Wimbledon 2011: Nadal and Murray through to Round 3

first_imgWorld number one Rafael Nadal and British hope Andy Murray stayed on course for Wimbledon showdown Wednesday.Spanish reigning champion Nadal swept into the last with a brisk demolition of American journeyman Ryan Sweeting, winning 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 under closed Centre Court roof as disrupted play early on.Nadal, aiming for his third Wimbledon title in four years, will Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller, who beat him here in 2005, in the third round.”I played well. I had match under control at 2-1, in the third set but then made few mistakes,” said Nadal, who added he preferred to play without the roof covering the action.”This is the best court in world. It’s a pleasure always play here. It’s a new experience under the roof but I prefer play with no roof, that’s for sure.”Nadal is on course to meet Murray in the semi-finals, with the Scottish fourth seed aiming to become the first British man to win at Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936.Andy Murray reacts during his match against Tobias Kamke at Wimbledon on Wednesday. APMurray was stretched to four sets in his first round match on Monday but faced no such problems against Germany’s Tobias Kamke on Court Number One, wrapping up a 6-3, 6-3, 7-5 win with a minimum of fuss.Murray will take on either Ukraine’s Sergei Stakhovsky or Croatian veteran Ivan Ljubicic for a place in the last 16. “I served well but the rest of my game needs work. It was quite tricky and windy,” Murray said.advertisement”He was hitting the ball very hard and flat, so it was tough to get into a rhythm. I served well but need to move my legs better at the back of the court. I felt I was a bit upright and need to be quicker on my feet.”The men’s draw went mostly to form on Wednesday, with seeded players Mardy Fish, Tomas Berdych and Richard Gasquet reaching the third round. However, 14th- seeded Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka crashed out, losing (5/7), 3-6, 6-7 (4/7) to Italian Simone Bolelli.In women’s singles, last year’s runner-up and second seed Vera Zvonareva moved into the third round with a 6-1, 7-6 (7/5) victory over fellow Russian Elena Vesnina.Next up Zvonareva is Bulgarian 32nd seed Tsvetana Pironkova, a surprise semi-finalist last year.Fourth seed Victoria Azarenka Belarus beat Czech Iveta Benesova 6-0, to enter the third round too.But in the first round matches carried over because of the weather, eccentric dresser Bethanie Mattek-Sands, the 30th seed, crashed out after losing 4-6, 7-5, 5-7 to Japanese qualifier Misaki Doi.- With inputs from agenciesFor more news on India, click here.For more news on Business, click here.For more news on Movies, click here.For more news on Sports, click here.last_img read more

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Your Essential Proofreading Checklist: 10 Things You Can’t Forget

first_img Topics: I remember the first time I had to proofread something. It was my third day on the job at my very first internship — a small marketing agency in central New Jersey. My boss called me over and handed me a 36-page newsletter that needed to be proofed quickly. We had to send it back to the client ASAP.I was decent at writing and editing, but I didn’t want to disappoint my boss and our clients by letting mistakes slip through the cracks … if only I could have someone proofread my proofreading to make sure I wasn’t screwing up. But I don’t know a business that has time for processes like that. So I just tried to be extra cautious (even though that still didn’t ensure everything was perfect). Download Now: 6 Free Blog Post TemplatesThinking back, I would have loved to have a proofreading checklist. Since I know I’m not the only wannabe perfectionist out there, I decided to create the post below to help anyone in a similar scenario.Note: We’re talking about proofreading here — not the first draft editing process. When you’re editing, there are lots of other things you should look out for. (Check out this post if you want a checklist for that step.) 1) ToneHaving the right tone for corporate copy is tricky — you’ve got to be aligned with the overall brand tone, but if it’s a social message or a blog post, you might also have the author’s own distinct voice to consider. Make sure you’re keeping an eye out for both. For example, your brand may have a super friendly and encouraging tone … but you see that a writer’s been infusing one too many harsh, snarky comments in their piece. Make sure you’re course-correcting on those elements so that the piece doesn’t seem out of place among the other posts on your blog.When you’re proofing, most of this tone issues should already have been worked out in previous editing rounds. Still, it’s possible that a few parts may stick out like a sore thumb — it’s your job to notice and fix them. 2) Product and Persona PositioningThis is also something that should be dealt with before the final editing stage, but often positioning elements can slip through the cracks because they’re pretty nuanced. Sometimes fixing positioning comes down to choosing another synonym or adding a simple descriptor to a sentence. There are two positioning elements you generally need to fix: product and persona. Product positioning mistakes will usually be mistakes that misrepresent what your company offers. It’d be like calling Chipotle fast food … yes, it’s true it’s a fast-food joint, but it’s not on par with the McDonald’s of the world since it uses high-quality, freshly made food. That’s a core part of their brand positioning that should be addressed in your copy.Persona positioning is another mistake people often make — particularly if your company sells to several different buyer personas. Persona positioning mistakes usually crop up when incorrect language is used for a persona. For example, let’s say you work for Dell, selling to both the average consumer and an IT department. If the blog post for the consumer used technical terms only the IT department persona would get, you’d need to revise those terms. Even if your company has tight buyer persona alignment, it’s possible that little tidbits meant for one persona slip into a post for another.3) Logical FlowA lot of marketers throw around the whole storytelling aspect of content marketing — that’s not what I’m talking about here. What I’m talking about is making sure that each sentence is followed by one that makes sense. Flow. A logical one. (This also holds true for paragraphs, too.)Poor transitions often happen when a writer doesn’t have an outline — creating an outline from their writing can help you figure out where you need to beef up transitions between sentences or paragraphs. If you find there’s an illogical leap from one sentence or paragraph to another, that’s when you know you need to make edits to those transitions.4) GrammarEven the best writers can have grammar mistakes slip through if they’re on tight deadlines. They know that they need to use “their” instead of “they’re” but somehow it slipped into the post. As the proofreader, you need to be hyper-vigilant about detecting grammar mistakes. If this isn’t your sweet spot in the writing/editing world, take a look at this post and this post on the most common mistakes people make. Before you hit “publish,” find those words in the piece (Control + F on PC or Command + F on Mac) and make sure they’re being used correctly. 5) Style Guide ConsistencyAbiding by your company’s style guide may seem like a small thing, but not following it makes a piece of copy seem out of place among the rest of your work. For example, in the HubSpot style guide, we always capitalize prepositions in headlines that are four letters or more — so words like “with” and “from” should be capitalized in titles. If we forget to follow this rule, it’s not the end of the world … but it does look sloppier on the homepage or in one of the section pages of Inbound Hub. If you know that you have a tendency to forget to check certain important parts of the style guide, try to find and replace them as you would with grammatical mistakes.6) Country-Specific Spelling and JargonPretty much everyone who publishes online content should be concerned with this bullet point. Though international or global companies worry about this more often, the truth is that anyone from anywhere in the world can find and read your content. Don’t you want to make sure they understand it?You shouldn’t eliminate country specific spelling and jargon — especially if your main audience is local — but just make sure that it’ll make sense to someone in your industry from another country. If you’re marketing to anyone in the world, the last thing you want is for them to click off your blog because they didn’t fully understand the country-specific references. 7) Logical ImagesOften, people will notice images more than the text in your content — especially if they’re just speed reading and scrolling through it. So make sure your images always make contextual sense.Ask yourself: Does the image make sense on its own, or does it require an explanation? If it needs one, you probably need to swap it out for something else. Images are supposed to hit home the points you make in the copy, not make the reader ask more questions. Lost on what images to pick? Here’s a great post on selecting the perfect image for your post.8) Data and Image AttributionsFrankly, it’s pretty easy to steal content on the web, even if you’re not trying to. After you’ve tidied up the copy and made sure you’ve got supporting imagery, make sure you’ve properly cited any external data and images. If you’re unsure of what data and images you can use, check out this blog post. The last thing you want is to get served papers over using an image you thought was up for grabs online.  9) SpellcheckWhen you were proofing for grammar, you should have also found some typos, but it’s very possible that you may have missed them. Use a built-in spell-checker or copy-paste your near-final copy into Word to see if you get any red or green squiggly lines. You’d be surprised how easy it is, even for a trained proofreader, to miss a tiny typo in the midst of a long paragraph. This step helps cut down on any human error that may have occurred somewhere in the writing or editing process.10) Broken LinksLast but certainly not least, you should check to make sure alllll the links are directed to where they’re supposed to be and that they actually work. Once you have the content all set in your CMS, just go through and open up every link. The one time I forgot to do this for a blog post, I ended up mis-linking something, directing our lovely readers to a BuzzFeed article instead of a helpful ebook. Though I’m sure you all enjoy seeing cute kittens, you’d rather find what you actually wanted to click on, right? Don’t make your readers hunt for content they thought was coming their way. If you’re always fixing these 10 mistakes, you’ll end up with quite a tidy piece of content — if not perfect. It’s possible that one tiny mistake may still slip through — you’re human, after all. But this list should help you keep your content squeaky clean, all without hiring a proofreading checker. What other things do you do when you proofread? Share your ideas with us in the comments below. Originally published Apr 22, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated August 26 2017 Writing Skills Don’t forget to share this post! 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The Evolution of Language: How Internet Slang Changes the Way We Speak

