The Act of Rediscovery

first_imgI’m often asked, “Where’s your favorite place you’ve been so far?”That’s an incredibly difficult question to answer, and if you catch me on an off day, I may respond in some sarcastic tone and completely dismiss your inquiry.But it’s understandable why people ask. When I attended the Adventure Photography Workshop in Jackson Hole, Wyo., last fall, I suddenly found myself sitting in front of a number of my biggest idols (namely Tim Kemple, Corey Rich, Lucas Gilman, and Chris Burkard). The best part? These guys were willing to answer any and all questions I had for them. These adventure photographers have visited nearly every corner of the world, from the highest peaks to the deepest seas, and so of course, my first question went something along the lines of, “Where’s your favorite place you’ve been?”But if there’s anything these past six (oh my goodness – SIX?!) months of living on the road have taught me, it’s that the real pleasures of life lie in the act of rediscovery. While discovering a new place is certainly an exciting, novel means of diving headfirst into the unknown, some of my greatest memories from the road have been in rediscovering an area I consider familiar.Allow me to explain.This past weekend, I found myself back in a town I fondly refer to as “home” – Damascus, Va. Damascus was my home away from home in college. When I wasn’t in class or studying for tests, I was running on the Appalachian Trail, drinking coffee at Mojoe’s, or paddling on the number of class II-III creeks and rivers that converge in the heart of town. I loved this little mountain oasis so much so, that my senior year in college, I decided to live just outside of town on a little hill in a little white house and commute 20 minutes to school every day.I must have run that same 8-mile stretch of trail dozens of times. And the rivers? Surely the number of trips I’ve taken down the South Fork of the Holston River alone rank in the triple digits. Until this past weekend, I thought I knew everything that Damascus had to offer.As is tradition within the paddling “fam” in Damascus, Sunday is church day. When the local river is running, we paddle. The South Fork of the Holston is a quiet little class II run most of the year. It’s our stomping grounds, the river that taught us to read water and catch eddies and ferry across current. I remember being scared, standing on the banks of the put-in at Drowning Ford (the name certainly didn’t help those first-timer-nerves) and decked from head-to-toe in borrowed gear. Back then, the South Fork was a raging monster of a river, unnavigable at best. I and my little kayak were just along for the ride, powerless to the fickle whims of the river.But as time went on, the South Fork became less of a beast and more of a nurturing momma bear. We’d do full moon and new moon paddles, group floatillas with 30+ people and every assortment of craft you can imagine. We’d do laps or connect sections of river further upstream or park and play all day at the surf hole. Heck, we’d even booze cruise the damn thing in the dead of winter (there’s nothing a little Peppermint Schnapps can’t handle). Eventually though, especially after I’d spent a couple seasons guiding in the New River Gorge and paddling elsewhere throughout the Southeast, the South Fork became a little boring, and I began to lose sight of the true beauty and magic of that river.And then this past Sunday, I rediscovered that feeling of awe I experienced all those years ago. As our group floated downstream toward the confluence of Laurel Creek and the South Fork of the Holston, we pulled off on river right to check out a rock feature that starts to resemble a cave at lower water levels. As I explored deep back into the crevasses, I realized I’d never done this before. All of those years I’d spent paddling this same stretch of river and not once had I ever veered off the main flow to prod beneath the cliff face.The river glimmered in the sunlight, bouncing a mirage of watery illusions on the rock above. In that moment, it didn’t feel like I was back on my home turf, paddling with the people that taught me to kayak. It felt strangely surreal, exotic, like the river was entirely foreign yet faintly familiar all in one go.DCIM102GOPRODCIM102GOPROWe peeled out and continued floating downstream. As the current lapped at my boat, so too did those images of watery reflections on stone cold sandstone. The sun was shining. The water, frigid but surprisingly clear given its long journey down the mountain. Our group of five chattered quietly as we paddled along. There was no sense of urgency in our strokes, no need for checking the clock. We were on river time. I thought to myself how simple and how beautiful it all was, this day on the water.And then, all at once, our group chattering fell quiet. The faint flapping of wings overhead made us all turn our chins to the sky. The shadow of a bald eagle slowly came into view as it carved across the river, settling on a branch just downstream of us. When we caught up to him, he peered questioningly at us from his perch, as if to say, “What the hell are you looking at?” He didn’t fly away though, seemingly unperturbed by our floating posse of plastic boats. Instead, he lazily drifted downstream and landed on another branch, like a guide showing a trip down the river.DCIM102GOPRO DCIM102GOPRONo one spoke as we continued floating, heads craned back and eyes squinting to see the fading silhouette of our escort against the afternoon sun. I’ve seen herons and osprey on this river before, but never a bald eagle, and never so intimately. We eventually lost sight of our river guide, and about the only words I could summon were “dude” and “whoa.”Even after our paddle as I was driving north to my parents’ home in northern Virginia, the magic of those two little moments lingered in my mind. Sure, perhaps the South Fork of the Holston isn’t on the bucket list of must-paddle rivers in the Southeast, but that doesn’t make it any less of a gem.###The next time you find yourself somewhere you’ve been a million times before, take the time to stop and look at it with a fresh pair of eyes. You might be surprised with what you find.last_img read more

