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Augmented Reality: A Human Interface for Ambient Intelligence

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Augmented reality (or AR) is fast becoming as ubiquitous a term as “Web 2.0.” The field is getting noisier by the day, and AR as a field of research now has to co-exist with its status as an industry buzzword. Knowing the difference between the two is important. To do that, we have to examine the field and then revisit the buzzword you may have heard 10 years ago.What Is Augmented Reality?Augmented reality is a human interface for information that uses spherical coordinate systems to display information relative to the position of the viewer. Its most common application today is the overlay of information on the viewfinder of digital cameras. This is already a feature in many mid-point to high-end digital cameras that overlay the position of faces on the screen.There are currently two distinct methods of augmented reality: marker-based and gravimetric.Gravimetric Augmented RealityGravimetric AR uses data from a gravimeter to calculate the precise positioning and angle of a display device to determine the center, orientation, and range of a spherical coordinate system.The first platform that was capable of delivering gravimetric AR applications on mobile phones was the Open Handset Alliance’s Android operating system running on the HTC Dream (better known as the TMobile G1).One of those applications is Mobilizy’s Wikitude, which overlay’s Wikipedia data over the mobile phone’s camera view. Point the phone’s camera lens at the Golden Gate Bridge, for example, and see information overlaid on it. Move the phone around to find things on the bridge that you may not have noticed before.Marker-Based Augmented RealityMarker-based AR uses a camera and a visual marker known as a fiducial to determine the center, orientation, and range of its spherical coordinate system.Hosted by the University of Washington, ARToolkit is the first fully-featured toolkit for marker-based AR. It is freely available under the GPL open-source license for personal use. ARToolworks Inc. is the commercial licensor of the platform.The most popular marker-based AR applications use the FLARToolKit, a descendant of ARToolkit, which uses Flash to overlay information on video from a computer’s webcam when a fiducial marker is visible.Among the most recent implementations of this method is GE’s Smart Grid information website, where readers can print out a fiducial marker and hold it within range of their webcam. The screen then displays an interactive 3-D model.The iPhone’s WorldAt the iPhone’s launch in 2007, John Doerr, Partner at Kleiner Perkins, joined Steve Jobs on stage. Speaking of this technology’s potential, he said, “Think about it: in your pocket you have something that is broadband and connected all the time. It’s personal; it knows who you are and where you are. That’s a big deal, a really big deal. It’s bigger than the personal computer.”Over the past two years, we have seen the iPhone seed an entirely new field of mobile-connected experiences, with many mobile applications and competing platforms.Because AR uses a spherical coordinate system to display data, it needs to know not just the orientation of the device but the direction in which the camera is pointing. To do this, it needs an accelerometer capable of gravimetry — or, simply put, it needs a compass.The iPhone 3GS is the only iPhone that can run gravimetric AR applications. ARKit, an open-source toolkit for creating AR applications on the iPhone 3GS, was just created and released at iPhoneDevCamp last weekend. Apple alerted its developers last week that AR applications will not be available in its App Store until September. The Palm Pre does not have a compass, and the BlackBerry Storm has no AR apps. So, for now, Android phones are the only mobile gravimetric AR devices in the wild.Augmented Reality and Ambient IntelligenceAmbient intelligence is a human interface metaphor. It implies that the connected devices around us are all connected to some form of intelligence. We see this when we drive through an automated toll system like FasTrak on the Golden Gate Bridge. Using the RFID tag issued by the bridge authority, the bridge knows who we are and what to do. We don’t have to actively submit intelligence of our own: the ambient intelligence takes care of the job.Globally positioned data is so voluminous that not all of it can be displayed. That fact combined with the bandwidth limitations of mobile carriers creates quite a challenge for the industry: deliver the data that is relevant to the user and location, and before the user gets there.The holy grail of the mobile AR industry is to find a way to deliver the right information to a user before the user needs it, and without the user having to search for it. This holy grail is likely in a ditch somewhere beside a well-traveled road in the district of the semantic Web, ambient intelligence and the Internet of things. Be wary of any hyped-up invitation to invest in a company that claims to have gotten the opportunity right. What we’ve seen in the commercial industry to date is a rather complex version of a keyboard, mouse, and monitor.Guest author: Sid Gabriel Hubbard is a blogger, Internet entrepreneur and three-time CTO. He leads the Android Maker’s group in San Francisco and the Bay Area Augmented Reality Meetup Group and is a contributing member of the iPhone ARKit open-source project. Tags:#Trends#web Related Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…center_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting guest author 1 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Why Sports Bars Are the Original Inbound Marketers

