketing Statistics Every Marketer Should Know

first_img Marketing Data This is a guest blog post written by Jamie Turner. As the founder of the 60 Second Marketer, he is an in-demand marketing speaker and is currently writing a book entitled Go Mobile with Jeanne Hopkins, the director of marketing for HubSpot.I attended Dreamforce in San Francisco last week to learn about new sales and marketing tools and techniques.The hot topic this year was mobile. (Okay, truth be told, there were three hot topics – cloud computing, social media, and mobile marketing. But for this article’s sake, let’s focus on mobile.)Of course, all this begs the question: What data do we have that supports the premise that mobile marketing is the next big thing?Glad you asked.Here are 9 amazing facts and figures about mobile marketing that’ll help you wrap your head around why mobile is going to be bigger than radio, TV, and the personal computer – combined.9 Amazing Mobile Marketing Statistics 1. The growth of the iPhone was 10 times faster than the growth of America Online. (Source: Nielsen) (This is an amazing statistic for those of us who remember mailboxes stuffed with AOL discs during the 1990s.) (Tweet This Stat!)2. It takes 26 hours for the average person to report a lost wallet. It takes 68 minutes for them to report a lost phone. (Source: Unisys) (Tweet This Stat!)3. There are 6.8 billion people on the planet. 5.1 billion of them own a cell phone, but only 4.2 billion own a toothbrush. (Source: Mobile Marketing Association Asia) (Tweet This Stat!)4. In some countries, there are more mobile subscriptions than there are people. (Source: Mobile Marketing Association) (How can this be? It’s because some people own more than one mobile phone.) (Tweet This Stat!)5. It takes 90 minutes for the average person to respond to an email. It takes 90 seconds for the average person to respond to a text message. (Source: CTIA.org) (Tweet This Stat!)6. 70% of all mobile searches result in action within 1 hour. (Source: Mobile Marketer) (Tweet This Stat!)7. Mobile coupons get 10 times the redemption rate of traditional coupons. (Source: Borrell Associates) (Tweet This Stat!)8. There are more mobile phones on the planet than there are TVs. (Source: Jupiter) (Tweet This Stat!)9. 91% of all U.S. citizens have their mobile device within reach 24/7. (Source: Morgan Stanley) (Tweet This Stat!)(Source: Mobile Marketing Association)Mobile Marketing TakeawaysTry mobile marketing for yourself. If you’re like most people, you’ve never scanned a QR code or clicked on a mobile banner ad. But you have to use mobile marketing to understand mobile marketing, so dive in.In addition, make sure you have a mobile-optimized website. There’s no point getting into mobile if your business’ website isn’t mobile-friendly.The bottom line? Mobile is here to stay, and your consumers are using it virtually every day of their lives. Given that, isn’t it time for you to get started and dive into the world of mobile? Hopefully, the statistics and takeaways I’ve outlined above will lay the foundation for you to take the next step.Image credit: LGEPR Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Originally published Sep 6, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017last_img read more

8 Useful Tools for Identifying and Connecting With Prospects

first_imgWhile all of this does serve to make us feel a bit like Sherlock Holmes or Columbo (childhood ambition #7 … check), the larger win here is that when that prospect from West Nottinghamshire College does decide to reach out or convert, we already have a starting point for the conversation. We have a sense of what might matter to them, and can get them quickly to the most relevant material.  Learn more about the Prospects Report . What to Do When You Find a New Prospect: Some people use the Prospects Report as a way to make informed first calls into a potential lead’s office. Others wait for the prospect to turn into a lead on his or her own and then leverage the past information from their prospect days to inform future communications and discussions. A final tactic I’d suggest is to use your prospect data to help inform the content you create. If a prospect from a good company is interested in ecommerce statistics, I’d use that as a jumping off point for an in-depth blog on ecommerce.  Once interest has been shown, don’t let that opportunity run dry. Twitter and LinkedIn Search Not all purchase research happens on your website. In fact, according to Google and CEB research , a lead conducts 57% of the research they’re going to do before ever talking to a sales rep. That’s where social search tools become really handy. You can use the search feature on almost every social media site to find people talking about your company or focus area at any given moment. Here’s how it works on Twitter and LinkedIn.Twitter actually has an incredibly precise advanced search tool. For any search, you can narrow down to exact phrase or location (something that’s especially helpful for local businesses interested in finding people who need their services). What’s even cooler, though, is that you can tell Twitter to try to find you tweets with the right tone to them. You can search for only questions, positive comments, or negative comments. It’s not flawless, but for a free tool it’s pretty great.In the example below, I’m searching for people who have asked a question about HubSpot versus any other marketing tool. I use the exact phrase “HubSpot vs. ” and leave a space for the competitor. Then I specify that I’m looking for tweets with question marks in it. The result is about a dozen different people who have very recently sought advice on their software purchase decision. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Ah, the elusive prospect. You know they’re out there in need of your service or product, but it can be tough to uncover them at the right time in their search. So how do you find them ? And once you find them, what the heck do you do with them? Just poke ’em with a stick?First of all, that’s a veritable “no” to the stick thing. And fortunately, there are a handful of tools available to help you identify prospective customers and find out what topics and content are most interesting to them.I’ve compiled a starter list of some of the prospecting tools I’ve used most often in my career — some free, some paid — along with some tips on how to address prospects in a helpful, prospect-focused, inbound way.  HubSpot’s Prospect Report I’m going to start out with HubSpot’s Prospect Report here because it’s probably the most thorough tool on the list, though it does require a HubSpot subscription. The Prospects Report does a nice job of giving you a sense of not only where your prospects come from, but also what they’re interested in and what contacts you have in common. That way, the first call you make to them doesn’t have to be so cold.The Prospects Report works by showing you the company name or IP address associated with any website visitor you have. You won’t get the names of people until they opt-in by deciding to contact you or filling out a form on your website, but the nice thing is, the Prospects Report gives you a sneak peak of what they may be interested in.In the example below, for instance, you can see that the company had two unknown visitors from West Nottinghamshire College — the second line item in the image below. We also know that those visitors came to the site looking for “e-commerce statistics.” When we dig in a little more, we can learn more about that visit, including the specific content viewed, how recently it occurred, and whether or not you have other contacts at that same location. Topics: What to Do When You Find a New Prospect: The first thing to note is the piece of content that got these new prospects to click. What topic were they interested in? What channel was it on? In the case of Twitter, you can follow your new prospects right then and there within HubSpot, without even opening up Twitter’s interface. If they’ve retweeted your content, you can reply to them to start off the relationship right.So there you have it — a starter list of tools to help you identify and engage new prospects for your business. The one theme that I hope was evident throughout is that even though you have all these tools available to you, it’s important you’re using them in responsible and helpful ways. Don’t rush to talking about your company or selling your product or service. Make yourself an asset to the person, and see if your company is a fit later on. I’d love to grow this list. What other tools have you used successfully to help you find prospects?  Image credit: Tom Newby Photography center_img Originally published Feb 21, 2013 9:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Marketing Resources What to Do When You Find a New Prospect: Write a blog post and ask people to tell you what they’d do with this information in the comments. #KiddingNotKidding. Actually, I asked my colleague Lia Cefalu (<< follow her she’s wicked smaht ) who’s in the center of the social graph stalking photo above how she would use this for business and she advised the following: Businesses can use social graph to find people interested in key topics, then subscribe to their news feeds. You don’t have to be Facebook friends with someone to subscribe to their feed. Subscribe to their news feeds, and comment.  HootSuite We're big fans of HootSuite, who offers both a free and a paid version. We actually have an  integration with them that pulls your HubSpot Lead and Keyword data directly into your HootSuite view. Their monitoring allows you to keep a steady stream of people mentioning certain keywords or your company name. This allows you to find prospective leads in a similar way to the Twitter or LinkedIn monitoring above, but you can see the full gamut across channels, saving you some time. What to Do When You Find a New Prospect: At the paid level, you can assign tweets to members of your team for follow-up. If you notice someone mentioning your company or asking for advice for something you can help with, quickly assign that request to the person on your team best able to address it. Again, this is the time for helpful responses, not promotions or sales.  Quora Alerts  For the right company, Quora is a great way to find people interested in the service or product you provide. Quora is a question and answer forum that was created to help people  get answers from people with first-hand experience. Questions on Quora range from travel to nonprofits to software and beyond. While some topic areas are more fruitful than others, it's worth spending some time there to see if questions are being asked about your industry. In the example below, I've tapped into the topic on Inbound Marketing. You can see right off the bat there are questions about inbound marketing software, in particular -- pretty good place for me to be then, right? What's great about Quora is you can subscribe to get email alerts on certain topics as new questions arise, so you'll always be notified when a future prospect is seeking information.  What to Do When You Find a New Prospect: If you have a direct answer to their question, you can certainly chime in with some resources and link them back to your site for further reading. Another option is to use Quora's "Ask to Answer" functionality to ask someone in your network with first-hand experience to respond.   Google Alerts Google Alerts are less precise than some of the other tools we've explored, but do work to help you find people talking about certain topics. Google Alerts will bring in mentions from multiple channels -- you could unearth blog articles, questions for Q&A forums, reviews, or other content. What to Do When You Find a New Prospect: The biggest challenge with Google Alerts will be weaning down the fire hose to show you just the most important mentions of your keyword or company -- and it takes work to get the phrasing just right. You also may ask an intern or volunteer to keep an eye on the alerts feed and elevate anything that seems like a promising interaction. When it comes to prospecting, Google Alerts isn't my favorite, but it can help you capture mentions of your company and keywords on a wider range of channels so you can figure out where to spend your prospecting time. HubSpot Interactions I started with a HubSpot tool, I'll end with one too. Within HubSpot Social Media , for any piece of content that you've shared to Facebook or Twitter, you can see a breakdown of not only how many clicks it earned, but who clicked on them. What I especially like is that HubSpot separates out those interactions into two sections: 1) People who are already in your contact database as leads or customers ("Engaged Contacts") and 2) People who aren't yet known to you ("Interactions"). For the people who aren't yet known to your database, also known as your prospects (yay!), you get a quick preview of who they are and, in the case of Twitter, how many followers they have. Here are some examples of this: What to Do When You Find a New Prospect on LinkedIn: My guess is that these people are not looking for a sales rep to jump down their throats. (Is anybody? Ever?) They’re looking for help and advice from a third party. So while it’s never a bad idea to answer them and offer help, you should also think about retweeting their question out to your followers. Odds are you’ve got some friendly customers in the group who might be able to give their perspectives.At the free level, LinkedIn's search function isn’t quite as advanced as Twitter's, though I’ve heard rave reviews of the search ability at the premium levels . At the free level, you can search for people and status updates across LinkedIn using keywords and company mentions. To do so, change the search box dropdown to "Updates" and include a keyword that matters to your business, or choose Groups and find collections of people interested in similar topics.  What to Do When You Find a New Prospect on Twitter: Like Twitter, this shouldn’t be a race to the closing bell. If you find someone asking a question, step up and give them helpful information. If you find a group that’s relevant to your company, join it and engage in the conversation. Don’t just broadcast your content or website. (For HubSpot customers, here’s some info on how to post to LinkedIn Groups in a more scalable way.) Facebook Social Graph When my HubSpot colleagues and I first started diving into Facebook Social Graph, we were awed (Actual photo evidence of state-of-HubSpot-awe below). We of course started with the silly searches: "People who work at HubSpot who like unicorns,"  and "People who work at Facebook and like Twitter." But that gave way to more professional searches. "Marketers who live in Boston and like inbound marketing," for example. Doing so enabled us to get a sense of some of the potential prospects out there and their other interests. last_img read more