Read More »

23rd Annual French Broad River Festival

first_imgWhat They’re Saying… Truly a special, historic place for a spring festival! “Really enjoyed the raft race. Second place was heavily contested all the way down the river. We hung on for second but it took everything we had…” Over the years, The French Broad River Festival has donated over $200,000 to designated local charities such as Manna Food Bank, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of WNC, Eliada Home, Homeward Bound of Asheville, and American Whitewater.  Proceeds in 2019 will be donated to the Hot Springs Community Learning Center, Homeward Bound and American Whitewater. Hiking:  Hot Springs is a favorite with hikers on the Appalachian Trail (AT), which runs through town and right by the festival grounds.  Lovers Leap Rock , one of the most popular AT side hikes in the area, offers a grand view of the French Broad River and the festival 500 feet below!Biking:  Join a group ride or take a leisurely ride.  Follow the French Broad about 7 miles down River Road to Paint Rock or head up to the Mills Ridge BikeTrail for singletrack.Whitewater:  It is a River Festival, and Section 9 from Barnard to Hot Springs is what the Cherokee called “Tahkeyostee” or “where they race”.  For a much calmer float but still very scenic, put in at the festival grounds and float to Paint Rock (Section 10).  Check out French Broad Rafting in Hot Springs for a private guided tripZiplining:  French Broad Rafting & Ziplines offers stunning mountain viewsFishing:  The French Broad River has great Smallmouth Bass fishing, or catch Trout in nearby Spring Creek or The Laurel River.Spa / Hot Tubs:  The Hot Springs Spa, located across from the festival grounds, features modern Jacuzzi style hot tubs, positioned outside along the tranquil banks of Spring Creek and the French Broad River; the tubs are supplied with a continuous flow of World Famous Natural Hot Mineral Water. They have a nationally certified & state licensed staff of massage therapists on hand to compliment your soaks or for separate service altogether.  For reservations go to www.nchotsprings.com or call 828-622-7676. French Broad River Festival, Hot Springs, NC. ©Joshua Timmermans & Noble Visions. Music / Entertainment Hosted on Thursday, May 1st.  Kids 12 and under are free, and The Kids’ Village has a terrific lineup of fun activities including Boffering, a climbing wall, face painting and Becky the Balloon Lady making costumes and fun balloon shapes for the annual FBRF Kids’ Parade.  Becky brings an entourage of fun folks that juggle, play with fire, and love to create an entertaining atmosphere for kids of all ages!  Kids’ parade on Saturday led by Sol Driven Train and Empire Strikes Brass (before and after kid’s show) “Favorite part? Geeez, that’s like eating an ice cream cone during the heat of the day and trying to determine which lick is the most satisfying!! 👅 😂. It was ALL SO DAMN GOOD!!! Just love seeing old friends, making new ones, and getting to hang out with some of the coolest musicians on the planet!!” “I cannot wait to get to this next year!” Take a guided half day raft trip on popular Section 9, have lunch, and pick up some trash along the way. Organized by FBRF with support from Nantahala Outdoor Center, Sierra Nevada, Riverlink, and Valley Waste. Volunteers receive awesome swag and discount passes to the festival (or a rebate if tickets already purchased).  It’s a win-win-win-win and a great time with good folks!  Details and sign up. “Billy Strings Rocked my Face Off!” The biggest mass start whitewater raft race in the southeast!  Paddle hard with your guide or just relax and enjoy the scenery on this 8 mile stretch with fun class 2-3 rapids dispersed throughout and an exciting class IV near the takeout at the festival. Trained guides are provided by French Broad Rafting & Ziplines. See website for details and to pre-register.  Teams and/or individuals are welcome. Biking Kid’s bike “parade” on Saturday around the campground, in addition to adult group mountain and road rides.  Check social media for updates. Town Mountain, John Stickley Trio, The CommonHeart, Empire Strikes Bass, Sol Driven Train, Snake Oil Medicine Show, Hipgnostic, Brushfire Stankgrass, The Snozzberries, Savannah Smith & Southern Soul, Lover’s Leap, Copperhead, Bald Mountain Boys, Ska City, The Skrillbilliesand more! (artists subject to change).  See lineup details on website. Location “Had a blast! Always our favorite festival!” “First time! Loved every minute!! ❤️💕💃🏿🔥💥🙋🏽” The Whitewater Raft Race “All the fun!!! I keep remembering moments and cracking up or smiling big. That really was a magical one. 😊” For more details or for shuttle services, check out Bluff Mtn Outfitters (http://www.bluffmountain.com/) in downtown Hot Springs. Bring the Kids! Good Cause “We had an amazing time volunteering this year, thanks for giving us the opportunity to do our part and help out in preparation for this amazing festival!” “It was our first time, and what a wonderful time it was! Already looking forward to next year!” “Best weekend ever! Loved Sirius B and loved the Thursday Station Underground…. I also loved the river cleanup with NOC.” Food, Prizes and More! “Wow! You guys really put on a show! First class music all weekend! My favorite lineup of many FBRF” “Thank you for all the effort putting all that together! Awesome memories!” It’s part outdoor adventure, part music festival with whitewater rafting, biking, hiking, kid’s village, camping, great music, and much more. If you’ve been there you know . . . what better way to enjoy spring in these mountains? The festival takes place at the Hot Springs Campground & Spa, located at the intersection of the French Broad River and the Appalachian Trail in historic Hot Springs, NC. There are plenty of food vendors or you can dine out in one of Hot Springs’ restaurants.  See lots of outdoor gear and win some of it in the raffle and silent auction.  Kid’s area. Climbing wall. Spa. River. Mountains. Sleeping is optional. Spring Outdoor in Hot Springs “That ruled for sure! Thank you all…” “Had so much fun Saturday. Our son loved it,and had a blast. Can’t wait til next year.” French Broad River Cleanup last_img read more