first_imgEvery year, hundreds of new words and phrases that come from internet slang are added to the dictionary.Some of them are abbreviations, like FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and YOLO (You Only Live Once). Others are words that have been stretched into more parts of speech than originally intended — like when “trend” became a verb (“It’s trending worldwide”). Others still have emerged as we adapt our language to new technologies; think “crowdfunding,” “selfie,” “cyberbullying.”You might notice how many of these “new” words are actually just appropriated, meaning they are pre-existing words that are combined or given entirely new meanings. For example, “social network” became a word in the Oxford English Dictionary back in 1973, referring to the physical activity of networking in a social atmosphere. In the 1990s, people began using the term to refer to virtual engagement, and that became an official definition in 1998.Why are so many new words and phrases emerging the internet, and so quickly? How does slang spread between cities and countries? Finally, what does it take for a slang word to become a word in the dictionary? Let’s explore some of the answers to these questions.Download 6 Free Blog Post Templates NowIs the Internet to Blame?The internet isn’t the only technological phenomenon that’s changed the way we talk. Radio, television, and telephones have introduced their fair share of new words and phrases into our lexicon over the last century.For example, the phrase TTFN (Ta Ta For Now) comes from the “It’s That Man Again” radio series in the 1940s. Similarly, the word “doh” that was made famous by Homer Simpson on The Simpsons became an official word in the Oxford English Dictionary, “used to comment on a foolish or stupid action, especially one’s own.” And don’t forget “Give me the 4-1-1,” the slang phrase for requesting information that refers the number for local directory assistance.But as we spend more time online, we spend less time listening to the radio and watching TV — and smartphones have blurred the line between phone and internet. At this point, the internet is likely the most prevalent influence on our day-to-day dialogue.Think about how quickly internet trends come and go. The fast pace of change on the internet means we are adopting more words faster than ever before. “Language itself changes slowly, but the internet has sped up the process of those changes so you notice them more quickly,” David Crystal, honorary professor of linguistics at the University of Bangor, told BBC News. You can imagine how much longer it took new words to spread through word-of-mouth than it does today with the internet. So, how exactly does it spread?How Slang Spreads on the InternetThe question of how slang spreads has occupied linguists and anthropologists for decades. When it comes to the mechanics of new word distribution, it’s been tough to measure with any precision — that is, until the advent of public social media networks.Social media networks like Twitter allow linguists a more accurate and easily searchable record of our exchanges. Jacob Eisenstein and his colleagues at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta conducted a study examining 30 million tweets sent from different locations in the U.S. from December 2009 to May 2011. The purpose of the study was to pinpoint the origin of popular slang words and track how they spread across the country.The resulting map shows how these slang terms migrated across the country, as well as the direction of that influence:Because of social media, words are moving around the world within weeks and months, whereas before, it could take a few years, says Julie Coleman, author of The Life of Slang. “It’s not necessarily that language is changing more quickly, but technologies have developed and they allow the transmission of slang terms to pass from one group to another much more quickly.”Internet Slang Around the WorldAs you can imagine, it’s not just the English-speaking countries who have seen changes in language thanks to the internet. “Computer slang is developing pretty fast in Ukraine,” says Svitlana Pyrkalo, a producer at the BBC World Service Ukrainian Service. For example, the force-quit process of pressing “Control, Alt, Delete” is known as Дуля (dulya). A dulya is a Ukranian gesture using two fingers and a thumb, used in the same situations in which we’d give “the finger.” “And you need three fingers to press the buttons,” says Pyrkalo. “So it’s like telling somebody, a computer in this case, to get lost.”Other countries have adopted their own versions of common internet acronyms like “OMG” and “LOL.” In France, the acronym “mdr” stands for “mort de rire,” meaning “dying of laughter.” The Swedish write “asg” as an abbreviation of the term Asgarv, meaning intense laughter. For those in Thailand, the number “5” signifies the Thai letter “h,” so putting three 5’s together, 555, translates to “hahaha.”How New Words Make It Into the DictionarySo, how do new words, like the acronym “LOL,” make it all the way to the dictionary?The secret of a new word’s success is its longevity, says Fiona McPherson, Senior Editor in the New Words Group at the Oxford English Dictionary. To make it into the dictionary, the general population must use it and keep using it. A word must be in use for at least five years to be considered, McPherson says. So, love it or hate it, when words like “LOL” become common, widespread, well understood, and stick around for more than five years, they’re eligible for a spot in the big book.There are plenty of internet slang words that don’t make it in, like “wurfing” (the act of surfing the internet while at work). But to say that word was rejected would be wrong — that word, among many others, will be revisited if its usage grows. The dictionary is a living, breathing document, and there’s always a chance a previously downvoted word will make it into the mainstream vocabulary in the future.That’s where even the word “slang” gets a little fuzzy. Is a word considered “slang” until it graduates into an official word in the dictionary? When exactly does a word become “real”?The fact is, only when a word becomes “real” — as in, widely used and understood — is it then considered for a place in the dictionary. “The time the academy finishes their dictionary, it will already be well out of date,” says linguist Stephen Pinker. “We see it in the constant appearance of slang and jargon. Language is not so much a creator and shaper of human nature so much as a window onto human nature.”As it turns out, dictionary editors look to us when they vote on whether a word should have a place in their dictionary. “Dictionaries are fantastic resources, but they are human and they are not timeless,” Language Historian Anne Curzan reminds us. “If you ask dictionary editors, what they’ll tell you is they’re just trying to keep up with us as we change the language. They’re watching what we say and what we write and trying to figure out what’s going to stick and what’s not going to stick.”There will certainly be changes in language that we don’t like simply because many of us don’t like change, but Curzan thinks we should be less quick to impose our likes and dislikes about words on other people. Language change isn’t worrisome, she argues — it’s fun and fascinating. “I hope you can enjoy being part of the creativity that is continually remaking our language and keeping it robust.”So, no matter whether you think internet slang vitalizes or destroys language, there’s no denying how revealing it is of the culture that invents and uses it — and the ease with which we adapt our language to new technologies and concepts. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Oct 6, 2014 6:00:00 AM, updated October 29 2019 Topics: Marketing Psychologylast_img read more

