Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest After being a suspected issue due to the unusual late spring and early summer weather and Tropical Storm Cindy moving through the area back in June, southern rust was confirmed late last week in several counties in central and southern Ohio.Evan Delk, a CCA with Integrated Ag Services sent samples he thought were suspect to Ohio State professor in the Department of Plant Pathology, Pierce Paul, who later confirmed those samples to be southern rust.Southern rust found in Clark Co, Ohio. Courtesy of Evan Delk, Integrated Ag. ServicesSouthern Corn Rust is a fungal disease that generally affects corn after silking. Weather conditions can have a significant affect on when southern rust develops and how far and quickly the disease spreads.According to Stewart Seeds, southern rust has the potential to cause yield loss due to its ability to develop and spread rapidly. The effect of the disease on corn plant health and yield depends on time of infection. Plants infected early in the season may develop significant damage to leaf tissue. Heavy infections of southern rust can lead to early senescence and can limit the ability of the plant to produce carbohydrates for grain fill. This leads to stalk cannibalization and may predispose the plant to stalk lodging, stalk rots, and reduced grain quality.Southern rust found in Clark Co, Ohio. Courtesy of Evan Delk, Integrated Ag. ServicesIf southern rust is identified, growers in the region should first focus their scouting efforts on irrigated, late-planted fields or low-lying fields, such as river bottoms, that are prone to moist conditions. Irrigated or river bottom fields are more likely to have the high humidity required by southern rust to infect corn. Late-planted fields are at risk for developing more severe infections of southern rust because young leaves are more susceptible than older leaves. When scouting for southern rust, determine the growth stage and yield potential to help evaluate whether or not fungicide applications are an economically feasible option.
Last Year’s GIFF Geocoin. Photos by Suzi-Pratt.comBy Reid, Around this time last year, my co-HQer and the great Geocaching Block Party organizer, Amy, said something like, “Hey Reid, so it turns out we have access to a very large screen for Block Party. What should we do with it?” After a thoughtful pause I said, “What if we hosted a film festival?” Amy did a giddy dance and the Geocaching International Film Festival (GIFF) was officially born. In true “If you build it they will come” fashion, the ambitious idea was a success. We received over 100 submissions from more than 20 countries! After spending three years of telling the stories of geocachers for Geocaching HQ, I was truly inspired to see how the community chose to tell their own. Our inaugural GIFF was such a hit that we decided to do it again this year.Crawling around in a cave. Anything for the shot!It has now been four years that I’ve been running through forests, crouching into caves, and crawling through sewers to tell the stories of people who love to find and hide geocaches. I like to think I’ve learned a thing or two about what makes for good geocaching video, and with the help of the GIFF judges from HQ, I have compiled five tips to up your chances of being one of the finalists for this year’s Geocaching International Film Festival.1. Less is MoreJust because you can submit up to 4 minutes of video doesn’t necessarily mean you should. When I make videos I think, “What is the simplest way I can tell this story?” Then, I add from there if I can’t resist. This will help you focus on what is truly important and keep your audience engaged. Last year’s finalist, Godzilla Goes Geocaching, is a great example of a geocacher who used 1 minute and 32 seconds to tell his story.2. Global AppealHow are you going to communicate your love of the game to 9 million geocachers from more than 185 countries? Something that might be amazing for your local community may not speak to the global community. One of last year’s finalists, Geocaching Day, is a story told without dialogue that speaks to the adventurous spirit of geocachers everywhere.GIFF on the Big Screen. Photos by Suzi-Pratt.com3. Focus on QualityWe understand if geocaching comes before filmmaking on your hobby list—we’re not looking for Hollywood here. We are, however, looking for videos that will look and sound good on the big screen. If you can, use a tripod and an external mic. If you can’t, have your actors speak close to your on-camera mic and use a natural tripod like a tree or your friend’s shoulder. For inspiration, check out last year’s winner for Best Cinematography: Galaxy Cache. For more technical tips, I highly recommend checking out Vimeo’s Video School.4. Follow the RulesFor real. We had to deny one of our favorite films last year because they didn’t have permission for the songs they used. If you’re serious about being considered as a finalist, I recommend grabbing a coffee, a snack, a highlighter and reading through the GIFF guidelines.5. Have Fun!If you’re not having fun making your film, your audience