Read More »

2017 Wrap-Up | Military Caregiving Blog Series

first_imgThis MFLN-Military Caregiving concentration blog post was published on December 15, 2017. This year we put together some innovative and exciting series to help you learn more about Adverse Childhood Experiences, the importance of Self-Care and to give you an inside look at being a Dual Caregiver.Here is a little more information about each of our 2017 series!Nikki Stephens is the “Dual Caregiver.”This year, Nikki contributed to the, ‘Confessions of a Caregiver’ series. She is a dual caregiver to her husband, Marine Corps Veteran, John, and her son who has special healthcare needs. Nikki shares her caregiving journey as she cares for her husband who has sustained multiple injuries due to his time in the service and their five children, including their son who has been diagnosed with autism.Blog Post #1: Juggling Caring for Wounded Warrior & Child with Special NeedsBlog Post #2: Grief and Loss Blog Post #3: Don’t Forget to Love Your Life  Adverse Childhood ExperiencesAdverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are traumatic experiences that happen during childhood, that then have a potential to affect the physical and mental health of adults.  In order to provide services that have a long-term positive effect, it is necessary for service providers to understand and thereby minimize the negative impacts of ACEs.Part 1| Define and Identify Adverse Childhood Experiences and Examine their Impact on Children and AdultsPart 2| Tips for Recognizing Behaviors that are Linked to ACEsPart 3| Techniques to Minimize the Impact of ACEsSelf-Care| Breathing Techniques center_img Alicia Cassels shares her Secrets of Self-CareThe Secrets of Self-Care series features research-based strategies to inspire wellness among busy caregivers and helping professionals.  Each installment highlights practices that have the potential to improve physical, mental and emotional functioning, while requiring little time and no money.  Videos, tips and additional resources make trying and sharing these self-care strategies easy.Secrets of Self-Care | Mindfulness MeditationSecrets of Self-Care | Importance of SleepSecrets of Self-Care | HydrationIs Hydration One of Your Daily Priorities?DehydrationAre You Well Hydrated?last_img read more

