Russell looking to put on a show at Penns

first_imgJanieve Russell remains confident of excelling again at the upcoming Penn Relays, which will be held at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, from April 28-30.”They (fans) are expecting great times. They are expecting a show and I am just going out there to use Penn Relays as a training ground again,” said Russell.Russell, a University of Technology (UTech) student, competed at Penns for eight years – five for her alma mater Holmwood Technical and three years for UTech.”I have a lot of experience. Penn Relays is very cold and thing, and a lot of athletes are not used to the climate because they are always in the tropical area, and to know that I have been travelling to Penn Relays for eight years, I know the feeling, the crowd and the atmosphere that we are going into,” Russell observed.While clocking a personal best in the 2015 World Championships last year, Russell not only reached the final, but placed fifth with a lifetime best of 54.64 seconds.”Yes, I am ready. There is a lot of expectation from other athletes and your fans and people who are looking out there and saying she is a World Championship finalist and she is representing her school,” said Russell.”They are expecting great times. They are expecting a show and I am just going out there to use Penn Relays as a training ground again.”She added: “The 4×400 will help with my endurance and the 4x200m will help with my speed. I am just going out there confident and just ready to perform.”So it’s a good feeling to know that I am well prepared and just going out there to showcase,” she told The Gleaner in an interview after FLOW Foundation gave a 16 per cent increase of $4 million and 30 thousand to 28 high school and tertiary institutions to offset costs associated with competing at the event, at their head office on Half-Way Tree Road on Tuesday.OTHER ATHLETESThere were a number of other outstanding athletes present.Calabar High’s sensation, Christopher Taylor, who will compete at his first Penn Relays, said: “I feel very excited. I am gonna go out there and do the best for my school.”Also, the Convent of Mercy Academy (Alpha) Zinedine Russell, who finished second overall in the girls Open heptathlon at Champs, said: “I am looking forward to getting the plaque for my school.”She will compete in the 400m.last_img read more

Shock as trees cut and stolen from scenic forest walk

first_imgAn attack on a local scenic area in which up to 20 semi-mature trees were cut down has been described as “senseless and shocking.”The trees were hacked down last weekend at Drumboe Woods in the Twin Towns.A major investment was made turning the woods into an area which could be enjoyed by the local community recently with pathways and signage as well as the planting of more trees. Coillte is aware of the attack on the woods and is investigating the reasons for the cutting of the trees which were also taken from the forest.Local county councillor Patrick McGowan said he is very annoyed by the incident considering the work which has gone into developing Drumboe Woods in recent months.“This is a shocking and senseless attack on what is a beautiful area which is enjoyed by so many people.Some of the many trees cut down during an attack in Drumboe Woods at the weekend.“We have a Tidy Towns meeting tomorrow night and we will discuss it but it’s just an attack on the whole community. “I would appeal to anybody who was in the woods in recent days and who may have seen people cutting down trees of acting suspiciously to contact the Gardai.“These are our woods and they are there for all of us to enjoy and something like this cannot be allowed to happen again,” he said.Shock as trees cut and stolen from scenic forest walk was last modified: August 28th, 2019 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:CoilltecutdonegalDrumboe Woodsstolentreestwin townslast_img read more

Chico State ends HSU’s 3-game winning streak with fourth-quarter run

first_imgArcata >> In the Humboldt State women’s basketball team’s recent three-game winning streak the Jacks have proven to be the better team when it mattered most: The fourth quarter.In Thursday’s game against the visiting Chico State Wildcats, the roles were reversed.The Wildcats, behind Whitney Branham’s 20 points, outscored HSU 18-12 in the final quarter to pick up a 57-45 California Collegiate Athletic Association victory at Lumberjack Arena.“I thought we were a little more aggressive than …last_img

