7 November 2013Telkom, South Africa’s main fixed line operator, is doubling broadband ADSL connection speeds for existing consumer and business customers, following its recently announced ADSL speed increases for the country’s internet service providers.The increased speeds will allow for improved video streaming, online gaming and video conferencing by reducing buffering and delays.Manelisa Mavuso, Telkom’s managing director of consumer services and retail, said in a statement announcing the latest speed increase last week: “Effectively, we are doubling the entry-level DSL speeds in the market.“This follows the evolution of capped services to SoftCap [access only to essential internet-based services after the customer’s cap has been reached], promotions on social media, gaming and movie packages, and differentiation of business and home usage products,” Mavuso said. “Customers currently on the SoftCap package will benefit from a double speed upgrade at no extra cost.“Telkom Internet is revising its data usage offers, especially on its uncapped products, to be in line with the improved DSL portfolio,” Mavuso added.“The improved quality does come with nominal fee adjustments for uncapped users, and depending on the customer’s specific package, that could mean either an increase or decrease in the overall monthly fee. Where there is an increase, it is important to note that this increase is far less than the actual value that customers are getting.”SAinfo reporter
Social media is not on the list of top workforce trends for 2014. Mobile applications (apps) for work, however, are. In fact, they’re No. 1.So said HR software developer PeopleMatter in a webinar it gift-wrapped just in time for the holidays called Naughty or Nice? Top 10 Workforce Trends and Whether They’ll Be Good or Bad for Your Brand in 2014.Why mobile apps?Well, for one, more and more people are tethered to the Internet from the palms of their hands. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 56 percent of American adults have smartphones. Most cellphone users (67 percent) check their phones for calls, messages or alerts—“even when they don’t notice their phone ringing or vibrating.”In 2013 smartphone and tablet users racked up 102 billion app downloads. In 2014 many apps will be geared toward getting work done: PeopleMatter predicts more companies will develop apps that help schedule and record time and attendance; aid employee engagement; create digital to-do lists and productivity trackers; and complete a range of other tasks. What’s more, these apps will have the ability to access data stored in the cloud and be accessible from multiple devices.Other trends:Health care reform. Cited as a “naughty trend,” the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010.The law requires that all Americans have health insurance by 2014 or pay a fine for each month they lack coverage. The employer mandate, which will go into effect in January 2015, states that all full-time workers at companies with more than 50 employees must be offered job-based health coverage.Employers that do not offer this coverage will pay a per-employee fee of $2,000. Many small companies will continue to get around the mandate by either hiring part-time staff or by limiting the number of employees they hire, said Ryan Glushkoff, director of product marketing at PeopleMatter.“With the employer mandate now scheduled to go into effect in January 2015, 2014 will be a pivotal time,” he said.Going paperless. Storing HR data in the cloud will continue to be a “nice” trend as companies focus on saving money and having their data available anytime, anywhere. Software-as-a-service (SAAS) will continue to provide optimal solutions for workforce system needs.Point solutions. More companies will continue to use “point solutions,” although it is a trend that PeopleMatter hopes will decline. These are technology solutions that help companies solve single problems. However, they’re expensive, often require a separate technological infrastructure, provide inconsistent experience (sometimes they work; sometimes they don’t) and are fraught with a host of other problems. Part of the reason they remain popular, Glushkoff said, is that “more than half of customers want a single solution and about one-third are willing to sacrifice functionality to stay with one vendor.”Job boards. “The question is not whether job boards are still relevant, but are they relevant for their users?” Glushkoff said. There are niche boards and boards that aggregate jobs (think Indeed, Monster and CareerBuilder). Indeed sees 30 percent of all job-search traffic, according to recent data from comscore.com. “Social media is [also] getting an increasing share of recruiting dollars because platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are able to make connections in a candidate’s natural habitat. Plus, since these networks know you, the connections made between employee and candidate have high relevance.”Why is this a naughty trend? Well, “as an employer, you might be wondering how you can surf this wave of change in the job industry—and the answer is not much,” he said. However, Glushkoff advises companies to use “unique URLs for each job posting and measure the performance of each URL on each job board. You should be measuring which job boards are generating you the best return—some will be better than others, and those are the ones you need to focus on.”In a separate interview, Jobvite Chief Marketing Officer Kimberley Kasper said job boards will continue to be a declining trend in 2014.