won’t have fun watching it. Though I know they didn’t get much sleep, I’m pretty sure the creators of My Geocaching Addiction had a pretty good time putting it together. Oh, and they just happened to take home the Audience Award.We are on the edges of our exercise ball chairs over here at HQ to see what you come up with for GIFF 2014.You can also see all of last year’s finalists here.Not going to submit, but want to watch the finalists on the big screen? Log your will attend here.Geocachers watching the GIFF 2013 Finalists. Photos by Suzi-Pratt.comShare with your Friends:More SharePrint RelatedInside Geocaching HQ Podcast Transcript (Episode 9): GIFFMay 10, 2018In “Community”Inside Geocaching HQ Transcript (Episode 30): GIFFOctober 11, 2019In “GIFF”Interviews With Geocaching Filmmakers – Part 2February 18, 2015In “GIFF”
BJP president Nitin Gadkari has gone hard on Home Minister P. Chidambaram. Firing on all cylinders, Gadkari has challenged Chidambaram to come clean on the 2G issue. In an interview to India Today Editorial Director M.J. Akbar on Aaj Tak’s Seedhi Baat, Gadkari claims to have proof that could embarrass Chidambaram. “Chidambaramji ko 2G spectrum ko clear karne ke liye bohot Lakshmi darshan hua hai (Chidambaramji’s palms have been greased in order to get the 2G spectrum nod.),” Gadkari told Aaj Tak, adding, the BJP MPs will soon provide the CBI evidence against him, seeking a probe. “Soon our MPs will go to the CBI and show them the evidence against Chidambaram, ask for an inquiry, lodge an FIR and take action against him,” Gadkari said. Gadkari alleged former telecom minister A. Raja and other corporate honchos currently in jail are not the sole beneficiaries of the 2G scam. Chidambaram too has a stake in it, the BJP chief says. “Chidambaram has signed at least 10 papers, relating to the clearances in the 2G spectrum, which shows he got money,” Gadkari says. Ironically, the allegation coincides with the Reliance Industries Limited or RIL’s apology for an employee’s remark against Chidambaram. RIL’s K.R. Raja, in a taped conversation with corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, had suggested that Chidambaram was a beneficiary in the 2G spectrum scam. Chidambaram had dismissed the allegations saying, the statements attributed to K. Ramachandran Raja are totally false and defamatory. The conversation between him and Ms Radia is reckless and malicious gossip, he had said. Chidambaram had sent a legal notice to the company. The Home minister is facing heat from all corners. Earlier this week, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa demanded his resignation on charges that he won his 2009 parliamentary election by fraudulent means and now the BJP is dragging him into the 2G scam. The Congress has stood by the minister, terming the allegations as baseless. But for BJP, the latest from the Radia tapes has given it new ammunition to target the UPA. For more news on India, click here.For more news on Business, click here.For more news on Movies, click here.For more news on Sports, click here.advertisement
Eliud Kipchoge ran the quickest recorded marathon on Saturday, crossing the line at the Monza Formula One track in two hours and 25 seconds but missing out on an ambitious attempt to break the two-hour barrier.The 32-year-old’s time smashed the official mark of 2:02:57 set by fellow Kenyan Dennis Kimetto in Berlin in 2014 but will not enter the record books largely due to a non-compliant system of pacemaking.”The is not the end of the attempt of runners on two hours,” the Olympic champion said after the race, likening the challenge to climbing a tree. “When you step on the branches… immediately you go to the next one.”Kipchoge rated it as the finest performance in a career that includes a gold medal at the Rio Games last year and a personal best official time of 2:03:05, the third-fastest in history.”This journey has been good, it has been hard, it has been seven months hard preparation. It has been history in the world of sport,” he added.Kipchoge and the only other competitors, Eritrean Zersenay Tadese and Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa, ran behind an arrow-head formation of pacemakers, to reduce drag, and a car beaming a green line on the road behind it to show the required speed for the sub-two hour target.Amid deep scepticism, Nike pitched the attempt as sport’s “moon shot”, with a keen eye on sales of its running shoes. It designed a lightweight shoe, Zoom Vaporfly Elite, with a carbon-fibre insole as part of the meticulous preparations.advertisementNike’s arch rival, German firm adidas, also has its own ‘Sub2’ project, also with a new shoe.30 PACEMAKERSIn 2014, “Runners World” magazine predicted a sub-two under normal race conditions would not happen until 2075, based on analysis of more than 10,000 top marathon performances.The race began in pre-dawn gloom at a brutal speed behind pacemakers, who were world class runners in their own right, including former world champion middle distance runner Bernard Lagat of the United States.A total of 30 pacemakers split into groups of six, taking turns to set a tempo in