first_img  approach thousands of sports bars have been thriving on since prohibition ended. Sports bars are the original inbound marketers. They know you can attract a specific demographic by producing content that appeals to that demographic. 212  or   numbers? ? Inbound Marketing Topics: Want to get a bunch of graduates of the University of Wisconsin to your bar? You could spend a lot time and money tracking them down — or you could just show Badger games. Bad idea — unless you’re prepared to endure (and pay for) hundreds of hang-ups from foul-mouthed Met and Yankee fans before finding a Sox fan. Same problem. Expensive, poorly targeted and low conversion rates. Webinar: Advanced Business Blogging How about serving beer and showing Red Sox games on fancy TVs? 718 You may be serving up webinars about microchip design instead of televised baseball games, but the rules are the same: If you publish content your buyers are interested in, they’ll find you.center_img to learn how to create a thriving blog. Bingo! That’s the successful  Cold-calling Don’t be distracted by the buffalo wings and Bud Lite. Successful sports bars are marketing operations to emmulate.  Here’s a challenge for all you marketing All Stars: What’s the best way to reach Red Sox fans in New York City? inbound marketing Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Download the free webinar Learn how to build your business blog into an inbound marketing machine. TV commercials, radio ads and print ads? Direct mail Originally published Jan 27, 2009 8:23:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 Theoretically you could come up with a good list — maybe one from the Red Sox ticket office or their web site — but that would be expensive, hard to measure and ineffective.last_img read more

How to Generate More Blog Traffic With Evergreen Content Promotion

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Blog Optimization Originally published Apr 5, 2010 9:59:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 If you’ve been blogging consistently for a few years now, chances are you have a pretty impressive supply of content. While this content may not exactly be new, we at HubSpot hesitate to call it old.(Who likes to be called “old” anyway?)  Rather, we refer to much of our past content as evergreen content, considering the fact that to many of our readers, fans, followers and audience, this content is still largely valuable and interesting.Over the past couple of months, we decided to conduct a little experiment based on the hypothesis that although our evergreen content may not exactly be “new,” our audience would still be eager to check it out.  If you consider the fact that lately we’ve been publishing 3+ articles per day and not everyone in our community reads every article, you can assume that many people are missing out on our content when it’s first published and would derive value from it a second time around.The ExperimentHubSpot experimented with the promotion of evergreen content items (blog articles, archived webinars and Marketing Hubs) via social media sites Twitter and Facebook for two months.  The goal was to generate additional traffic to the HubSpot blog without spending time creating more content than the HubSpot team was already creating.  The ProcessHow Content Was Selected — Since the bulk of our content is in the form of blog articles, evergreen articles made up the bulk of our content items. To narrow them down, we chose articles that were most successful in the past (in terms of page views and inbound links).  Content that was overly timely (e.g. breaking news-related articles) was excluded, and we individually reviewed each article to make sure we did not promote content that would no longer be valuable to readers. Amount of Content & Frequency of Promotion — During a month’s time, we promoted 57 total content items divided between Twitter and Facebook.  Based on the difference in nature of Twitter and Facebook, we promoted about 3 content items per weekday on Twitter, and 1 content item per weekday on Facebook.How Content Was Positioned — We wanted to be careful not to position evergreen content the same way as the new content we were simultaneously promoting.  At the same time, we didn’t necessarily want to make people think they would be clicking on old or stale content. Therefore, promotion was usually conversational in nature (e.g. posed as a question, a tip or piece of advice) rather than tweeting the full title of the article like we do for brand new articles. (Here’s an example of a tweet, an example of another and one more!)Results — In order to determine whether our evergreen content was succeeding in generating more traffic to the HubSpot blog, we tracked the change in social media traffic to the blog.  We also created unique bit.ly links for each of the content items we were promoting and tracked the number of clicks on those links. As a result, evergreen content links received an average of 198 clicks, and we noticed an increase in traffic from social media sources to the HubSpot blog. In fact, traffic from social media sources to the blog has more than doubled since the end of 2009.center_img Topics: Note: The spike in social media traffic in January can be attributed to a Twitter retweet contest we ran on the blog in January.Is your company’s evergreen content collecting dust?  If you have a good supply of evergreen content that may still be useful to your followers, why not try a similar experiment to see if you can generate some additional traffic — and ultimately leads? Photo by Shelllast_img read more

Understanding Viral Growth [Marketing Math]