Chernobyl Mutation Experiment Fails to Support Darwinism

first_imgBird brains are getting smaller in the region around Chernobyl.  Organisms in the vicinity of the radiation from the nuclear disaster 25 years ago have not improved, but suffered under the onslaught of mutations.  There is no evidence of any population increasing in fitness in any way; on the contrary, animals are struggling to survive.  Yet according to neo-Darwinism, mutational change is the seedbed of evolutionary gains in fitness.    Timothy Mousseau was a co-author of a paper in PLoS ONE studying bird populations in the affected area.1  They studied 550 birds belonging to 48 species and found an overall 5% decrease in brain size, especially among yearlings: “Brain size was significantly smaller in yearlings than in older individuals, implying directional selection against small brain size.”  This means that the radiation was a drag, not a help, on the fitness of these birds: their bodies want to make the brains larger, but they can’t: the “directional selection” is contrary to the mutational load.  Mousseau explained in a press release on PhysOrg, “These findings point to broad-scale neurological effects of chronic exposure to low-dose radiation.  The fact that we see this pattern for a large portion of the bird community suggests a general phenomenon that may have significant long-term repercussions.”    The radiation affects other organisms, too: “The study revealed that insect diversity and mammals were declining in the exclusion zone surrounding the nuclear power plant.”  The birds provide a test case of population response to a mutagen.  Although the brains were the organs measured, the whole body suffers: “Stressed birds often adapt by changing the size of some of their organs to survive difficult environment conditions,” the article said.  “The brain is the last organ to be sacrificed this way, meaning the radiation could be having worse impacts on other organs of the birds.”    But isn’t this a case of adaptation, then?  Neo-Darwinists should not take comfort in the findings: “Mousseau said not only are their brains smaller, but it seems they are not as capable at dealing with their environment as evidenced by their lower rates of survival.”1.  Moller, Bonisol-Alquati, Rudolfsen and Mousseau, “Chernobyl Birds Have Smaller Brains,” Public Library of Science ONE 6(2): e16862. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016862.“Oh,” the Darwinist says, “but you must give it millions of years.”  Don’t fall for that.  Evolution runs both fast and slow, don’t they tell us? (01/15/2002, 02/21/2003, 01/31/2011). If Charlie’s mutation magic can turn a cow into a whale in six million years, it could surely produce a measurably fitter bird brain in 25 years.  Let’s expand the population and ask how many human CAT-scan patients have gotten smarter and produced genius kids.  How many dental patients have grown new improved teeth or new organs after X-rays?  Tumors, maybe, but not some new sense organ or function.    The Chernobyl bird populations have been under a steady dose of radiation for decades now, giving ample opportunity for mutations to help at least one chick get a lucky break.  Evolution fails another real-world test.  Don’t go to Chernobyl hoping to get fit.  Under mutational load (12/14/2006, 04/09/2007), you don’t get a choice of “Evolve or Perish”; just the latter.(Visited 55 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

How to have a ball when creating a geocache: Interview with cache owner Bouncebounce!

first_imgThis Seattle area geocacher is well known for his futuristic, technological, and creative hides. His caches typically utilize electronic elements such as with lights, screens, buttons, and even electronic kick-pedals, originally from a drum set. Creating a special geocache with so many components is a complicated puzzle and Bouncebounce’s ingenuity is the catalyst to put it all together. SharePrint RelatedIt takes THREE — Geocache of the WeekApril 24, 2019In “Geocache of the Week”Thank a geocaching volunteer dayMay 21, 2019In “Volunteers”Help Name the Next Geocacher of the MonthApril 18, 2014In “Community” Since he began in 2014, Bouncebounce has taken the caching world by storm—challenging what defines a cache container. The technical skills and extreme level of detail are consistent characteristics of his hides and leave cache finders in awe.If you find yourself in the Pacific Northwest near Seattle, put Bouncebounce caches on your List—they may inspire your own cache creation spirit!Geocaching HQ: What’s your background outside of geocaching?I’m a building engineer. However, I’ve always enjoyed taking things apart and putting them back together, trying to find new ways to make things work and troubleshoot issues.  Geocaching HQ: How and when did you hear about geocaching?In 2014, we went on a family vacation to Newport, Oregon. While visiting the aquarium we saw on their website that they had three special caches to find. We found those and then cached from Newport to Seattle on the way home.    Geocaching HQ: Which cache got you hooked?While we cached our way home from Newport, we stopped in Astoria. G-7 (GC1B4FP, now archived) took something everyday normal and made a cache out of it. We spent forever looking until a worker asked if we had found it yet. With a little nudge, we figured it out and I spent the rest of the drive home thinking how and where could I do something like that.Geocaching HQ: What is the story behind your username?I leave bouncy balls as swag—my son suggested “Bouncy Ball” which evolved into Bouncebounce.  Geocaching HQ: What is your favorite cache you’ve found?Johnny Islands Throne Room (GC57ZJR). This cache has everything I aspire to include in a cache… puzzles, electronics, details, and FUN!Geocaching HQ: What keeps you engaged with the game?The social aspect. I appreciate the feedback from great logs where people share the excitement I was able to bring to them. Events where people can unlock and discover my puzzle boxes are fun, but I really enjoy just talking with people. Because of all the positive feedback I’ve received, I am always thinking of new ways to create great experiences for future caches.    Geocaching HQ: For you, what makes a quality cache?Anything that you can tell the cache owner put time and effort into creating the cache. Frequently, I get messages from other cachers looking for advice or help, which I’m happy to provide. I believe that quality caches make the game more exciting.  Geocaching HQ: What’s the best approach to creating a geocache?First you need a location that will work well and not get muggled. Try to utilize items in that location that will blend in and create a fun experience for those finding it. Geocaching HQ: If someone reading this was looking for inspiration, what words of advice would you give them?Take your time and build something that is going to last. Anything that is interactive is always fun. Most importantly, it needs to be something you have fun making that will show in the end product. It’s about quality not quantity.  Geocaching HQ: You have a number of complicated and intricate caches. Do you find it difficult to provide maintenance on them?If you take the time to create a good cache, maintenance shouldn’t be an issue. That being said, the environment the cache is in may say otherwise. For my caches, I always try to make sure I have the correct container and power source for the location to prevent those issues.  Geocaching HQ: Have you ever had an idea that you thought was impossible?Nothing is impossible, but you need to decide how much time and money you want to invest in a cache. Geocaching HQ: Do you have a favorite hide of your own active caches?520 Travel Bug Hotel, one of my smart gadget caches. I was able to build this cache to blend into its environment so well that I receive messages from cachers asking where it is because it looks so real they don’t want to touch it. One of my favorite details is the warning sign above it, stating that it is indeed a geocache. I’m continually modifying this cache (and others as well) to continue to bring new and exciting experiences to those who find them. Since it’s a clean and secure TB hotel, it gets repeat visitors swapping out TBs frequently.With an endless amount of information, articles, and videos at your fingertips we have the ability to learn anything. It’s easy to stay in our comfort zone but our challenge to you is to add something new to your next cache, or to create your first geocache and hide it!It’s always good to try something new, and who knows, maybe you’ll create the next Geocache of the Week!Share with your Friends:Morelast_img read more