“Social recruiting and the referral method is the only way recruiters can hire better people faster who will stay longer and, ultimately, be better cultural fits.”She added: “There’s also something to be said about the candidate experience. All too many job seekers feel like their resume is sent to a black hole when they apply through a job board … and that’s because it is. Hundreds of applications are submitted for a single job opening, and recruiters simply don’t have the time of day to sift through them and respond individually. It’s not a good use of the recruiter’s time, and, ultimately, it’s a waste of the candidate’s time, too. Job boards have their role, but they are a hiring solution of the past.”Screening employees. According to PeopleMatter, in 2014 companies will use a funnel-like hiring approach to filter out mediocre candidates. Online application systems are important, as these systems will allow employers to sift through candidates, assess them based on a series of questions to see if they’re a good fit for the business, and see skills and personality traits. Background checks and screening will continue to be important, as well.Focus on fit. “Picking the right person is critical to running a business,” said Jay Bredenberg, director of software architecture at PeopleMatter. In many cases it’s important to hire someone who fits the culture and shares the same values—“this is a big change in how we hire,” he said.“Qualifications can be taught; fit can’t.”Compliance. “This is a naughty trend,” Glushkoff said.“Compliance means different things.” Is your organization following federal and state employment laws that govern your industry and company size? He said HR will be paying close attention to compliance when it comes to compensation, wages, new-hire orientation, employee payroll, recruitment and hiring, employee separation and performance management.“One of the big areas also is immigration,” he observed. “What’s changed lately is [U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services] is no longer just targeting large employers—they are ‘moving down market’ and are looking at the smaller and medium-sized businesses.” The number of audits is increasing dramatically under the Obama administration. Fines have risen in tandem, and these are just for I-9 violations. “Expect these enforcement trends to continue in 2014,” he said. “You can also expect government regulations to continue to evolve, just like they did in 2013.”Business analytics. That term is often “mixed in with big data, but these are more than buzzwords,” Glushkoff said. “If you look at the last 20 years or so, we’ve had online applications; we’ve been accumulating lots of data. The amount of data in the world is getting bigger, and without doing something with it, it doesn’t have much value.” The goal with analytics is to find out what’s in the data and try to predict what might happen in the future. Data analysis can help increase transparency, improve decision-making and identify new opportunities, he explained.Get more out of people. “If you’re hiring better-quality people, your turnover is going to be lower,” Glushkoff said.“When you have to find, hire, interview and onboard—all of that effort is very expensive—it costs about $3,000 per employee. That can be countered by training people better, providing them real-time feedback on their performance. Lowering the time to hire also lowers risk.“Good employees who can deliver great service and connect with customers are gold. Bad ones are going to make it even harder to survive on your already-thin margins.”Aliah D. Wright is an online editor/manager for SHRM. You can reach her via Twitter @1SHRMScribe.
Lars Granstrand, SVT They have probably realized that it’s all based on nothing but hot air. Superstar surgeon fired, again, this time in Russia By Alla Astakhova May. 16, 2017 , 5:30 PM After Paolo Macchiarini’s star fell in Sweden, the Italian surgeon still had a place to shine: Russia. The Karolinska Institute (KI) in Stockholm fired him in March 2016 for multiple ethical violations, including “breach of KI’s fundamental values” and “scientific negligence.” But Russia had long showered Macchiarini with funding and opportunities to perform his experimental surgeries to implant artificial tracheas, and it allowed him to stay. Now, a year later, his Russian refuge has ended as well.On 30 March, it became clear that the Russian Science Foundation (RSF) would not renew its funding for Macchiarini’s work, which now focuses on the esophagus rather than the trachea. The decision came 9 days after Nature Communications retracted a paper by Macchiarini that documented successful esophagus transplantations in rats. Minutes of a meeting made public last week show that Kazan Federal University (KFU), Macchiarini’s current employer, decided to end his research project there on 20 April, effectively firing him.“They have probably realized that it’s all based on nothing but hot air,” says Pierre Delaere of the University of Leuven in Belgium, one of the first to criticize Macchiarini’s work. Yet despite a passionate plea by four Swedish doctors who blew the whistle on Macchiarini’s work at Karolinska in 2014, Russian authorities appear to have no plans to launch a misconduct investigation of his work in Russia.