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Snapchat Spectacles: A Simple Guide for Marketers

first_img Originally published Dec 19, 2016 8:00:00 AM, updated March 31 2017 The camera utilizes circular video, which plays full screen on any device, in any orientation. And the lens is designed to capture the human perspective, offering a 115 degree field of view. This opens Snapchat to a variety of new video content: Previously, users had to record Snaps in vertical format, and the display wouldn’t auto-adjust if videos were recorded horizontally.Here’s a (very meta) video of me watching my Snapchat Story and experimenting with the circular video format — recorded using Spectacles, of course: Topics: Users wear Spectacles like sunglasses and record video from their perspective in a new circular, interactive video format that lets viewers rotate their phones while viewing. As shown above, a white LED light will rotate to indicate that video is being recorded live. Check out the videos recorded using Spectacles below (and keep reading to see original footage I recorded using my Spectacles):Source: SpectaclesSpectacles battery life allows for an average of 100 10-second video recordings per day, and the device can charge inside of its case several times to allow for wireless charging on-the-go. Spectacles come in black, teal, or coral and can be adjusted for fit or prescription lenses.Wait, Isn’t This the Same Thing as Google Glass?Spectacles might take you back to 2012, when Google announced Google Glass — a wearable, hands-free computer system. That project was halted in 2015, after Google faced barriers to widespread adoption, including privacy concerns and pop culture mockery.Luckily, Snapchat Inc. seems to be following a different playbook when it comes to the positioning of Spectacles. Most notably, the product is dedicated solely to video capturing instead of functioning as a wearable computer system like Google Glass. As a result, the cost is significantly less: Spectacles can be purchased for just $129.99.Sure, the specs are certainly a bit silly looking — the large lenses, bold frames, etc. — but, at the very least, they align with the brand’s colorful image.At the end of the day, they’re far more wearable than Glass, which received plenty of less than positive feedback in terms of the design.How to Get SpectaclesIf you’re chomping at the bit to get your hands on a pair, we’ve got some bad news: Spectacles aren’t sold at a traditional storefront. Instead, they’re available in limited quantity for $129.99 at Snapbot vending machines that spontaneously pop up around the country. Yes, that’s right, a Snapbot. Source: SpectaclesPretty interesting concept, right?Now there’s a lot to be said about this unorthodox strategy, as Snap Inc. is disrupting both how video is recorded and how new technology brought to market.Instead of shopping online or heading to a store, these Snapbots are being dropped without announcement or fanfare. Instead, buyers find out about Snapbot sightings via Twitter, Instagram, and word-of-mouth, then rush to queue in line in hopes that the Spectacles aren’t sold out by the time it’s their turn. Additionally, if you’re near a Snapbot, a Geofilter will appear in Snapchat letting you know:Source: SpectaclesIf you visit the “Find a Bot” page now, you’ll either see a map to the current location of the vending machine, or this image:Source: SpectaclesThe strategy behind this interesting distribution method? Aside from the obvious appeal to exclusivity, “It’s about us figuring out if it fits into people’s lives and seeing how they like it,” Snapchat’s CEO Evan Spiegel told the Wall Street Journal.Spectacles are currently being resold for hundreds, and sometimes thousands of dollars on sites like eBay (admittedly, that’s where we snagged ours) and Amazon, leaving the rest of us to wonder whether or not this approach errs more on the side of frustrating or brilliant. But if there’s one thing we know, it’s that the buzz — both positive and negative — around this launch has inevitably created an interesting sounding board for ideas and iterations.Why Are Spectacles Such a Big Deal?Between the unusual launch and the unique video perspective, it’s easy to understand why Spectacles have the tech industry talking. But what does the introduction of a product like this mean for marketers? How might this launch shape the way brands approach their go-to-market strategies in the future? What impact will this have on the Snapchat app?Let’s walk through some of the biggest takeaways here.A New Way to Watch and Record VideoHave you ever had a moment that you wished you had captured on video, but you didn’t have the time to grab your phone, open your camera up, and delete enough photos to make room for storage?Spectacles allow for (almost) hands-free video recording, granting wearers the freedom to record from their point of view. This adds a new level of ease for the “videographer” to live stream an event, go behind-the-scenes, record a how-to video, or even interview someone. It also creates a new, interesting experience for the viewer: Imagine watching a video from the eyes of your favorite brand or personality.Here are a couple of Snaps I recorded hands-free using Spectacles: Don’t forget to share this post!center_img A great storyteller once said, “brevity is the soul of wit.” And although William Shakespeare wasn’t alive for the invention of video, we think he would agree with our marketing spin: “Brevity is the soul of video content.”Video content has exploded on social media: Videos are watched by 82% of Twitter users, and 100 million hours of video are watched on Facebook every day.But those platforms aren’t the only ones engaging users through video: Snapchat video views jumped to 10 billion per day, more than doubling in less than a year. And Snapchat users now watch nearly 800 hours of video content per second. Download our free Snapchat guide to learn how to use it for your business. In an effort to keep that growth moving forward, Snap Inc. (Snapchat’s parent company) unveiled Spectacles — sunglasses with a built-in video camera to easily record Snaps and transfer them seamlessly to the mobile app — in September 2016.Looking for the inside scoop on this launch? You’re in luck, because I just got my hands on a pair of Spectacles to experiment with for this blog post. I’ll tell you everything you need to know about Spectacles and their potential for impact on social media and content marketing — featuring a few videos I recorded while taking them on a test run.What Are Spectacles?Spectacles are sunglasses with an integrated camera that records videos and syncs with the wearer’s Snapchat account via Bluetooth for easy capturing and sharing. Check out the video below of yours truly trying on the Spectacles for the first time (I was a little excited): Video Marketing I had fun experimenting with the Spectacles for this article, and I’m excited to keep using them to record unique video content. I especially love the battery-charging case that keeps the Spectacles safe and ready to record at a moment’s notice. A Unique Distribution StrategyIf you’re a social media marketer, take note: Snap Inc. does a great job of turning its product into a viral social media moment. The secrecy and exclusivity involved in the rollout make Snapchat users excited and curious — FOMO is real, people.The larger lesson for marketers here? Use secrecy and exclusivity to generate buzz and make your audience more interested than ever in what you’re up to. For Snapchat Inc., that meant introducing wearable technology vending machines. For your company, that might mean serving up limited-time offers or creating an exclusive ambassador program.A Platform-Specific Video FormatIt’s still too early to analyze how Spectacles will perform, but broadly, Spectacles could impact social media and video marketing in few big ways.Consumers want more video content, especially on social media. Spectacles answered that call by creating a new video recording format that can only be viewed on Snapchat. Spectacles are effectively helping create more video content on Snapchat while increasing their user base’s engagement with their mobile app. (In 2016, four-year-old Snapchat overtook ten-year-old Twitter’s user base with 150 million daily active users.)From a brand perspective, this could make Snapchat a more desirable channel for advertising, as shoppers are nearly twice as likely to purchase a product if they’ve seen a video first. (Think: Showcasing your product through the lens of an authentic, human perspective.)Additionally, if you’re an event marketer, this new video format offers an interesting avenue for showcasing what it’s like to actually be in attendance — something that regular video content or photos can’t capture.What’s Next?We can’t tell you much more about data on the Spectacles … yet. But we’ll be sure to keep you in the loop with more circular videos on our Snapchat Story.And while you wait in line to get your pair, be sure to check out our other Snapchat content, like this hidden features piece, this guide to Snapchat Stories, and this roundup of brands nailing their Snapchat strategies.What’s your favorite feature of Snapchat? How will you use Spectacles in your Snapchat marketing strategy? Share with us in the comments below.last_img read more

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What We Learned From Our First Year on Medium