Google Starts Highlighting In-Depth Articles in Search, and Other Inbound Stories

first_imgGuys, I’m pretty psyched for the weekly news roundup today, if I may say so myself. There was a ton of stuff that happened in the news this week — it seemed like Facebook, Twitter, and Google rolled out a bagillion features, and I was struggling to keep up with it all amidst my other marketing duties.To help those who may have been a little busy this week, I weeded through the fluff and came back with a mixture of marketing stories you should know about, ranging from really important algorithm changes to some fun, inspirational marketing campaigns. In just a few minutes, you’ll be caught up on last week’s news and ready to rock your week ahead. Let’s get to it!Google Search Starts Highlighting In-Depth Articles on Search Results Pages (via TechCrunch) Google just announced that it will start to feature in-depth articles in search in a special section of the main results column. According to it’s own research, Google indicates that around 10% of people are looking for links to more in-depth stories … so it wants to help them discover those links. Though Google isn’t clear about what “in-depth” means, this new feature is meant to “provide high-quality content to help you learn about or explore a subject.” Here’s what it will look like: As an inbound marketer, I am absolutely thrilled. This seems like a huge win for marketers who are truly trying to provide unique, valuable, and comprehensive content. If you fit into that category, you could be rewarded by being put into this select box in search. Google does give us a quick checklist you should follow if you want to help them categorize your content, and potentially be placed in the “In-depth articles” box. Learn more about this update over at TechCrunch.Facebook Announces News Feed Changes, Gets More Transparent With Businesses (via HubSpot)Facebook is changing the way stories are displayed in the News Feed, and trying to make life better for marketers, all in one swoop. This past week, Facebook launched an updated News Feed algorithm that will focus on resurfacing relevant stories from people who you recently have engaged with through three new features: Story Bumping, Last Actor, and Chronological by Actor. At the same time, Facebook got a lot more transparent with marketers by launching the brand new Facebook for business blog.There are lots of takeaways for marketers — in fact, we already wrote about several — but your immediate action item boils down to one thing. Test. Test to see what type of content your Facebook fans want. Test to see if ads could help increase engagement. Test to see if posting more often — or less often — will benefit you. News Feed changes will affect everyone differently, so keep an eye on your Facebook stats to see how your content is performing. In the meantime, get the low-down on all the changes by checking out our blog post.Get 75 Free Stock Photos … No Strings Attached (via HubSpot)Given that visual content is hot and yet internet copyright law is kind of a hot mess at the moment, what’s a marketer with limited resources to do? We can’t all throw lots of money at stock photo companies for photos that may or may not get lost in our company’s labyrinth of files. To help solve this very frustrating problem, we created 75 free stock photos you can use any time — and anywhere — in your marketing without attributing them to us (though we could never refuse a lovely inbound link). Get your free stock photos here.Facebook’s Graph Search Is Now Available to Everyone Using U.S. English (via The Next Web)Heads up, marketers: Graph search is rolling out to even more users. Previously available to a select test group, then only U.S. users, now it’s available to everyone using U.S. English (but who may not be in the U.S.). Not groundbreaking news, but definitely something marketers should keep an eye on.Why? With Graph Search, Facbeook users will have more — and different — ways to discover your Company Page and content. Who knows, Facebook may be more open with marketers about how people can get found via Graph Search with its new Facebook for business blog. Just an interesting trend to keep an eye on that could have a huge impact on your brand’s success on Facebook. Learn more about this new release on The Next Web.Virtually Furnish a Room With IKEA’s Augmented Reality Catalog (via Mashable)Augmented reality — where computer sensory input such as sound, video, music, or images interacts with the live, real-life, physical world — is probably not in the budget plan for most marketers (including us) … but it’s pretty cool to hear about when marketers do use it. This week, IKEA released an augmented reality catalog app — basically when you open the app and select an item, the app inserts the item into a realtime view of your home using your phone’s camera. So next time you want to buy a couch from IKEA, you’ll know if it will fit in your living room … which is pretty awesome. Here’s the app in action: Originally published Aug 11, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Google Updates We included this story in this week’s roundup for one reason: it’s really just an awesome piece of inbound marketing. It’s a free app that you can download that you can’t help but engage with. We think it’s so darn awesome because it solves a common problem for furniture buyers through a really interactive piece of content — something that could be inspiration for your next inbound marketing campaign. Learn more about IKEA’s catalog here. Trying to Reinvent Itself, Yahoo Searches for a New Look (via The New York Times)Do you think Yahoo could ever be cool again? In 30 days we’ll find out. In a recent campaign to support the launch of a new logo, Yahoo will unveil a failed design for their new logo each day for a month. Each day, the shot-down logo will appear on Yahoo’s Tumblr blog.The campaign is interesting, but we’re more interested to see how it will affect usage of Yahoo. With Google and Bing currently crushing the search engine market share, we find it hard to believe that the search underdog could actually make a comeback. But hey … you never know. So marketers, just keep an eye on your organic search engine traffic and adjust your SEO strategy accordingly. Learn more about Yahoo’s new campaign over at The New York Times. Which story was most interesting to you this week? Tell us what you liked, and why, in the comments. center_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics:last_img read more