30-Day Blog Challenge Tip #9: Start With an Outline

first_img2. 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 Originally published May 6, 2019 7:30:00 PM, updated October 25 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 Tell us a little about yourself below to gain access today: Topics: Free Templates: How to Write a Blog Postcenter_img 1. List-Based PostExample: 10 Fresh Ways to Get Better Results From Your Blog PostsList-based posts are sometimes called “listicles,” a mix of the words “list” and “article.” These are articles that deliver information in the form of a list. A listicle uses subheaders to break down the blog post into individual pieces, helping readers skim and digest your content more easily. According to ClearVoice, listicles are among the most shared types of content on social media across 14 industries.As you can see in the example from our blog, above, listicles can offer various tips and methods for solving a problem.2. Thought Leadership PostExample: What I Wish I Had Known Before Writing My First BookThought leadership blog posts allow you to indulge in your expertise on a particular subject matter and share firsthand knowledge with your readers. These pieces — which can be written in the first person, like the post by Joanna Penn, shown above — help you build trust with your audience so people take your blog seriously as you continue to write for it.3. Curated Collection PostExample: 8 Examples of Evolution in ActionCurated collections are a special type of listicle blog post (the first blog post example, described above). But rather than sharing tips or methods of doing something, this type of blog post shares a list of real examples that all have something in common, in order to prove a larger point. In the example post above, Listverse shares eight real examples of evolution in action among eight different animals — starting with the peppered moth.4. Slideshare PresentationExample: The HubSpot Culture CodeSlideshare is a presentation tool owned by the social network, LinkedIn, that helps publishers package a lot of information into easily shareable slides. Think of it like a PowerPoint, but for the web. With this in mind, Slideshare blog posts help you promote your Slideshare so that it can generate a steady stream of visitors.Unlike blogs, Slideshare decks don’t often rank well on search engines, so they need a platform for getting their message out there to the people who are looking for it. By embedding and summarizing your Slideshare on a blog post, you can share a great deal of information and give it a chance to rank on Google at the same time.Need some Slideshare ideas? In the example above, we turned our company’s “Culture Code” into a Slideshare presentation that anyone can look through and take lessons from, and promoted it through a blog post.5. Newsjacking PostExample: Ivy Goes Mobile With New App for Designers”Newsjacking” is a nickname for “hijacking” your blog to break important news related to your industry. Therefore, the newsjack post is a type of article whose sole purpose is to garner consumers’ attention and, while offering them timeless professional advice, also prove your blog to be a trusted resource for learning about the big things that happen in your industry.The newsjack example above was published by Houzz, a home decor merchant and interior design resource, about a new mobile app that launched just for interior designers. Houzz didn’t launch the app, but the news of its launching is no less important to Houzz’s audience.6. Infographic PostExample: The Key Benefits of Studying Online [Infographic]The infographic post serves a similar purpose as the Slideshare post — the fourth example, explained above — in that it conveys information for which plain blog copy might not be the best format. For example, when you’re looking to share a lot of statistical information (without boring or confusing your readers), building this data into a well-designed, even fun-looking infographic can help keep your readers engaged with your content. It also helps readers remember the information long after they leave your website.7. How-to PostExample: How to Write a Blog Post: A Step-by-Step GuideFor our last example, you need not look any further than the blog post you’re reading right now! How-to guides like this one help solve a problem for your readers. They’re like a cookbook for your industry, walking your audience through a project step by step to improve their literacy on the subject. The more posts like this you create, the more equipped your readers will be to work with you and invest in the services you offer.Ready to blog? Don’t forget to download your six free blog post templates right here. 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] 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. Hi 👋 What’s your name?First NameLast NameHi null, what’s your email address?Email AddressAnd your phone number?Phone NumberWhat is your company’s name and website?CompanyWebsiteHow many employees work there?1Does your company provide any of the following services?Web DesignOnline MarketingSEO/SEMAdvertising Agency ServicesYesNoGet Your Free Templates Free Blog Post Templateslast_img read more

