Every marketer in their right mind knows that in order to drive more traffic to your blog, you need to come up with blog post titles that are actually enticing. But that’s easier said than done. If only we had some data to show us how to scientifically create blog post titles that will attract more clicks …Well luckily, I’m about to share with you that exact data. I recently wrote a post on how to use content discovery platforms to amplify your reach, in which I share tips on using these platforms to share your blog content on other relevant sites across the web. Having experimented with this over the past several months, I’ve been able to collect data on the clickthrough rates of different title variations for the same blog posts. (What a great way to do A/B testing on your blog post titles!)So, let’s dive into the insights from this data, and see how you can use it to construct your most clickable blog post titles yet.Which Blog Post Title Won?1) Question vs. No QuestionVariation A: What Does Google’s Hummingbird Update Mean For E-Commerce Business?Variation B: What the New Hummingbird SEO Algorithm Means for Your Ecommerce BusinessThe Winner: Variation A (.07% vs. .01% CTR, statistically significant)Takeaway: Frame your blog post title as a question to make it more intriguing.2) Broader vs. More Specific TopicVariation A: A Fool-Proof Formula for Easily Creating Compelling ContentVariation B: A Fool-Proof Formula for Easily Writing Amazing Blog PostsThe Winner: Variation A (.09% vs. .07% CTR, statistically significant)Takeaway: Use broader topic descriptions to position your blog post as relevant to a wider audience.3) Common vs. Unique AdjectivesVariation A: 8 Excellent Reasons to Redesign Your WebsiteVariation B: 8 Tell-Tale Signs Your Website May Need a RedesignThe Winner: Variation B (.05% vs. .04% CTR, trend)Takeaway: Use adjectives that aren’t used as frequently in other blog posts to make your title stand out more.4) “You”-focused vs. “Me”-focused LanguageVariation A: 10 Things Marketers Need to Know About Inbound Marketing in EuropeVariation B: 10 Inbound Marketing Techniques that Make Us Sit Up and Take Note The Winner: Variation A (.06% vs. .02% CTR, statistically significant)Takeaway: Craft your title language to be about the reader and what is interesting to them, not you.5) Asking a Question vs. Offering Exclusive InfoVariation A: What’s Next for Content Marketing Trends in Europe?Variation B: Survey of Europe’s Content Marketers Reveals Surprising Trends for 2014 The Winner: Variation B (.18% vs. .10% CTR, trend)Takeaway: Hint at the chance to access new and/or exclusive information, using words like “surprising” and “reveal” to position your content as exciting and unique.6) Stating Your Offer at the Beginning vs. at the EndVariation A: 5 Infographics to Teach You How to Easily Create Infographics in PowerPoint Variation B: Easy Ways to Create Killer PowerPoint Infographics (Free Templates) The Winner: Variation A (.09% vs. .07% CTR, statistically significant)Takeaway: If your blog post is meant to highlight a specific piece of content, make it clear what that content is up front, rather than putting it toward the middle or end of your post title.7) Number vs. No NumberVariation A: The Simple Template for a Thorough Content Style GuideVariation B: 7 Steps to Creating a Thorough Style GuideThe Winner: Variation B (.02% vs. .00% CTR, trend)Takeaway: Begin your blog post title with a number to help make the post’s content more actionable and its length clear to the reader. This will also reassure your readers that they can scan through your list post quickly if needed.8) Common vs. Unique Descriptions of Your ContentVariation A: A Comprehensive Guide to Writing a Compelling Blog PostVariation B: A Fool-Proof Formula for Easily Creating Compelling ContentThe Winner: Variation B (.09% vs. .01% CTR, statistically significant)Takeaway: Position your blog post as having a unique content format — there are “guides” and “checklists” all over the internet, but how many “fool-proof formulas” have you encountered?9) Fun vs. Serious ToneVariation A: 160 MORE Free Stock Photos You Seriously Need to Download NowVariation B: 75 Free Stock Photos for You to Use (and Tips for Customizing Them in PowerPoint)The Winner: Variation A (.11% vs. .05% CTR, statistically significant)Takeaway: Don’t take yourself too seriously. Your post titles will be more enticing with a fun, light tone than a bland, serious one.10) Emphasizing Content vs. Value PropositionVariation A: 55 Free, Downloadable Templates for Visual Content CreationVariation B: 55 Free Templates to Make Visual Content Creation Quick & PainlessThe Winner: Variation A (.13% vs. .05% CTR, statistically significant)Takeaway: Sometimes including more words in your post title to enhance your value proposition can actually distract your readers from what it is you’re offering them. When in doubt, keep it simple.11) Clear vs. Vague TopicVariation A: Why Purchasing Email Lists Is Always a Bad IdeaVariation B: What’s the Quickest Way to Destroy Your Credibility as a Marketer? The Winner: Variation A (.03% vs. .01% CTR, statistically significant)Takeaway: While using a broad title can attract a larger audience, going too broad can have the opposite effect by being too vague and not piquing interest. Make it clear enough what your post is about that your readers know what they’re getting.I hope that seeing some of this data will not only inspire you to find unique ways to position your blog post titles to make them more clickable, but that it will also encourage you to try out different types of titles on your own blog to see what works best for your readers. Keep that creativity flowing!What types of blog post titles have worked well for you? Have you found any trends or patterns? Let me know in the comments! Originally published Apr 8, 2014 8:00:00 AM, 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 How to Write a Blog Post Topics:
Infographics Originally published May 12, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 The hard truth about creating content online is the amount of time you put into it isn’t always proportional to what you get out of it. We all hope that everything we do is a grand slam resulting in traffic, leads, and reporters clamoring to talk to you. But that’s not always what happens.And while you can brush that off when you didn’t invest too much time in the content, when it’s something more resource-intensive — like an infographic — it stings a bit more.Luckily, there are few things we can do to infographics to hedge our bets a bit. So, we put together the following infographic on making highly shareable infographics — helping you rake in more views and conversion opportunities. Follow these tips, and your infographic will be much more likely to get shared. Editor’s note: We’ve included a few Easter eggs in the infographic to make it extra shareable. See if you can find them!Save 编辑触摸共享全屏此交互式图像使用ThingLink创建。在thinglink.com上查看此图像。接触图片分享图像…全屏Save Didn’t find the Easter eggs? Hover your mouse over the infographic to see them pop up. (My favorite’s in the top left corner!) We’re using a platform called Thinglink to add relevant context to the information in the infographic — and make it easy for you all to share the post. If you’re looking to maximize your shareability, you might want to try it out for yourself. Do you create infographics? What other tips do you have for making them shareable? 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
4) Click “Calculate.”5) Your sample size will spit out. Ta-da! The calculator will spit out your sample size. In our example, our sample size is: 274.This is the size one of your variations needs to be. So for your email send, if you have one control and one variation, you’ll need to double this number. If you had a control and two variations, you’d triple it. (And so on.)6) Depending on your email program, you may need to calculate the sample size’s percentage of the whole email.HubSpot customers, I’m looking at you for this section. When you’re running an email A/B test, you’ll need to select the percentage of contacts to send the list to — not just the raw sample size. To do that, you need to divide the number in your sample by the total number of contacts in your list. Here’s what that math looks like, using the example numbers above:274 / 1000 = 27.4%This means that each sample (both your control AND your variation) needs to be sent to 27-28% of your audience — in other words, roughly a total of 55% of your total list.And that’s it! You should be ready to select your sending time. How to Choose the Right Time Frame for Your A/B TestOkay, so this is where we get into the reality of email sending: You have to figure out how long to run your email A/B test before sending a (winning) version on to the rest of your list. Figuring out the timing aspect is a little less statistically driven, but you should definitely use past data to help you make better decisions. Here’s how you can do that.If you don’t have timing restrictions on when to send the winning email to the rest of the list, head over to your analytics. Figure out when your email opens/clicks (or whatever your success metrics are) starts to drop off. Look your past email sends to figure this out. For example, what percentage of total clicks did you get in your first day? If you found that you get 70% of your clicks in the first 24 hours, and then 5% each day after that, it’d make sense to cap your email A/B testing timing window for 24 hours because it wouldn’t be worth delaying your results just to gather a little bit of extra data. In this scenario, you would probably want to keep your timing window to 24 hours, and at the end of 24 hours, your email program should let you know if they can determine a statistically significant winner.Then, it’s up to you what to do next. If you have a large enough sample size and found a statistically significant winner at the end of the testing time frame, many email marketing programs will automatically and immediately send the winning variation. If you have a large enough sample size and there’s no statistically significant winner at the end of the testing time frame, email marketing tools might also allow you to automatically send a variation of your choice.If you have a smaller sample size or are running a 50/50 A/B test, when to send the next email based on the initial email’s results is entirely up to you. If you have time restrictions on when to send the winning email to the rest of the list, figure out how late you can send the winner without it being untimely or affecting other email sends. For example, if you’ve sent an email out at 6 p.m. EST for a flash sale that ends at midnight EST, you wouldn’t want to