30-Day Blog Challenge Tip #14: Make Blog Posts From FAQs

first_img How to Write a Blog Post You’ve probably heard how paramount blogging is to the success of your marketing. But it’s important that you learn how to start a blog and write blog posts for it so that each article supports your business.Without a blog, your SEO can tank, you’ll have nothing to promote in social media, you’ll have no clout with your leads and customers, and you’ll have fewer pages to put those valuable calls-to-action that generate inbound leads.So why, oh why, does almost every marketer I talk to have a laundry list of excuses for why they can’t consistently blog?Maybe because, unless you’re one of the few people who actually like writing, business blogging kind of stinks. You have to find words, string them together into sentences … ugh, where do you even start?Download 6 Free Blog Post Templates NowWell my friend, the time for excuses is over.What Is a Blog?A blog is literally short for “web log.” Blogs began in the early 1990s as an online journal for individuals to publish thoughts and stories on their own website. Bloggers then share their blog posts with other internet users. Blog posts used to be much more personal to the writer or group of writers than they are today.Today, people and organizations of all walks of life manage blogs to share analyses, instruction, criticisms, and other observations of an industry in which they are a rising expert.After you read this post, there will be absolutely no reason you can’t blog every single day — and do it quickly. Not only am I about to provide you with a simple blog post formula to follow, but I’m also going to give you free templates for creating five different types of blog posts:The How-To PostThe List-Based PostThe Curated Collection PostThe SlideShare Presentation PostThe Newsjacking PostWith all this blogging how-to, literally anyone can blog as long as they truly know the subject matter they’re writing about. And since you’re an expert in your industry, there’s no longer any reason you can’t sit down every day and hammer out an excellent blog post.Want to learn how to apply blogging and other forms of content marketing to your business? Check out HubSpot Academy’s free content marketing training resource page. Free Templates: 2. Create your blog domain.Next, you’ll need a place to host this and every other blog post you write. This requires choosing a content management system (CMS) and a website domain hosting service.Sign Up With a Content Management SystemA CMS helps you create a website domain where you’ll actually publish your blog. The CMS platforms available for you to sign up for can manage domains, where you create your own website; and subdomains, where you create a webpage that connects with an existing website.HubSpot customers host their website content through HubSpot’s content management system. Another popular option is a self-hosted WordPress website on WP Engine. Whether they create a domain or a subdomain to start their blog, they’ll need to choose a web domain hosting service after choosing their CMS.This is true for every blogger seeking to start their own blog on their own website.Register a Domain or Subdomain With a Website HostYour own blog domain will look like this: www.yourblog.com. The name between the two periods is up to you, as long as this domain name doesn’t yet exist on the internet.Want to create a subdomain for your blog? If you already own a cooking business at www.yourcompany.com, you might create a blog that looks like this: blog.yourcompany.com. In other words, your blog’s subdomain will live in its own section of yourcompany.com.Some CMSs offer subdomains as a free service, where your blog lives on the CMS, rather than your business’s website. For example, it might look like “yourblog.contentmanagementsystem.com.” However, in order to create a subdomain that belongs to a company website, you’ll need to register this subdomain with a website host.Most website hosting services charge very little to host an original domain — in fact, website costs can be as inexpensive as $3 per month. Here are five popular web hosting services to choose from:GoDaddyHostGatorDreamHostBluehostiPage3. Customize your blog’s theme.Once you have your blog domain set up, customize the appearance of your blog to reflect the theme of the content you plan on creating.Are you writing about sustainability and the environment? Green might be a color to keep in mind when designing the look and feel of your blog, as green is often associated with sustainability.If you already manage a website, and are writing your first blog post for that website, it’s important that your blog is consistent with this existing website, both in appearance and subject matter. Two things to include right away are:Logo. This can be your name or your business’s logo, either one helping to remind your readers who or what is publishing this content. How heavily you want to brand this blog, in relation to your main brand, is up to you.”About” page. You might already have an “About” blurb describing yourself or your business. Your blog’s “About” section is an extension of this higher-level statement. Think of it as your blog’s mission statement, which serves to support your company’s goals.4. Identify your first blog post’s topic.Before you even write anything, you need to pick a topic for your blog post. The topic can be pretty general to start with. For example, if you’re a plumber, you might start out thinking you want to write about leaky faucets.Then, as you do your research, you can expand the topic to discuss how to fix a leaky faucet based on the various causes of a faucet leak.You might not want to jump right into a “how-to” article for your first blog post, though, and that’s okay. Perhaps you’d like to write about modern types of faucet setups, or tell one particular success story you had rescuing a faucet before it flooded someone’s house.If a plumber’s first how-to article is about how to fix a leaky faucet, for example, here are four other types of sample blog post ideas a plumber might start with, based on the five free blog templates we’ve offered to you:List-based Post: 5 ways to fix a leaky faucetCurated Collection Post: 10 faucet and sink brands you should look into todaySlideShare Presentation: 5 types of faucets that should replace your old one (with pictures)News post: New study shows X% of people don’t replace their faucet on timeFind more examples of blog posts at the end of this step-by-step guide.If you’re having trouble coming up with topic ideas, check out this blog post from my colleague Ginny Soskey. In this post, Soskey walks through a helpful process for turning one idea into many. Similar to the “leaky faucet” examples above, she suggests that you “iterate off old topics to come up with unique and compelling new topics.” This can be done by:Changing the topic scopeAdjusting the time frameChoosing a new audienceTaking a positive/negative approachIntroducing a new format5. Come up with a working title.Then you might come up with a few different working titles — in other words, iterations or different ways of approaching that topic to help you focus your writing. For example, you might decide to narrow your topic to “Tools for Fixing Leaky Faucets” or “Common Causes of Leaky Faucets.” A working title is specific and will guide your post so you can start writing.Let’s take a real post as an example: “How to Choose a Solid Topic for Your Next Blog Post.” Appropriate, right? The topic, in this case, was probably simply “blogging.” Then the working title may have been something like, “The Process for Selecting a Blog Post Topic.” And the final title ended up being “How to Choose a Solid Topic for Your Next Blog Post.”See that evolution from topic, to working title, to final title? Even though the working title may not end up being the final title (more on that in a moment), it still provides enough information so you can focus your blog post on something more specific than a generic, overwhelming topic.6. Write an intro (and make it captivating).We’ve written more specifically about writing captivating introductions in the post, “How to Write an Introduction,” but let’s review, shall we?First, grab the reader’s attention. If you lose the reader in the first few paragraphs — or even sentences — of the introduction, they will stop reading even before they’ve given your post a fair shake. You can do this in a number of ways: tell a story or a joke, be empathetic, or grip the reader with an interesting fact or statistic.Then describe the purpose of the post and explain how it will address