The Engagement Ring Story: How De Beers Created a Multi-Billion Dollar Industry From the Ground Up

first_img Topics: Originally published Jun 13, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated June 30 2017 One of the biggest assets in a married couple’s relationship, the diamond engagement ring, might be an emotional asset and a symbol of love and commitment — but in the financial sense of the word, it isn’t actually an asset at all.In fact, it’s worth at least 50% less than you paid for it the moment you left the jewelry store. Makes you wince a little, doesn’t it?And yet, we feel compelled to buy them for our loved ones anyway. Heck, I still want one even after writing this article. How did that become the norm? It’s hard to imagine that it’s only been three-quarters of a century since diamonds became the symbol of wealth, power, and romance they are in America today — and it was all because of a brilliant, multifaceted marketing strategy designed and executed by ad agency N.W. Ayer in the early 1900s for their client, De Beers.Over the course of a few decades, N.W. Ayer helped De Beers successfully turn a failing market into a psychological necessity, all during a period of war and economic turmoil.Click here to download our ultimate toolkit for social and PR branding.How exactly did N.W. Ayer convince Americans that diamonds are the ultimate symbols of love, romance, and marriage? What were the marketing campaigns that turned the diamond industry around — and were they morally sound?De Beers’ 80-year stronghold on the diamond industry was one of the most impressive and fascinating in history. Let’s take a critical look at how the company used marketing to create and manipulate demand for diamonds from nothing.How It All StartedDiamonds haven’t been rare stones since 1870, when huge diamond mines were discovered in South Africa. Soon after the discovery, the British financiers behind the South African mining efforts realized the diamond market would be saturated if they didn’t do something about it. So in 1888, they set two audacious goals:1) Monopolize diamond prices. They succeeded by creating De Beers Consolidated Mines, Ltd. and taking full ownership and control of the world diamond trade. While they stockpiled diamonds and sold them strategically to control price, De Beers Chairman Sir Ernest Oppenheimer cultivated a network of wholesalers all over the world.2) Stabilize the market. To succeed here, De Beers would have to figure out a way to control both supply and demand for diamonds worldwide. For this, they would need to find an ad agency.When De Beers began looking for an ad agency, the global economy was suffering and Europe was under threat of war. Their challenge was to figure out which country or countries had the most potential to support a growing diamond market, and then to hire an agency to implement a marketing campaign in those countries. Because of Europe’s preoccupation with the oncoming war, the U.S. was chosen — even though the total number of diamonds in the U.S. had declined by nearly 50% since the end of World War I.De Beers hired Philadelphia ad agency N.W. Ayer in 1938.The Birth of a VisionDe Beers chose N.W. Ayer because of their ideas on conducting extensive research on social attitudes about diamonds, and then strategically changing them to appeal to a wider audience.N.W. Ayer did exhaustive market research to figure out exactly what Americans thought about diamonds in the late 1930s. What they found was that diamonds were considered a luxury reserved only for the super wealthy, and that Americans were spending their money on other things like cars and appliances. To sell more and bigger diamonds, Ayer would have to market to consumers at varying income levels.So, how do they get more people to buy big diamonds in a bad economy? They needed to figure out a way to link diamonds with something emotional. And because diamonds weren’t worth much inherently, they also had to keep people from ever reselling them. What was emotional, socially valuable, and eternal? Love and marriage. Bingo.According to New York Times, N.W. Ayer’s game plan was to “create a situation where almost every person pledging marriage feels compelled to acquire a diamond engagement ring.”The concept of an engagement ring had existed since medieval times, but it had never been widely adopted. And before World War II, only 10% of engagement rings contained diamonds. With a carefully executed marketing strategy, N.W. Ayer could strengthen the tradition of engagement rings and transform public opinion about diamonds — from precious stones to essential parts of courtship and marriage. Eventually, Ayer would convince young men that diamonds are the ultimate gift of love, and young women that they’re an essential part of romantic relationships.Creating the NarrativeThe agency wanted to make it look like diamonds were everywhere, and they started by using celebrities in the media. “The big ones sell the little ones,” said Dorothy Dignam, a publicist for De Beers at N.W. Ayer. N.W. Ayer’s publicists wrote newspaper columns and magazine stories about celebrity proposals with diamond rings and the type, size, and worth of their diamonds. Fashion designers talked about the new diamond trend on radio shows.N.W. Ayer used traditional marketing tools like newspapers and radio in the