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) Macchiarini gave five patients in Russia artificial windpipes; three of them have died. Macchiarini’s parallel life in Russia began in February 2010, when he conducted a master class in regenerative surgery at the invitation of Mikhail Batin, president of the Science for Life Extension Foundation (SLEF), which aims to make “radical extension of life a Russian national goal,” according to its website. Eight months later, Macchiarini agreed to do a trachea transplantation, in tandem with surgeon Vladimir Parshin at the Boris Petrovsky Research National Center for Surgery in Moscow. Glowing television coverage quickly made Macchiarini a scientific star.SLEF then helped secure a $2.6 million “megagrant” from the Russian government, aimed at luring foreign talent, and additional funding from Kuban State Medical University (KSMU), a well-known medical school in Krasnodar, some 1400 kilometers south of Moscow. Macchiarini carried out four artificial trachea transplantations at Krasnodar Regional Hospital No. 1. In 2014, his work was featured in a permanent exhibition about Russia’s scientific and technological prowess at the Polytechnic Museum in Moscow.But dramatic footage of one Russian patient eventually triggered Macchiarini’s downfall in Sweden. Experimenten, a three-part documentary broadcast in January 2016, claimed that the patient, Yulia Tuulik, didn’t have a life-threatening condition; her trachea had been damaged in a car accident, but she was able to breathe through a stoma. Macchiarini and his colleagues presented Tuulik’s operation as a medical triumph at a press conference. But her trachea later collapsed, and she received a replacement, which didn’t work well either; she died in 2014. Two other Krasnodar patients have died as well; the only survivor had his transplant removed.After Experimenten aired in Sweden and a few publications about Macchiarini appeared in the Russian press, an audit by the Federal Service for Supervision of Healthcare of the Krasnodar hospital revealed that he had operated without a Russian medical license and had filed no documentation about the materials in the artificial windpipe with the state register. The hospital was ordered to correct those violations, but no sanctions were imposed.Macchiarini’s defenders have interpreted the criticism as an attack on Russia; a January article on a portal for Russian doctors, for instance, suggested that Macchiarini had come under fire in Sweden because of the success of the laboratory he founded in Krasnodar. “I’m … outraged not so much by criticism of myself, as by criticism of the conditions and standards of research in Russia,” Macchiarini himself told the website Lenta.ru.Even before Macchiarini’s megagrant ended, RSF provided him with a new grant for some $1 million annually to develop a tissue-engineered esophagus and test it in nonhuman primates. In 2016, Macchiarini asked RSF to transfer the grant from KSMU to KFU, 800 kilometers east of Moscow in Tatarstan. Since then he has worked out of the limelight.But KFU soon grew uneasy. In a December 2016 newspaper interview, KFU Rector Ilshat Gafurov said that Macchiarini would not carry out operations at KFU as long as he did not have the required papers, and would not even see patients. According to RSF’s website, Macchiarini has given 10 baboons small pieces of artificial esophagus at the Research Institute of Medical Primatology in Sochi, a city on the Black Sea; all supposedly recovered. Data from the experiment have not been published, but KFU “can guarantee that the results, whatever they may be, will reflect the real state of affairs, will be truthful,” a spokesperson for the university says. We hope that a police investigation is initiated in Russia and that Macchiarini will face criminal charges. Pierre Delaere, University of Leuven Macchiarini has not said publicly what he plans to do next, and did not respond to an interview request from Science.Once considered a pioneer of regenerative surgery, Macchiarini aimed to give patients whose tracheas had been damaged a new windpipe. “Seeded” with stem cells, it was supposed to grow into a new, fully functional organ. (He initially used donor tracheas as a basis, but later switched to an artificial scaffold.) But he has been accused of painting a false picture of his patients in scientific papers, several of which have been retracted; operating without ethical approval; and lying on his CV. At least six of the eight artificial trachea recipients have died. In Sweden, where the case has plunged science into a crisis, investigations continue into allegations including involuntary manslaughter. Matthias Corbascio, Karolinska University Hospital Last December, the four original whistle-blowers in Sweden sent several Russian government agencies a 57-page petition asking for a criminal investigation of Macchiarini because he “systematically falsified, omitted or glorified” data from his operations in Sweden to obtain an ethical approval for his work in Krasnodar. None of the agencies has responded, says one of the authors, Matthias Corbascio of Karolinska University Hospital. Corbascio welcomes Macchiarini’s dismissal but says it should only be the beginning: “We hope that a police investigation is initiated in Russia and that Macchiarini will face criminal charges.” (A spokesperson for the Russian health ministry says it has never received the document.)Macchiarini’s Russian patients or their relatives could sue the Krasnodar hospital, says Alexander Saversky, president of the Russian League for the Protection of Patients, if there is strong suspicion that the operations did more harm than good. So far, nobody has done that. There’s no point, Natalia Tuulik, Yulia’s mother, told a newspaper: “The court will not return my daughter to me.”With reporting by Martin Enserink.