a problem the reader may be having. This will give the reader a reason to keep reading and give them a connection to how it will help them improve their work/lives. Here’s an example of a post that we think does a good job of attracting a reader’s attention right away:7. Organize your content in an outline.Sometimes, blog posts can have an overwhelming amount of information — for the reader and the writer. The trick is to organize the info so readers are not intimidated by the length or amount of content. The organization can take multiple forms — sections, lists, tips, whatever’s most appropriate. But it must be organized!Let’s take a look at the post, “How to Use Snapchat: A Detailed Look Into HubSpot’s Snapchat Strategy.” There is a lot of content in this post, so we broke it into a few different sections using the following headers: How to Setup Your Snapchat Account, Snaps vs. Stories: What’s the Difference?, and How to Use Snapchat for Business. These sections are then separated into sub-sections that to go into more detail and also make the content easier to read.To complete this step, all you really need to do is outline your post. That way, before you start writing, you know which points you want to cover, and the best order in which to do it. To make things even easier, you can also download and use our free blog post templates, which are pre-organized for five of the most common blog post types. Just fill in the blanks!8. Write your blog post!The next step — but not the last — is actually writing the content. We couldn’t forget about that, of course.Now that you have your outline/template, you’re ready to fill in the blanks. Use your outline as a guide and be sure to expand on all of your points as needed. Write about what you already know, and if necessary, do additional research to gather more information, examples, and data to back up your points, providing proper attribution when incorporating external sources. Need help finding accurate and compelling data to use in your post? Check out this roundup of sources — from Pew Research to Google Trends.If you find you’re having trouble stringing sentences together, you’re not alone. Finding your “flow” can be really challenging for a lot of folks. Luckily, there are a ton of tools you can lean on to help you improve your writing. Here are a few to get you started:Power Thesaurus: Stuck on a word? Power Thesaurus is a crowdsourced tool that provides users with a ton of alternative word choices from a community of writers.ZenPen: If you’re having trouble staying focused, check out this distraction-free writing tool. ZenPen creates a minimalist “writing zone” that’s designed to help you get words down without having to fuss with formatting right away.Cliché Finder: Feeling like your writing might be coming off a little cheesy? Identify instances where you can be more specific using this handy cliché tool.For a complete list of tools for improving your writing skills, check out this post. And if you’re looking for more direction, the following resources are chock-full of valuable writing advice:The Marketer’s Pocket Guide to Writing Well [Free Ebook]How to Write Compelling Copy: 7 Tips for Writing Content That ConvertsHow to Write With Clarity: 9 Tips for Simplifying Your MessageThe Kurt Vonnegut Guide to Great Copywriting: 8 Rules That Apply to AnyoneYour Blog Posts Are Boring: 9 Tips for Making Your Writing More InterestingThe Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Successful Blog in 20199. Edit/proofread your post, and fix your formatting.You’re not quite done yet, but you’re close! The editing process is an important part of blogging — don’t overlook it. Ask a grammar-conscious co-worker to copy, edit, and proofread your post, and consider enlisting the help of The Ultimate Editing Checklist (or try using a free grammar checker, like the one developed by Grammarly). And if you’re looking to brush up on your own self-editing skills, turn to these helpful posts for some tips and tricks to get you started:Confessions of a HubSpot Editor: 11 Editing Tips From the TrenchesHow to Become a More Efficient Editor: 12 Ways to Speed Up the Editorial Process10 Simple Edits That’ll Instantly Improve Any Piece of WritingWhen you’re ready to check your formatting, keep the following advice in mind …Featured ImageMake sure you choose a visually appealing and relevant image for your post. As social networks treat content with images more prominently, visuals are now more responsible than ever for the success of your blog content in social media. In fact, it’s been shown that content with relevant images receives 94% more views than content without relevant images.For help selecting an image for your post, read “How to Select the Perfect Image for Your Next Blog Post” — and pay close attention to the section about copyright law.Visual AppearanceNo one likes an ugly blog post. And it’s not just pictures that make a post visually appealing — it’s the formatting and organization of the post, too.In a properly formatted and visually appealing blog post, you’ll notice that header and sub-headers are used to break up large blocks of text — and those headers are styled consistently. Here’s an example of what that looks like:Also, screenshots should always have a similar, defined border (see screenshot above for example) so they don’t appear as if they’re floating in space. And that style should stay consistent from post to post.Maintaining this consistency makes your content (and your brand) look more professional, and makes it easier on the eyes.Topics/TagsTags are specific, public-facing keywords that describe a post. They also allow readers to browse for more content in the same category on your blog. Refrain from adding a laundry list of tags to each post. Instead, put some thought into a tagging strategy. Think of tags as “topics” or “categories,” and choose 10-20 tags that represent all the main topics you want to cover on your blog. Then stick to those.10. Insert a call-to-action (CTA) at the end.At the end of every blog post, you should have a CTA that indicates what you want the reader to do next — subscribe to your blog, download an ebook, register for a webinar or event, read a related article, etc. Typically, you think about the CTA being beneficial for the marketer. Your visitors read your blog post, they click on the CTA, and eventually you generate a lead. But the CTA is also a valuable resource for the person reading your content — use your CTAs to offer more content similar to the subject of the post they just finished reading.In the blog post, “What to Post on Instagram: 18 Photo & Video Ideas to Spark Inspiration,” for instance, readers are given actionable ideas for creating valuable Instagram content. At the end of the post is a CTA referring readers to download a comprehensive guide on how to use Instagram for business:See how that’s a win-win for everyone? Readers who want to learn more have the opportunity to do so, and the business receives a lead they can nurture … who may even become a customer! Learn more about how to choose the right CTA for every blog post in this article. And check out this collection of clever CTAs to inspire your own efforts.11. Optimize for on-page SEO.After you finish writing, go back and optimize your post for search.Don’t obsess over how many keywords to include. If there are opportunities to incorporate keywords you’re targeting, and it won’t impact reader experience, do it. If you can make your URL shorter and more keyword-friendly, go for it. But don’t cram keywords or shoot for some arbitrary keyword density — Google’s smarter than that!Here’s a little reminder of what you can and should look for:Meta DescriptionMeta descriptions are the descriptions below the post’s page title on Google’s search results pages. They provide searchers with a short summary of the post before clicking into it. They are ideally between 150-160 characters and start with a verb, such as “Learn,” “Read,” or “Discover.” While meta descriptions no longer factor into Google’s keyword ranking algorithm, they do give searchers a snapshot of what they will get by reading the post and can help improve your clickthrough rate from search.Page Title and HeadersMost blogging software uses your post title as your page title, which is the most important on-page SEO element at your disposal. But if you’ve followed our formula so far, you should already have a working title that will naturally include keywords/phrases your target audience is interested in. Don’t over-complicate your title by trying to fit keywords where they don’t naturally belong. That said, if