first half of the twentieth century in a way that kind of reminds me of inbound marketing today: In addition to overt advertisements, they created entertaining and educational content — ideas, stories, fashion, and trends that supported their brand and product, but wasn’t explicitly about it. According to The Atlantic, N.W. Ayer wrote: “There was no direct sale to be made. There was no brand name to be impressed on the public mind. There was simply an idea — the eternal emotional value surrounding the diamond.” Their story was about the people who gave diamonds or were given diamonds, and how happy and loved those diamonds made them feel.Every one of De Beers’ advertisements featured an educational tip called, “How to Buy a Diamond.” The instructions said: “Ask about color, clarity and cutting — for these determine a diamond’s quality, contribute to its beauty and value. Choose a fine stone, and you’ll always be proud of it, no matter what its size.”The agency saw tremendous success from their early campaigns. In just four years between 1938 and 1941, they reported a 55% increase in U.S. diamond sales. Riding this success, N.W. Ayer began perfecting their marketing strategy in the 1940s. They wanted to convince Americans that marriages without diamonds were incomplete.”A Diamond Is Forever”These four iconic words have appeared in every single De Beers advertisement since 1948, and AdAge named it the #1 slogan of the century in 1999.According to a New York Times article, the woman behind the signature line (Frances Gerety, who wrote all of De Beers’ ads from 1943 to 1968) came up with it right before bed one night after forgetting to brainstorm it earlier for the next morning’s meeting. When she reviewed what she’d scribbled down the night before, she thought it was “just OK” — and, after presenting it at the morning meeting, no one was particularly enthusiastic. It’s unclear why the slogan was chosen anyway, but it was a choice that would contribute greatly to De Beers’ tremendous advertising success. Even now, the URL www.adiamondisforever.com redirects to De Beers’ main website.The slogan perfectly captured the sentiment De Beers was going for — that a diamond, like your relationship, is eternal — while also discouraging people from ever reselling their diamonds, as mass re-selling would disrupt the market and reveal the alarmingly low intrinsic value of the stones themselves.At the very beginning of N.W. Ayer’s campaigns for De Beers in the late 1930s, the suggested spend on an engagement ring was one month’s salary. In the 1980s, De Beers ran a campaign to reset the norm to two months’ salary. The ads said things like, “Isn’t two months’ salary a small price to pay for something that lasts forever?” The story from the campaign stuck, and De Beers’ “two months’ salary rule” is still widely accepted in the U.S. today.Scam or Genius?From the start, De Beers and their agency created and manipulated demand for diamonds by monopolizing the market, changing Americans’ social attitudes, and convincing people that a marriage isn’t complete without a diamond ring. So … are diamonds the biggest scam in history, or is this a prime example of ingenious marketing?De Beers knew their product wasn’t intrinsically valuable (like gold and silver is). So instead of marketing to their product, they mastered the art of marketing to values — in this case, the values and ethics surrounding love, romance, and marriage. No one was interested in buying diamonds when they conducted their first round of extensive market research, so they had to create that value themselves.I recently read a short Forbes article from 2011 called “There Is Only One Way To Make Money.” It’s about the difference between companies who find value, package it, and deliver it to customers, and companies who create value out of nothing.Most companies are the former, meaning they are reactive to existing value — like when Kraft Foods, Inc. changed its marketing strategy when market research showed a consumer attitude shift away from direct promotions of junk food to children. De Beers was part of the latter camp — their agency’s market research showed a major decrease in demand for diamonds, so they executed marketing campaigns that would shift, rather than accommodate, those existing social attitudes. While brilliant and successful, it also opens up a ton of ethical concerns. Regardless of which side you’re on, De Beers is a very interesting example to learn from. It’s fascinating how De Beers and N.W. Ayer created demand from nothing by coming up with a story and value proposition around their product — and it’s still successful today. Since the turn of the century, De Beers has effectively lost its monopoly of the world diamond trade, although they still bring in billions of dollars every year. But by marketing an idea rather than a product, they built a strong foundation for the $72 billion-per-year diamond industry and dominated it for a good 80 years — and that’s a story worth learning more about.So, what do you think of their marketing over the last century? I’m curious to hear your opinions in the comments below!Image Credit: De Beers, Advertising Archives Don’t forget to share this post! 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How to Create Detailed Buyer Personas for Your Business [Free Persona Template]