Measurement: application/survey-like feature online Non-Profit Inbound Marketing Kit Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack still only accepts mailed-in forms, this year it’s taking a lot of its efforts online to encourage citizens to fill out the 2010 form and be counted. change. — using Download our We often forget that an important part of any campaign is , tools to affect Key Elements: Facebook The Bureau’s new digital initiative, which uses So, as marketers, what can we appreciate about the Census’ new campaign? pages in an effort to make more people aware of the census, especially college students, twenty-somethings and some ethic groups who are commonly known to ignore it. Its Facebook page in particular features links to Census videos, press releases, a demo showing how to complete this year’s form, a PDF guide in English and Spanish and Census news stories. YouTube Not only is it utilizing social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to get the word out and evoke conversation and communication, but the Census also features various interactive elements on its website such as a While the Among the Census’ toughest demographics to locate is young people. And just who makes up the largest represented group of users on Facebook? You guessed it! Facebook is a great marketing tool to target college students and young people, which makes it the perfect marketing tool for the U.S. Census. Social Media for Social Awareness: social media to create social awareness Road Tour Blog marketing analytics Facebook Marketing Strategy: And the Census Bureau is fully taking advantage of the trend. This week it launched and a revealed that creating Facebook applications and surveys were among the most effective Facebook marketing tactics. The Census’ new Facebook page includes an It looks like the Census has also been doing its research on the right ways to use Facebook for marketing. A recent to help visitors understand the ease and quickness of filling out the 2010 census form. offline and motivation for people to take action, is much like we saw in U.S. Census Bureau and Director’s Blog recent online trends non-profit inbound marketing kit , but the Census is definitely not one of them. According to Joanne Dickinson, chief of customer research and marketing for the U.S. Census Bureau, the Census is planning to pay close attention to the metrics of its social media pages in order to better tailor its efforts to different segments of the population. Twitter . Obama’s presidential campaign as well as videos, etc. The Bureau has definitely been paying attention to Targeting: Are you a non-profit, political or fundraising organization trying to affect social awareness, change or action? If so, are you making the most of the power of social media in your social campaigns? MarketingProfs survey of B2B and B2C marketers and the successes others are experiencing with using social media for social change. President Obama and many fundraising organizations and non-profits are starting to understand the powerful impact of social media to organize groups of people to take action, and the U.S. Census is following suit. Originally published Jan 6, 2010 3:54:00 PM, updated July 18 2013 Interactivity:
end up being a major net exporter for us and a major driver of job growth the way the computer industry, movie industry (Hollywood), biotech and others are for us today. If we don’t build this industry and technology, someone else will. If I were Obama, I would have stood up in front the country from the Oval Office on July 4, 2010 with a live video of the oil gushing out of the gulf behind me and announced an energy independence initiative with a goal of getting us off our addiction to oil by 2020. In the address, I would have compared the new energy independence mission to JFK’s mission to the moon in importance, scope, and historical significance. I would have laid out the following reasons for the energy independence initiative: , I wrote a case study about how an unknown, black senator with a funny name and no money (Barack Obama) was able to beat the Hillary Clinton machine using brilliant, modern marketing methods. Two years later, I think that same guy missed the biggest, most obvious marketing opportunity in U.S. history. 3. By getting off our addiction to oil, we would 1. By getting off our addiction to oil, the country would end up being far less invested in the Middle East and would be unlikely to continue to lose our brave young citizens in foreign deserts. 2. By getting off our addiction to oil, the country would do far less damage to our environment and would start doing its part to slow down the lest our coastal cities end up under water. 4. By getting off our addiction to oil, we could stop building super complicated oils rigs off our coasts and stop shipping giant containers of oil around the globe, both of which are giant, ticking Inbound Marketing have to Inbound Marketing book — Brian Halligan should Originally published Oct 16, 2010 6:18:00 PM, updated July 03 2013 Here at HubSpot, we are not advocates for the Democratic party, the Republican party, the Tea Party, or the Frat Party, but I do think Obama missed a whopper of an opportunity to turn a huge negative into a huge positive. impact of global warming, This summer’s oil spill captivated the nation. We were shocked at the scale and severity — for most of us, it was a real wake-up call. Obama missed the window to capitalize on that consciousness and rally the nation around the audacious goal of transforming the environment, the economy, and our national security in one sweeping initiative. invest in building a major new energy industry which P.S. One thing I don’t understand is why the Obama team does not use video and Powerpoint in their presentations to help make their points. I get that standing up in front of people or the camera and doing a speech without visual aids is a tradition that is hundreds of years old, but this guy is a blackbelt in breaking with tradition. Just as FDR used radio to better communicate with the country with his fireside chats, Obama’s team should start using powerpoint, video, etc to help him deliver his message to the country. They weren’t afraid to use new web technology like Facebook, Twitter, SMS, etc to get elected, why not use new tools to communicate with the country to sell their ideas? There is a reason that Steve Jobs doesn’t do his keynote addresses without Powerpoint/Keynote slides — they help him drive home his points! Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack environmental time bombs In the Topics: .
“I’m a small business owner who wears many hats, and inbound marketing takes up too much time.” 360 Signs Blog . Whether you like it or not, today’s consumers are taking more control over their purchasing decisions by using the information they find on the web to make better, more informed decisions. Let’s revisit the success of our previous example of Louis E. Page, a company that’s been in business for over 100 years. If an organization as traditional as a fencing company can reach its prospects through marketing transformation, what business can’t? “I’m too old to really ‘get’ this internet marketing stuff.” Originally published Apr 6, 2011 12:14:00 PM, updated July 19 2013 If you could still use some convincing, read on, because it’s time for some major myth debunking… 1. “I’m too old.” The fact of the matter is, for every one of these excuses, we’ve come across businesses that have overcome these myths and transformed their marketing from relying on ineffective, outbound marketing tactics to instead taking advantage of modern, inbound marketing techniques to generate more business online. he used inbound marketing to transform his business and expand his 6-person small business nationwide Pish posh! You may not have grown up as a so-called ‘digital native,’ but that doesn’t mean you’re not an intelligent human being who can learn new skills. Sure, like any other new skill, there’s a learning curve involved. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Take Duncan Page as an example. Duncan is president of Louis E. Page, a family owned and operated fencing and mesh company that’s been in business since 1893. Duncan may not have grown up using the web, yet Marketing Transformation Week So why are so many businesses still failing to transform their marketing? As an inbound marketing company, we’ve heard every excuse in the book… Ha! In 2011, eMarketer predicts that 73% of the U.S. population will be online . Even as a small business owner, Tom is still the primary blogger on the “My prospects don’t use the internet or social media to shop for products and services.” If you’ve been reading the blog lately, you’re probably starting to notice the theme we’ve got going on this Inbound Marketing . ! 3. “My target market isn’t online.” Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack he was able to significantly reduce his pay-per-click spending, increase organic traffic by 700%, and double the number of daily leads his company generated What other excuses have you overcome in your quest to transform your business’ marketing? 2. “There’s no time.” Topics: Nonsense! This is a big one among small business owners with few employees who find themselves taking on multiple roles within their organization. Yes, content creation takes time, but most small business owners who first bought into this myth and tried inbound marketing found that the return on their time investment was worth much more than the ROI of traditional, expensive marketing tactics like advertising, trade shows, and direct mail. With inbound marketing, time is money, and smart small business owners understand this. Consider the example of Tom Humphries. Tom is owner of 360 Signs, a commercial signage company with only 5 employees. Tom was convinced that the time he spends on inbound marketing is worth it when — that the internet has fundamentally changed the way businesses must market to their prospects.
Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Free Blog Post Templates Free Templates: Originally published May 6, 2019 7:30:00 PM, updated October 25 2019 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 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. 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. Topics: Tell us a little about yourself below to gain access today: 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 How to Write a Blog Post 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]
Topics: Today, Facebook announced a new feature that might make even the oversharers among us squeamish. It’s a feature that taps into your cell phone’s microphone, and identifies the TV show, movie, or song playing in the background so you can share it on Facebook. (If you’ve ever used the popular app Shazam to identify a song — or seen someone waving their phone in the air at a bar — it’s kind of like that.) It’s rolling out on iOS and Android in the U.S. over the coming weeks.Facebook is setting the feature to default to “off,” but if you turn the feature on, you’ll see the audio icon moving any time you draft a status update. If the feature finds a sound match, it’ll give you the option to add the show, movie, or song to your update.The idea, as Facebook puts it, is to make sharing your entertainment choices quicker and easier by taking out the typing portion of the status update altogether. It probably makes the News Feed more streamlined, too, as certain types of status updates can become identifiable, Facebook-designed formats — entertainment looks like this, check-ins look like that, yadda yadda yadda.Facebook stated that there’s nothing to be concerned about — that they don’t store any of the sounds (though they do archive the data they glean), the data is anonymized, and you always get to choose whether you post it to your friends. But as you can imagine, the internet’s abuzz over the idea of Facebook now trying to tap into our microphones and listen in on our daily lives. Casey Johnston at Ars Technica makes the point that “Facebook … stresses that the feature is optional. Though it’s worth noting that many Facebook features are optional, until such a time as they are not,” referring to Facebook removing the ability to opt out of appearing in search results.What I find most surprising is that anyone was under the impression they still had much online privacy with the monetization possibilities big data offers. Even so, I won’t be enabling the feature. But that’s because the only thing I watch is Game of Thrones about three days after the new episode airs, which is three days too late for anyone to care anyway. Originally published May 28, 2014 3:30:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Facebook Updates
Topics: …or as complicated as you’d like. Notice how Brytor Designs uses its lobster gauge giveaway — I mean, who doesn’t need one of those? — to pull off a double whammy of lead generation. To enter the contest, the user has to both follow the brand on Instagram and fill out a form. But Brytor made it easy. When I clicked the Instagram icon on the page, it took me directly to the brand’s profile in a new tab, so that I could easily go back to the landing page and fill out the form.Want to learn more about running a successful social media contest? Check out our guide here.6. Cheat SheetsCheat sheets are a type of short, concise offer that someone might bookmark for future reference. Think of them as comprehensive guides to terms, commands, symbols, or other things. They should be formatted for quick reference, which means clear headers and not too much detail. And the more visual, the better.Here’s one way that Nusii pulled that off with the landing page for its proposal cheatsheet. It’s colorful and visual, with the imagery suggesting that the downloadable itself will be equally easy to follow. The only thing we’d change here? Consider removing navigation from your landing page — you can add it back in on your thank you page. Be sure to limit the text and visuals to the valuable content you’re providing.7. ChecklistsChecklists are another type of short offer that you could put behind a landing page, which readers can print out or download to their desktops. Include clear headers, a colorful design, and keep copy brief.Notice how there’s no navigation on Bonafide’s landing page below, which gives the visitor less of an opportunity to navigate away from the form (and the content). The text explains why the user should download the checklist, and personalizes the benefits to make the brand relatable.8. Email SeriesAn email series is a multi-part series of emails sent to an individual who specifically opted in to receive them. It’s different from an email subscription — it has a finite number of emails sent.These programs are especially popular around the holidays, when many brands do “12 days of”-themed promotions. Microsoft, for example, executes one each year. And notice how even though I was a bit early for this year’s holiday email series, Microsoft still used the landing page to encourage me to shop its current sales, or look at last year’s prizes.Another example is HGTV’s Urban Oasis, in which a lucky winner receives a completely refurbished home. Users are allowed to submit one entry per day, and can opt in to receive daily email reminders to enter until the contest is over.9. Email SubscriptionsBusiness blogging not only drives more traffic to your website, it also can become a major source for lead generation down the road. But how do you convert blog readers into leads?First, turn them into dedicated subscribers by simply asking for their email address in exchange for sending them new blog posts daily, weekly, or monthly. Make it easy for them to subscribe by including a one-step form on your blog, like the American Writers Museum does with its blog here:Learn more about converting visitors to subscribers here.10. GuidesGuides come in many shapes and sizes. There are “ultimate guides,” which are long, in-depth, and usually include detailed explanations, screenshots, and step-by-step instructions. Then, there are “simple guides,” which are shorter and much more concise. There are also tactical guides, pocket guides, introductory guides and advanced guides. The list goes on.What’s the