determine an A/B test winner at 11 p.m. Instead, you’d want to send the email closer to 8 or 9 p.m. — that’ll give the people not involved in the A/B test enough time to act on your email.And that’s pretty much it, folks. After doing these calculations and examining your data, you should be in a much better state to send email A/B tests — ones that are fairly statistically valid and help you actually move the needle in your email marketing. Topics: Originally published Dec 11, 2014 12:00:00 PM, updated October 29 2019 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack A/B Testing Do you remember your first A/B test on email? I do. (Nerdy, I know.) I felt simultaneously thrilled and terrified because I knew I had to actually use some of what I learned in college stats for my job. I sat on the cusp of knowing just enough about statistics that it could be dangerous. For instance, I knew that you needed a big enough sample size to run the test on. I knew I needed to run the test long enough to get statistically significant results. I knew I could easily run one if I wanted, using HubSpot’s Email App…. But that’s pretty much it. I wasn’t sure how big was “big enough” for sample sizes and how long was “long enough” for test durations — and Googling it gave me a variety of answers my college stats courses definitely didn’t prepare me for.Turns out I wasn’t alone: Those are two of the most common A/B testing questions we get from customers. And the reason the typical answers from a Google search aren’t that helpful is because they’re talking about A/B testing in an ideal, theoretical, non-marketing world. So, I figured I’d do the research to help answer this question for you in a practical way. At the end of this post, you should be able to know how to determine the right sample size and time frame for your next email send.Download Now: Email Marketing Planning Template Theory vs. Reality of Sample Size and Timing in Email A/B TestsIn theory, to determine a winner between Variation A and Variation B, you need to wait until you have enough results to see if there is a statistically significant difference between the two. Depending on your company, sample size, and how you execute the A/B test, getting statistically significant results could happen in hours or days or weeks — and you’ve just got to stick it out until you get those results. In theory, you should not restrict the time in which you’re gathering results.For many A/B tests, waiting is no problem. Testing headline copy on a landing page? It’s cool to wait a month for results. Same goes with blog CTA creative — you’d be going for the long-term lead gen play, anyway. But on email, waiting can be a problem — for several practical reasons:1) Each email send has a finite audience.Unlike a landing page (where you can continue to gather new audience members over time), once you send an email A/B test off, that’s it — you can’t “add” more people to that A/B test. So you’ve got to figure out how squeeze the most juice out of your emails. This will usually require you to send an A/B test to the smallest portion of your list needed to get statistically significant results, pick a winner, and then send the winning variation on to the rest of the list. 2) Running an email marketing program means you’re juggling at least a few email sends per week. (In reality, probably way more than that.) If you spend too much time collecting results, you could miss out on sending your next email — which could have worse effects than if you sent a non-statistically-significant winner email on to one segment of your database. 3) Email sends are often designed to be timely.Your marketing emails are optimized to deliver at a certain time of day, whether your emails are supporting the timing of a new campaign launch and/or landing in your recipient’s inboxes at a time they’d love to receive it. So if you wait for your email to be fully statistically significant, you might miss out on being timely and relevant — which could defeat the purpose of your email send in the first place. That’s why email A/B testing programs have a “timing” setting built in: At the end of that time frame, if neither result is statistically significant, one variation (which you choose ahead of time) will be sent to the rest of your list. That way, you can still run A/B tests in email, but you can also work around your email marketing scheduling demands and ensure people are always getting timely content.So to run A/B tests in email while still optimizing your sends for the best results, you’ve got to take both sample size and timing into account. Next up: how to actually figure out your sample size and timing using data.How to Actually Determine Your Sample Size and Testing Time FrameAlrighty, now on to the part you’ve been waiting for: how to actually calculate the sample size and timing you need for your next email A/B test. How to Calculate Your Email A/B Test’s Sample SizeLike I mentioned above, each email A/B test you send can only be sent to a finite audience — so you need to figure out how to maximize the results from that A/B test. To do that, you need to figure out the smallest portion of your total list needed to get statistically significant results. Here’s how you calculate it.1) Assess whether you have enough contacts in your list to A/B a sample in the first place.To A/B test a sample of your list, you need to have a decently large list size — at least 1,000 contacts. If you have fewer than that in your list, the proportion of your list that you need to A/B test to get statistically significant results gets larger and larger. For example, to get statistically significant results from a small list, you might have to test 85% or 95% of your list. And the results of the people on your list who haven’t been tested yet will be so small that you might as well have just sent half of your list one email version, and the other half another, and then measured the difference. Your results might not be statistically significant at the end of it all, but at least you’re gathering learnings while you grow your lists to have more than 1,000 contacts. (If you want more tips on growing your email list so you can hit that 1,000 contact threshold, check out this blog post.) Note for HubSpot customers: 1,000 contacts is also our benchmark for running A/B tests on samples of email sends — if you have fewer than 1,000 contacts in your selected list, the A version of your test will automatically be sent to half of your list and the B will be sent to the other half.2) Click here to open up this calculator.Here’s what it looks like when you open it up:3) Put in your email’s Confidence Level, Confidence Interval, and Population into the tool.Yep, that’s a lot of stat jargon. Here’s what these terms translate to in your email:Population: Your sample represents a larger group of people. This larger group is called your population.In email, your population is the typical number of people in your list who get emails delivered to them — not the number of people you sent emails to. To calculate population, I’d look at the past three to five emails you’ve sent to this list, and average the total number of delivered emails. (Use the average when calculating sample size, as the total number of delivered emails will fluctuate.)Confidence Interval: You might have heard this called “margin of error.” Lots of surveys use this, including political polls. This is the range of results you can expect this A/B test to explain once it’s run with the full population. For example, in your emails, if you have an interval of 5, and 60% of your sample opens your Variation, you can be sure that between 55% (60 minus 5) and 65% (60 plus 5) would have also opened that email. The bigger the interval you choose, the more certain you can be that the populations true actions have been accounted for in that interval. At the same time, large intervals will give you less definitive results. It’s a tradeoff you’ll have to make in your emails. For our purposes, it’s not worth getting too caught up in confidence intervals. When you’re just getting started with A/B tests, I’d recommend choosing a smaller interval (ex: around 5). Confidence Level: This tells you how sure you can be that your sample results lie within the above confidence interval. The lower the percentage, the less sure you can be about the results. The higher the percentage, the more people you’ll need in your sample, too. Note for HubSpot customers: The Email App automatically uses the 85% confidence level to determine a winner. Since that option isn’t available in this tool, I’d suggest choosing 95%. Example:Let’s pretend we’re sending our first A/B test. Our list has 1,000 people in it and has a 95% deliverability rate. We want to be 95% confident our winning email metrics fall within a 5-point interval of our population metrics. Here’s what we’d put in the tool:Population: 950Confidence Level: 95%Confidence Interval: 5
Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack This post originally appeared on HubSpot’s Agency Post. To read more content like this, subscribe to Agency Post.Every Friday, our team comes together for a weekly reflections meeting. It’s our “touchy-feely-kumbaya” moment where everyone has an opportunity to open up and share what’s on their mind.Primarily, we try to focus on three things: what went well, what didn’t go so well, and what we learned. We then document those lessons, and once-a-year, we review the key themes. It’s surprising– and a bit embarrassing — how often issues we discussed in March are repeated in August and again in November, but it’s all part of the learning process. This year, a few interesting themes emerged that I thought would be valuable for others to review. Here are some of the most important lessons we learned in 2015.1) Outline project unknowns as much as knowns.It’s very easy to find yourself putting together a beautiful project scope or proposal that painstakingly details every requirement the client has mentioned during your sales calls. The problem is, once the project kicks off, you’re going to find yourself dealing with many, many things the client did not explicitly state. Image purchasing, content implementation, hosting fees, etc., are all aspects of any web project not typically top-of-mind for the client. Be sure your contracts and documentation tackle as many of these project unknowns as possible. Include language that provides a means of factoring in cost/time when these little surprises sneak up, as they always do.2) Transition from managing a sales pipeline to a relationship pipeline.The idea of a sales pipeline is to track opportunities across various stages in your sales process, each with their own weighted likelihood of turning into an actual deal. Having a sales pipeline helps you determine where to invest time and energy in opportunities. The problem, however, is that most sales pipelines only look at a 30-to-90-day window. With this narrow of a view, it’s far too easy to cast “slower” opportunities to the side.We found that focusing on building relationships with companies that could be great clients, even if they’re a year away from that, is far more valuable than ignoring every prospect who doesn’t meet the perfect profile for your sales pipeline. You shouldn’t expel that much energy on these prospects, but you should set reminders to connect periodically, invite them to relevant events, and send them useful content. This can lead to huge returns beyond this month or even quarter. 