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Viral Campaigns Topics: Originally published Feb 8, 2011 9:25:00 AM, updated July 11 2013 Wouldn’t it be great if you could spend less money and time on marketing and sales, and still get tons of new customers? Some businesses have figured out a way to do this.  Companies like Skype, Dropbox and Google have figured out that they can get their customers do the work for them.   They’ve managed to build applications that 1) their customers want to share with their friends and 2) are easy to share.  These businesses prove that, if you have an exceptional product and you enable your users to invite others to use it, your product can quickly achieve viral growth. Google did this with Gmail in March 2004.  Only 1,000 people were initially given Gmail accounts.  Those 1,000 people each got a limited number of invitations to share with friends and family.  (This invitation-only model made Gmail invitations so coveted, that people started selling them for as much as $200 !)  Google finally made Gmail open to the public in February 2007, however by that time the application had already achieved viral growth.  By April 2006, just 2 years after the beta launch and still in invitation-only mode, Gmail had an impressive 7.1 million users .So what did it take to achieve such growth in such a short period of time?  For those of you who enjoy playing with cool Excel models, David Skok recently published a great article around the topic of viral growth , which includes a handy spreadsheet containing the math.  You can use the model to project how quickly an application will gain adoption based on these variables:Initial number of users (1,000 in Gmail’s case)# of invitations each user sends to his friends%  of invitees who convert to usersCycle Time: # of days from the time someone first sees the application to the time his invitee sees the applicationI was curious to calculate what Gmail’s conversion rate had to have been in order to reach 7.1 million users within 2 years.  I ran the model for the Gmail scenario, assuming that each user invited 5 people to use Gmail and that the cycle time was 7 days. Based on these inputs, Gmail experienced an enviable conversion rate of 21%:Marketing TakeawayAlthough this kind of viral growth is elusive, you can still acheive efficient and consistent growth with the following key ingredients:Make an application that is easy to shareEncourage your users to share it; consider giving incentives for sharing.Create an application with value that is so compelling, your customers will be happy to share it with others!You don’t have to be a software company to leverage viral growth for your business. Instead think about the problems your customers are trying to solve and create an automated way to help solve it. This is the approach we took with Website Grader here at HubSpot and it has now been used by more than 3 million people!What can you do to apply this idea to your business?last_img read more

5 Reasons Businesses Must Revolutionize Sales and Marketing

first_img The entire evolution of marketing shift toward inbound marketing Fact: marketers are shifting their budgets away from “interruption” advertising. 1. Netflix and TiVo Have Replaced TV Physical mail is becoming outdated with time. Who wants to mail in an order, wait a few days for it to arrive, then a few more days to process, then a couple more days on top of that to receive what was ordered? If I want to purchase a dress, I’m going to go to the store now. Or, if there is no brick-and-mortar location, ordering online is still more time-efficient than catalogue ordering. People usually throw away physical mail, anyway. Topics: Telemarketing calls were a good idea when people had landline phones. But cell phones have taken over. Those who do have landlines most likely have caller ID, allowing them to ignore calls from unrecognized numbers. If a telemarketing call is made to a cell phone, the number won’t be listed in the recipient’s contacts list, and the call will likely be ignored. Furthermore, in the digital age, a lot of people simply don’t like talking on the phone. To make matters even more difficult for telemarketers, we also have “Do Not Call” lists. 2. Blogs and E-readers Push Print Media Aside Print ads in newspapers aren’t very effective anymore, as bustling commutes and lifestyles direct readers to blogs and the online versions of publications for news. Being online, keywords can be entered into search fields to sort specific stories and articles. Someone who only wants to read the international news will not stumble upon an ad in the local news section for the new shop downtown. webinar to uncover sales and marketing secrets of connecting with customers in the social marketplace. All those methods were great — when they were actually effective. But with the digital age and explosion of social media, people seek quick convenience. Marketers want to pitch offers and receive responses instantly. Consumers want to find and receive things right away. That said… Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Are you adapting to the social revolution? 5. Facebook and Twitter Inboxes Are the New Email Remember when your go-to marketing strategy was outbound? TV and newspaper ads, telemarketing calls, and direct and internet mailing lists were all essential tools for business. It was brilliant to advertise new toys during episodes of kids’ shows, showcase a restaurant in the local paper, be persuasive over the phone, and sell clothing through catalogues. TV advertisements no longer work because nobody has time to watch TV. Instead, people record only the shows they want to watch and view them later on TiVo, skipping the disruptive commercials. . Marketing and Sales Alignment To learn more about how you and your business can adapt, join George Hu, vice president of marketing at Salesforce.com, and Brian Halligan, HubSpot’s CEO and co-founder, in a 4. Consumers Want Things NOW 3. Landlines Are Out of Use Originally published Aug 1, 2011 5:30:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Today, marketers must learn how to transform and adapt their marketing to gain competitive advantage in their industry. Here five specific reasons why new social technologies have made it so imperative for businesses to take advantage of this leaves us with inbound marketing. We’re always online, and we mindlessly click Facebook ads and pay more attention to Facebook inbox messages and Twitter Direct Messages than even our own email accounts.last_img read more