common denominator? They’re all tutorials of some sort, and many of them include step-by-step instructions. Below, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority uses a landing page for its “Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Domain Name.” It’s simple, well-branded, and concisely explains what the user is getting out of this download.11. KitsKits are pieces of content grouped together into one offer. They’re great for repurposing existing content by aggregating multiple offers on similar topics into a cohesive collection. For example, HubSpot offers an Inbound Marketing Kit that includes an interactive presentation, a report that includes original data and research, and glossary.But this content also works well with things like media kits. Not only are you providing a user with more information and media about your company, but you’re also offering it in exchange for contact information. See how Her Campus Media does that below. It helps the brand follow up with potential advertisers, which is especially valuable in digital publishing.12. Original Data & ResearchData and metrics are have become especially valuable as many fields become more data-intensive. If your team has the bandwidth, original and data-heavy industry reports can build authority and trust with your audience. The trade-off is that curating them takes a lot of time, resources, and expertise.One of the least expensive ways to curate original data and research is to conduct a survey among your subscribers, leads, customers, and industry professionals. Then, share the results in the form of a downloadable report, study, or infographic. For example, the data in our annual State of Inbound report is taken from a survey of over 4,500 marketing and sales professionals. We asked the questions, and the answers provided us with great insights that our audience is interested in learning about.Annual reports are similar to original data and research, though they usually focus on information pertaining to a specific organization, rather an industry at-large. And while these reports are often written with the intended audience of shareholders, they can actually be helpful resources for a number of users, like potential non-profit donors or members of the press.13. PodcastsPodcasts can build an audience and establish your brand as a source of expertise, while also showing off your company’s personality. They put a voice to your brand, so to speak. And creating one can even be relatively low-budget — all you need is a decent microphone and a smart — but fun — host who can keep your audience listening in each time a new one is released.When it comes to using a podcast for lead generation, one of the best ways to do that is to ask your listeners to subscribe to updates about it. Subscribing to a podcast alone is already easy to do through apps that don’t ask for contact information, like iTunes and Stitcher. But by offering a “latest news” subscription, you can keep your audience up to date on related information like industry trends and sneak previews of future episodes. Here’s how we do that with HubSpot’s The Growth Show podcast:Learn how to build a successful podcast here.14. SlideShare PresentationsBecause SlideShares, like blog posts, are great for traffic, some marketers choose to share them without hiding them behind a form. But that doesn’t mean you can’t offer a download of your SlideShare in exchange for some information. If your SlideShare is good enough, it can be a low-effort way to convert readers into leads.Here’s an example for a particularly nice design from Collision Latitude. Notice how there are bullet points to outline exactly what knowledge the user will gain from this download — as well as those handy social sharing icons.15. TemplatesTemplates are great offers because they provide readers with a backbone for creating original things on their own. Templates often take different forms — calendars, worksheets, and other outlines can all benefit different audiences in the form of a template.For example, one of our most popular offers is our “15 Free Infographic Templates in PowerPoint,” which we promoted with blog posts that teach our readers how to create great infographics in more detail. Check it out:16. EventsHolding a happy hour at your office, a meet-and-greet at a local eatery, or a conference in a major city? Whatever your event, ask attendees for their information so you can send or email their tickets ahead of time and have an ID badge waiting for them upon arrival.Here’s how LIVE Magazine SA did that with registration for one of its free events. Notice how the brand used a Google Forms — a free and easy way to collect registration data without navigation or other distractions. Just make sure to direct your visitor to a thank you page where he or she can start navigating your site again.This way, you can follow up with attendees to let them know about similar occasions, ways to connect with people they may have met at the event, and where to download content they may have come across there. You can even add calls to action in follow-up communications that invite users to follow you on social media or subscribe to other types of content.17. ToolsInteractive tools can be difficult and time-consuming to create, but if they’re truly helpful for your audience, the payoff is often worth it.Take HubSpot’s Marketing Grader, for example. The landing page form below is simple and only requires a website URL and email address. The feedback that the marketer gets from this tool is worth a lot compared to the amount of information we ask for. That makes it a compelling exchange.18. Free appsWho says a free product doesn’t earn business? They’re actually a great opportunity for lead generation. Try giving out free versions of your product or service — it can be lighter or have fewer features than the full-blown version — with no risk, no obligation, and no credit card required. The only thing they need to do is fill out a form.Check out how booking.com does this below. The brand could just post links directing individuals to the App Store or Google Play. Instead, it also provides the option to receive a link to download the free app via email or text. For the sake of convenience, some users are willing to provide that information, so think