first_img Topics: Originally published Jan 17, 2017 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! Off-Site Content Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Context, a publication brought to you by Medium’s Creative Strategy team. Follow the publication to keep abreast of the best ideas in brand storytelling.Two years ago if you asked me to explain the concept of content marketing I would start by talking to you about planets.Imagine you are a marketer standing all alone  —  like The Little Prince  — in the middle of a small planet. That planet is your website. Today it doesn’t get many visitors because it’s too small to notice and the universe is filled with bigger, more interesting planets.But like planets, as you build up the mass of content around you, your website grows, and your gravitational pull becomes stronger. More content, keywords, and inbound links pulls more people your way. Content becomes your magnet.This fundamental principle of content marketing has been a key part of HubSpot’s marketing playbook. Our “planet,” comprised of our website and blog, continues to fuel our company’s growth at a higher rate than any other marketing tactic. You may find it odd then, that about a year ago, we very quietly walked to the edge of our home planet and stepped off. Amazing space cat by William HerringGetting Behind the Idea of Publishing Off-SiteWe started ThinkGrowth.org, an off-site publication on Medium.com. November 2016 marked the one year anniversary of ThinkGrowth.org and I wanted to share a little bit about what we’ve learned: why we did it, where we stumbled, and  — because benchmarks were hard to come by when we were getting started  — what our numbers looked like throughout the year.Grab your space helmets. Here we go.Let me make this very clear: you do not own your audience. Regular monthly visitors, big subscriber lists, well-trodden conversion paths give us the illusion that we own the attention of our audience  — but it is only an illusion. Attention is fleeting, and must constantly be earned.While a lot of content discovery still happens through search, more and more people are consuming articles directly from platforms like Medium, Facebook, and podcasts. Medium has done a remarkable job with editorial curation and a loyal readership has followed, with a lot of this being driven by mobile. According to 2016 research from eMarketer, 86% of time spent on mobile devices is spent in apps rather than internet browsers. Apps like Medium have become new discovery platforms for content.And these new discovery platforms come with notable differences in behavior. On the open web, people are searching, but on Medium, people come to spend time reading. This leads to much higher engagement on Medium and it’s this engagement, not search behavior, that fuels further discovery.As the saying goes, sometimes you have to lose sight of your own shore to explore new lands. We have always tried to build our content strategy by paying attention to our readers over ourselves. Simply put, we decided to publish on Medium because we wanted to be where our readers are.Breaking Through the New Publication PlateauWe’ve long admired the transparency of companies like Buffer who make a practice of openly sharing their own experiences and data. So, here’s our data from the last year. It wasn’t always pretty.We started unassumingly on Medium. We didn’t launch with a bang or promotional push. We decided to just get some content up on the platform and see what it did. Our early posts were mostly cross-published content from the HubSpot blog (Medium makes it very easy to do this without hurting your own SEO). These first cross-posted pieces back in November of 2015 netted a few hundred views each, not too exciting.But we quickly found that certain content just does better on Medium. As I mentioned, people come to Medium to read, not search for information on a specific topic. This makes Medium an inherently social platform where opinion pieces, personal accounts, or reaction posts often have a stronger performance than on our home blog.Then a few months in, we attached the HubSpot handle to the publication. We saw a small jump as our social followers started to be able to find us and our content better, but the volume of views still wasn’t outstanding. We were making progress, but it was slow.Optimizing for People After Years of Optimizing for SearchThe first break-out post we ever had flew to the top of our most-read list mainly because it was highlighted by Ev Williams. And yes, while Ev is the mayor of Medium, this isn’t about Ev in particular, but rather the underlying point that Medium is a network. Anyone who has built up a following on Medium, whether it be the founder or a talented writer can have a major ripple effect on the visibility of an article just by interacting with it.We’ve seen that interactions from highly followed readers carry the heaviest weight, but any interaction can make a big difference. We ran an analysis on the correlation between various values and views for all of our articles so far. For us, the most strongly correlated factor with views is recommends (r=0.77). What I like about this lever is that it really is about the quality of the writing. Green-hearted recommendations aren’t typically fooled by click-bait titles, keyword stuffing, or any other shortcut. Recommends come after considered reading.Another way we started optimizing for people was opening up our publication doors. We’ve seen our best success by finding writers on the rise on Medium and syndicating content they’ve created  — exposing both them and ourselves to a new audience. Guest contributors have fueled the growth of our audience and brought in a diversity of perspectives that have made our entire anthology better. We’ve published a piece from the CEO of Litmus Paul Farnell and one from the CEO of Mattermark Danielle Morrill. We’re seeing that the best content on ThinkGrowth.org isn’t about us, nor is it necessarily by us.Discovering the Power of a Built-In AudiencePeople talk a lot about the power of Medium’s built-in audience. What they don’t tell you is how expansive and varied that audience can be. One of our biggest concerns when getting started with Medium is that we would be preaching to the same choir. But after doing some analysis of our comparative audience across the two sites we discovered that only about 10% of our Medium followers were previously known to us at HubSpot.com.This is incredibly powerful. HubSpot has been writing content for more than ten years. Our onsite blogs get more than 4.5 million visitors a month. Discovering this new audience pocket feels like we’re showing up a friend’s party after 10 years of hosting at our own place, and we find a whole new group of wonderful people, and they’re like, “Hey! It’s cool you finally left your own little planet.”Deciding How to Measure It AllMeasuring success on Medium is tricky. First, the rules for success are so different. Second, Medium stats are detached from the rest of our analytics. Third, Medium’s analytics dashboard just doesn’t allow you to go very deep. You can look at total number of views, follower count, number of interactions, time spent reading and so on — but these are very surface level.Fans of the musical Rent at HubSpot will always remember the day our publication crossed five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes of reading time.The day we discovered Sam Mallikarjunan was a Rent fan.I’ll admit that as VP of Content I’m always a seduced by a good up-and-to-the-right readership chart. But neither of those may be entirely right when you think about what constitutes success on this platform.If Medium really is a hybrid between a social network and a publishing platform, and success is determined by how engaging your content is, it may make sense to look at how active that follower base is. Heading into our second year as a publication we still plan on tracking everything (we’re data people after all) but we’d like to start paying particularly close attention to our number of weekly active readers. This is a much higher bar than views and followers alone, but we think this is the best way to hold ourselves accountable as a publication.A T. Blake Littwin original  — used in Brian Halligan’s reflections on evolving HubSpot from a startup to “scale-up.”Looking AheadWriting on Medium started as an experiment. Something that could help us stay on top of how reading habits are changing (And boy, are they changing). It wasn’t always the easiest year. We spent months studying our readership, reading advice from Medium editors (Elizabeth Tobey in particular), and talking with peers of ours like Kevan Lee who were also exploring the platform. Thanks to that advice and frankly the ruthless, almost superhuman, focus of Sam Mallikarjunan, Erik Devaney, and most recently Janessa Lantz we’re starting to get there.We’ve learned enough in the last year to see the potential that exists when as a brand you take the risk of stepping beyond your home planet to explore new channels, platforms, and audiences. I’m happy to say that on the anniversary of our first exploration onto Medium, we’ve decided to increase our investment in that potential by spinning up a brand new team at HubSpot focused entirely on “offsite” content strategy.We’re going to continue to iterate our publication to make it better. In the words of ThinkGrowth.org writer Sam Mallikarjunan, “We feel good about the growth we’ve achieved with the new blog and just a few writers, but there are even cooler things we haven’t done yet on Medium.”Stay tuned.last_img read more

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6 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Freelance Graphic Designer

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! Hiring the wrong freelance graphic designer can make or break your brand or marketing objectives. A designer that can’t complete projects on time, lacks the ability to adapt to your brand aesthetic, or has never taken on the type of work you’re doing could cause you to lose business.Regardless of the type of project you’re hiring a designer for, it’s important to make sure you’re bringing in the right person for the job. Pose these six questions to each candidate before making a hire.Free Download: How to Hire and Work with Freelancers6 Freelance Designer Interview Questions1) What motivated you to apply for this project?This question can reveal a lot about whether the graphic designer you’re interviewing is genuinely interested in your company and what they’ll be working on. If they aren’t, it’ll show in the final product — and that’s a losing situation for everyone.Ask questions that gauge their knowledge of your business and goals, and observe how well their skills and interests align. You want a graphic designer who fundamentally understands what you are building and why it’s important. Ideally, they’ll already be familiar with your company or will have interacted with you as a customer in the past.2) What is your workload like?There’s a big difference between the level of attention you’ll get from your freelance designer if you’re providing a significant portion of their income versus sending them a small project here and there.Before committing to a contract, set clear expectations around your requirements. Will you need closer to five or 40 hours of their time each week? Find out how booked up they are with other clients and if it’s realistic for them to take on your project given your expectations and their other commitments.3) Can you describe your design aesthetic?A critical factor to consider when hiring a graphic designer is whether their work aligns with the overall design aesthetic you envision for your project.If the designer you’re considering has a portfolio full of edgy, hand-illustrated black-and-white cartoon characters, they might not be the best fit to work with a mature brand that wants to appear authoritative. It’s a good idea to look through the designer’s work to get a sense of whether their aesthetic jibes with your vision before getting too far into the interview process, but be sure to ask this question regardless.4) What is your design process like?The graphic designer you’re considering should be able to articulate a clear path to achieving your desired results. An inability to do so could mean they don’t have enough experience to suit your needs.For example, here’s how veteran graphic designer Ian Paget of Logo Geek kicks off a project with a new client: “I start my design process by creating a list of goals that can be used as a tick-list to refer to during the design phase and when selecting the best solution. We cover areas such as the brand’s story, values, competition and target audience.”Having a well-defined, agreed upon design process like this is key to the success of the designer-client relationship.5) How would your other clients describe working with you?When a graphic designer has a page of their portfolio website dedicated to testimonials or keeps an offline copy of positive reviews they’ve received from past clients, it tells you their customers are happy with their results and willing to publicly vouch for them. If they don’t offer to share, just ask.However, if they’re unable to produce a few positive testimonials, that’s might be an indication they are unable to sustain good client relationships or produce quality results. Tread lightly.6) Do you have a blog?Graphic designers who have a blog and actively take steps to showcase their domain expertise are more likely to bring additional value, advice, and experience to the table –beyond the deliverables you’ve agreed upon. The right graphic designer with an active social media following or established personal brand can help create more than just a new style for your company; they can become a worthy advocate, too.As for who should be asking the questions: If your graphic designer will be working hand-in-hand with other members of your content team such as writers and marketers, it’s essential these stakeholders have a say during the interview process. Aside from being able to weigh in on whether they like the designer’s work or not, your other team members’ inputs are valuable for a few reasons: they will have a close pulse on anticipating the timing for upcoming projects, an understanding of the deliverables, and will likely be the ones interacting most with the designer on a day-to-day basis.These six questions will ensure you come out of the interview with a clear sense of whether the graphic designer candidate is right for the job. When you and the person you hire are on the same page, you’ll cultivate a better rapport and get mutually beneficial results. Topics: Graphic Design Originally published Apr 13, 2017 5:00:00 AM, updated September 14 2017last_img read more