3) Help define success for your customer.The reason most potential customers are speaking with you is because you’ve demonstrated a capacity for solving their problem. Embrace this truth, and control the vision for working with your customers. Focusing on identifying and addressing their needs is critical to a successful sale, but don’t let them dictate all the terms of engagement.You’ve done this “thing” far more times than they have, and it’s important that you explain what will make a project successful. If timelines are unrealistic or certain content or systems need to be finalized before you can start a project, be sure to communicate this to the client. It’s far better, and far more profitable, to set clear “rules for success” with a potential client and hold them to those boundaries. 4) Don’t overlook easy money.If your agency thrives on large project-based deals, it’s tempting to always go after the “whale” and ignore the “fish” along the way. If every new deal is six-figures, why wouldn’t you put your time and energy into those opportunities? However, when you focus 100% of your time on these big wins, you often sacrifice opportunities for “easy money.”Support retainers, appropriate technology recommendations that have a referral kickback, and one-day workshops are all value-added services you could offer existing clients. These relationships are already established so they don’t require the same effort as a new deal. Sure, the check isn’t as substantial, but if you build in a practice of upselling across all of your clients, you could see an impressive uptick in account size.5) Focus on solving problems, not just implementing solutions.It’s not uncommon to find that your team is obsessed with how to implement a specific solution within a project. Whether it stems from client interest or internal interest, once you’re fixated on making something work, it’s hard to take a step back. Taking a step back, however, is often the only way to avoid blowing the budget on a project. This step back should not be focused on re-evaluating the solution, rather re-evaluating the problem. Ask both yourself and the client what the exact problem is that you’re trying to solve and the impact of not solving it. Sometimes the solution is simply doing nothing.6) Don’t view account management and project management as the same role.Many larger agencies already have this baked into their operations, but this was a big lesson for us to learn this past year. Although they can sometimes be tackled by the same person, the responsibilities associated with account management are not the same as those associated with project management. Account managers need to focus on defending the client’s needs at all times while project managers need to focus on defending the agency’s needs at all times. This sort of conflict is healthy as it ensures both sides are properly represented in the creative process.In addition, the very metrics each role should be focused on are considerably different. Account managers are accountable for growing their book-of-business with clients while project managers are accountable for expanding the profitability of the relationship. These are two very different mindsets, and two very different roles.7) Always be selling.Once that initial contract is inked, it’s tempting to pop the champagne and call it a day. Closing a deal does not mean that the sales function is over. A client who accepts a contract simply means she believes in your plan for solving her problem; it does not guarantee that she believes in your execution of that plan. Every person involved in the project needs to realize the importance of continuing to sell ideas and solutions to identified problems. Every new deliverable is a new first impression.8) Realize the difference between makers and managers.There is a big difference between “makers” and “managers” within an agency. Makers are responsible for creating deliverables and executing the plan for a client. Managers are responsible for setting that plan and ensuring resources are appropriately allocated to enable execution. Many agencies depend on their team members to play both a maker and manager role. Effectiveness as a maker requires long, uninterrupted time where execution can take place. Effectiveness as a manager requires continued communication and performance analysis to ensure the plan is on track. Treat team members differently depending on the role they play and their responsibilities, and respect the differing work needs of each type within the structure of your agency.9) Work in time blocks.Most tasks will take as long as you allow them to. And complicating this problem is that in most agencies, we’re inundated with so many tasks from so many different accounts that things are constantly done right before they’re due. Working in a reactive pattern, where tasks are constantly being shuffled around based on the latest fire or ASAP request, only perpetuates inadvertent procrastination. Take control of your workload by carving out distinct blocks of time to tackle projects, and set the end of that block as your hard deadline.10) Repeat everything. Repeat everything.Repetition is a key ingredient for success as an agency. This includes repetition in communication, resources, and process. Repetition in communication ensures everyone is on the same page and that expectations are met. Repeat those expectations, and repeat the plan for meeting them. Repetition in resources ensures you have a game plan should someone go on vacation, get sick, or quit a project. Having redundant roles is an important safety net for any project. Finally, repetition in process ensures that you create repeatable results and start building efficiency into your delivery. The more your processes repeat, the more likely they can be automated, leading to tremendous gains in efficiency and profitability. 11) Manage against scope or timeline, not both.Bumps come up in a project. Unexpected requests or roadblocks are inevitable. Budget is often that hardest thing to revisit in a project, so consider whether scope or timeline needs to be re-evaluated as problems emerge. If timing is critical, scale back on what needs to be accomplished within a specific timeframe. If completeness is key, push out your launch date. If the client can’t choose between the two, bring up money again.12) Negotiate constantly, but wisely.Remember this: You’re negotiating throughout the entire lifespan of a project. You’re negotiating for extra resources, reduced scope, quicker turnarounds, etc. As in any negotiation, the key to success is knowing all of the terms of which you’re negotiating. It’s far easier to get what you need from a client and still make them happy if you give them something they want. When faced with a significant problem in the project, ensure you understand what’s really important to the client and what’s really important to your agency. Oftentimes, negotiating over different terms and bringing awareness to that is all it takes for everyone to walk away happy.13) Have a process, but know that the process will change.Technology, experience, resources, and many other factors will lead to evolutions in your processes over time. You’ll add new deliverables, cut out unnecessary steps, and automate some of your workload. But this sort of benefit only works when you have a process that you’re currently using. You can only measure improvement or evaluate efficiency if you have a benchmark. If you have a process for how your projects are delivered and how your agency is run, you can track and improve things going forward.14) Build in padding for inaccurate project estimates. It seems no matter how many times we’ve done a project, something always comes up that affects our original project estimate. Perhaps it’s a desire to continue improving our processes or “one-upping” our last project, but things inevitably take longer than expected. Understand this, embrace this, and add padding to be conservative. Extra time and extra money provides room to over-deliver for your clients and make them even happier with the project’s outcome.15) Remember that contractors are not employees.In a world of specialization and the need for ever-changing scale, it’s likely that your agency depends on some sort of contract-based labor force. They provide the natural capacity necessary to take on larger projects or unknown technologies. For this very reason, contractors can be one of your greatest assets.However, remember that they are not employees and should not be treated as such. Employment and tax regulation aside, professional freelancers and contractors have chosen that profession for many of the benefits that come with it: unlimited vacation, remote working, schedule independence, etc. It’s foolish to expect that contractors will make the same sacrifices or meet the same demands as an employee. As such, it’s critical that you establish clear expectations on the “softer side of your relationship in addition to the scope, time, and budget requirements you’re bound to discuss. Agree on communication schedules, deadline management, and anything else that might cause a problem for a project down-the-line.16) Show, don’t tell.As agency folk, we’re participants in the “idea economy.” We’re paid for coming up with and executing ideas that will solve our clients’ problems. Clients are our lifeblood, and they command respect in the creative process. However, we cannot assume that the ideas in our minds are the same as those perceived by our clients. Hypothetical pitches and explanations might get people excited, but it doesn’t lead to consensus around expectations.Don’t be afraid to introduce working deliverables into your process solely to serve as a means of crystallizing ideas into a form that has boundaries. Even a napkin sketch will give a client a better sense for your vision than flowery language over a bourbon-fueled dinner. If the client is excited about an idea, she should be excited to spend 5% of the total time/money to