Everything Marketers Need to Know About Google’s Panda Updates

first_img Technical SEO We all learned a lot after this year’s Google Panda updates. Some site owners felt vindicated by finally seeing their efforts at legitimate SEO paying off. Others were punished severely in the SERPs for grey and black hat tactics. While some of the vanquished were marketing professionals deeply entrenched in the ins and outs of SEO, unfortunately, many of them were people who turned their site over to an agency for management, or people who just plain didn’t know any better.So what’s the glass half full perspective on all of this? Well, Google Panda is kind of forcing site owners and managers to be, well, good marketers. With the help of SEOMoz’s algorithm timeline and Kuno Creative’s fantastic cartoons, let’s look back at the year’s Google Panda updates and see how we can leverage them to be better marketers.January-February 2011: Google Punishes JC Penney and Overstock.com for Shady Link PracticesIn the beginning of the year, JC Penney and Overstock saw dramatic falls from page one of the SERPs when Google punished them for getting links to product pages from irrelevant sites. The quality of an inbound link in Google’s algorithm became based on relevancy and site authority.How marketers can leverage it: If it’s easier for you to find time in the day than dollars in your budget, you’ll get tons of leverage out of this algorithm update. Instead of buying coveted inbound links, you can get them by maintaining a quality site, upping the frequency with which you generate interesting content, and creating a solid distribution network. Marketers willing to put the time into doing this consistently will see more qualified visitors and enjoy a wider social reach because of their affiliation with other relevant sites.February, 2011: Panda Cracks Down on Content FarmsGoogle didn’t rest long, emerging with the first official Panda update in February that targeted sites with content that was spammy, low quality, and littered with ads. This update affected a whopping 12% of searches.How marketers can leverage it: Old school marketers should have fun with this update. Marketing is about writing for people again, not at them. Instead of creating spammy, keyword dense content, you get to do market research, talk to users on social networks, and craft personas. Marketers and site owners can leverage this update by finding out what their audience wants to read, and addressing those issues in a helpful way. Power to the people!March, 2011: Google Launches +1 and Incorporates Social Sharing Into the AlgorithmMore changes continued to roll out, and in March, Google’s algorithm started to consider social sharing more heavily than it did in the past. This obviously coincided with their development of the +1 button, Google’s attempt to get back into the social world.How marketers can leverage it: Marketers that have a great social media presence or are trying to make the case for one can use this algorithm update to justify social media for marketing. Marketers who are new to the social media game can also start on an even playing field with Google+ Business Pages, because they’re brand spanking new! If you don’t know where to start, the best way to make social media work for you is to start by distributing your content there. Then add social sharing buttons on your blog, in your emails, and on your site’s homepage to start building a follower base of people with whom you can engage and turn into new prospects and evangelists.August, 2011: Google Displays Expanded Site LinksUsed primarily for branded search, Google launched expanded site links to help users pinpoint what they’re looking for on a site despite a vague search phrase. If a user enters HubSpot, for example, they then see the homepage followed by six links to pages on HubSpot.com that predict what the user might want to see.How marketers can leverage it: You can leverage this update by nailing down your value proposition, and finding a way to convey it in just 30-35 characters of space. By making the benefits of each page crystal clear, you’ll help searchers figure out what they were looking for when they typed in your name. Once they click on one of those links, be sure to turn those visitors into leads with a compelling offer. By optimizing the expanded site links and the pages they lead to, you’ll get more visibility for and conversions on those important pages that you want people to visit.October, 2011: Google Begins Encrypting Search QueriesFor users logged in while performing a Google search, search referral data is no longer passed to the destination site that the user clicks. In other words, site owners can’t tell what keywords someone searched to get to their website if the searcher was logged in to Google.How marketers can leverage it (can they?): Not all of the Google’s algorithm updates have helped marketers. As a result of this algorithm update, HubSpot has seen 13% of our overall search engine traffic come through without keyword information; that number averages to 11.36% across the HubSpot customer base, though some sites have been hit worse. Aside from advising marketers to be aware of why their organic search data has changed, we’re still trying to figure out how to adjust to the SSL encryption. When we figure it out, you can be sure we’ll let you know.November, 2011: Google’s Algorithm Now Rewards Freshness of Content, Impacting 35% of Search QueriesMost recently, Google’s algorithm has been updated to reward fresh and timely content, impacting a whopping 35% of searches.How marketers can leverage it: When a change occurs, people want to know a.) what it is, and b.) how it will affect them. Now, marketers are rewarded in the SERPs for staying on top of news and being the first to pontificate. Leverage the power of first response by establishing yourself as a thought leader in your industry. Not only will your site and brand reap the benefits, but your network will also.One of the best parts of the Panda updates is that Google has essentially crowdsourced some important components of its algorithm; the best results require data based on the opinions of the masses. By recognizing the limitations of an algorithm to deduce something as subjective as quality, they’ve tapped into the human component of web surfing to do their jobs better, forcing marketers and site owners to remain accountable to visitors.Did Google Panda affect your site? Did it change the way you approach SEO?Image Credit: Kuno Creative Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Nov 18, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017last_img read more