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9 Link Building Email Outreach Templates That Actually Work

first_imgThanks for joining me here on the HubSpot Marketing Blog today. I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you all a few things you might not know about me.I’m ambidextrous (I can write with both hands), I’m the adoptive mother of three cats (one of whom is named Kitty), and before coming to HubSpot, I spent a lot of time writing and sending link building outreach emails.Access Now: 22 SEO Myths to Leave Behind This YearInbound links back to your website play an important role in achieving your inbound marketing goals. They also require strategy and diligent work to come by. I would know — I worked very hard to earn inbound links for a long time.Whether you’re just starting out with inbound link building or you’re getting fatigued by nobody replying to your outreach emails, I wanted to help you out. I’ve created nine different templates for killer outreach emails that you can borrow and adapt for your own link building strategy.What Is Link Building?Before we dive into the templates, let’s quickly review the basics of inbound link building. If you’re already caught up to speed, skip ahead to check out the templates.Inbound links, otherwise known as backlinks, are links pointing toward your website from another website. Here’s an example: Check out this publishing volume experiment analysis on the Moz Blog. If you’ll notice, the previous sentence contains a link pointing toward Moz’s website. That’s a backlink. And if you read the article, you’ll notice it contains a link pointing back to our website here at HubSpot. That’s a backlink, too.Now that we all understand what inbound links are, why are they important?Inbound links drive traffic to your website. In the example above, the HubSpot blog earned traffic from any of Moz’s blog readers who followed the link to HubSpot’s website.Inbound links improve your search engine rankings. Inbound links tell search engines that your website knows what it’s talking about — otherwise, why would someone link to it? The more inbound links you earn from high-quality sites, the higher your website will rank in search engine results pages (SERP).To sum up, inbound links are valuable because they help your website rank higher in search, which helps more people find your organization, start clicking around, and eventually become a lead.Link building is the process of obtaining those inbound links. When your website is a high-powered, well-respected content engine, other sites and individuals online will link to your content organically — without you having to ask. But if you’re like a lot of other inbound marketers out there, your website still has a ways to go.A dedicated link building strategy starts with an ask — usually via email — and that’s where these templates come in.Link Building Outreach RulesBut before we get to the templates, some rules.There are right and wrong ways to go about improving your site’s SEO, and inbound link building — when done correctly — is generally regarded as one of the right ways. You’re pitching your content to publications that might be interested in sharing it with different audiences. A backlink is just the cherry on top.However, there are wrong ways to go about asking for inbound backlinks, and I want to make sure you sure understand the rules of the road before you start emailing.1) The best way to generate quality backlinks is to publish exceptional content publishers organically cite.That being said, a dedicated backlink outreach strategy can be helpful for newer websites or if you’re promoting a specific piece of exceptional content. The more content you produce and, in turn, promote with social media content and backlinks, the more search engine authority your site will accumulate.2) Only pitch guest posts or backlinks that add value for the reader.Instead of asking your contacts to randomly link back to your site somewhere on theirs, ask publishers if you can write for their blogs or conribute new ideas and data for content they’re already working on. Offers such as these will result in quality backlinks that provide readers with valuable information.3) Send individualized emails to specific publishers.Never, and I mean never, mass email an enormous contacts list with a pitch template. It’s spammy, impersonal, and likely won’t get you the results you want anyway. Adapt the templates below if you like them, but it’s critically important to individually craft specific emails for particular publishers.The first step of your outreach process should always be researching publications and specific people who might be interested in your content. You shouldn’t start with typing up an email and sending it to everyone in your industry with a website. Read on for new ideas for how to ask for an inbound link — in ways that are polite, clever, and might just get you that backlink.Note: These email templates are based on emails I’ve sent and received. Any references to industries, companies, or individuals are meant to illustrate these fictitious email examples. 9 Link Building Outreach Email Examples to Try1) The previewIf you don’t have any connections with the person you’re pitching, offering a preview might be an effective way to share your content. With this type of email, you’re asking first if the recipient would like to see the piece of content you’d like them to link to. The key to getting a reply is making sure you’ve personalized your email and enticed the reader with enough details to get them to reach back out.Interest in new infographic about social media stats?Hi Sophia,Happy Friday! I’m reaching out because I’m an avid reader of your work on the SocialVille blog — I loved your latest piece about social media news.I just followed you on Twitter, and I saw you’ve been tweeting about Facebook’s F8 conference. What did you think of the event?I work over at SocialWorld, where we conduct market research and collect data for social media analysts and experts. We recently produced an infographic detailing a breakdown of the social media market and what changes you can expect over the next year.Would you be interested in checking it out? I’d love to see what you think.Let me know if you’re interested, and I can send you the infographic to take a look.Best, Jack2) The exclusive offerIf you’ve produced new research or data with surprising or intriguing results, it might be worth pitching your content as an exclusive before pressing publish on your own blog. An exclusive offer to a top-ranking publication in your industry could get you a lot of traffic from a single link, so it might be worth adjusting or reconsidering your own publication schedule.When pitching to top journalists whose inboxes are probably flooded, keep your subject lines detailed and your emails short to communicate as much information in as few words as possible. Exclusive: New data about Snapchat adsHey Sophia,I’ve been reading your coverage of the competition heating up between Snapchat and Instagram, and I wanted to let you know that we’re releasing new data about Snapchat ad usage this week.Among other insights, we found a surprising number of brands and publishers that were regularly advertising and publishing on Snapchat have started transitioning over to Instagram, where they achieve higher ad clickthrough rates.I’d be happy to give you exclusive early access to our full report to be the first to write about it on the blog this week — what do you think?Best, Jack3) The DYKEveryone likes to learn a fun fact. Couch your pitch as a “did you know” moment to pique the recipient’s curiosity to read the rest of your content for more fun and new information. If you were able to teach them something new, they may want to feature your fresh insight for their own readers.DYK bots are more popular than blogs?Hi Sophia,Did you know that there are more than 100,000 active bots on Facebook Messenger?If you aren’t already communicating with your audience via Facebook Messenger, you could be missing out on an opportunity to provide better customer service — and faster.We rounded up more Messenger bot usage stats in a new report that I’ve attached below. Do you think it would be a good fit for an article on the SocialVille blog? Thanks in advance for checking it out, and let me know if you have any questions.Best, Jack4) The personalized pitchThe most critical part of a successful outreach email is personalization. I’m not talking about addressing your email to the correct name and spelling everything correctly — although you should definitely do both of those things. By showing the recipient that you know who they are and what they’re about, your pitch reads as genuine, and you read as a comprehensive possible partner.It’s easy to write, “I loved your last article about [subject],” but it takes some digging and understanding to write, “I love reading your monthly social media news series. Did you catch the latest Facebook update that came out today?” Make sure your email shows that you’ve taken the time to understand what the person is all about and what they regularly cover.Hi from a fellow Snapchat diehardHi Sophia,I know you’ve been closely following the social media smackdown between Snap Inc. and Facebook — and I know who we’re both rooting for. So I wanted to show you this interactive