first_img Buyer Personas When creating forms to use on your website, use form fields that capture important persona information. For example, if all of your personas vary based on company size, ask each lead for information about company size on your forms. Take into consideration your sales team’s feedback on the leads they’re interacting with most. What generalizations can they make about the different types of customers you serve best?Interview customers and prospects, either in person or over the phone, to discover what they like about your product or service. This is one of the most important steps, so let’s discuss it in greater detail …How to Find Interviewees for Researching Buyer PersonasOne of the most critical steps to establishing your buyer persona(s) is finding some people to speak with to suss out, well, who your buyer persona is. That means you’ll have to conduct some interviews to get to know what drives your target audience. But how do you find those interviewees? There are a few sources you should tap into:1) CustomersYour existing customer base is the perfect place to start with your interviews, because they’ve already purchased your product and engaged with your company. At least some of them are likely to exemplify your target persona(s).Reach out to both “good” and “bad” customers. You don’t just want to talk to people who love your product and want to spend an hour gushing about you (as good as that feels). Customers who are unhappy with your product will show other patterns that will help you form a solid understanding of your personas. For example, you might find that some of these “bad” customers have bigger teams and thus need a collaboration element to the product. Or you may find that “bad” customers find your product too technical and difficult to use. In both cases, you learn something about your product and what your customers’ challenges are.Another benefit to interviewing customers is that you may not need to offer them an incentive like a gift card (a typical incentive for participating in surveys or interviews). Customers usually like being heard, and interviewing them gives them a chance to tell you about their world, their challenges, and what they think of your product. Customers also like to have an impact on the products they use, so you may find that, as you involve them in interviews like this, they become even more loyal to your company. When you reach out to customers, be clear that your goal is to get their feedback and that it’s highly valued by your team.2) ProspectsBe sure to balance out your interviews with people who have not purchased your product or know much about your company. Your current prospects and leads are a great option here because you already have their contact information. Use the data you do have about them (i.e. anything you’ve collected through lead generation forms or website analytics) to figure out who might fit into your target personas.3) ReferralsYou’ll probably also need to rely on some referrals to talk to people who may fit into your target personas, particularly if you’re heading into new markets or don’t have any leads or customers yet. Reach out to your network — co-workers, existing customers, social media contacts — to find people you’d like to interview and get introduced to. It may be tough to get a large volume of people this way, but you’ll likely get some very high-quality interviews out of it. If you don’t know where to start, try searching on LinkedIn for people who may fit into your target personas and see which results have any connections in common with you. Then reach out to your common connections for introductions.4) Third-Party NetworksFor interviewees who are completely removed from your company, there are a few third-party networks you can recruit from. Craigslist allows you to post ads for people interested in any kind of job, and UserTesting.com allows you to run remote user testing (with some follow-up questions). You’ll have less control over sessions run through UserTesting.com, but it’s a great resource for quick user testing recruiting.Tips for Recruiting IntervieweesAs you reach out to potential interviewees, here are a few tips for getting a better response rate:1) Use incentives. While you may not need them in all scenarios (e.g. customers who already want to talk to you), incentives give people a reason to participate in an interview if they don’t have a relationship with you. A simple gift card (like an Amazon or Visa credit card) is an easy option.2) Be clear this isn’t a sales call. This is especially important when dealing with non-customers. Be clear that you’re doing research and that you just want to learn from them. You are not getting them to commit to a one-hour sales call; you’re getting them to commit to telling you about their lives, jobs, and challenges.3) Make it easy to say yes. Take care of everything for your potential interviewee. Suggest times, but be flexible; allow them to pick a time right off the bat; and send a calendar invitation with a reminder to block off their time.How Many People Do You Need to Interview?Unfortunately the answer is, it depends. Start with at least 3-5 interviews for each persona you’re creating. If you already know a lot about your persona, then that may be enough. You may need to do 3-5 interviews in each category of interviewees (customers, prospects, people who don’t know your company).The rule of thumb is, when you start accurately predicting what your interviewee is going to say, it’s probably time to stop. Through these interviews, you’ll naturally start to notice patterns. Once you start expecting and predicting what your interviewee is going to say, that means you’ve interviewed enough people to find and internalize these patterns.20 Questions to Ask in Persona InterviewsIt’s time to conduct the interview! After the normal small talk and thank-you’s, it’s time to jump into your questions. There are several different categories of questions you’ll want to ask in order to create a complete persona profile. The following questions are organized into those categories, but feel free to customize this list and remove or add more questions that may be appropriate for your target customers.Role1) What is your job role? Your title?2) How is your job measured?3) What does a typical day look like?4) What skills are required to do your job?5) What knowledge and tools do you use in your job?6) Who do you report to? Who reports to you?Company7) In which industry or industries does your company work?8) What is the size of your company (revenue, employees)?Goals9) What are you responsible for?10) What does it mean to be successful in your role?Challenges11) What are your biggest challenges?Watering Holes12) How do you learn about new information for your job?13) What publications or blogs do you read?14) What associations and social networks do you participate in?Personal Background15) Describe your personal demographics (if appropriate, ask their age, whether they’re married, if they have children).16) Describe your educational background. What level of education did you complete, which schools did you attend, and what did you study?17) Describe your career path. How did you end up where you are today?Shopping Preferences18) How do you prefer to interact with vendors (e.g. email, phone, in person)?19) Do you use the internet to research vendors or products? If yes, how do you search for information?20) Describe a recent purchase. Why did you consider a purchase, what was the evaluation process, and how did you decide to purchase that product or service?The #1 Tip for a Successful Persona Interview: Ask “Why”The follow up question to pretty much every question in the above list should be “why?”Through these interviews, you’re trying to understand your customers’ or potential customers’ goals, behaviors, and what drives them. But keep in mind that people are not always great at reflecting on their own behaviors to tell you what drives them at their core. You don’t care that they measure the number of visits to their website, for example. What you care about is that they measure that because they need a number they control to show their boss they’re doing a good job.Start with a simple question — one of our favorites is, “What is your biggest challenge?” Then spend a good amount of time diving deeper into