sketch out the parameters of that idea before committing to it fully.17) Promote others first.Imagine going to a party where the guy in the corner is constantly shouting about all of the awesome things he’s done. It won’t take long for you to excuse yourself from the table. The same goes for your marketing efforts. If all of your marketing is focused on promoting how “awesome” your agency is, how long will it take for your audience to leave? Focus your marketing on educating and sharing the success of others before your own. It builds trust and credibility. It also builds community as those you promote will promote your work in turn.18) Do less marketing to do better marketing.It’s easy to start the year with a huge list of marketing activities your agency will pursue to expand your footprint: blogging, events, emails, advertisements, podcast, sponsorships, etc. It all sounds great on paper, but such a diffused strategy is more likely to lead to a bunch of smaller failures than one or two major successes. Figure out what channels resonate with your target clients, align these with your voice/skillsets, and determine how you can maximize the impact with the limited resources you have at your disposal. Double-down on those few things, and ignore everything else.19) Find the source of the stress.Agency life is fueled by deadlines and tight budgets. No one has ever claimed it’s a stress-free business. But letting this stress affect us leads to poor performance, which leads to more stress. When you find yourself feeling as though every project is going wrong, the problem is unlikely that everything sucks.Take a step back, and identify what the real source of stress is. Then, create an action plan for dealing with it. Is it personal? Did you lose a deal? Is a client being pushy? Not resolving the major stressor in your life will impact other responsibilities on your plate. Tackle the real source of stress, and everything else might just be a bit easier.20) Celebrate your accomplishments.You’ve won awards, generated millions of dollars in value for your clients, and created jobs that give people the opportunity to pursue their creative passions. Running an agency can be overwhelming, but it is also incredibly rewarding. Do not let the challenges of running the business overshadow the successes along the way. Take time to step back and celebrate wins individually and as a team. Reflect on how much has been accomplished during just one year, and use that to fuel your work going forward. Topics: Agency Marketing Originally published Feb 27, 2016 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017
Artificial Intelligence Don’t forget to share this post! Topics: The field of artificial intelligence (AI) is dominating both headlines and the attention of businesses — and for good reason. In 2016 alone, at least 40 AI companies were acquired.The increasing sophistication of AI is also predicted to change the work force. An analysis from Oxford researchers reported than 47% of jobs are at risk, while a more recent Forrester report predicts that 7% of jobs may be eliminated by 2025.This sounds ominous, and while there will be industries completely upended by the “robots,” the bigger impact will be on how we work. New types of jobs and processes will be created, and different skills will be required by the rise of AI.For knowledge workers, the automation of time-consuming, menial tasks will free up their time for more strategic and impactful work, while the improvements in data processing speeds and insights can lead improvements in every area of a business — from customer service to marketing to sales to hiring.To clarify what AI is and what it’s not, we’ve put together a guide on the technology and why marketers need to understand it. And to better explain the future impact on how we work and why business leaders need to understand AI, we’ve organized a live event on YouTube with Amir Salihefendic of Doist (the maker of Todoist), Bastiaan Janmaat of DataFox, and Adam Long of Automated Insights.They’re going to discuss how AI is changing productivity, hiring, content creation, marketing, and more. If you want to learn more about how AI will impact your day-to-day work and the future of business, join us on February 9, 2017 at 11 a.m. EST (8 a.m. PST, 4 p.m. GMT) for an hour-long discussion.Click here to save your seat for this live event. Originally published Feb 2, 2017 6:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017
7) TranquiloThe pitch: The Tranquilo Mat is a portable vibrating mat that soothes baby in the crib, stroller, or on the go! The mat helps baby transition from a mother’s womb to the world during the “fourth trimester” after birth.The logotype is an expressive and playful script that embodies the feel-good of the soothing mat. The friendly curves of the hand-scripted font and the light green color create an approachable and optimistic vibe. Slogans & Taglines If you’re a young startup just beginning to find your footing in the business world, having a quality, professional-looking logo can help you look great in front of potential investors and clearly establish what your brand stands for.Designing a logo that is simple enough to be absorbed and understood quickly, but still conveys the many meanings a brand might depend on is not an easy task. Generating creative logo ideas can be very time-consuming.On ABC’s Shark Tank, companies only have a few minutes to pitch their business to the panel of investors, which means their logo needs to say a lot about what kind of business they are.Download Now: Free Brand Building GuideI’ve examined 96 companies from Shark Tank, Season 8 (check the full list here) and selected the best Shark Tank logos, explaining in-depth why each logo works and which design elements make it great.The process of designing a logo requires an enormous amount of patience and an obsession with getting it right. So whether you’re a designer looking for some inspiration or an entrepreneur looking for logo design ideas for your business — you’re in the right place! Check out my analysis of the logos below to inspire your own design.8 Best Shark Tank LogosToymailEdnVibesLaidBrandRinseKitChirpsTranquiloBiemHow do you judge a logo? 2) Edn The pitch: Edn is a seed pod to grow your tiny garden indoor. Now anyone can master growing herbs, vegetables and flowers within the comfort of their home. The Small Garden’s soil-free technology takes care of your plants, so you don’t need to. The seed pods are dirt-free, so there’s no mess to clean up.The wordmark feels very light and clean. The line over the “e” adds some character to it and marks the accent. The turquoise color adds a sense of nature and an organic feel to this slim and elegant typography. I have judged all the Shark Tank logos by the following five criteria:Simplicity: Is the design simple and clean enough to be flexible and easily recognizable? Is it not too busy, distracting, or confusing?Memorability: Is it quickly recognizable? Is it clever? Will people only have to spend a second or two thinking about it to get it?Timelessness: Will it still be a great logo in 10, 20, or even 50 years?Versatility: Does it scale to different sizes without losing quality or clarity? Will it work across various media and within different contexts?Appropriateness: Does it resonate with the desired audience and industry of the business? 4) LaidBrandThe pitch: LaidBrand is a pheromone-enriched hair care. Pheromones are naturally occurring chemicals in humans, and to put it simply without getting too technical, pheromones trigger responses. Whether you are trying to attract a mate or just exude that extra boost of confidence, pheromones play a huge part in achieving those desires.The new wordmark is quite elegant and striking and the characteristic cuts on both sides add some sexy touch to it. There’s a great harmony between the cuts and the middle “A” letters. Overall, a great logo that sets a strong tone and makes it feel like something completely different. Don’t forget to share this post! 5) RinseKit The pitch: RinseKit is the only portable shower to have the pressure of a garden hose without pumping or batteries. With up to 4 minutes of spray time, RinseKit’s 2 gallon system holds pressure for over a month.Overall, this is a very bold and dynamic logo. I like the underline that symbolizes a stream of water. Very confident, flat design with a special treatment that makes it look unique. It’s a complete conceptual and graphic solution. A good logo is distinctive, appropriate, practical, graphic, simple in form, and conveys an intended message. The most successful companies continue to say:Simpler is better.And these companies definitely made the right hiring decision, whether they hired an independent design or a design agency, their logos came out well executed.I’m going to judge these Shark Tank logos only in terms of their pure visual aesthetics without discussing the whole identity system, and how these logos work on the applications like websites, stationery design etc.Simple ≠ EasyRemember that the simplest ideas often require many hours of tweaking design concepts. Simplicity is something that is achieved by eliminating unnecessary elements — going from a visual clutter to a visual essence.Principles of a Good Logo The 8 Best Startup Logos from Shark Tank Season 81) Toymail The pitch: Toymail is a toy with hidden components inside that allow you to send a message to your kids. With just a push of a button, kids can connect to Mom, Dad, grandparents, or friends at any time, from anywhere. Parents use the Toymail app to send messages. Approve your child’s trusted circle through the Toymail app. The logo is attractive for its unique toy-contour and a modern geometric typeface. The icon and the wordmark use a one-weight line which sets a unified style. The bright pink color is appropriate for a toy-company. 6) Chirps The pitch: Chirps are chips made of bugs — crickets. When we first started Chirps, many people told us to hide the fact that our foods have bugs and just talk about the nutritional benefits. That’s not us. We started Chirps because we want people to know that bugs are delicious, nutritious, and sustainable.It is a crisp and bold icon that has a great presence. Very impressive logo. The subtle modifications to the “i” letter turn it into a bug which perfectly embodies the main ingredient: bugs. Originally published Nov 6, 2017 6:00:00 AM, updated November 06 2017 8) BiemThe pitch: Biem is the handheld device that transforms a stick of real butter to a spray in seconds, making cooking, home entertaining, and baking infinitely easier.I like the concept of the “i” being a spray bottle with the spray beam coming out of it, which captures perfectly what it is about in a simple way. The beam is neither too big nor too small to serve as a graphic trigger for something memorable.Feature image credit: ABC 3) Vibes The pitch: Vibes are designed to enhance your live music experience. They lower decibel levels of your environment without sacrificing sound clarity. You hear true natural sound the way it was intended: clear, clean, controlled.The minimalist execution is perfectly calibrated with a sturdy sans serif, just the right amount of airy letter-spacing. The icon adopts the silhouette of the earplugs and highlights the first letter in a distinctive & unique way. Topics:
While Oklahoma State’s offensive line has steadily progressed on the run-blocking front, there is still a lot of room to grow in one of the most important facets of the game.There’s no doubt that the most important player to the Cowboys’ success is Mason Rudolph. The record-setting junior has almost single-handedly turned this program around. He is 20-5 as a starter, but he’s been sacked at least once in every game this year. Taking care of him should be priority number one.Unfortunately, the Cowboys are currently 105th in the nation in sacks allowed, having given up 27 through ten games. That 2.7 per game is a step back from last season’s average of 2.46 and just marginally better than 2014’s abysmal 3.08.Let’s take a look at the Cowboys’ allowed sacks by year.For six years the Cowboys ranked in the top three in the conference and top 15 in the country at protecting their QB. Since then the numbers are drastically worse.That should be no surprise to any of us. We’ve belabored that point over the last three years.What should surprise us is that the Cowboys aren’t making any marked improvement on this front. In fact, as mentioned above, the Cowboys are on pace to take a step backwards this year. Given how good the run game has been, this is somewhat surprising.I will say, the last few games have been better. OSU only allowed four sacks total against WVU, KSU and Tech in the last three outings. That’s a marked improvement from the first seven. It’s no mistake that two of the best yards-per-play outings of the Gundy era have come in the last two games.#okstate has averaged 9+ yards per play in just nine games in the Gundy era. Two have come in the last two weeks. pic.twitter.com/9x1JpzvJFL— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) November 14, 2016Sack numbers aren’t just about protecting your quarterback. They are about protecting drives. Possessions are like gold to a coaching staff. If you break down a football game by the numbers, there are a finite number of opportunities to score. Each time your quarterback is sacked you lose a down and put your drive “behind the chains” so to speak.You can gain or lose an edge with turnovers and big plays. But while that’s worked out for the Cowboys at times, those can’t be depended on. Doing so is playing with fire. See Texas Tech. That’s why I don’t get too bent out of shape when Mike Gundy plays a bit conservatively. He knows that for every Rudolph-to-Washington 82-yard connection there is the possibility for a pick-six or a some other horrifying event.The Cowboys end the season with two tough road games. They figure to be underdogs in both. Can their O-line take care of business, protect Rudolph better and give Mike Gundy a fighting chance against TCU and OU to win the Big 12? We’ll see. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
Saturday was a special day in Oklahoma State’s season (obviously), and the cinematic highlights perfectly capture the importance of the Cowboys moving to 10-1* on the season.The highlights here are as good as you would expect. All the Carson truck sticks. All the Lacy grabs. All the Kenny Hill sacks. Drink it in, Cowboy fans because we get two straight weeks of bliss.Also it gave us this elite GIF.Boing boing boing. pic.twitter.com/YY1SaXfNLR— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) November 21, 2016 While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
The Reload is PFB’s recruiting recap, catching you up to speed with the latest scoop with an ear to the ground for what’s to come.OL coach visits top targetOn the first day of open recruiting, offensive line coach Greg Adkins made a stop in the Houston area to make an in-home visit with 2017 OL Eleseah Anderson.https://twitter.com/eleasahanderson/status/819748684116226057Anderson is an Alief Taylor High School prospect. The 6-foot-4, 280-pound mammoth is also considering offers from Baylor, TCU, Houston, Kansas, K-State and OSU.2017 defensive tackle commitment making official visit to TCUI mentioned this was happening earlier last week, but the date is officially set: 2017 defensive tackle commitment Fua Leilua is visiting Fort Worth for an official to TCU this weekend.Despite his commitment, which would be considered a “soft verbal”, Leilua is still hearing pitches from OSU coaches. He hosted defensive line coach Joe Bob Clements for an in-home visit earlier on Thursday.https://twitter.com/jlei44/status/819753453740322816He’s narrowed it to OSU and TCU, so the visit this weekend could go a long ways as to whether the Cowboys can hang on to his pledge.OSU commitments get visits from coachesOSU coaches on the trail yesterday paid several visits to commitments. Here’s 2017 safety pledge Trey Sterling:Great home visit with OSU tonight! Can’t wait to be a poke ? pic.twitter.com/isxkJ5cwvw— Tre Sterling (@sterling__trey) January 13, 2017And Gundy and Kasey Dunn visiting Tracin and Tylan Wallace.@OfficialTylan2 @TracinWallace @kasey_dunn @CoachGundy The only Picture taken last night…Thanks for making the process so easy and fun! pic.twitter.com/YCYuA3vp1Y— Mandi Moore (@mandimoore74) January 13, 20172017 WR commit LC Greenwood.https://twitter.com/lc_greenwood/status/819704437929312256And finally, 2017 FB/TE commit Sione Finefeuiaki.https://twitter.com/sione_9/status/819775036638662657With the live period now in full swing, coaches will be on the trail hard over the next few days working to close the deal with recruits already committed, and trying to bring in the last few into the fray before signing day the first of February. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. Bovada recently released their preseason Heisman Trophy odds, and Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph was listed as a top-10 challenger with 12/1 odds.Rudolph is one of three Big 12 players on the list, with Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield as the odds-on favorite, and Texas sophomore Shane Buechele listed at 35/1.Complete list of odds pic.twitter.com/4xBZLbLPuX— Kyle Fredrickson (@kylefredrickson) January 23, 2017Along with these odds from Bovado, Rudolph was most recently named a serious Heisman contender by Pro Football Focus.Needless to say, the senior signal caller will be receiving plenty of attention in his final season at OSU.
While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. It looks like Chris Carson will not be the only Cowboy with a chance to impress in Indianapolis later this month. Per Robert Allen of GoPokes, defensive tackle Vincent Taylor, tight end/”cowboy back” Blake Jarwin and safety Jordan Sterns have received invites to the NFL Scouting Combine.Per @RAllenGoPokes sources on Further Review just now, Vincent Taylor, Blake Jarwin & Jordan Sterns will join Chris Carson at NFL Combine.— John E. Hoover (@johnehoover) February 6, 2017Vincent Taylor announced his intention to forgo his senior season to declare for the draft following OSU’s win in the Alamo Bowl. The game-changing All-Big 12 tackle led the team in sacks (7) and tackles for loss (13). According to NFL.com, Taylor holds a 5.35 draft grade (the highest grade is Myles Garrett at 7.6) and is their 17th-ranked defensive tackle.Blake Jarwin is an intriguing tight end prospect who could find himself a spot on an NFL roster. The tight end has seen a resurgence in the NFL with the likes of Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce putting up gaudy numbers. Jarwin has a 5.36 draft grade according to NFL.com and is their 14th-ranked tight end.Jordan Sterns left OSU as the leading career tackler in the Mike Gundy era. He posted three 100-plus tackle seasons but will be missed as much for his leadership as his production. Sterns is a little undersized for an NFL safety which may lead into his 5.02 draft grade and No. 17 ranking among safety prospects. Like the others, he will have a chance to improve his stock with a good showing at the Combine.The Combine will be held February 28 – March 6, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Cristiano Ronaldo Ronaldo: I want three more Ballon d’Or awards but would be happy if I retired now Goal Last updated 1 year ago 23:05 26/2/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(23) Getty/Goal Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid Primera División The Real Madrid star remains at the pinnacle of the world game and has achieved everything he wants, but he is sure he can keep going for a bit longer Cristiano Ronaldo says he has achieved all of his dreams in football, but would like to win the Ballon d’Or another three times before he retires.The Real Madrid star was named the best player on the planet for the fifth time in 2017, pulling level with Barcelona rival Lionel Messi.Ronaldo already has four Champions League and Club World Cup trophies to add to his Premier League and La Liga winners’ medals accrued in his sensational periods at Manchester United and Madrid. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp And while the 32-year-old feels he would be perfectly happy in life if he were to retire from the game immediately, he believes he can still achieve a great deal more before he does call time on his career.”I never dreamed of winning the Ballon d’Or five times,” he told Desimpedidos . “If I had to finish my career now, I would be super happy… [but] if I won another Ballon d’Or, two or three more times I’d be delighted with life.”Even if I don’t win, I’ve already won five… but I still have the confidence and the strength to compete for the prize… it depends on the titles we win this year.”Everything I dreamed of, I achieved.”After guiding his national team to Euro 2016 glory last season, Ronaldo is preparing to lead out Portugal in their World Cup campaign in Russia this summer.Although he feels his side are not looked upon as favourites to win the title, Ronaldo still has hope heading into the tournament.”We are not the favourites, we have to be honest,” he added. “There are teams with more names, like Brazil, Spain, Germany, Argentina… but in football everything is possible.”We are going to try to advance from the group stage, then we’ll see. The main objective is the first phase.”