timeline we created that compares the growth trajectories of the two companies.Snap Inc. is similar to Facebook in a lot of ways, but its path to growth into the billions is mired with more competition. But this competition hasn’t limited Snapchat’s engagement — users are spending up to half an hour a day inside the app.I noticed that you publish a social media news roundup every month featuring the latest stories and research, and I wondered if you thought this timeline could be a good inclusion. Let me know if you have any questions about the data!Thanks, Jack5) The offerNobody likes having extra work on their plate, so why not pitch doing the work for them? If you pitch a great idea alongside an offer to write a guest post, the recipient might be more inclined to say “yes.” But remember to do your due diligence before pressing “send.” If the person you’re pitching has already written about a specific angle a few times before, make sure you’re pitching something new and different to avoid getting ignored.Offer to write up new report for SocialVille?Hey Sophia,You’ve written previously about successful Facebook ads and headlines, and I wanted to share some new research my team has put together about effective Facebook ad copy. We found that Facebook ads under 20 words in length performed significantly better than longer ads, along with a ton of other eye-opening stats.Do you think this would be a good fit for the SocialVille blog? I’d be happy to write it up for you to take the legwork out of it. Let me know if you’d like me to get started.Thanks for your consideration, Jack6) The mentionEverybody likes to see their name in print. A clever way to angle for a backlink is to mention a product or an individual in a published piece, then circle back and share it with them. Ask for their feedback to get them reading the post, and they might link to it or share it on social of their own accord.Your data featured in our latest reportHey Sophia,I love reading your stuff on the SocialVille blog! In fact, we featured your recent data about the impact of tools on productivity in our report on the growth of productivity as a business — I’ve attached the PDF below, and we’ve also shared it on Twitter.I wonder if you’d be able to check out the report and let me know what you think or if I missed any important stats.Thanks in advance for checking it out, and thanks for such an interesting write-up.Best, Jack7) The social proofSocial proof is the concept that consumers will be influenced by what others are already doing. For example, if you head to the bottom of this blog post, you’ll notice that we ask you to subscribe, noting that 300,000 marketers have already subscribed. That’s social proof in action: You might be more likely to subscribe now that you know hundreds of thousands of people are already doing it.So, if you’ve published a great piece of content that people are responding positively to, tell people that when you pitch it for backlinks. They might be more inclined to cite you if other people in their field are already doing so.Guide to Instagram ad analyticsHi Sophia,I’m sure you get a lot of content submissions, but I wanted to bring to your attention to a new guide we released about the ins and outs of Instagram ad advertising.This helpful how-to guide tells you everything you need to know about advertising on Instagram and how to drive ROI, in addition to sharing real-world examples of ads that delivered results. Shameless #humblebrag here — the guide has been downloaded more than 5K times and has been retweeted more than 4K times — so I wanted to make sure you had a chance to check it out.Do you think it would be a good fit for the SocialVille blog? I’d love to get your thoughts.Best, Jack8) The jokeTread carefully with humor, but if you’ve perused their social media and they seem like they would appreciate a goofy joke, it could be a smart way to get your recipient’s attention.As in the rules of the workplace or cocktail parties, avoid making jokes about politics, religion, or anything rated PG-13 and up.What do cats, cooking videos, and your latest blog post have in common?… they all went viral on social media!Forgive the silly joke, but I knew cats would get your attention. I loved your recent piece about social media predictions for the coming year, and I wondered if you’d given any thought to predictions for where SEO is headed, too.Here at SearchWorld, we predict that AMP and machine-learning will take center stage in Google’s quest to make search easier and more intuitive for the searcher.We put together a report about how SEO has evolved and other predictions for where we think it’s headed next, and I think it would be a great reference if you decide to write a follow-up piece about the future of SEO. I’ve attached the report below — take a look, and let me know if there are any changes you’d suggest!Thanks in advance, Jack9) The responseThis is another risky outreach strategy, but it could pay off if you do it properly.The ultimate way to demonstrate that you’re an avid reader (instead of just saying so) is to respond to someone’s work with an opinion — even if it’s divergent. Other options besides the counterpoint in the example below could include:A case study of you taking their advice and applying it to your brandA different content format on the same subject — for example, a video explainer instead of a blog postQuick question about your Facebook F8 recapHey Sophia,Thanks for writing such a thorough recap of Facebook’s F8 conference. It was super helpful for those of us who couldn’t attend in person or watch the live stream!I thought you made an interesting point about the competition heating up between Facebook and Snap Inc., but I think you could be missing a bigger idea here. I think it’s not as much a competition for users as it is a competition for features innovation vs. features execution.I wrote up my take on the brands’ competition on our blog today and cited your recap — would you like to take a look? Maybe we could collaborate together on a blog post or video on how social media marketers should best evaluate the two companies’ competing apps.Thanks, JackEmail Link Building Best PracticesSo, you might have noticed that these aren’t the traditional templates you can copy and paste into your own inbox.And that’s because I don’t want you to simply plug in these emails and replace them with your own pitch. Part of the reason successful link building takes time and effort is because you have to craft a personalized email every time. You should use the guidelines I’ve outlined above, but copying and pasting the same exact message is just bad news for all involved. Don’t do it.Below are more of my link building outreach email best practices:1) Edit, then edit again.Nothing makes me less interested in responding to a pitch email than when there is immediately a typo or grammatical error as early as the subject line — or my name. Double-check to ensure that all names are spelled correctly, that capitalization is perfect (Hubspot vs. HubSpot), and that punctuation is perfect.On the other side of editing, cut your email down wherever you can. It’s better for your email to be on the shorter side than too long, so try to delete any extra words and phrases that aren’t completely necessary.2) Keep your subject lines short and sweet.My rule of thumb for subject lines is to avoid making them complete sentences. Stick to the important details to communicate as much enticing information in as few words as possible. If your brand name is recognizable, make sure to name drop yourself, too.3) Don’t fake flattery.If it’s easy to tell when someone’s compliments are inauthentic in person, it’s even easier to tell via email. Don’t flatter people you’re contacting for the sake of it — genuinely compliment their work, their insights, or their achievements, and take the compliment a step further to add value with your own content.4) Do the legwork before you send.Demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about by doing your research before you press “send.” When you think you’ve found the right person to pitch, take some time to research what they’ve written about in the past and what they discuss on social media. Pay attention to timing, too. If an author has just written about social media statistics, they might not want to write about the same angle one week later, so try to bring a new or related pitch to the table.5) Don’t follow up more than once or twice.Let’s face it — we’re all busy. Even if your outreach email is impeccable, it could get lost in someone’s inbox during a busy morning. You should feel free to reach out once to follow up, but don’t go overboard in pestering someone if they’re not getting back to you. After one or two follow-ups, let your pitch go, and reach out to them with another pitch further down the line.For more link building strategies and best practices, the pros over at Moz can point you in the direction of more replies and backlinks and fewer ignores and “no”s. For more must-have SEO strategies to tackle in 2017, check out our free guide here.Do you have an email link building outreach email that got you great results? Share with us in the comments below. Originally published Apr 28, 2017 6:00:00 AM, updated April 28 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! Topics: Link Buildinglast_img read more