about how you can provide that ease of use in exchange for information from your audience.19. WebinarsThe webinar is a useful content format for introducing prospects to thought leadership around your industry, and it establishes you as an expert in the discussion. A successful webinar takes a lot of work — especially with regard to planning and promoting it — but with the right strategy, it can be a great way to generate high quality leads.Here’s one that Sprout Social did about Instagram with a special guest. The registration page is fairly simple in design, but still has enough information about the webinar leaders to pique the interest of prospective attendees.To learn more about planning your own webinar, check out this post.20. WhitepapersEbooks are informal, fun, design-heavy pieces of in-depth content. Whitepapers are more academic and persuasive reports. They’re structured to present a problem, then provide a solution to it. People download them because they are authoritative, detailed, and informative. And since every audience could use a good hold on their respective industry details, whitepapers can be quite valuable to them.The cool thing about whitepapers is that they can be created around almost any industry. Here’s one that HookLogic created for the buying behavior around beauty products. Notice that the landing page allows users auto-fill the form using information from LinkedIn. Letting visitors auto-populate this data makes it easier for them to get to your content quicker, encouraging them to complete the form.Make a Smooth LandingFrom ebooks, to apps, to templates, each type of content you put behind a landing page has a specific job. By experimenting with different types of offers, you can observe which ones resonate with your audience and convert the most leads. Of course, you can always do more of what works, but never get too comfortable — keep you audience alert and intrigued with new topics and formats that are groundbreaking, but relevant.What other types of offers have you put behind a landing page form? Share with us in the comments below.Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2014 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness. What does being in a “content rut” mean to you?Perhaps the words remind you of writer’s block, when you couldn’t think of fresh topic ideas. (We’ve all been there.) Or maybe it makes you think of those days, weeks, or even — horror of horrors — months when your content seems to be falling kind of flat.There’s one other thing it might make you imagine — the kind of content rut with the same types of content getting created over and over again, instead of mixing it up.Free Guide: How to Build & Optimize Landing PagesA big part of building a strong content strategy is experimenting with new types of content. Your audience may love your podcasts, but that doesn’t mean that’s the only thing you should create. Fresh content types can expand your reach and attract more, and possibly even better leads.To help you shake up your content balance, here are 20 things you can put behind a landing page to help you collect new leads — and ways you can optimize your landing page for each type.20 Types of Lead Generation Content to Put Behind Your Landing Pages1. EbooksEbooks are a popular type of offer used to generate leads, educate customers and prospects, and gain credibility in your industry. But they can take time to become a reality, so be sure to choose a topic that will help a prospect go from downloading your ebook to having a productive conversation with a member of your sales team.Here’s a good example from LiveCareer. The company created a piece of content that aligns with its brand — a job search handbook — and built a landing page around it. Plus, it’s sharable. The social sharing icons below the form make it easy for users to tell their friends and colleagues about the content.For more detailed tips, click here to learn how to create ebooks from start to finish.2. CoursesYour audience may also be excited to fill out a form in exchange for a video course or tutorial. It’s up to you whether to produce, shoot, and edit the video in-house or hire a professional. You can hold the course live, or post a recording. Either way, ask participants to share their email address in exchange for the tutorial, so you can send them an email with the video recording that they can access forever.Lynda, LinkedIn’s learning platform, does that well with its course previews. Users are able to watch the first minute of a lesson and when that preview is over, a prompt appears to start a free trial.3. TrialsTrials aren’t just limited to things like courses. Sometimes, your prospects will want to try out your product or service before deciding whether they’re a good fit. That’s a good thing — you want to grow a base of customers that are convinced and loyal, and that can take a little more work than trying to sell your stuff to everyone who will listen.That’s why it can be helpful to provide a free trial of your product or service with no risk, no obligation, and no credit card required — the only thing the prospect needs to do is fill out a form.Here’s how Geneious used a form for a free trial of its research software for biologists. Notice how the form is followed by images of the program and FAQ, in case the user scrolls before committing to the form.4. DemosIf visitors are ready to learn more about your product or service, make it easy for them to schedule a demo with your team. You can place demo calls-to-action on key pages of your website, including your home page.These are particularly valuable on sections of your site that explain the different highlights and features of your product or service. Once the user is intrigued, make it seamless to schedule a demo. Here’s a look at HubSpot’s demo landing page:5. ContestsPeople love contests. They can teach you a lot about your audience while engaging them, growing your reach, driving traffic to your website, and — drum roll, please — generating leads. You can run contests on your website, or on pretty much any social media platform, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. They can be as simple as you’d like: Originally published Nov 7, 2016 8:00:00 AM, updated March 15 2018 Content Types Don’t forget to share this post!