9 Critical Components for Optimized Marketing Emails

first_img Topics: As a marketer, email marketing should be one of your favorite tools. Not only is sending emails a great way to communicate with your audience and keep your list warm, but email marketing can (and should!) also be used as a channel for generating leads.But in order to convert more leads from your email marketing, you have to first get your readers to open your emails, and click through on them. This is why, as email marketers, we’re all but obsessed with our open rates and clickthrough rates — because increasing those metrics gives us more opportunities to convert our readers into leads.So how do you create that perfect email? How do you compel your readers to open your email when they have 17 others sitting in their inbox? How do you make your offer exciting and enticing enough to get them to click through and visit your landing page? Whether you’re just getting started with your email marketing strategy, or you’ve been doing it for years, there are 9 components of an effective email that you should always be looking to optimize in every single email you send. Let’s take a look at each one.1) Subject LineWhy It’s Important:You need to grab the reader’s attention. Your subject line is what your email recipients will see before they open your email. More importantly, your subject line is one of only a few pieces of information they’ll take into consideration when deciding whether or not to open your email in the first place. An optimized subject line will help you capture your audience’s attention and convince them to open your email to read more.How to Optimize:First, your subject line should be relevant to your audience. It should address your reader’s concerns. If I’m sending an email to a list of mid-level marketers and I know that one of their primary stressors is not having enough time in their days, I might use a subject line that says, “Ready to save time on your marketing?” I’m hoping that by phrasing my offer in terms of a value proposition that is relevant to my readers, they’ll be intrigued and want to find out how I can help them solve their problem.Another tip for optimizing your subject lines is to personalize them. Include the recipient’s first name or the name of his company, for instance. I’m much more likely to open an email with the subject line “How HubSpot’s marketing can be more efficient” than one that says “How your company’s marketing can be more efficient” because it’s personalized to me.Finally, when writing strong subject lines, use actionable language, like “join us,” “download,” “get your free,” etc. It’s important to be explicit about what your offer is, strive for clarity over persuasion, and keep it brief when possible.2) Sender NameWhy It’s Important:You need to build trust with your readers. The name from which you’re sending your emails is the other component your recipients will see before opening your email, and factor into their decision of whether or not to open it. Optimizing your choice of sender name, and using that name consistently, will help build a sense of trust in that name and allow readers to recognize your emails more easily going forward.How to Optimize:Email marketing should be personalized — send your emails from an actual person! I send all my emails from my actual name, and I include my signature at the bottom of each one. You might also consider including a small picture of the sender with their signature if you’re comfortable with the idea; it helps set a very personable, friendly tone and reinforces the idea that the email is coming from a real human, not an emotionless marketing machine.You can also test different sender names in your emails to see which one does best. Maybe sending from the CEO of your company is most effective, or maybe your readers like to receive the email about your new ebook from the author of the ebook herself, along with the company name to help readers better identify an unknown author. Try out a few different variations and see what works best.3) PersonalizationWhy It’s Important:You need to make your emails relevant. According to a MarketingSherpa study, 4 out of 10 email subscribers reported that they’ve marked emails as spam simply because they were irrelevant.One of the best ways to make your emails seem more relevant to your readers is to show them that you know something about them — that you know who they are, where they work, what their concerns are. Not in a creepy way, of course, but in a way that says “I understand what your problems are, and I can help you solve them.” You can do this with personalization.How to Optimize:Personalization goes beyond addressing the email to the person’s first name. Leverage the demographic and behavioral data you have about your readers by including it in your emails. You can use their company name, their location, their role at their company, the pages they’ve viewed on your site, items they’ve previously purchased, and so much more. Be creative! Mass marketing isn’t effective anymore. Find ways to show your readers that you’re customizing your message to them.4) Body CopyWhy It’s Important:You need to make your emails concise and compelling. This is often the component that marketers focus on the most when trying to optimize their emails. How can I make it sound good? How can I make my offer more convincing? It’s important to get your language, tone, and layout right in order to increase the likelihood that your readers will click through to take advantage of your offer.How to Optimize:First and foremost, you need to make sure that your body copy clearly conveys what your offer is and why it’s valuable. (Come on, marketers, you all know this one!) Tie it back to your value proposition. When writing good copy, you want to use brief, compelling language. In an email send for an ebook about how to use Twitter for business, for instance, I began, “The way we use Twitter is broken.”