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The True Meaning of Self-Awareness (& How to Tell If You’re Actually Self-Aware)

first_imgSelf-awareness is a critical tool to help you reach higher levels of job satisfaction, become a better leader, improve relationships with colleagues, and manage your emotions better. It’s also positively correlated with higher levels of overall happiness.And yet, as one study estimates, only 10-15% of people are truly self-aware.Luckily, self-awareness can be practiced and cultivated — it’s not a fixed trait.Click here to download leadership lessons from HubSpot founder, Dharmesh Shah.If you begin to consciously practice self-awareness, you can evaluate how your values, passions, and goals fit into your current environment and emotions — and how to align them better. You can also understand how other people view you, creating stronger, more authentic relationships with colleagues.Self-awareness will help you become a happier and more productive employee and leader, and can help you align your current life with your passions.Here, we’ll explore what self-awareness truly means, how to tell if you’re self-aware, and, best of all, how to improve your own self-awareness, right now.If you’re still unconvinced that self-awareness is a valuable trait to cultivate, here’s a list of general benefits of being self-aware.Benefits of self-awarenessImprove skills by recognizing what you do well and what you need to improveRaise happiness levels by aligning your ideals with your actionsBecome a better leader by understanding how employees perceive your behaviorStrengthen work and personal relationships by managing emotionsIncrease work motivation by seeking out your true passionsDecrease stress by identifying emotions and lessening tasks you don’t enjoy Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! Originally published May 11, 2018 6:00:00 AM, updated May 11 2018center_img What is self-awareness?Self-awareness was first defined by Shelley Duval and Robert Wicklund (1972), who proposed that, at a given moment, people can focus attention on the self or on the external environment.Duval and Wicklund noted, “When we focus our attention on ourselves, we evaluate and compare our current behavior to our internal standards and values. We become self-conscious as objective evaluators of ourselves.”In other words, when you focus on yourself, rather than your environment, you compare yourself with your standards of correctness. These standards of correctness specify how you ought to think, feel, and behave. They are, essentially, your values and beliefs, otherwise known as your ideals.You feel pride or dissatisfaction depending on how well your behavior matches up with your standards of correctness. If you’re dissatisfied, you might make changes to your behavior to better align with your standards. For instance, you might note feelings of discontent in your current role, and recognize you value creativity but don’t have the opportunity to exercise that passion. That dissatisfaction could lead you to pursue other creative outlets, changing your behavior to fit your standards.Self-awareness, then, is a fundamental tool for self-control.Make sense? One more thing.Tasha Eurich, a researcher and organizational psychologist, and her team of researchers came up with two categories of self-awareness, which I think are important to note: internal self-awareness, and external self-awareness.Internal self-awareness is something I’ve already mentioned — it is how clearly you see your values, passions, and aspirations, and how well those standards fit with your environment and your reactions (which include thoughts, feelings, behaviors, strengths, and weaknesses).Essentially, internal self-awareness is recognizing your current job doesn’t match your true passion for marketing, or feeling dissatisfied with a heated conversation you had with your colleague, which conflicts with your belief that kindness is important.External self-awareness, on the other hand, is the ability to clearly see how other people view you. People who know how others see them are typically more empathetic. Leaders who can see how their employees view them are usually more effective, and have stronger relationships with their employees.External self-awareness is recognizing your employee took your feedback personally because of your tone, or realizing your employees are disheartened by the data provided in your last email.The definition of self-awarenessSelf-awareness is the ability to focus on yourself and how your actions, thoughts, or emotions do or don’t align with your internal standards. If you’re highly self-aware, you can objectively evaluate yourself, manage your emotions, align your behavior with your values, and understand correctly how others perceive you.Self-awareness testOkay, so we’ve covered what self-awareness is, and why it’s important. Now, how are you supposed to know if you’re as self-aware as you should be?The iNLP Center self awareness test is a quick, free online test to measure your self-awareness. Although it’s not a scientific or clinical assessment, the test was created by Mike Bundrant, who has 25 years experience as a counselor, NLP trainer (Neuro-linguistic programming, which is an approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy), and life coach. The test, made up of 12 multiple-choice questions, provides you with a score and interpretation of your level of self-awareness, and which areas you should focus on improving.Additionally, consider taking a basic personality test: the results might contradict with how you view yourself, encouraging you to re-evaluate your true strengths and weaknesses.There are other, non-standardized test ways to measure your self-awareness, too:First, you could apply feedback analysis to your own life whenever you make important decisions. For instance, you might write down why you chose to switch departments at work, including your motivations, thoughts during the decision-making process, and what you expected would happen as a result. Then, a couple months later, check back in with your notes — what’s gone according to plan, what were you wrong about, etc.? This can provide you with a deeper understanding of how you make decisions and how you can improve the process, as well as what motivates you.Or, write down a list of what you perceive to be your strengths and weaknesses. When you’re finished, check with someone you trust to give honest feedback: are you missing any strengths or weaknesses, or do other people perceive you differently?Ideally, over time, you’ll use various methods to slowly gain a deeper understanding of who you are, what you want, and how those things overlap or conflict with how you behave, think, and feel.How to become more self-awareOnce you’ve discovered how self-aware you are, you’re probably wondering how you can get better at it.There are dozens of ways to improve and cultivate self-awareness, but here are four of the biggest to start you off.1. Ask “What?” instead of “Why?” When people assess their current state, emotions, and environment, they all too often ask, “Why?” Like, “Why am I feeling so sad? Why did my boss give me that feedback? Why isn’t my project going the way I’d hoped?”Here’s why asking “Why?” is ineffective: research has shown you don’t have access to a lot of your unconscious thoughts, feelings, and motives. Odds are, you’re wrong about why you act, do, or think certain things. For instance, you might hear harsh feedback from a boss, and rationale it’s because you’re not cut out for the job, or harp on your insecurities — it’s hard for you to unbiasedly evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and come to a correct conclusion.Plus, you don’t often factor physiological responses into the equation when you’re trying to understand your behavior. For instance, maybe you lost your temper at your employee because of low blood sugar or lack of sleep, not because you’re an unfit leader.Research has also found people who are introspective are more likely to ruminate on negative thoughts when evaluating the self. Self-evaluation through “Why” questions could leave you feeling depressed and anxious, while being entirely unproductive.Rather than asking “Why,” highly self-aware people ask, “What?” “What” questions are more productive, and focuses on objectives and future goals, rather than past mistakes.For instance, let’s say you’re feeling frustrated at work. “Why am I feeling awful?” will likely only leave you feeling more depressed, forcing you to ruminate on negatives. On the other hand, “What are the situations at work making me feel bad?” guides you to recognizing factors outside your control that don’t align with your passions or goals, and helps you strategize how to fix those situations.2. Spend Time With Yourself It’s not easy to reflect on yourself when you’ve got the TV blaring, you’re out to dinner with friends, or you’re glued to your phone.Give yourself the space and time necessary to self-reflect, by avoiding distractions. Try spending time reading, writing, meditating, or practicing other solo activities to connect with yourself.Try to give yourself 30 quiet, distraction-free minutes a day.3. Practice MindfulnessMindfulness allows you to be present with yourself and observe your thoughts in a non-judgmental way. What better way to become self-aware than focusing, nonjudgmentally, on you?Mindfulness forces you to focus on yourself on purpose, in the present moment. Next time you’re feeling frustrated at work, use mindfulness to check-in with yourself: what thoughts are going through your mind? How are you feeling? Simply being present enough to acknowledge your thoughts, feelings, and emotions, will help you become more acquainted and better at recognizing them properly within yourself.Take a look at these Mindfulness apps if you need help getting started.4. Become a Better Listener, and Ask for Feedback When you learn how to listen to your friends, colleagues, and managers without evaluating or judging them, you’ll become more empathetic and understand people better. Listening, by the way, isn’t the same as hearing — like mindfulness, the practice of listening takes purpose and control. Listening to the important people in your life should give you a true sense of how they perceive you.You can translate those listening skills to yourself, too, and become better at understanding your own thoughts and emotions. Listening to others and yourself is critical to becoming self-aware.Additionally, it’s important to ask for feedback from the people you work with, or lead. It’s impossible to have true, complete self-awareness, if you only turn inwards — gaining different perspectives on who you are will help you see a truer, more complete picture. Emotional Intelligencelast_img read more