Read More »

7 Ways You Prove That You Are Self-Oriented

first_imgThese seven behaviors make you appear to be self-oriented.You talk about your product and your company too early. This is the first and most common way you demonstrate that the sales interaction you are engaged in is all about you. There is a time to pitch, but it isn’t often early in the process.You talk about your product and your company unrelated to your clients wants, needs, or questions. When you talk about your product and your company without relating it to your client’s needs, it’s likely because it’s something you want to talk about. Unless you can relate it to what your client is saying, it’s all about you.You talk about your personal gain or compensation. We call this commission breath. And it will melt your customers face off. Nothing says that a deal is about you more than you mentioning your compensation or what you stand to gain.You talk about a win-win deal. Your client doesn’t care about your win. They care about producing better outcomes. All of your language needs to be other-oriented, even in a negotiation. Focusing on your side of the win-win makes the negotiation about you.You don’t really listen to what your client is saying and instead worry about your next line. How easy is it to control the ideas that are popping into your mind while your client is speaking? Not listening is proof positive that you don’t care, and it reeks of a self orientation. Listening is caring. Not listening is the opposite.You show up late and unprepared. This sends the clear single that your time is more valuable than your clients. The lack or preparation suggests that you didn’t find them important enough for you to do your homework. If you don’t value your client’s time, you are self-oriented.You ask for commitments you haven’t earned. When you’ve earned a commitment, you are right to ask for it. When you haven’t earned the right, you are asking because you want what you want when you want it. This is what toddlers and bullies do.last_img read more

Read More »

Facebook Tests Pinterest-Style Feature Called ‘Collections’