there are clear opportunities to add keywords you’re targeting to your post title and headers, feel free to take them. Also, try to keep your headlines short — ideally, under 65 characters — so they don’t get truncated in search engine results.Anchor TextAnchor text is the word or words that link to another page — either on your website or on another website. Carefully select which keywords you want to link to other pages on your site, because search engines take that into consideration when ranking your page for certain keywords.It’s also important to consider which pages you link to. Consider linking to pages that you want to rank well for that keyword. You could end up getting it to rank on Google’s first page of results instead of its second page, and that ain’t small potatoes.Mobile OptimizationWith mobile devices now accounting for nearly 2 out of every 3 minutes spent online, having a website that is responsive or designed for mobile has become more and more critical. In addition to making sure your website’s visitors (including your blog’s visitors) have the best experience possible, optimizing for mobile will score your website some SEO points.Back in 2015, Google made a change to its algorithm that now penalizes sites that aren’t mobile optimized. This month (May 2016), Google rolled out their second version of the mobile-friendly algorithm update — creating a sense of urgency for the folks that have yet to update their websites. To make sure your site is getting the maximum SEO benefit possible, check out this free guide: How to Make a Mobile-Friendly Website: SEO Tips for a Post-“Mobilegeddon” World.12. Pick a catchy title.Last but not least, it’s time to spruce up that working title of yours. Luckily, we have a simple formula for writing catchy titles that will grab the attention of your reader. Here’s what to consider:Start with your working title.As you start to edit your title, keep in mind that it’s important to keep the title accurate and clear.Then, work on making your title sexy — whether it’s through strong language, alliteration, or another literary tactic.If you can, optimize for SEO by sneaking some keywords in there (only if it’s natural, though!).Finally, see if you can shorten it at all. No one likes a long, overwhelming title — and remember, Google prefers 65 characters or fewer before it truncates it on its search engine results pages.If you’ve mastered the steps above, learn about some way to take your blog posts to the next level in this post. Want some real examples of blog posts? See what your first blog post can look like, below, based on the topic you choose and the audience you’re targeting.Blog Post ExamplesList-Based PostThought Leadership PostCurated Collection PostSlideshare PresentationNewsjacking PostInfographic PostHow-to Post Tell us a little about yourself below to gain access today: How to Write a Blog Post1. Understand your audience.Before you start to write your first blog post, have a clear understanding of your target audience. What do they want to know about? What will resonate with them? This is where creating your buyer personas comes in handy. Consider what you know about your buyer personas and their interests while you’re coming up with a topic for your blog post.For instance, if your readers are millennials looking to start their own business, you probably don’t need to provide them with information about getting started in social media — most of them already have that down. You might, however, want to give them information about how to adjust their approach to social media from a more casual, personal one to a more business-savvy, networking-focused approach. That kind of tweak is what separates you from blogging about generic stuff to the stuff your audience really wants (and needs) to hear.Don’t have buyer personas in place for your business? Here are a few resources to help you get started:Create Buyer Personas for Your Business [Free Template]Blog Post: How to Create Detailed Buyer Personas for Your BusinessMakeMyPersona.com [Free Tool] 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 Templatescenter_img Free Blog Post Templates 1. List-Based PostExample: 10 Fresh Ways to Get Better Results From Your Blog PostsList-based posts are sometimes called “listicles,” a mix of the words “list” and “article.” These are articles that deliver information in the form of a list. A listicle uses subheaders to break down the blog post into individual pieces, helping readers skim and digest your content more easily. According to ClearVoice, listicles are among the most shared types of content on social media across 14 industries.As you can see in the example from our blog, above, listicles can offer various tips and methods for solving a problem.2. Thought Leadership PostExample: What I Wish I Had Known Before Writing My First BookThought leadership blog posts allow you to indulge in your expertise on a particular subject matter and share firsthand knowledge with your readers. These pieces — which can be written in the first person, like the post by Joanna Penn, shown above — help you build trust with your audience so people take your blog seriously as you continue to write for it.3. Curated Collection PostExample: 8 Examples of Evolution in ActionCurated collections are a special type of listicle blog post (the first blog post example, described above). But rather than sharing tips or methods of doing something, this type of blog post shares a list of real examples that all have something in common, in order to prove a larger point. In the example post above, Listverse shares eight real examples of evolution in action among eight different animals — starting with the peppered moth.4. Slideshare PresentationExample: The HubSpot Culture CodeSlideshare is a presentation tool owned by the social network, LinkedIn, that helps publishers package a lot of information into easily shareable slides. Think of it like a PowerPoint, but for the web. With this in mind, Slideshare blog posts help you promote your Slideshare so that it can generate a steady stream of visitors.Unlike blogs, Slideshare decks don’t often rank well on search engines, so they need a platform for getting their message out there to the people who are looking for it. By embedding and summarizing your Slideshare on a blog post, you can share a great deal of information and give it a chance to rank on Google at the same time.Need some Slideshare ideas? In the example above, we turned our company’s “Culture Code” into a Slideshare presentation that anyone can look through and take lessons from, and promoted it through a blog post.5. Newsjacking PostExample: Ivy Goes Mobile With New App for Designers”Newsjacking” is a nickname for “hijacking” your blog to break important news related to your industry. Therefore, the newsjack post is a type of article whose sole purpose is to garner consumers’ attention and, while offering them timeless professional advice, also prove your blog to be a trusted resource for learning about the big things that happen in your industry.The newsjack example above was published by Houzz, a home decor merchant and interior design resource, about a new mobile app that launched just for interior designers. Houzz didn’t launch the app, but the news of its launching is no less important to Houzz’s audience.6. Infographic PostExample: The Key Benefits of Studying Online [Infographic]The infographic post serves a similar purpose as the Slideshare post — the fourth example, explained above — in that it conveys information for which plain blog copy might not be the best format. For example, when you’re looking to share a lot of statistical information (without boring or confusing your readers), building this data into a well-designed, even fun-looking infographic can help keep your readers engaged with your content. It also helps readers remember the information long after they leave your website.7. How-to PostExample: How to Write a Blog Post: A Step-by-Step GuideFor our last example, you need not look any further than the blog post you’re reading right now! How-to guides like this one help solve a problem for your readers. They’re like a cookbook for your industry, walking your audience through a project step by step to improve their literacy on the subject. The more posts like this you create, the more equipped your readers will be to work with you and invest in the services you offer.Ready to blog? Don’t forget to download your six free blog post templates right here. Topics: Originally published May 6, 2019 7:30:00 PM, updated October 25 2019 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