Arsenal Wenger not ready to prioritise Europa League Jamie Smith Last updated 1 year ago 07:13 3/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Arsenal Arsène Wenger Milan Milan v Arsenal UEFA Europa League Brighton & Hove Albion v Arsenal Brighton & Hove Albion Premier League Videos Despite Arsenal being 10 points outside of the Premier League’s top four, the Gunners boss isn’t ready to fully focus on Europe Arsene Wenger will not shift Arsenal’s focus to the Europa League despite his side’s problems in the Premier League.Arsenal’s chances of Champions League qualification through the league appear remote, with the Gunners sixth in the table, 10 points outside the top four with 10 matches remaining.Next week’s Europa League round-of-16 tie against Italian giants AC Milan follows a trip to Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday. Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp But although the Europa League winners earn a place in the Champions League – the route taken by Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United last season – Wenger says Arsenal will not necessarily prioritise the competition.”Look, I think we are in a situation where we first have to try and win the next game before making too long calculations,” said Wenger, whose side have suffered successive 3-0 defeats against Manchester City.”The game after always has an input and you always have that in your mind when you play so many games one after the other.”Jack Wilshere missed Thursday’s Premier League loss to City with an ankle injury, but Wenger is unsure whether the midfielder will be fit to return at the AMEX.”I don’t know because he has not practiced,” Wenger said. “I don’t know.”I will have to rest some players who gave a lot against City, for sure, because we have played a lot.”We will see how well he recovers.”With seven defeats in all competitions since the start of 2018, Arsenal have been beaten more times this year than any other Premier League side.But despite confidence dropping in the Gunners squad, Wenger backed himself to turn around a poor situation at Arsenal.”I’m always ready for a fight,” Wenger added. “Of course I am very disappointed but I have experienced these situations before.”I have faced difficult situations in my life and it helps to deal with this.”[I have] experience and desire to change things and to continue to help the team.”
World Cup Blow for Russia as injury puts Kokorin’s World Cup in doubt Alex Fisher 16:16 16/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images World Cup Russia Zenit v RB Leipzig Zenit UEFA Europa League Premier League The forward suffered knee ligament damage during Zenit’s defeat RB Leipzig and is set to sit out as his country hosts the world’s biggest tournament World Cup hosts Russia look set to be without Aleksandr Kokorin after the Zenit striker ruptured cruciate ligaments in his right knee on Thursday.Kokorin left the field after eight minutes of Zenit’s Europa League clash with RB Leipzig, the last-16 second leg ending 1-1 to send the German side through 3-2 on aggregate.The 26-year-old was seen clutching his right knee as he was substituted and Zenit confirmed on Friday that the diagnosis did not look good. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp “Aleksandr Kokorin has been diagnosed with a rupture of the cruciate ligaments in his right knee,” a club statement read.”The Russian international striker will soon head to Rome for treatment. Details of any planned surgery will be announced shortly.”Although no timescale was put on Kokorin’s recovery, it appears unlikely he will be ready for this year’s World Cup – where he would have been a key member of Stanislav Cherchesov’s squad.Kokorin – who has previously been linked with a move to Arsenal – has scored 12 goals for Russia in 48 appearances and found the net on 19 occasions in all competitions for Zenit this season.
The Cowboys had an ugly quarter followed by a solid second half.Oklahoma State beat Tulsa 40-21 on Saturday at H.A. Chapman Stadium to move to 3-0 on the year. The game brought plenty of talking points, and here is a breakdown of what OSU coach Mike Gundy said in his post-game presser.• He starts with shouting out the defensive coaches’ adjustments in the second half and the players executing those adjustments on the field.• “They got after us pretty good in the second quarter. Got us tired and ran the ball down our throats.”• Tulsa was in an “all or nothing defense” with all the press man the Golden Hurricane played. They were either going to make a big play or give one up.• “I’m gonna look into the unsportsmanlike penalties. We’re getting conflict of interest. Our guys are saying one thing, they’re saying another, being the referees. I’m assuming the referees are right, but we’ll find out what happened on those.”• Gundy said he called the play that led to Kolby Harvell-Peel’s fourth-and-goal sack. He said he gets involved in defensive calls “about twice a game.”• Taking away the two unsportsmanlike penalties, OSU would’ve given up 50 penalty yards, a number Gundy said isn’t the end of the world. But those are the type of penalties he talks about with discipline.• Gundy said Jayden Jernigan’s unsportsmanlike was “some kind of verbal communication.”• The bare bones of the defensive adjustment at halftime was adding an extra body to the box.• Tulsa was doing exactly what it wanted to do in the second quarter in controlling the clock and running the ball.• Spencer Sanders played “OK.” “He got flustered in the second quarter a little bit, and I had to calm him down. Very competitive. Wanted to do a couple things different, and we really couldn’t do it based on what they were doing. We got him calmed down, and then he was good.”• Sanders’ touchdown run was him improvising. Gundy said Tulsa “house blitzed” a few times, and that time Sanders saw it and got to the edge in time.• “It’s sad. Mr. Pickens and I went head-to-head a lot. He won most all of them. But I had a lot of respect for him, and I think he respected me. Between Mr. Pickens and President (Burns) Hargis, Coach (Mike) Holder, and myself, we won a hell of a lot of football games and been successful. He’s been his own boss for 70 years, and I’ve been mine for 15. So sometimes you have confrontation, but I have a ton of respect. “It’s kinda sad, ya know. It’s sad knowing that he’s not there. It really is, and it feels weird. We’ll have a couple nice tributes to him, and them I’m sure we’ll have some stuff at Karsten Creek and on campus for him to remember his legacy forever.”• OSU has depth at on the defensive line, just not experience.• On a day like Saturday helping Sanders in the long term: “Those things will help him as we go along. Won’t be the last time. He wants to win. He wants to be good, so he’ll get frustrated. But he calmed down really well. Didn’t lose his thought process, in my opinion. He’ll get better as we go along.”• On if he was tempted to start warming Dru Brown up: “(Sanders is) frustrated with success, not frustrated in a negative way. So, you let him go, put him back out there. The next series is when he took off against the house blitz and he scored, so he’s fine.”• Time will tell if Chuba Hubbard is one of the elite running backs of the Gundy era.• Tylan Wallace basically had nine catches for 178 yards because of the pass interference calls he drew.• Gundy said he feels better after Tulsa than in the other games because of how well the defense played in the second half.• OSU has a lot of work to do going into the Texas game.• On Kansas and K-State picking up early wins on the weekend: “It’s good for the Big 12. It’s good for all the fans and the media and not good for the coaches.” While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
Rhian Brewster ‘I know what I want to achieve’ – Rhian Brewster opens up on Liverpool ambitions Neil Jones Click here to see more stories from this author Last updated 1 year ago 16:34 6/19/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(1) Getty Images Liverpool Real Madrid v Liverpool UEFA Champions League Premier League Opinion The 18-year-old talks about his dream of playing for Jurgen Klopp’s first team at Anfield as he hopes to follow Trent Alexander-Arnold to stardom Edgeley Park, Stockport. The archetypal ‘old school’ football ground, hidden away among a cluster of tight-knit terraced houses in the heart of a community.It’s seen better days, of course. It could do with a lick of paint here and there, and the pitch has been ripped up to be re-laid ahead of next season. “Much needed,” says the guard on the gate.At one end of the ground, the 31st Stockport Beer & Cider Festival is in full swing. Pies and pints are keeping the patrons happy, while a local Ska band will take to the stage later in the evening. For £2, it’s a decent day out. “A proper community event,” says one happy customer. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Perfection from Pulisic: Chelsea’s Captain America has arrived in the Premier League Why always Raheem? ‘Unplayable’ Sterling setting a standard Man City’s other stars need to match ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Goal, though, is here for something else. Over in the Danny Bergara Stand – named after the man who guided tiny Stockport County to four Wembley finals in the 1990s – one of English football’s brightest young prospects is waiting to speak to us.He’s got plenty to talk about, too. Rhian Brewster may only have turned 18 in April, he may not have made a senior club appearance yet, but as interviewees go he’s as eloquent, thoughtful and interesting as they come. The boy has things to say, and he knows how to say them.He’s here for a fashion shoot, promoting Lyle & Scott’s latest range, but over the course of our chat he speaks with great maturity about issues ranging from racism to transfer rumours to the difficulties English football has in bringing through young talents. Eighteen years old? You sure?The obvious place to start is with Brewster’s own situation, which at the time of the interview remained uncertain. Interest from Germany, in the shape of Borussia Monchengladbach and RB Leipzig, had been widely reported. Liverpool were desperate to keep their young star, but had yet to convince him to sign a professional contract at Anfield.The scene has changed since, which is good news for the Reds. Though Brewster’s deal is still, as we speak, unsigned, the understanding is that he will be staying on Merseyside, having been convinced by the club’s plans for him. It’s a big call, but one Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp are very happy with.So what does the man himself make of it all, then? “At the moment, I just want to be playing regular professional football for the first team,” Brewster tells Goal. “Whether that was at Liverpool or somewhere else, yeah it was uncertain. “But hopefully in 12 months’ time I’ll be sat here saying I made the right decision in what I chose to do. I want to be able to reflect positively on that.”It is clear that this was not to be a decision motivated by money, but by opportunity. Brewster’s desire to play senior football, even at such a tender age, shines through in just about everything he says. He wants to go to the top, and he’s not shy of saying so.He has already made one big call in his young career, leaving Chelsea at the age of 15 to move to Liverpool because he felt the pathway was clearer. He’s a smart boy who knows what he wants.But with Premier League clubs finding it harder and harder to bring through youth graduates to their first team – Chelsea, in particular, have become emblematic of the struggle – alternative options have been emerging. The Bundesliga has already tempted English players across, with Reece Oxford and Ademola Lookman enjoying loan spells of differing success, and Jadon Sancho swapping Manchester City for Borussia Dortmund.Sancho’s case is particularly instructive. He and Brewster were born a week apart, both in London, and have grown up together through the England youth system. They were both members of the U17 World Cup winning squad last year, and both are tipped for big, big things.So was Brewster tempted to follow his pal to Germany?“Sure, I look at people like Jadon,” he says. “But then I look at people like Trent [Alexander-Arnold].“You can do it both ways. You can go down the road of staying, waiting for a chance and then taking it, like Trent did, or you can look at it like Jadon did, and think maybe I won’t get my chance here, so I can go somewhere else, abroad maybe. I look at it both ways.“I’m going to do what’s best for me. If that meant going Jadon’s way, I’d go Jadon’s way. If it means staying and doing what Trent did, then I’ll do a Trent!”‘A Trent’ it is then. Like Alexander-Arnold, Brewster certainly has the talent to make an impact on Liverpool’s first team, and the club’s reluctance to sign a striker this summer shows exactly what they think of him. He will be fast-tracked towards the first team under Klopp, who is as big a fan as anyone. It is perhaps unusual to hear a player, and especially one so young, speak so clearly about their ambitions, but if strikers are supposed to be single-minded and driven, then Brewster ticks all the boxes.“I just know what I want in life,” he says “I know what I want to achieve.“People say ‘follow your dream’ and that’s what I want to do. But there are others who try and put you down.“Those people, they only inspire me. If they hate on me for doing something good, then it makes me want to do even better and stay at that level.“I love it, to be fair. If you play football and fans are booing or saying negative stuff, it makes me play better. All I want to do is put the ball in the back of the net and say, ‘what are you gonna say now?’ If I have a centre back giving me stick, I want to score and say, ‘shut your mouth!’ It makes me strive, man.”That ambition and that work ethic will be needed if he is to complete the journey from talented prodigy into established professional. When we meet, he is still using crutches, recovering from a serious ankle and knee injury suffered playing for Liverpool’s U23 side in January. It is expected that he will be out of action until late-August.In the meantime, he has been using his time wisely. He is a regular at Anfield, an avid football watcher. He was in Kiev for the recent Champions League final, watching Alexander-Arnold, watching Sadio Mane, watching Roberto Firmino. His eyes, naturally, are drawn to those he wants to emulate – or to overtake.“I don’t switch off,” he says. “I like to watch the games, and watch what I am missing. It makes me want to be out there even more.“Being injured gives you the chance to reflect on the players who play in your position, too. You see things you can do, things you can maybe do better. It’s about doing everything you can to get to the top, so any little advantage you can take, you should do it.“I do it off my own back. The staff at the Academy will sometimes invite me to games, but it’s more something I like to do myself. I like to watch Firmino and the rest. It’s about being the best I can be, and if that means learning stuff off other people, then I’ll do it.”He’s warming to the theme now, his eyes lighting up as he discusses the strikers he admires from around the world – past and present.“If I was building an ideal striker?” he smiles. “Ooh, it’d be a bit of Firmino, a bit of Suarez, and a bit of Thierry Henry.“Growing up, Henry was my idol. He’s the reason I wanted to play football. If you could put all those three together, you’d have some player!”And what about himself? Where do Rhian Brewster’s strengths and weaknesses lie?“Obviously you want to be the perfect player, so you have to always work towards that aim,” he says. “If that’s working on my left foot, scoring goals with both feet, then that’s what I’ll work on. Or if it’s my first touch or my physical attributes, I’ll work on those. You can’t stop working.“Mentally and tactically as well, you have to develop. You could play for different managers, who want different things, so you need to be able to adapt to everything. If you do that, you will play.“You don’t want to be just a big striker that only plays one way or under one manager, you want to be able to do everything, whatever a manager needs from you.“I speak to a lot of people, to get their advice and their thoughts. But ultimately, you have to do what you want to do. What’s in your head? If you want to be at the top, be at the top. If that means making sacrifices, then that’s what I am going to do.“No, it’s not easy! I still have my friends, and they’re wanting to go out places and stuff. I can’t. I train and I rest and I play. Even when I’m off, I have to be careful, I still have to do the right things. For me, it’s about being careful and sensible. You make big sacrifices, staying in, eating the right things, but that’s what you have to do to get to the top – and I want to get to the top.“Of course it’s been hard. Your friends are chilling while you’re training, but what would you rather do? Go to their house and chill, or go training? My rewards will come.“At the end of the day, I’m doing something I love. In the future, that may lead to money, but the main thing is that you don’t want to be in a job that you don’t like. You want to be in a job that you love, where it doesn’t feel like work.”How refreshing to hear, especially from someone who has already seen both sides of ‘The Beautiful Game’. World Cup wins, golden boots and eye-catching performances are one thing, but Brewster – still a teenager remember – has already felt compelled to speak up about one of the game’s big issues; racism. An interview given to The Guardian in December detailed seven separate instances where he has suffered abuse playing for club and country.One of those was during a UEFA Youth League game for Liverpool against Spartak Moscow at Tranmere Rovers’ Prenton Park ground. Brewster reported the incident to UEFA, but saw the case dropped three months later due to ‘insufficient evidence’. He was not surprised.“No, not at all,” he says. “I just wanted to put my voice out there and be heard. No it doesn’t surprise me the way the ruling went, but hopefully it does change at some point in the future, and that it helps bring the rubbishness out of football.“With the World Cup being in Russia, I hope no-one gets abused over there. I think it happened recently with France, but my hope is that something can be done about it and we can change it, to be honest.“You hope it doesn’t happen to anyone else, but if it does then my advice is to follow the rules. Control yourself, as hard as that is, tell people and speak up. It’s not easy, but it’s the best way.”Of course speaking out about such issues is important, but for one so young to do so was striking. Brewster’s courage struck a chord within football; the reaction to his interview was huge, elevating him into the public eye perhaps more so even than his exploits at the U17 World Cup a few months previously.He is thankful for Liverpool’s support during that period. Klopp made a point of mentioning Brewster in a speech given to the Football Writers’ Association at their annual awards dinner last month, praising the youngster’s “power, command and composure” in going public on such an important issue.“It’s a really close-knit club,” Brewster says. “The feedback and the vibe I got off them was that we are a family. Everyone was behind me, nobody said I shouldn’t do it.