first_img Pinterest Marketing As you can see, I’m prompted to add it to one of my Collections. I can either add it to one of the few that are pre-populated for me, or create a new Collection. When I add my reason for collecting it and click “Save,” the item becomes visible on my Facebook Timeline, as you can see below. Topics: Watch out, Pinterest. Facebook may be dishing out a little bit of competition. In case you were a little bit off the grid because of the Columbus Day holiday, on Monday the social network began testing a new feature called ‘Collections,’ which allows marketers to add “Want” or “Collect” buttons to news feed posts about products. According to TechCrunch, these posts save and share products to a “Wishlist” on Facebook users’ profiles, and feature a “Buy” button that users can click on to make purchases offsite. Facebook is testing the feature with 7 retail partners — Pottery Barn, Wayfair, Victoria’s Secret, Michael Kors, Neiman Marcus, Smith Optics, and Fab.com.Sounds a little bit like Pinterest, now doesn’t it? While Facebook claims the new feature is unrelated to the popular pinning site, we can’t help but think that Facebook is trying to nab a piece of the Pinterest pie. In the very least, it’s a noteworthy little blow.How Collections WorkAccording to Facebook, Collections posts can be discovered in users’ news feeds, and “people will be able to engage with these collections and share things they are interested in with their friends.”While only the 7 participating retailers can create a Collections post, 100% of Facebook users are able to interact with the posts. But with Facebook testing out different versions of the new feature, users may notice 1 of the 3 following call-to-action copy variations for the button that gets overlaid on the participating retailers’ Collections posts, showing each variation to a third of Facebook users to optimize for engagement:”Want”: adds the product to a Timeline section of a user’s profile called “Wishlist””Collect”: adds the item to a Collection called “Products””Like”: a special version of the standard “Like” button that also adds the item to “Products”But here’s the catch: While Collections are free for business pages to use, they’re only visible to the page’s fans. In other words, if I visit Pottery Barn’s page and I’m not a fan, I won’t see any of Pottery Barn’s Collections posts. I have to “Like” the page in order to see these types of posts.I decided to test these out for myself. You’ll notice in the examples below, I’m part of the third of Facebook users who is seeing the second copy variation, “Collect.”Here’s what happens when, as a fan, I click “Collect” on one of the items in Pottery Barn’s collection: Originally published Oct 10, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016center_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 I also have the option of changing my preferences for who can see the post. In the image above, it’s visible onto to me, but I can change this so that the post is visible to the public, friends, friends of friends, or members of specific people, lists, or networks I belong to. And if a user clicks on the “Antler Outdoor Pillow” link, they’re taken to the individual Pottery Barn post with the price, as seen below: Marketing TakeawayAny additional Facebook features meant to help marketers is obviously a win, and it’s easy to see how this one will be beneficial to retail and ecommerce marketers, even more so if Facebook decides to make promotion of Collections posts available in its advertising tool.That being said, the fact that Collections posts are only visible to Facebook fans also makes it critical for business pages using the feature to build up their fan base in order to get users to collect, share, and click through to their product pages.As for a possible Pinterest downfall? Who knows. From the marketer’s perspective, the new Facebook feature may offer a way to appeal to users who don’t have the desire to join a new social network like Pinterest but are still interested in curating their interests on a site they already frequent, like Facebook. Sounds like a marketing win to me!What do you think of Facebook’s new Collections? Will you experiment with it for your business page once Facebook rolls it out to all business pages?Image Credit: pj_vanflast_img read more

Read More »