that one question to learn more about that person. You learn more by asking “why?” than by asking more superficial questions.How to Use Your Research to Create Your PersonaOnce you’ve gone through the research process, you’ll have a lot of meaty, raw data about your potential and current customers. But what do you do with it? How do you distill all of that so it’s easy for everyone to understand all the information you’ve gathered?The next step is to use your research to identify patterns and commonalities from the answers to your interview questions, develop at least one primary persona, and share that persona with the rest of the company.Use our free, downloadable persona template to organize the information you’ve gathered about your persona(s). Then share these slides with the rest of your company so everyone can benefit from the research you’ve done and develop an in-depth understanding of the person (or people) they’re targeting every day at work.Here’s how to use the template to do it …Fill in Your Persona’s Basic Demographic InformationIf you didn’t feel comfortable asking some of these demographic-based questions on the phone or in person, you can also conduct online surveys to gather this information. Some people are more comfortable disclosing things like this through a survey rather than verbal communication.It’s also helpful to include some descriptive buzzwords and mannerisms of your persona that you may have picked up on during your conversations to make it easier for people in your sales department to identify certain personas when they’re talking to prospects.Here’s an example of how you might complete Section 1 in your template for one of your personas:Share What You’ve Learned About Your Persona’s MotivationsThis is where you’ll distill the information you learned from asking “Why” so much during those interviews. What keeps your persona up at night? Who do they want to be? Most importantly, tie that all together by telling people how your company can help them.Help Your Sales Team Prepare for Conversations With Your PersonaInclude some real quotes from your interviews that exemplify what your personas are concerned about, who they are, and what they want. Then create a list of the objections they might raise so your sales team is prepared to address those during their conversations with prospects.Help Craft Messaging for Your PersonaTell people how to talk about your products/services with your persona. This includes the nitty gritty vernacular you should use, as well as a more general elevator pitch that positions your solution in a way that resonates with your persona. This will help you ensure everyone in your company is speaking the same language when they’re having conversations with leads and customers.Finally, make sure you give your persona a name (like Finance Manager Margie, IT Ian, or Landscaper Larry), and include a real-life image of your persona so everyone can truly envision what he or she looks like. Purchase an image from a stock photograph site like Thinkstock, or download one of our royalty-free images. It may seem silly, but it really helps to put a name to a face, so to speak!And if you’re a HubSpot customer, you can add your persona right into your HubSpot Marketing Platform. Just follow this step-by-step setup guide. Now, find out the best questions to ask when creating your next buyer persona. Finance Manager Margie. IT Ian. Landscaper Larry. Do you know who your business’s buyer personas are? And exactly how much do you know about them?Buyer personas (sometimes referred to as marketing personas) are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. Personas help us all — in marketing, sales, product, and services — internalize the ideal customer we’re trying to attract, and relate to our customers as real humans. Having a deep understanding of your buyer persona(s) is critical to driving content creation, product development, sales follow up, and really anything that relates to customer acquisition and retention.”Okay, so personas are really important to my business. But … how do I actually make one?”Download Our Free Buyer Persona Guide + Templates Ahh … the million dollar question. The good news is, they aren’t that difficult to create. You just need to ask the right questions to the right people, and present that information in a helpful way so the people in your business can get to know your persona(s) better than the backs of their hands.Now for the even better news: As you may have noticed above, we’ve put together an interview guide and a free template for creating buyer personas, so it’s easy as pie to do your persona research and compile it all into a beautiful, presentable, palatable format. So follow along with this interview guide, and download the persona template so you can start plugging in your research. Before you know it, you’ll have complete, well thought-out buyer personas to show off to your entire company!Before we dive into the buyer persona-creation process, let’s pause to understand the impact having well-developed buyer personas can have on your business — and specifically your marketing.Why Exactly Are Buyer Personas So Important to Your Business?Buyer personas help you understand your customers (and prospective customers) better. This makes it easier for you to tailor your content, messaging, product development, and services to the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of different groups. In other words, you may know your target buyers are caregivers, but do you know what their specific needs and interests are? What is the typical background of your ideal buyer? In order to get a full understanding of what makes your best customers tick, it’s critical to develop detailed personas for your business.The strongest buyer personas are based on market research as well as insights you gather from your actual customer base (through surveys, interviews, etc.). Depending on your business, you could have as few as one or two personas, or as many as 10 or 20. But if you’re new to personas, start small! You can always develop more personas later if needed.What About “Negative” Personas?Whereas a buyer persona is a representation of your ideal customer, a negative — or “exclusionary” — persona is a representation of who you don’t want as a customer.For example, this could include professionals who are too advanced for your product or service, students who are only engaging with your content for research/knowledge, or potential customers who are just too expensive to acquire (because of a low average sale price, their propensity to churn, or their unlikeliness to purchase again from your company).How Can Personas Be Used in Marketing?At the most basic level, developing personas allows you to create content and messaging that appeals to your target audience. It also enables you to target or personalize your marketing for different segments of your audience. For example, instead of sending the same lead nurturing emails to everyone in your database, you can segment by buyer persona and tailor your messaging according to what you know about those different personas.Furthermore, when combined with lifecycle stage (i.e. how far along someone is in your sales cycle), buyer personas also allow you to map out and create highly targeted content. You can learn more about how to do that by downloading our Content Mapping Template. And if you take the time to also create negative personas, you’ll have the added advantage of being able to segment out the “bad apples” from the rest of your contacts, which can help you achieve a lower cost-per-lead and cost-per-customer — and see higher sales productivity.Now, are you ready to start creating your buyer personas?How to Create Buyer PersonasBuyer personas can be created through research, surveys, and interviews of your target audience. That includes a mix of customers, prospects, and those outside your contacts database who might align with your target audience.Here are some practical methods for gathering the information you need to develop personas: Topics:center_img Originally published May 28, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated May 17 2018 Look through your contacts database to uncover trends about how certain leads or customers find and consume your content. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