…You want to hear more, right? How? Why? What do I need to do about this?Make your copy brief, compelling, and interesting. Tell a story, use statistics to emphasize a point, and don’t be afraid to use strong language.It’s also critical you use short paragraphs and bullet points to break up the text visually, so as not to overwhelm your readers. No one has time to read an essay these days, and if your email looks even the slightest bit visually dense, readers will have already lost interest. Keep it light.5) ImageWhy It’s Important:Like any other marketing asset, your emails should be visually compelling. While plain-text emails have in fact outperformed HTML emails in some the A/B tests we’ve run at HubSpot, images can still play a very crucial role in attracting a viewer’s attention when they open your emails. They can also assist your copy in conveying information about your offer.How to Optimize:Make your images relevant. As easy as it is to pick out, a non-descriptive stock photograph is not going to explain what your email is about, or what you’re offering the reader. It’s much more effective to have the image match your offer. If your offer is an ebook, for example, you could simply include a picture of the ebook cover, which tells the viewer right away, “This is an ebook and this is what it’s called.”Easy enough, right? In addition to being relevant, choose an image that is visually compelling to help you draw the reader’s attention right off the bat.(P.S. If you are looking for stock photography for other parts of your marketing, we have 75 free stock photos available for download here. That’s right, they’re free. Go ahead and take ’em.)6) Call-to-ActionWhy It’s Important:You want your readers to click through and convert. Your call-to-action is arguably the most important component of your emails, because the ultimate goal of your email is to get your readers to click on it and take an action. Heck, the entire reason you’re optimizing your emails is to get more of your readers to click on that call-to-action in order to send them to your landing page, where they can then convert into a lead.In other words, this is where the transition from a click to a conversion happens.How to Optimize:To start, you should first select a primary, focused call-to-action for your email. Boil it down to the one primary action you want your readers to take.Then, create your call-to-action. Whether it’s a button or a link, you want to make sure your call-to-action is prominent and visually distinctive. This should be the clear focus of your email, so make it stand out and catch the viewer’s eye. It’s also good practice to keep your calls-to-action “above the fold,” so they’re visible without the reader having to scroll down.You’ll also want to optimize the language you use in your calls-to-action. You should use copy that is clear and action-oriented (“download,” “register”), urgent (“now,” “today”), and friendly (“join us,” “get your”).Finally, a great way to optimize your calls-to-action is actually to include multiple links and buttons throughout your email that all direct to the same landing page. This simply offers your readers more opportunities to click through and convert, making it more likely that more of them will do so.7) Social Sharing LinksWhy It’s Important:You want to encourage your readers to share your content. By making it easy for your email readers to share your offers with their networks, you’re not only expanding your audience and your reach, but you’re also broadening your opportunity to generate new leads. After all, if you’re sending emails to the folks who are already leads in your database, they’re not going to be new leads in your system if they convert. But if they share your content with people who are not in your database, and they convert, you’ve got yourself some new leads.How to Optimize:Include social sharing links in all of your emails! And don’t be afraid to give your readers options — everyone has their own favorite social network. Include links for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+. You can also include an email forward link, which is another great way to encourage your readers to share your content to help you generate new leads.Another tip for optimizing these social sharing links is to customize them with your own copy. No need to use the auto-populated tweet copy — you can write it yourself! It’s also a good idea to optimize the meta description of your landing pages, since that copy is what Facebook and LinkedIn will display when people share links to those pages.Whatever you do, make it easy for your readers to share your content, and obvious that they should!8) Unsubscribe LinkWhy It’s Important:Well, first of all, it’s actually illegal not to include an unsubscribe link in your email sends. Read up on CAN-SPAM laws and make sure you’re complying with them.Legal matters aside, you also want your readers to want to hear from you. If they’re not interested in getting your emails, don’t force them to be on your list. Give them an unsubscribe option. This will actually make your open rates and click-through rates more accurate as well, since you’re only looking at the people who want to be on your list in the first place.How to Optimize:Make it easy enough to find your unsubscribe link. This doesn’t mean it has to be as prominent as your call-to-action (ahem, it shouldn’t be nearly as prominent), but don’t hide it, either. If I’m looking to unsubscribe from your emails and I can’t find that button, I might just mark your email as spam, and that’s way worse for you because that will actually damage your sender reputation. See what I’m getting at here?Another great marketing tactic is to fill your unsubscribe page with personality. Make it fun, funny, compelling, and try to entice your reader to stay on your list — or at least engage with you through social channels or some other means. This way you reduce the likelihood that they’ll leave your list, even though you’ve given them that option.9) Mobile OptimizationWhy It’s Important:Raise your hand if you’ve ever opened an email on your phone and the text has been too big or too small or too long, and scrolling was just impossible …Exactly. You don’t want your readers to have to deal with that when they look at your emails, do you? You want your emails to display nicely across all devices. How to Optimize:Design your emails to adapt to whatever device your readers are on. Use mobile-optimized templates for building your emails, and optimize for the best mobile user experience possible. That way you don’t miss a chance to convert a lead just because they’re on one type of device instead of another.A lot of marketers tend to get overwhelmed when it comes to email optimization, but the truth is that it really doesn’t have to be that hard! As long as you know what elements to pay attention to and how to optimize them, you’ll be on track to increase your clickthrough rates and conversion rates in no time.What components of your emails do you optimize the most? Have your optimization efforts had any visible impact on your metrics?Image credit: idogcow Email Design 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 Aug 9, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017last_img read more