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How HubSpot Grew Online Customer Reviews By 157%

first_imgNowadays, reviews matter more than ever. In fact, over 85% of U.S. adults say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.The good news is that your happy buyers want to help you. 77% of consumers shared positive experiences with their friends, or on social media/review sites in the last year.At HubSpot, we know reviews are important for driving leads to our product in the first place. But we’re starting to recognize the importance of reviews at the end of a buyer’s journey, as well.Access Now: 20 Review Response TemplatesReview websites rank super well on Google for purchase-intent software terms we care about, like “crm software”, “best crm software” and “crm systems”.People searching for terms like these are ready to buy CRM software and as a result, are highly likely to turn into customers.You can hardly blame Google for serving this content first. With over 500 providers of CRM software, it’s tough for customers to hop from vendor to vendor to choose the right CRM. They need a single resource that lists top CRM software. A number of sites have capitalized on this opportunity.With these review sites dominating search for almost every CRM keyword with commercial intent, we needed to improve our presence on these websites and grow our customer reviews.Here, we’ll walk you through our experience choosing the best channels to collect reviews, designing review request emails for optimal growth, and developing a strong review acquisition strategy that elevated our company to the top three on CRM software review sites.The Best Channels for Review CollectionWe tested out a number of different channels for collecting reviews. Ultimately, email, events, and triggering reviews based on product usage proved most effective.1. EmailEmail is a staple at HubSpot, and we often communicate with our customers via email. This seemed like the obvious channel for us to ask for customer reviews.We were able to identify core groups of users who would be a great fit to ask for reviews.The first group we emailed for reviews were our NPS promoters — a group of people who rate us highly when asked how likely they are to recommend us to a friend.The second group we emailed for reviews were people who had recently experienced delight from using our product. For example, when someone closed a deal in our CRM (ding), that was a good time to ask them to write a review about us.These two groups of people, and the channel of email, were critical to successfully collect reviews on an ongoing basis, since those people were deriving value from our products.2. In AppUsing your software to ask users to review your product in-app is another great way to gather reviews. You can test out asking people to review your product at different times based on their actions. At HubSpot, we asked people to review us on occasion after they closed a deal in HubSpot CRM. Instagram also does this occasionally after someone has posted a photo to boost reviews in places like the App Store.3. EventsEvents were another core channel we used to grow our reviews. Each year thousands of HubSpot customers attend our INBOUND event in Boston. We suspected this would be another great place for us to collect reviews, as there was a high amount of foot traffic from HubSpot customers.125 Positive Reviews in Three DaysLeveraging our INBOUND event, where we have a ton of happy customers and partners, turned out to be a successful avenue for collecting reviews. We knew getting a lot of reviews in a couple of days would could close the gap between us and those we compete with within the CRM space.During the course of three days, we collected customer reviews on Capterra and G2Crowd using iPads in an area of the event where HubSpot customers congregate.As a result, we collected 125 reviews for HubSpot products. This enabled us to surpass Zoho and Nimble’s review numbers on Capterra.We became the third most-reviewed CRM on Capterra, despite being much later to the CRM space than many of our competitors.Three Things We Learned About Asking for ReviewsWhen asking for reviews, we didn’t just vary the channels we used to reach customers — we also varied the design and copy of our requests.There are three critical lessons we learned from extensive A/B testing. As a result of our efforts, we saw an exceptional increase in the amount of people willing to write a review.If you want to ask your customers for a review, you’ll want to take note of the following three lessons.1. Rewarding people for leaving a review works wondersWe ran an A/B test via email to find out if rewards would make customers more likely to review us. For the enabled group, we offered a $10 Amazon gift voucher to the first ten people who reviewed us. For the control group, we used the same design and almost identical copy, but removed mentions of the reward.The chance of a small reward boosted our review numbers by a staggering +733%. Despite the huge increase in the quantity of reviews being left, the high quality of reviews being left did not change.Normally, our conversation rate for review email sends stands at 3%, but when a reward was offered, it jumped to 25%. Mentioning the reward in the subject line did not peak people’s curiosity (open rates were the same).Some rewards might resonate more with your customers than others and improve your results. We recommend testing out different rewards to see which ones gain the best results. Potential rewards include Amazon, iTunes, Panera, Target, or a Virtual Visa international gift card. Rybbon integrates with HubSpot to make this process seamless.One thing to note is that many review sites don’t allow you to reward customers for providing a review. This is a controversial issue in the review space. Before offering customers a reward in exchange for reviewing your company, it’s best to check out the review guidelines provided by that particular review website.2. The format of the ask mattersWe wanted to find out what type of emails work best when asking customers to review us. To do this, we pitted multiple emails with fancy design and copy against each other. Don’t forget to share this post! Despite our best efforts at copywriting and design, nothing worked as well as a plain and simple email without cheesy copy or attractive design. It was the plain text email (left) without design or extravagant copy that won the hearts of our customers.3. You have to make it easy for people to review youBringing customers through the right flow for review collection is critical for a high conversion rate. Through A/B testing, we evaluated whether sending people to a profile page or review collection page would influence their likelihood to leave a review.We brought one group of customers to our profile page on a review site (Flow A, below). Here, they had to click a call-to-action before being asked for their review of our software. We sent another group of customers right into the review collection process (Flow B, below). Once people clicked through from the email, they were able to leave their review right away.We found having the least possible steps was most effective for review collection. The extra step in flow A lead to a drop-off rate in the region of 90%. It’s super important to make it easy for people to leave a review, otherwise they won’t do it.We learned a lot about how we should collect customer reviews from running these experiments. The rewards one alone boosted our conversion rate from 3% to 25%. But, even with everything we learned from our experiments, we realized using email for growth wasn’t enough.Having a freemium product worked to our advantage. We acquire a lot more users than many of our competitors because our CRM is a free product. This is very useful when it comes to collecting reviews, as you have a much bigger pool of users to ask.Asking our customers to review us didn’t just contribute to customer acquisition, it also helped our sales team close more deals and grew our website traffic.We ran an SEO experiment where we added review schema markup to our product pages, and this increased clicks to those pages by 10%.Having a review acquisition strategy was hugely beneficial for us at HubSpot. Hopefully, you can use some of our learnings to boost your own customer reviews. center_img Originally published May 16, 2018 6:00:00 AM, updated October 04 2019last_img read more

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26 Animated Logos to Inspire Your Own

first_imgThere’s a reason we’re so invested in movies and watching something play out on a screen versus reading a book about the same topic.Motion is exciting to us, and often conveys a message difficult to express through text alone.Granted, watching animated logos all day isn’t quite as fun as binge-watching The Office, but nonetheless, it still often wins in a contest against its static alternative — doesn’t it?Download 195+ visual marketing design templates to use for social media posts, infographics, and more. Here, we’ve compiled a list of some of the coolest animated logos businesses are using today. These logos are so sleek and pragmatic, they’ll likely inspire you to beg for a redesign of your own company logo.If you don’t believe me, let the exploding Skype name speak for itself.1. ShazamImage courtesy of Oleg Turbaba. 2. SkypeImage courtesy of Pivotal.3. NikeImage courtesy of JustCreative.com.4. FedExImage courtesy of JustCreative.com. 5. LuxImage courtesy of Mucho. 6. SpotifyImage courtesy of Oliver Keane.7. Feral SphereImage courtesy of Mind Design. 8. BrikkImage courtesy of Gun Karlsson.9. SelloImage courtesy of Latham Arnott.10. UntimeImage courtesy of Tony Pinkevich. 11. FirefoxImage courtesy of Latham Arnott.12. Flight PRImage courtesy of Dia.13. OpenViewImage courtesy of Pentagram. 14. Cub StudioImage courtesy of Fraser Davidson.15. UgmonkImage courtesy of Seth Eckert.16. Arzábal’s Food TruckImage courtesy of Behance. 17. Two Twelve StudioImage courtesy of Behance. 18. ScoutImage courtesy of Dave Chenell. 19. FuzbizImage courtesy of Mattias Peresini. 20. AMAImage courtesy of David Stanfield.21. IkeaImage courtesy of Nikita Melnikov.22. HypercompactImage courtesy of Evgeny Skidanov.23. SlingshotImage courtesy of Anastasiia Andriichuk.24. CrowdStrikeImage courtesy of Seth Eckert.25. GoogleImage courtesy of Adam Grabowski.26. GlugImage courtesy of Marcus Chaloner. Originally published Jun 18, 2018 8:00:00 AM, updated July 12 2019 Don’t forget to share this post! Topics: Design Trendslast_img read more

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