Is Author Rank Really Relevant?

first_img Measuring SEO Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Here ye, here ye. Worshipers of the penguin, panda, and hummingbird, gather ‘round. We have a new one to dissect, only this one’s not an animal; it’s a ship. Authorship.By now, you’ve read about the latest Google-induced confusion-fest. This was one of the accounts of the carnage:Google’s John Mueller has announced that Google is making a major change in the search results around authorship. Specifically, Google is dropping the profile photo and circle count from the search listings where authorship is assigned to a web page. Mueller said that the “click-through behavior on this new less-cluttered design is similar to the previous one.So the millions (or hundreds) of bloggers that validated authorship will no longer see their lovely photo and Google+ circle count presented in search results. SERP results for the authorized will simply have a byline.Let us all let out a harmonious moan.Has Author Rank been abolished?It hasn’t. It can’t be. It never existed. It probably never will.I’m NOT saying the authority or influence of a blogger doesn’t factor into search results. It probably does.And I’m not saying Google’s original love child, PageRank, lives on as the dominant search rank variable. It may or may not.I’m saying I don’t know what the Google algorithm depends on. No one does. One guy did, but he was quietly whacked and stashed on page two of a search result (where no one ever discovers anything).Google doesn’t want you, or anyone, to crack the holy code. I think, and this is an opinion, the secrecy of Google search is this decade’s fallout from the mega-blunder they made when granted U.S. Patent 6,285,999.That pile of intellectual gaga came to be known as “PageRank.” PageRank is an algorithm used by Google Search to rank websites in their search engine results. PageRank was named after Larry Page, one of the founders of Google. PageRank is a way of measuring the importance of website pages. Thirteen years ago, Google published this:PageRank works by counting the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is. The underlying assumption is that more important websites are likely to receive more links from other websites.I’m holding my nose because this little stinker gave birth to the SEO business, the biggest pile of online marketing doo-doo of the millennium.SEO quickly became a zillion dollar business where those in search of search success bequeathed big checks to “experts” adept at the questionable art and science of creating backlinks. If you played along at the stinky linky poker table, each time someone raised, you called and were forced to part with more chips. But then the dealer called some wild cards — algorithm updates named after members of the animal kingdom — and your hand turned out to be a loser. If you’re a Google searcher, you won. Search performance got better. If you’re an SEO, you may have got new job security — new games to play. If you’re a content marketer, you can scramble, scratch your head, or just go back to scribing.Some say PageRank doesn’t rule anymore. These same experts may tell you Author Rank is the new game in town. But you won’t find an expert to explain it to you. Click here for the instruction manual: www.sorrydude.com.There’s no U.S. patent for Author Rank on file or pending. In time, the experts may come to rally around some new fill-in-the-blank rank, but all they’ll produce is speculation.You’re left with one option. Create relevant content.Brilliant, eh? Perhaps not, but I’m going with what I know. Winning marketers understand:Customers command buying cycles now.Advertising shields have been put in place and are getting more effective. Most buyers search before they spend.Their prospects’ pains and pleasures.They must answer prospects’ questions.They must create content to help buyers make intelligent decisions.They gain loyalty and earn word-of-mouth through strategic (and responsive) content marketing programs. Two years ago, I wrote a post where I confessed my high degree of SEO ignorance. I also admitted I don’t dig it because it bores me and confused me because nobody really seems to agree on what works.Today, I’m not sure if I know more or less about SEO than I did then. I do know I care less about it.But in that post, I did attempt to be helpful. I wrote:While 1,001 SEO schmoes may have 1,001 different fail-safe, white hat, field-proven tactics, everyone agrees the one thing all search engines are after is relevance. So come what may, scholars and simpletons can once and for all agree: the most effective SEO strategy of all time is to produce relevant content.I’m sticking to my story.I do recommend you understand search basics. In that story, I wrote about some search fundamentals, and here, I attempt to add a few useful nuggets.Select smart keywords.Search is all about words. Pick the ones that indicate to your reader what the subject matter is and you’ll accomplish the same with the search engines. If you are willing to dig into some research, use Google AdWords (or HubSpot’s Keyword Tool, if you’re a customer) to identify multi-word keyword strings with low competition.Tackle your tags and titles.You need to recognize Google and its brothers in search send out crawly little buggers in search of words to index your content by. They’re called “titles” and “tags.” Your keywords go there. Many content management systems have tools that will prompt you to tend to your tags and titles as you prepare to publish. Write smart snippets.Brace yourself for two SEO power words: meta description. This is the field where you write a snippet, which performs a vital role on the search engine’s result page. It appears beneath the title and URL and its role is to describe what’s on the page that follows. You need to populate the meta description field with the answer to: “Why read this?” so searchers understand the value of your content.Don’t buy links.You’ll regret it. Build them. Focus on relevance, looking for opportunities to link back to your content on legitimate sites with guest posts, via social media, and any which way that can be described as user-focused. Don’t freak about every change Google makes.Focus on readers.You’ll be impervious to penalties if you simply create relevant content and title and tag your pages for proper indexing. Penguins, pandas, polar bears, and so forth can simply remain adorable animals.Forgo your search fixation and you can focus on creating content. It’s what prospects are searching for.Understand: Google evolves and experiments. They don’t reveal their cards. Mr. Cutts will be making more videos to warn you not to mess around. Do as he says. Understand: Google’s in the advertising business. They optimize for paying customers. Understand: Search engine ranks are not fixed; they’re fluid. They differ based on who you are, where you are, what you read, whom you hang with, and how you take your coffee. Google told you to do the rel=author thing to claim authorship. You were told to get busy on G+. You were told to follow instructions and you may find your photo next to your content on a result page. You were never told an official thing called “Author Rank” matters or even exists. Put it all in perspective.Don’t take me for an SEO guru. I’m not. I may wrong about much of what I’ve written. Still, I urge you to put search rankings in perspective. They don’t matter as much as you think they do. Agreed, page one is the only page that matters. Oh sure, higher ranks = more clicks. Yes, clicks may fulfill some of your marketing goals: traffic, awareness, opt-ins, etc. But traffic also doesn’t matter as much as you think. Does getting a crowd into your store assure you more sales? I’ve said this so many times, it’s about time I wrote it:Successful content marketing is not for getting people to your online properties. Success comes when you get people to subscribe to them. What you seek is trust, loyalty, and word of mouth. Your content marketing goal should be to create a passionate bond between your brand and buyers. High rankings alone won’t get it done.Understand, please, this is an opinion piece. You’re entitled to yours. Right below, we offer a space where you can express them. You have to love life online. Topics: Originally published Jul 18, 2014 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017last_img read more