How to Increase Blog Email Subscribers by 128% in 3 Months

first_img Originally published Aug 21, 2013 12:30:00 PM, updated October 30 2019 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Email Newsletters Back in 2012, we were able to more than double our blog email subscribers in just 3 months’ time — from 28,538 at the beginning of July to 65,036 by the end of September. And now, we have over 200K email subscribers. Seems unreal, right? Want to know how we did it? It’s so simple, you’ll want to kick yourself …All we did was add a new check box field to all our landing page forms so people could subscribe to our blog with just one click.Easily build and embed forms on your site. Try HubSpot Forms for free.This is how it looks:We put these check boxes on all of the forms we use for lead generation — on landing pages for offers we use to convert visitors into leads. And because we have a lot of landing pages on HubSpot.com — and because all the person has to do to subscribe is check a box — this method of blog subscriber generation really knocked it out of the park for us. Want to get in on this action? In this post, I’m going to explain how you can implement this little, yet impactful, piece of low-hanging fruit on your website so you can start capturing more site visitors as blog subscribers and nurturing them with your content.The Technology RequiredHaving the necessary tools and technology really do make or break your ability to implement this little tactic. At a very basic level, you need to have control over the fields on your landing page forms as well as the ability to export a list of people who opt in to your blog through these forms so you can add them to your blog subscriber list.For HubSpot users, it gets even easier. Anyone who uses the new HubSpot COS will be able to easily start boosting their email subscribers with this little trick. And the great thing is, with the HubSpot COS, there’s no maintenance required once you set it up. No manually exporting people who opt in, and adding them to your subscriber list. It all works like clockwork using lists and workflows to automatically route people into your subscriber list. (Note to HubSpot Customers: This will not work using the legacy CMS. You’ll need to wait until you migrate to the new COS in order to implement this tactic.)How Setup WorksI’ll walk you through how this setup works in HubSpot. Even if you don’t use HubSpot’s tools, hopefully understanding the general flow of how it works will help you figure out how to implement it using your own software.Step 1: Create a New PropertyThis is the property you’ll use to create the new field on your forms. If possible, configure it as a check box so visitors can simply opt in by checking it off. HubSpot users can create this new property in Contacts Settings.Step 2: Add a New Field for the Property to Your FormsNext, you’ll need to create a new field based on your new property, and add it to the form(s) you want it to appear on. Keep in mind that you don’t want to make it required. Doing so would mean the visitor would HAVE to check the box and opt in to your blog in order to submit the form in general, and you just want to give them the option. Furthermore, if your software allows, make it “smart.” In other words, if someone has already checked off this box on a form they completed in the past, they won’t see it again in the future.Last but not least, don’t make the box selected by default. You want it to be an opt in, not an opt out. The latter definitely isn’t as lovable. Step 3: Create a List of People Who Opt in Through the Check BoxCreate a Smart List to capture all the people who have checked the blog opt-in box on your forms. Because it’s “Smart,” this means it will automatically update when visitors check the box and opt in.If you’re using software other than HubSpot for this, this is where you’ll want to export a list of people who have checked the box and opted in to your blog subscriber emails.Step 4: Set up a Workflow to Add Opt Ins to Your Blog Subscriber ListOnce you’ve identified who your check box opt ins are, you need to get them into your subscriber list so they can start receiving the blog notification emails they signed up for. If you’re not a HubSpot customer, upload your exported list of people who checked the box to your subscriber list. If you are a HubSpot customer, set up a quick workflow to do it for you. Here’s how:1) Select Your Smart List: This is the list you set up in step 3.2) Set the Contact Property: This is where you’ll designate that you want the members of your Smart List to get put into your blog subscriber list. If you’re using HubSpot’s COS Blog, you have the option of four different subscriber lists, based on email frequency — instant, daily, weekly, or monthly. In this example, you’ll see that I’ve routed these new subscribers into the weekly email. I did this because I didn’t want these new subscribers to start getting bombarded with a ton of emails, especially since there is not a lot of clarity about what they’re getting themselves into by checking the box on the form.3) Set Up a Welcome Email: This is optional, but I highly recommend it, particularly because of that lack of clarity I just talked about. In your welcome email, you can specify exactly what your new opt-ins have signed up for, what they’ll get (and how much), and give them the opportunity to change their email frequency preferences if they prefer to receive blog emails more or less frequently. Here’s how ours looks for people who opt in to our blog via one of our landing page check boxes:How More Blog Email Subscribers Helps Your MarketingWhat’s great about email subscribers (as opposed to RSS subscribers) for your blog is the access you get to their inbox. And the more subscribers you have, the more traffic to your blog you can generate. In fact, 14% of monthly traffic to this very blog comes from email.However, one important thing to note about these new blog subscribers you’re generating through landing page check boxes is that they won’t impact new lead generation directly. Think about it — these people are subscribing to your blog because they’re filling out forms for your lead gen offers. In other words, they’re already leads.But that doesn’t mean it’s not useful to capture existing leads as blog subscribers, too. These are people who have the potential to share your content to others in their social networks, and those people might not be leads yet. Furthermore, free blog content is a great way to nurture existing leads into customers — and customers into promoters. And when you use things like Smart CTAs that are segmented by each of these different lifecycle stages, your blog can significantly help you move these people further along in the marketing funnel.What do you think about this tip for boosting blog subscribers? Will you implement it on your website?Image Credit: chascowlast_img read more

Read More »