“Even the fans, I got lots of messages and I really appreciate that. No-one was against what I did. It was a bad time, but people were there for me. I won’t forget that.”Of course having a public profile comes with its own risks; scrutiny of footballers is huge, whether they are 18 or 30. The social media age means fame is instant, but so is judgement. Every move is analysed, debated, criticised.Can Brewster, a Londoner born and raised in Chadwell Heath, handle all that? Is he spotting the looks from strangers in the street?“Yeah man, I see it!” he smiles. “When people look at me, I look at them back like ‘what you looking at?’ but I have to be careful now! They know my face!“It happens when I’m out and about at home or in Liverpool, I get asked to take pictures and stuff. It can be a good and a bad thing, but for me it’s more good than bad. It shows that people are recognising you and that you are progressing.“Where I’m from, you have to grow up quickly. That’s a fact. I just want to be a footballer and a big face in the game. I want to be an idol to young children. It’s starting to happen now, and I hope it continues.”It will do so at Liverpool, for now at least. But wherever that first-team chance comes, you can be sure Rhian Brewster will do everything he can to take it. It’s just who he is.“You have to stamp your mark,” he says. “You have to get the chance and you have to take it.“My hope now is to be playing regular football, so I can play at the highest level for club and country. The next World Cup or even the next Euros, I want to be in with a shot of being picked. That’s what I strive for, to be the best I can be, to hopefully give me the best opportunity to get there.“The only way you can do that is by getting a chance in club football. I can’t wait for mine.”Lyle and Scott are delighted to announce Rhian Brewster as their new ambassador. Rhian launches the new World World Cup campaign focusing on Rhian and his rise to U17 World Cup Champion and Golden Boot winner. 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Iran 1 Portugal 1: Santos’ men survive late Saransk scare after Ronaldo penalty miss Patric Ridge Last updated 1 year ago 04:17 6/26/18 Getty Images Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty miss ultimately did not cost Portugal a last-16 berth as they held out for a dramatic 1-1 draw with Iran. Mehdi Taremi wasted a gilt-edged chance after Karim Ansarifard’s penalty had thrown Iran a lifeline, but Portugal survived with a 1-1 draw to make the World Cup last 16 despite Cristiano Ronaldo’s missed spot-kick in a match dominated by VAR.The usually prolific Ronaldo was off target with a 53rd-minute penalty, awarded after a video-assisted review, as Portugal failed to build on Ricardo Quaresma’s first-half stunner in the crucial Group B contest.That miss from Ronaldo, who was perhaps fortunate not to see red for another VAR check after swinging an arm into the face of Morteza Pouraliganji, was punished when Cedric Soares was pinged for handball after referee Enrique Caceres again went to his video monitor. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Perfection from Pulisic: Chelsea’s Captain America has arrived in the Premier League Why always Raheem? ‘Unplayable’ Sterling setting a standard Man City’s other stars need to match ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Unlike Ronaldo, Ansarifard made no mistake with a powerful finish into the roof of the net to set up a grandstand finish in Saransk.But Taremi fluffed his lines in the dying embers, firing into the side-netting from close range as Portugal held out for a crucial point.It means the European champions are into the last 16 – where they face Uruguay – in second place, behind Spain – who themselves secured a dramatic 2-2 draw with Morocco – only on goals scored, while Iran settle for third with four points.19 – There have been 19 penalties taken at the 2018 World Cup , more than in any other edition in the history of the competition. VAR . #WorldCup #IRNPOR pic.twitter.com/8tmhJJi3nm — OptaJean (@OptaJean) June 25, 2018 Predictably it was Ronaldo who had the first chance, the superstar forward cutting in from the left before lashing a powerful strike goalwards that Alireza Beiranvand held onto at the second attempt.Iran responded well and Alireza Jahanbakhsh led a swift counter-attack before sliding a pass to Vahid Amiri, who dragged his first-time effort wide.Ronaldo appealed for a penalty soon after when his free-kick clipped Sardar Azmoun’s elbow, although replays suggest it would have been a harsh decision.Jahanbakhsh was proving Iran’s greatest threat and Rui Patricio had to be alert to deny the AZ winger an assist with a free-kick that Saeid Ezatolahi turned towards goal, but it would be Quaresma’s piece of magic that broke the deadlock.Having combined with Adrien Silva, Quaresma let rip with a wonderful outside-of-the-boot effort that looped over Beiranvand into the top-left corner.34y 272d – Ricardo Quaresma is the oldest player to score on his first World Cup start (34 years, 272 days) since Yahya Golmohammadi for Iran against Mexico in 2006 (35 years, 84 days). Trivela. #IRNPOR #POR #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/LxL8DI0M84— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 25, 2018Referee Caceres appeared to have missed Ezatolahi’s blatant foul on Ronaldo following the restart, but VAR again took centre stage when the official reviewed, and then overturned, his decision.Ronaldo did not make Iran pay, though, failing to direct his low effort far enough to the right, enabling Beiranvand to get down and make a fine stop.Azmoun tested the referee’s resolve again when he went down under pressure from Jose Fonte, but Caceres rightly dismissed the striker’s appeals for a penalty.There was more VAR drama late on, however. After using his visual aid to conclude that Ronaldo’s challenge on Pouraliganji was only worth a booking, Caceres used the system once more to determine that Cedric’s handball from Azmoun’s header had been intentional.Ansarifard duly converted high to his right to give Iran hope, but Taremi was unable to complete the miracle turnaround as Iran ultimately fell at the first hurdle. Key Opta stats:- Portugal have progressed from the group stage of the World Cup for the fourth time in their history (also 1966, 2006 and 2010).- Iran have been eliminated from the group stage at the World Cup in all five tournaments they have competed in (1978, 1998, 2006, 2014 and 2018).- Both of Iran’s goals at the 2018 World Cup were scored in injury time (94:06 against Morocco, 92:48 against Portugal).- Portugal’s Ricardo Quaresma (34y 272d) is the oldest player to score on his first World Cup start since Yahya Golmohammadi (35y 84d), who did so for Iran in 2006 against Mexico.- Two of Cristiano Ronaldo’s three penalties at the World Cup for Portugal have been against Iran – he scored in 2006 but saw his effort saved in this game.- Ronaldo has a 50 per cent penalty success rate in major tournaments for Portugal, scoring two (against Iran and Spain at the World Cups in 2006 and 2018 respectively) but also failing with two (against Austria at Euro 2016 and Iran today).- Iran remain winless in eight World Cup matches against European opposition (D2 L6). read more
World Cup Video: Croatia vs Denmark – Head-to-Head World Cup 2018 last 16 match preview Goal Last updated 1 year ago 17:30 6/30/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy World Cup Videos Croatia v Denmark Croatia Denmark Goal previews the clash between the Group D table-toppers and a side led by the talents of Christian Eriksen, as well as three other last 16 matches
About the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Juventus coach Allegri: Ronaldo needs to win something hereby Carlos Volcano9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveJuventus coach Max Allegri says Cristiano Ronaldo will be determined to win the Supercoppa.Allegri was asked if CR7 brought a stronger winning mentality to Juve.“He’d have to win something first to prove that. Cristiano is accustomed to winning, he has won four of the last five Champions Leagues and many more trophies. Ronaldo is the best player in the world and an added bonus for us. The situation has certainly improved with his presence, although Juve already had great strikers.“However, let’s not forget that Juve have played two Champions League Finals in the last four years and they were against what at the time were the best teams in the world. When it comes to that tournament, you need good luck too.“The Scudetto is one of our objectives, as are the Coppa Italia, the Supercoppa and the Champions League. We want to reach the end of the season with as many trophies as possible.”
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Ex-Arsenal midfielder Parlour: Not better since Wengerby Paul Vegasa day agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour insists the team has not improved since Unai Emery took over from Arsene Wenger.The Gunners faced fierce criticism after their 1-0 loss at Sheffield United on Monday, which brought an end to their eight-game unbeatean run. Parlour told talkSPORT: “No, it’s not better (than when Wenger was in charge), but it is a real opportunity.”After we started really well during the start of the season, people were going: “Oh we can challenge for the title”, and I said no chance!”If they come fourth, it’s a great season. Champions League football is the most important thing for Arsenal now going forward.”If they come fifth or sixth this year it has been a failure again. Because they went into the transfer market and I think everyone was quite excited about the signings.”