Can Company Policy Make Your Team More Creative? Here’s How 4 Companies Are Experimenting

first_img Topics: Originally published Jul 26, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Creativity This post originally appeared on HubSpot’s Agency Post. To read more content like this, subscribe to Agency Post.Nowadays, you don’t hear the phrase “office culture” without someone bringing up the open office concept. Cubicle farms have gotten a bad rap over the past decade or so, replaced with more innovative workplace setups that supposedly help breed creativity and collaboration. (Whether or not they actually do is up for debate.)But open office plans aren’t the only way to spark employees’ creativity and innovation. According to the New York Times, “Studies of innovation come to the same conclusion: You can’t engineer innovation, but you can increase the odds of it occurring.”So how are companies trying to improve the odds?We’ve found four companies with a different approach to investing in employee creativity. While the effectiveness of these programs can be hard to measure given their inherent subjectivity, it’s interesting to see what companies are doing to help cultivate an innovative and inspirational work culture.1) Sagmeister & Walsh: Flexible Vacation PoliciesThe concept of flexible vacation policies has been the talk of the town for the past few years. At HubSpot, we’ve found that an unlimited vacation policy means employees are more engaged and more productive when they are at work. They can spend less time worrying about plans and timing and more time thinking about how to do their jobs well.But unlimited vacation is just one iteration of flexible vacation policies. In fact, 25% of the employers on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For offer paid sabbaticals to their employees. While employee retention is one of the main draws of offering these long breaks to employees, another big benefit is letting them explore new ways of thinking.Design agency Sagmeister & Walsh — which designed the album cover for The Rolling Stones’ “Bridges to Babylon,” among many other famous projects — actually shuts its doors and gives its employees an entire year-long sabbatical every seven years. The first time co-founder Stefan Sagmeister did this, it was because he realized the work coming out of the agency had started to look the same. So he decided to do something drastic: He completely shut down the firm for a year so he and his team could refresh their creative outlook.”That’s clearly enjoyable for myself, but probably even more important is that the work that comes out of these years flows back into the company and in the society at large rather than just benefiting a grandchild or two,” said Sagmeister in his TED talk, “The Power of Time Off.”2) Pixar: Small Incubation TeamsIf you’ve ever seen one of Pixar’s animated films, from the Toy Story trilogy to Finding Nemo to Ratatouille, you can begin to imagine how many creative minds it takes to produce a feature-length film. It’s not like a team of 10 people in a room came up with all those clever ideas — it takes every member of a 200-to-250-person production group to pull together a film.”People tend to think of creativity as a mysterious solo act,” wrote Ed Catmull, president of both Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios. But in reality, each movie contains “literally tens of thousands of ideas.”And during the creative process, not all of them are gold. So how do you sift through a wave of ideas to extract the very best ones? Pixar had a process.”While I’m not foolish enough to predict that we will never have a flop, I don’t think our success is largely luck,” Catmull wrote. “Rather, I believe our adherence to a set of principles and practices for managing creative talent and risk is responsible.”After Toy Story 2 came out in 1999, Pixar decided to change the mission of its development department. Instead of managing the birth and development of ideas all on its own, as they had in the past and as is traditionally done at other studios, the development department now helps directors put together small incubation teams to help directors refine their own ideas. The challenge is building a team that’ll work effectively together.Then, once the team’s assembled, members go to work at hacking through the rough ideas and refining them. Great team dynamics are essential here. “Nobody pulls any punches to be polite,” Catmull wrote. “This works because all the participants have come to trust and respect one another. They know it’s far better to learn about problems from colleagues when there’s still time to fix them than from the audience after it’s too late.”In the end, the philosophy rests on getting creative people together, giving them a lot of autonomy and support, and providing them with an environment for honest feedback. 3) Google: Rewarding Risk-TakingMost managers would probably claim they encourage their employees to “be more creative” or “be more entrepreneurial.” Fail hard, fail fast … and so on and so forth. But what are they actually doing other than verbalizing it?It’s one thing to say it’s OK to take risks and learn from failure, and it’s another thing entirely to mandate it. Google’s experimenting with the latter. You may have heard of the company’s famous 20% time policy, which requires employees dedicate 20% of their time (roughly one day per week) developing their own side projects. Products that’ve come out of 20% time include Google News, Gmail, and AdSense.While the effectiveness of the program has been widely critiqued, its implementation is a testimony to how important the folks at Google believe individual innovation is. Being given ample time to go beyond your comfort zone can not only open the door to new challenges and opportunities, but it also allows people to exercise their natural problem-solving skills. “Once you have become accustomed to taking risks, you break free from the average way of living and thinking,” wrote Stacia Pierce in The Huffington Post.4) Colgate: Flexible Working HoursWhether employees have kids, doctor’s appointments, or simply work better in the early mornings or late at night, many companies have gotten good results from empowering them to work during hours that suit their lifestyle. Structure can hinder innovation, while allowing employees to focus on work when they’re working. Plus, working during their own high productivity hours can help bolster creative thinking. At the same time, high-autonomy ethos can also strengthen trust and increase retention rates. “The start-ups of Silicon Valley have reaped the rewards of giving employees a long leash,” wrote Claire Hodgson for The Guardian.Flexible scheduling has become more and more common across a variety of industries, and Colgate-Palmolive’s only one of thousands of companies adjusting their policies to allow employees more work-life balance. But, as a 209-year-old company with an employee base of more than 35,000, its adoption of flexible working hours is particularly impressive. In fact, the company tops job search engine Indeed.com’s list of the 25 biggest companies that go “the extra mile” to help their employees have more of a work-life balance.The key to success when it comes to flexible working hours? Efficiency and professionalism.”Past and present employees comment on the Colgate-Palmolive employer review page [on Indeed.com] noting that management sets realistic expectations for employees, promotes time management skills, and clearly communicates,” said Mike Steinerd, Indeed.com’s director of recruiting. “Colgate-Palmolive offers some great benefits, such as flexible work hours, telecommute options, and nearby back-up childcare centers, which is a nice perk for work-at-home parents. As a result, Colgate-Palmolive has a high rate of employee retention, which is a testament to their culture.”How effective are these innovation policies? Unfortunately, any metrics you’d use to measure them are a little hairy. There are plenty of folks out there who are skeptical about whether implementing programs like brainstorming sessions, science fairs, and so on actually make an impact on the bottom line. What seems to be the trend here is that, at the very least, employees like having these policies around — and that can help you retain and attract smart people.What innovation policies do you find interesting? Share with us in the comment section. 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

Google Ad Viewability: 5 Factors That Can Determine Whether People See Your Ads [Infographic]

first_img Originally published Oct 19, 2015 12:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Google Ads What’s the most viewable ad size? How does page position influence viewability? Is viewability affected by ad blocking applications? And what’s an average viewability rate, anyways?These are the questions many were left with when the Media Rating Council lifted its Viewable Impression Advisory back in 2014. As a result of this change, marketers and advertisers switched their focus from served impressions to viewable impressions. What’s the difference?Quite simply, served impressions are counted when the ad is displayed. As for viewable impressions, take a look at the infographic from Google below to learn more about how the industry is defining this new standard, as well as the five factors that influence it. 150Save center_img 150Save 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 Takeout Improved Our Candidate Experience: A HubSpot Experiment