Time to Ramp Up Your Pinterest SEO: Bing Now Includes Pins in Image Searches

first_img SEO and Social Media Bing is in a really sweet place right now. It’s one of the only search engines that still provides keyword search data — which is huge news in and of itself. As a marketer, Bing gets a gold star just for that in my book. But that’s not all it’s done well recently.Today, the company released another piece of news that may seem kinda blah to some, but it actually has really big implications for marketers: Bing image search now includes results from Pinterest boards.Take a second to let that sink in. So. Freaking. Cool.Now, whenever you do an image search on Bing, you’ll see Pinterest boards appear in the top-right corner:Note: this search feature is only available to U.S. members at the moment, but if you’d like to see it in action, you can click the gear icon in the top right corner of Bing and manually change your location to the U.S.If you’re one of those savvy marketers, I bet you’re jumping for joy right now. You lucky marketer, you — all the blood, sweat, and tears you spent building your Pinterest presence can pay even more dividends, and all without you having to lift a finger.Why This Feature Is So Darn CoolThanks to this latest update, you can drive even more traffic and leads to your website through two of Bing’s sexiest features: the unencrypted keyword search data and the Pinterest integration.Here’s how using these two tools together can play out:1) Let’s say you’re a unicorn products manufacturer. You check out your keyword data in your analytics software. You see that lots of people are coming to your site with the search term “fluffy unicorn beds.” (Just go with me here — a point will emerge.)2) You then create a whole board with search-engine optimized pins about fluffy unicorn beds on Pinterest.3) Bing’s integration pulls in your Pinterest board to that search. 4) People who are searching for fluffy unicorn beds in the image search are enthralled with your board and decide to click. 5) They land back at your site because you feature some of your products on your board.6) They become valuable customers and you profit big time.All because of a little keyword data, search engine optimization, and Pinterest strategy, now you have lots of leads and customers — I’d say that’s pretty cool. One caveat here: The links from pins are considered “no-follow” links — which means that people can’t link to content and hope to have that content gain authority because of it. So the way you’re going to profit here isn’t by gaming search engine rankings through links, but rather through providing quality, clickable content on Pinterest that also happens to have search-friendly names and descriptions. Resources to HelpIf you’re one of those aforementioned wise marketers who has search-engine optimized your pins already, take a second to celebrate (or even forward this blog post to your boss and say, “I told you Pinterest was a wise investment!”)If you’re not on Pinterest yet or just haven’t made your pins that easy to find via search, it’s time you whipped your Pinterest strategy and tactics into place. Here are two resources to help:Want to get set up on the platform for the first time? Here’s an introduction to Pinterest.Already got your account up and running? Here are tips for making your Pinterest content easy to find in search.So download those resources and get your Pinterest on! You’ll appear in Bing image search in no time.  Originally published Oct 2, 2013 4:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Read More »

What Does Your Handwriting Say About You? [Infographic]

first_img Topics: 181Save Originally published Jul 13, 2015 12:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Writing Skillscenter_img When was the last time you paid attention to how you dot your i’s and cross your t’s? Probably never. Well, you may want to grab whatever handwritten notes you have handy and take a look.As it turns out, how you write can indicate more than 5,000 personality traits. The size and shape of your letters, spacing between words, and even how hard you press your pen down can signify all sorts of characteristics. It can even give clues about your health and energy levels.Curious to know what your handwriting says about you? Check out the infographic below from National Pen to start your own analysis.181Save 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

Read More »