Here’s Your Chance to Write a Happy Ending for the Most Heartwarming Christmas Story Ever

first_imgThis post originally appeared on Up & to the Right, a new section of Inbound Hub. To read more content like this, subscribe to UATTR.Leo Grand’s story might be the best thing you will hear this year at Christmas, a real-life version of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”Better yet, if we all work together we can create an incredible ending for this story. We can help a homeless man get off the streets and back on his feet. We can, in fact, give Leo Grand the best Christmas ever.The story goes like this. Leo Grand used to work at MetLife, but in 2011 he got laid off and had to move out of his apartment. He was living on the streets.Back in August, an idealistic young software programmer named Patrick McConlogue made Leo Grand an offer — take $100 in cash, or get lessons in how to write software code.Grand chose the lessons. McConlogue bought Grand a few books on computer programming, and a Chromebook. They met every weekday for an hour each day. They did this for 16 weeks.McConlogue is 23, a recent graduate from Pepperdine University who moved to New York last fall. A lot of people made fun of him (see here and here) and called him naive. They said McConlogue’s big experiment in social engineering would fail. They doubted that “Leo the homeless coder,” could stick to it.But a lot of other people were rooting for Grand. More than 30,000 were following the story on a special Facebook page, where Grand became known as “Journeyman.” Some people sent supplies: coats, clothing, backpacks, headphones. One guy, in the military, sent a device that Grand could use to hide the laptop and keep it from being stolen. (McConlogue won’t describe it, because that would defeat the purpose.)Things didn’t always go smoothly. In October Grand was arrested for trespassing and lost his laptop and cell phone, which the police are still holding. He was quickly released and made an appearance on the Today Show, which had heard about the experiment. An executive from Google heard what happened and provided a replacement Chromebook.At one point McConlogue convinced his boss at Noodle Education to let Grand come work inside at their offices. McConlogue also got permission to put aside his “day job” and work full-time with Grand for four weeks to help him finish the app and get it submitted to Apple and Google for approval.Guess What, He Did It!In the end, the doubters and naysayers were wrong. Grand didn’t give up. He sat there in the street and taught himself how to write code. And he completed an app. It’s called Trees for Cars. It lets people carpool and share rides. And it tells you how much C02 you’re saving.Here’s a video where Leo Grand explains his app. Originally published Dec 10, 2013 2:00:00 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 SlackSlackcenter_img Storytelling Today, Grand’s mobile app goes on sale in Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store. It only costs 99 cents.So here’s my idea. Go buy this app. Tell your friends to buy it too. Share this story. Get as many people as you can to participate.Grand gets 70 cents out for every download. (Apple and Google take a 30% cut on transactions; but heck, maybe we should lobby them to make an exception in this case.) To buy it on Apple’s iOS, click here. To buy it for an Android device via Google’s Play Store, click here.Doesn’t matter if you’ll never use the app. That’s not the point. The point is that this guy is a hero and deserves our support. The point is that it only costs 99 cents to let Leo Grand know that you admire what he’s done. Because here’s the thing. Despite all his hard work, Leo Grand is still homeless. He’s living under an awning in New York. Nobody has offered a job.McConlogue says that with a bit more training Grand could have the chops to work as a programmer. “This is his path out. If all goes well, he can get enough money to go back to school,” he says.So let’s do it. Let’s blow this guy’s mind, and give him the best Christmas ever. Let’s help “Leo the homeless coder” become “Leo the coder,” with a job and a place to live and a bright future.If there’s anyone who deserves it, it’s this guy.Moreover — you’re not just helping one guy. You’re helping to start a movement.Recently McConlogue wrote a post on TechCrunch seeking 10 programmers who would volunteer two months to teaching others. So far 150 coders have signed up — and 8,000 people have reached out wanting to learn. “It’s really intense,” McConlogue says. “It’s all over the world.”There’s a great book in this. And somewhere in Hollywood, I have no doubt, someone is already working on the movie. last_img read more