Originally published Nov 3, 2016 7:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! Clarity is the key to efficient, productive marketing. Unfocused efforts keep your team busy, but they’re not going to get you the new membership or product enrollment numbers your credit union is looking for.Your team works hard. Ask yourself these five questions to ensure they’re also working smart and targeting their efforts on activities that can get more from your most fertile opportunities with both your prospects and current member communities.1) What’s My Definition of a Lead?Many people visit your website for a lot of reasons. Some of them may even be interested in your services and products. That still doesn’t mean they’re a good lead for your credit union. Maybe they don’t live within your target area or don’t meet a minimum income amount.A “good” lead is someone who meets your persona criteria, and who’s also shown readiness to move into the decision phase. In other words, they’re getting ready to put their money down somewhere. Once ready, it’s time to pass the lead on to business development. But your business dev team doesn’t have the resources to invest its efforts on prospects who aren’t yet leads. For the sake of interdepartmental harmony, team up and define what behaviors and criteria tell you both when someone is ready and able to be a good fit for your credit union.2) Where are the Conversion Points on my Website that Gather Information? Conversion points on your website are opportunities for you to gather intel so you can market to prospects and leads more effectively. Visitors are in all different stages of their buyer journey Some want to learn more, but aren’t yet ready to join. (And every visitor may not be your target persona.) You can’t just give them one option such as the “Join Now” button. That’s because not all of them are ready to sign up for your services. Have some premium content offers — such as a selection guide on how to clarify what credit card perks will give them the best return based on their habits and financial needs. The forms used for premium offers can ask for a more “personal” information — e.g. how many years away from retirement they are, or how many credit cards they currently hold. We call this progressive profiling and it will let you collect an on-going stream of valuable intel without scaring away your prospects.You can also collect phone numbers with a “request a call” form for prospects ready to become leads. If you don’t have multiple conversion points where visitors with different needs and in different stages can provide you with information, you’re not learning nearly enough about your prospects.3) Do I Have an Email Program for Prospects that Offers More than Just Financial Services?If all you’re doing with your email marketing is selling, you’re ignoring what makes inbound marketing so effective. Educate. Entertain. Use your content to create a relationship and position your credit union as a trusted authority.When you build that foundation, the selling part comes much easier. Send emails sharing blog posts or reports that answer important financial questions. Send emails that update people on relevant, important news that impacts them. First instance, perhaps there’s been recent data breach at another financial institution in the news. You could use that as an opportunity to send contacts and leads in your database an email with five tips on protecting their identity and reassure them of the tight security practices in your own organization.A good baseline ratio is 4:1. For every five emails you send, only one should be about selling.4) Do I Have a Retention Plan that Offers More than Just Product/service Updates?An inbound marketer’s work isn’t done once someone becomes a member. Your credit union has lifetime value goals for its members. After all, you want to keep churn rates as low as you can. Getting new members is more expensive than growing the value of a current member. This is the “Delight phase” of the inbound methodology. Just as you want to educate and entertain your prospects and leads far more often than you sell to them, take the same approach with your current members.Continue to educate current members about relevant financial concerns, independent of promoting any product or service. You can blur the lines a bit here by sending content that helps them better use the product or service they already have with you. You’re not upselling here. You’re educating active and dormant members to make sure they’re getting the most from what they already have.You can also offer members other opportunities to benefit from their membership that don’t involve buying a new product or service. Do you have member events? Send a survey asking for their feedback on the credit union or about their current concerns and priorities in their financial planning. Run a promotion to get them to share their story of how they’re using their membership and get some great user-generated content.5) Do I have a System to Measure Prospect Generation and Prospect to Lead Rates?The beauty of digital marketing is all the actionable data you can use to refine your efforts and improve your marketing ROI. The basic metrics you need to know for each campaign are how many prospects were generated and what percentage of these prospects became leads and how many of those because members. If you can’t quantify where you’re generating quality leads and how many you’re generating, you can’t set targets to direct your efforts productively. To know where your prospects and leads are coming from, you need a back-end attribution system. If you run a Facebook and Instagram campaign promoting your premium offer, your system should be able to tell you who downloaded the report after being directed from Facebook and who downloaded it via organic traffic to your website. That’s valuable intel on how (or whether) to use Facebook and/or Instagram. This is the prospect part.You still want to know how many of the prospects who downloaded this report continued to take action that reflected growing interest and demographics that qualified them as a lead. When you have a back-end system that tracks this information, you might find out that your Facebook and Instagram ads produced comparable numbers of prospects, but the Facebook prospects converted to leads at a much higher rate.You need this kind of intel so your team isn’t relegated to operating under the outdated cliché of not knowing which half of your marketing works and which half doesn’t. Start with these five questions to make sure your team operates under a better cliché: working smarter, not harder. Keep their energies focused on the activities that provide bottom line return. And watch the results roll in! Topics: Lead Nurturing