How to Be Productive After a Long Weekend

first_imgHow to Be Productive During a Four-Day WeekBefore you sign off1) Reorganize your schedule for a four-day week.Before you head out for the long weekend, take a look at your calendar for the week ahead. Reschedule your appointments that fall on the day off. Then, reorganize the rest of your week so your schedule isn’t overloaded with meetings the second you get back to the office.I like to use Trello for my to-do list and my calendar so I can see my meetings and my action items all in one place. Its responsive interface makes it easy to move tasks and meetings around so I’m not swamped the day I get back.2) Set expectations with your out-of-office message.If you know you won’t be able to respond to emails until the end of your first day back, tell people that in your out-of-office auto-reply. If you want people to flag urgent matters for you, ask them to write “Urgent” in the subject line. Whatever your style is for getting back to work when you’ve been away from your inbox, let people know so they can help you stay sane when you get back into the office.Here’s my one of my favorite out-of-office messages from HubSpot Principal Marketing Strategist, Sam Mallikarjunan:3) Block off time for responding to emails in advance.Book yourself off a window of time to dedicate solely to replying to emails. If you schedule this before you leave the office, you won’t be scrambling on your first day back trying to balance everything you need to do.Plus, this system helps you avoid multitasking, which is estimated to cost businesses billions of dollars in productivity loss each year. Check out some of the data on this from Fuze and Visual.ly:Source: Fuze4) Create a reasonable to-do list for your return.While it’s fresh in your mind, make a list of what you have to prioritize when you get back into the office. It’s easier than trying to remember it three days later, and your future self will thank you for getting organized in advance.Again, I like using Trello, but there are various tools and strategies you might use to keep your list organized and doable. I also use the on-paper bullet journaling method to keep track of tasks that are in progress. This method leaves more room for personal style and creativity, too.5) Schedule emails, blog posts, and social media posts that need to go out on the holiday.Don’t forget to schedule marketing emails and social media content to go out while you’re away from your desk. If you’re a HubSpot Marketing customer, you can use Social Inbox and the email tool to schedule these items, or you can manually schedule them using the social apps themselves.When you get back to work5) Check in with your team.Whether it’s virtual or in-person, have a quick stand-up meeting with your team to review what everyone’s focusing on to ensure that nothing slips through the cracks. The meeting also gives you all a chance to catch up on how you spent your time off and how to prioritize the week ahead.Make sure you’re holding a productive meeting by keeping the meeting short and making sure to recap with follow-up materials via email. CT Business Travel also suggests setting an agenda ahead of time so everyone in the group can prepare to talk, which is especially helpful for introverts who may not feel as comfortable speaking off-the-cuff in a group.Here’s an example of what the HubSpot content team’s meeting agendas look like, with a helpful breakdown of how much time will be spent on each topic for maximum efficiency:6) Prioritize your to-do list.Take a look at your to-do list. It’s probably a bit longer than on a typical Monday, right? Sort through your list and determine what needs to be prioritized and what can wait until the next day.Behavioral scientist Dan Ariely says that the two hours after waking up in the morning are the most productive time of day, when you have the greatest capacity for higher-level decision making and cognition. Take a couple minutes when you first get into the office to review your to-do list and determine which most important tasks should be taken care of first thing in the morning, and which can wait until the afternoon.I use different-colored Trello labels to designate which items are the highest priority, and which I can push until later in the week:7) Triage your email inbox.We also encourage organizing your inbox using multiple inboxes, which help you organize you sort messages in a way that makes them easier to wade through when you get back into the office. Use labels like “Needs Action” or “To-Do List” to easily visualize which emails are of highest priority.When you log back into your email, sort and label your messages according to which need replies immediately, and which can wait until later in the week. You might need an entire day to read every single email you received, but by using this system, you can quickly sort through your inbox and skip ahead to the messages you have to return ASAP.8) Don’t burn out.You might feel stressed at the prospect of only four days in the week to accomplish your entire to-do list. However, there is such a thing as working too hard, and burnout could end up sabotaging your productivity as the week goes on if you don’t take enough breaks.Remember tip #6? Prioritize your to-do list and determine what can be accomplished by one person over the course of a workday. You could try the Pomodoro Technique, which calls for 90 minutes of work, followed by 30 minutes of rest to regroup and recharge. This technique helps you align your most and least productive times with your working and resting periods, respectively, and there are timers you can download to keep track of your status.My method for not burning out over the course of the workday is slightly different but still effective: I downloaded an app called Daily Water that reminds me to drink a glass of water once per hour. When the reminder goes off, I get up from my desk, drink water, and walk around. Taking regular breaks achieves greater productivity than working nonstop, and so do drinking water and exercise. Here’s what my hydration break schedule looks like:If you’re feeling dehydrated and want to try this method, other apps include Waterlogged and Hydro Coach.Have a Good WeekendWhen possible, try to unplug when you have time off and make the most out of your time off by doing other fun activities outside of your role. With the help of these steps, we hope you have a great holiday weekend — and a great next week, too.What are your strategies for getting organized after a long weekend? Share with us in the comments below. Don’t forget to share this post! What could be better than a three-day holiday weekend? Whether you decide to staycation at home or take advantage of the time off by visiting a new place, most people would agree that getting an extra vacation day is a good thing.The trouble is, once you get back into the office to a deluge of emails and only four days left to get your job done, it can feel overwhelming.Download our complete guide here for more tips on improving your productivity.Trust us, we’ve been there too. That’s why we’ve put together our best tips for getting back on track after a three-day weekend — without derailing your four-day workweek. (And if you don’t have time to read the full blog post, we understand — here’s a quick video summary.) Originally published Feb 21, 2017 6:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017center_img Productivity Topics:last_img read more

Read More »