30-Day Blog Challenge Tip #18: Link to Sources and Examples

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

7 Company Blogs We’re Seriously Crushin’ On

first_img Originally published Oct 3, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 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 SlackSlack Blog Examples We’ve all had professional crushes before. Remember the last time you walked out from a meeting with someone you really admired? That’s a professional crush.That time you opened up a random link from Facebook, only to discover a smile creeping across your face because the link is from a blog you just can’t get enough of? Professional crush alert. And remember when you looked through your tweets and saw that you pretty much exclusively share content from one blog? You’ve got a professional crush.Free Download: Marketing Editorial Calendar TemplateSometimes, these crushes last a few days — like when a company has a funny flippant response to a Twitter troll. Other times, these crushes last a little longer — like when you discover a blog you end up reading every day. Regardless of how long these crushes stick with us, they’re crucial to staying inspired. Unfortunately, some of us experience professional crush dry spells — we’ll walk around feeling uninspired, convinced that every blog in every industry is just doing the same old same old. But that’s really not the case at all. Lots of companies out there are doing crazy cool things — we just don’t know about it yet.Until now. I spoke with the rest of the content team here at HubSpot, and we all confessed the companies we’ve been professionally crushin’ on. In case you need some new blogging inspiration, check ’em out below. 1) Eat24 Example: Breakup Letter With FacebookIf you were to land on a random one of Eat24’s blog posts, you might think we’re crazy for including them in this list. About 90% of their posts are about getting free coupons — which isn’t exactly a blogging best practice we’d advocate. The reason we’re including them here, though, is because of the other 10%. For instance, you probably heard about them breaking up with Facebook — if you look at that blog post, you’ll see that Eat24 has one of the most unique and hilarious voices you’ve ever seen for a business. They don’t mind tackling controversial topics, and they tackle them with an excitement and wit that’ll make you want to read as many Eat24 posts as you can get your hands on — even if they are about coupons. 2) First Round CapitalExample: The One Tool Startups Need to Brainstorm, Test and WinMany people think blogs about business are all the same. They all feature the same insights about the same companies and people — it becomes almost like a filter bubble.First Round Capital, a venture capitalist firm, definitely doesn’t fall into that camp. Its blog finds nuggets of genius in unexpected places. Sure, you might have heard of the company profiled in the piece — which is probably why you clicked on the post in the first place — but you’ll be surprised to find fresh faces from those companies being interviewed, instead of the same ol’ folks we hear from all the time. The interview itself will focus on something people don’t often know about, too, making you feel like you’ve gotten a big gulp of fresh air from the industry. This blog is so good I wish I could keep it a secret … but check it out if you want some inspiration to find new and interesting angles in your industry.3) IntercomExample: Killer Onboarding Starts With a StoryParticularly for a B2B company, Intercom does a really nice job of developing creative and extremely useful content. They could easily get caught up on the whole “marketing to other businesses” thing, and create dry, promotional, unhelpful content for “professionals” — but they don’t. One of the reasons we love their blog is because they use both design and copy to help readers better grasp concepts. You can see this in action in the example of above — the simple graphic sits right at the top of the blog post, giving you a quick, easy-to-understand idea of what the whole blog post is about.So if you need some motivation to take up a design course (or, you could just download our free design templates to start hacking it yourself), check out Intercom’s blog.4) ModClothExample: Fashion Report: American Horror Story Season 4You’ve probably seen us talk about ModCloth before on this blog, and there’s a reason we pretty much always feature it when we talk about great content: They know who their buyer persona is, and every single piece of content they create is geared toward that persona. Their blog is no exception. Their persona is witty, educated, and culturally savvy — and each blog post addresses that persona. Take the above blog post for example, featuring fashion from American Horror Story. Not only is this timely since American Horror Story comes out soon, but it’s also a show their persona loves. Oh and when you read the post, you’ll be blown away by their tight, witty copywriting. There really isn’t one thing that ModCloth’s blog does well — it’s a solid blog that any content marketer could learn from. 5) MicrosoftExample: Digital DetectivesYes, you read that right: Microsoft. Most of the time, the company comes across like an out-of-touch relative you only see during the holidays. But they caught us off-guard in a very awesome way with the above piece. The story gives readers a closer look into the life of one team at Microsoft and how they protect data. It was beautiful. It was … I’m just going to say it … enthralling. And they haven’t disappointed with subsequent stories — so much so that we had to include it here.Talk about an underdog story — I’d definitely keep an eye on their blog posts going forward. 6) PriceonomicsExample: Are One-Star Reviews for A**holes?If you’re looking for deep, research-driven dives into fascinating stories about economics, technology, and business, Priceonomics is the place to go. Like First Round Capital, Priceonomics manages to take everyday concepts — like reviews — and present insanely interesting angles on them. Probably my favorite thing about their blog is that their posts have sophisticated and thoughtful topics, but the writing is accessible and friendly — which makes you walk away from each post feeling super super smart. (And who doesn’t like to feel super smart?) 7) Beutler InkExample: Charting The #ALSIceBucketChallenge Internet SensationWe all know by now that visual content is all the rage. But there’s a key difference in knowing that visual content is important and actually creating visual content. So if you need some inspiration to start on the latter, check out Beutler Ink. Granted, they are a design and data visualization firm, so they are pros at visual content creation, but their strategy is one to admire nonetheless. Beutler Ink often publishes infographics on events that are trending in the news, effectively combining real-time marketing with tangible demonstrations of their design capabilities — an incredibly tough thing to do given how time-intensive visual content creation can be. Even if we can’t all create visual content as well as Beutler, their work can inspire us to start using visual content in our marketing — like, now.What other company blogs are you crushin’ on? Share your favorites in the comments!last_img read more