first_imgFor the sake of privacy, the above example isn’t one from an actual candidate, but one that I made up to illustrate how the system works — though, the part about Dave’s beard is true.ResultsAs predicted, the volume of responses to the mobile surveys outnumbered those from email considerably. Even better: We saw an improvement to our percentage of promoters and the overall candidate NPS score via this medium.And thanks to the higher volume of responses, we also were able to gain better insights from more open-ended comments. We observed that, no matter what the medium, our recruiters were receiving high praise from candidates, and — although, yes, I’m biased — the best part of this experiment was getting to read that feedback. Here are a few of our favorites:Julia Blatt and Kelsey Freedman were awesome coordinators and made my day great! Everything was timely and went smoothly. Thanks to Becky, Gus and Amy!” Originally published Jul 11, 2017 8:00:00 AM, updated August 03 2017 Interviews My recruiter, Noah, has done an absolutely amazing job throughout the process. Very transparent and informative. Send him my thanks.”(P.S. We’re hiring.)Next Steps and TakeawaysAcross the board, the mobile results indicate an improved follow-up experience for candidates — and that candidates are more likely to give us feedback via mobile. And based on these positive results from the experiment, we know there’s a place for mobile in our recruiting process … and that there could be in yours, too. Remember the statistic from above about how many people are browsing on mobile than desktop? Keep that in mind next time you’re looking to improve a user experience.We’ll continue to carry out additional tests of this kind to collect more directional benchmarks — things like language modification, timing, and scalable technology. Also, we’d like to expand the experiment to our global offices and will be formulating a timeline and corresponding plan to do so.If you’re curious about what else is going on in our world of inbound recruiting, check out the Move On Up blog, which gives readers a peek inside culture and careers at HubSpot.And in the meantime — I would highly recommend India Quality Restaurant to a friend.How has your team enhanced its recruiting experience? Let us know about your best experiments in the comments –and hey, we might even feature it on our blog. Don’t forget to share this post! The entire interview experience was amazing. The recruiter was flexible to accommodate my scheduling requests at every stage of the interview. I was well informed on each stage of the interview which certainly helps the preparation. The follow ups have been prompt and timely.” Topics: Collect results. I then created another spreadsheet to track the following results:Who did (not) respond to the survey.Each person’s NPS score.Any open-ended comments. From there, my colleague Danielle McLellan analyzes the results and synthesizes the feedback, so the recruiting team has some tangible insights into what is (not) working well.For context, the response rate to date on the email survey hovers around 55%.The Introduction of MobileThere was just one hiccup with implementing my mobile survey distribution idea: I’m not mobile development savvy, so executing an automated text survey was pretty foreign. But, I could still perform research with the best of ’em, so I gathered some information on mobile survey vendors, and chatted with HubSpot’s developer team about the feasibility of two options:Buying the tech to create this feedback system.Building that tech internally for the same purpose.We ended up going with a scrappy, but reliable, solution that combined two platforms: Textit.in + Twilio.Textit.in is a mobile messaging platform with pretty intuitive usability. You build a visual workflow of the desired text series, upload contacts’ phone numbers, and schedule the workflow to start at a certain time and date. While it’s not highly sophisticated, for the purposes of this experiment, it provided the solution we needed.Twilio, a cloud communications platform, provided us with a virtual phone number that could easily be connected to Textit.in. All in all, this technology cost us about $60, showing how frugally something like this experiment could be replicated by other marketers.Only candidates interviewing in our Cambridge office received the mobile survey, as establishing an international virtual phone number would have required additional steps that, considering our deadline, time simply didn’t permit. That said, we had a population of roughly 220 Cambridge candidates to work with.The ProcessWe ran the experiment from February 13 – March 31. Once the technology was up and running, here’s how it worked:Collect Phone Numbers. Our recruiting coordinators added candidates’ mobile phone numbers to a shared Google spreadsheet by 4:00 PM daily, with information like the candidate’s full name, date of her face-to-face interview, and the department she interviewed with.Schedule Text Workflow. I then imported that information into Textit.in, and set up a workflow to have that group of contacts receive the mobile feedback survey via text at 7:00 PM on the evening of their respective interviews. To make sure we didn’t change any variables aside from the method of communication, we kept the following variables consistent across all messages:Time of send.The series of questions asked of candidates, with the exception of one trigger question: “Hi, HubSpot CareerBot here! Thanks for interviewing today, we’d love your feedback. Will you answer a few quick questions about your experience? Y/N”. (By the way — shout out to my colleague Noah Gilman for coming up with the “CareerBot” name.) Here at HubSpot, we take culture pretty seriously. After all, we have an entire code dedicated to it, and it doesn’t just apply to our internal environment — it also shows up when we’re recruiting new people to join our team. We have an inbound recruiting mission of attracting top talent through a world-class candidate experience.That’s why, one January night that started like any other — watching Netflix in my pajamas and eating chicken tikka masala from my favorite Indian takeout joint — I decided to respond to a mobile customer satisfaction survey from the food delivery platform that I use, called Grubhub.I had been thinking a lot about mobile, and how it could play a role in our inbound recruiting efforts at HubSpot. So, when I got an automated text that night saying “Grubhub here! Tell us about your order from India Quality Restaurant,” I wanted to know: How could we recreate that kind of seamless experience for HubSpot’s candidates? Download our free resume templates here to help you create a standout resume.So read on — and find out how takeout inspired our approach to recruiting and interviewing.How Takeout Improved Our Candidate ExperienceThe HypothesisWe all know that texting for business is nothing new. You might get a text message when you pay your wireless, make a hair appointment, or confirm a time slot at the dentist. But texting hasn’t played a role in HubSpot’s recruiting and hiring process since its earliest days, when developer recruiting was essentially managed on one VP’s smart phone.Eleven years later, whether or not a candidate receives or accepts an offer to work at HubSpot at the end of her interview process, we want her to enjoy their time with us. That experience has a big impact on whether or not candidates advocate for HubSpot in the future, the Glassdoor reviews they leave, and the likelihood that they refer friends or pursue future opportunities with us. That’s why we ask for feedback — so we can learn how we can improve. And until recently, we used what we called a Net Promoter Score survey (NPS), that was distributed via email.But when you consider that, today, people spend more time browsing on mobile than they do on desktop, we couldn’t help but wonder if following up with candidates via text, instead of emailing them for feedback, would make it that much easier and engaging for them to actually respond.So, we came up with a bit of a unique hypothesis: If our candidate NPS survey was more like Grubhub’s, and the survey was sent via mobile instead of email, response rates would increase. The objective, then, was to get a higher volume and quality of feedback that could enable us to even better improve the recruiting experience.The ExperimentThe Candidate NPS Survey Today: EmailWhen candidates globally have a face-to-face interview with HubSpot, they receive an automated email at 7:00 PM that evening with a link to take a short survey with three questions:On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend HubSpot to a friend based on your experience?Which department did you interview with?Anything else you’d like to share with us? Analyze results. McLellan analyzed those results to look for patterns and other actionable outcomes.last_img read more

Dez Bryant Makes Bet on Oklahoma State’s Passing Offense

first_imgTo which Dez confidently responded:100 push ups.. bet? https://t.co/cgEU1SUfos— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) September 23, 2016Dez has already lost one bet this year after Central Michigan beat OSU in a hail mary last second play and had to pay off his pushups. So either he’s very confident in OSU’s passing offense, or he really likes the challenge of doing an absurd amount of pushups.Through 3 games this season, the Washington State Cougars have put up 1,179 yards in Mike Leach’s pass happy system, averaging 393 per game. Oklahoma State, through four games, has put up 1,360 total pass yards — averaging 340 per game.No pressure, Mason. Dez Bryant is confident, to say the least, in Oklahoma State’s air raid attacking offense. “Big 12 all day … We known for letting the pig float lol,” was one recent tweet Bryant posted as an example.And Dallas Cowboys receiver, Vince Mayle, formerly of Washington State, wants to challenge the results. Mayle challenged Dez that Wazzu will “put up better passing numbers than yo skoo” this year:bet we put up better passing numbers than yo skoo this year— Vino (@Vince_Mayle) September 23, 2016 While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img read more