5 Blogs With Comments You’ll Actually Want to Read

first_imgCopyblogger rocked the blogging world when they stopped facilitating comments on their blog and instead encouraged people to take the comments to social or to their own blogs. Thing is, this “we know what’s good for you” approach failed to take into account what their readers want – which is, to comment when they want, where they want.Lucky for us, there are still a multitude of great marketing blogs that welcome our comments. If you’re looking for a blog where the comments are as good as the articles, you’ve come to the right place.1) Grow – Mark SchaeferMany marketers (including me) love him for his forward thinking, his approachability, his no-nonsense advice, and his entertaining podcast with cohost and voiceover genius Tom Webster. Have you heard about the concept of “Content Shock”? You know that because of Mark’s post Content Shock: Why content marketing is not a sustainable strategy published in the beginning of 2014.That one blog post has 392 comments on it. Not painful, “great post” comments either. Mark’s ideas ignite debate, foster creativity and provide a fantastic exchange of ideas that are as valuable as the posts themselves. And even on an article with nearly four hundred comments, he replies to nearly every one of them. Having written for his blog before, I also know he asks contributing writers to respond as well.Check it out if: you want to be on the leading edge of marketing trends and get the inside scoop on how industry experts are reacting to and implementing them.2) Web Search SocialRalph and Carol Lynn Rivera have created something of a cult following for their podcast. The show notes are the place to continue the conversation you’ve been having with them in your head as you listen.One of the draws for the comments section is that Melanie Kissell nearly always writes a poem for each episode. Clever and fun, these really add to the program.Not ones to shy away from controversy, Ralph and Carol Lynn have taken on some common marketing practices and even specific tools on their show. This episode with the founder of Snip.ly lead to some interesting back and forth, including one comment which likens anyone wishing to protect their intellectual property to a whiny two-year old. The intelligent responses from hosts and guests and continuing dialogue never fail to get the creative juices flowing.Check it out if: you enjoy marketing smarts with a hefty dose of witty banter.3) Neil PatelNeil loves data. He’s a tester, an analyst, and he shares generously, including printscreens from his Google analytics and tons of numbers to back up his findings. He often presents his “how-tos” in a step-by-step format, which is especially helpful on his typically very long posts.What is great about some of the commenters here (and you do have to wade through quite a few “you are the best!” comments) is that they ask really personal questions that some of us might not feel comfortable asking. “How did you create that opt-in?” “How do you find time to write so much?” And Neil answers all questions graciously. Seriously, this guy is on top of it and is a real gentleman. You’ll also notice that commenters add in their own A/B results, link to other related articles, etc. So, you’re really getting double the content!Check it out: if you want to get the inside scoop on Neil’s considerable marketing success and a well-rounded look at what’s working for many companies.4) Seriously Social Iag.me with Ian Anderson GrayIan’s blog is the go-to blog for real tech and marketing geeks – and I mean that lovingly! He enjoys writing about tools and programs for marketers in a way that I quite appreciate. He’ll share his findings, pros, cons, setup instructions, etc. Seriously useful.The comments section often attracts the founders or representatives of the companies creating the tools he reviews, meaning commenters can get their own questions answered from Ian AND from the companies themselves. In Ian’s more technical posts, you will notice he addresses each commenter, helping to debug where necessary, even years after the post goes live.Ian said about his “7 Reasons NOT to use Hootsuite” article “It’s turned into a mini community (which I always strive to make my articles into). It’s been a place for people to ask questions, ask advice, share frustrations and give feedback.” Indeed it has – with nearly 500 comments and counting.Check it out if: you enjoy an objective look at tools and programs and want to engage with company representatives.5) Adrienne SmithAdrienne claims her business is about “Showing Bloggers How to Grow a Blog One Relationship at a Time.” She delivers.As with all good comment sections, Adrienne’s loyal readers add in great tools and success stories that add to the already useful content Adrienne supplies. But what really stands out is the way the commenters all seem to know and support each other, with Adrienne facilitating. This is not done in a way that makes new readers feel they are late to the party (I just started commenting today), rather it leaves one feeling as if they’ve stumbled upon a very safe place to ask questions and express concerns.Check it out if: you are looking for a supportive community as you grow your business.Blog commenting is a great way to get to know people, to get your questions answered, and to express your opinions. Which blogs do you follow for the comments? Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Sep 16, 2015 1:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Blogginglast_img read more