a race run 63 years to the day after Briton Roger Bannister became the first man to run a mile in less than four minutes.The Monza track was chosen for its wide, sweeping curves, lack of undulation and cool, low-wind environment. The runners were also delivered essential fluids on the move by moped in order to prevent them slowing down at feeding stations.The sub-two hour mark required a pace below four minutes and 35 seconds per mile, which the determined Kipchoge managed to match until falling behind the pace car in the last two laps of the 2.4 km circuit.Kipchoge completed the first half of the race in 59:57, just one and a half minutes off the official half-marathon world record set by Saturday’s second-place finisher, Tadese.The 35-year-old Eritrean, the oldest competitor on Saturday, finished in 2:06:51, followed by the youngest, 26-year-old Desisa, in 2:14:10.
Today, LinkedIn, the social network targeted towards business professionals, released its offical share button . The button allows LinkedIn users to easily share content they find interesting and relevant with their network. Publishers can find instructions for how to add the share button on the Marketing Takeaway With all easily implemented options for sharing content such as Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Delicious, etc. it probably isn’t going to be the ease of execution that determines how successful LinkedIn’s share button is. At 85 million users and a new users joining every second the success of LinkedIn’s share button is going to fall in the hands of it’s users. Once you have taken the time to create remarkable content make sure that you are doing everything you can to share it with your entire network. Since your LinkedIn network may find your content relevant this is an excellent way allow them to help you spread your content beyond your immediate reach. Head on over to LinkedIn to try out your share button today. Originally published Nov 30, 2010 3:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Social Media Engagement Since those connected on LinkedIn most likely share business interests, it is very likely that the LinkedIn share button becomes a standard for business related content. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack portion of the LinkedIn site. LinkedIn is offering three options to choose from: a vertical button with a share counter, a horizontal button with a share counter, and a horizontal button without a counter. To add a button to your website or blog all you need to do is choose a button style and copy and paste a few lines of code. publishers 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 With 44% of online consumers using or searching daily deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, it’s doubtful that the group buying craze will sizzle away any time soon. But while consumers are obviously finding daily deal sites valuable, businesses are divided on whether using them as a promotional tool is truly effective. In fact, 82% of businesses are unsatisfied with the amount of repeat business they generate after running a Groupon deal. That said, 45% of local businesses indicate they would advertise with Groupon again.Consider the facts, compiled into this helpful infographic from BuySellAds.Have you experimented with daily deal site promotions? Where do you stand in the daily deal debate? Originally published Dec 5, 2011 6:30:00 PM, updated March 21 2013
Make it short. This is advice you’ll often hear from experts about producing online video for marketing. Making your videos brief will ensure that your content captures and keeps the short attention span of viewers. But, wait — what if this short attention span is a myth?Understandably, most would say, “It’s not a myth.” Video abandonment rates have traditionally been very high. In fact, a 2010 study by Visible Measures showed that 33% of viewers click away from a video after the first 30 seconds, and 44% will leave after the first 60 seconds. So you’d better keep your videos under a minute, right? Not necessarily.Lately, we’ve started noticing some very high-quality online videos that seem to be successfully maintaining the attention of viewers for well over a minute. In fact, for more than three, five, and even ten minutes. This dynamic is primarily due to the content of the video, which isn’t promotional and boring, but informative and/or entertaining.The Video Content Shapes Its Power & ReachSome of the online marketing videos we’ve started seeing today are more like short movies than interruptive ads, and that’s a fundamental shift from traditional advertising. Up until now, the majority of the video ads out there (both on TV as well as on the web) revolve around a product or a service and are placed in between TV shows and movies. In this context, the TV shows and movies are the valuable content worth watching, and the ads are trying to steal minutes from your precious time to sell to you.Now, we are seeing video ads that are the actual content and revolve around something bigger than a product or a service — something a viewer would actually care about. This new generation of video marketing has swept us with its thought-provoking nature because it introduces content that, as AdWeek reporter Tim Nudd says, “makes you believe people don’t have short attention spans after all.”Let’s look at some examples of how some companies have leveraged video storytelling for marketing:Example #1: Nike’s “My Time Is Now”Nike’s recent cinematic video ad is designed to inspire youth to get deeply involved with soccer by learning about some key players and what it takes to be walking in their ‘sneakers.’ The video is like an interactive labyrinth of potential ‘tunnels’ the viewer can take to learn more about soccer. For instance, you can find out the name of a featured soccer player, along with their date of birth, an inspiring quote by them, and a chance to follow them on a social channel like Twitter. By clicking on some other elements in the video, like a player’s watch or plastic water bottle, you can also learn more about Nike’s products or get insights into soccer-specific activities like workouts and games.The ad aired on TV only after it debuted on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Nikefootball.com. “Instead of making a big ad for TV then putting together a bolt-on interactive version, what we have done is make an interactive film and experience, then created an edit for TV,” says Graeme Douglas, W+K London head of interactive and innovation for Fast Company. “That’s a fundamental shift.”This ad isn’t about making a Nike sales pitch. It’s about something much larger that Nike is simply proud to be part of.Example #2: HORNBACH’s “Infinite House”Another great example of a long-form video ad that engages with its content is “The Infinite House” by German home improvement company HORNBACH. The 9-minute ad is about a new neighbor who transforms his little hut and brings joy and warmth to his neighbors. With its soft images and magical music, the video evokes a distant memory of some (maybe German) fairytale. Although none of the characters express their feelings, the video conveys a range of emotions from darkness and despair to lightness and hope.The official video has more than 250K views on YouTube, but other users have republished it and contributed tens of thousands of other views. Aside from a subtle and brief product placement during the video, HORNBACH is mentioned only at the end of the ad. Yet, like the Nike ad discussed above, this is not a sales pitch but rather a story much larger and more infinite than the product.Example #3: TNT’s “Push the Red Button”For the launch of its channel in Belgium, TNT hired an agency to shoot a reality-TV type of ad. The agency got permission from a little town in Belgium to set up hidden cameras around a small red button with an arrow inviting people to press it. Once the button is pressed, a crew of actors rushes in and performs dramatic stunts.A call-to-action appears at the end of the shoot announcing TNT as “Your Daily Dose of Drama.” In this way, everything comes together nicely and entertains both the community in this small Belgium town and the online YouTube community. The video, which has now accumulated more than 33 million views, got coverage from a number of sites, including the Huffington Post, Time and WebProNews.The trend we’re noticing here is pretty obvious: creating compelling video content that captures the audience’s attention through storytelling rather than bombarding them with product-oriented messaging seems to make the attention span myth moot. People are willing to invest a few more minutes in watching your video content if it informs/entertains them and keeps their interest piqued.What are some other online videos you couldn’t stop watching? How have you incorporated more storytelling elements into your video marketing? Share your videos in the comments! Video Marketing Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Originally published May 29, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016
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 How to Write a Blog Post1. Understand your audience.Before you start to write your first blog post, have a clear understanding of your target audience. What do they want to know about? What will resonate with them? This is where creating your buyer personas comes in handy. Consider what you know about your buyer personas and their interests while you’re coming up with a topic for your blog post.For instance, if your readers are millennials looking to start their own business, you probably don’t need to provide them with information about getting started in social media — most of them already have that down. You might, however, want to give them information about how to adjust their approach to social media from a more casual, personal one to a more business-savvy, networking-focused approach. That kind of tweak is what separates you from blogging about generic stuff to the stuff your audience really wants (and needs) to hear.Don’t have buyer personas in place for your business? Here are a few resources to help you get started:Create Buyer Personas for Your Business [Free Template]Blog Post: How to Create Detailed Buyer Personas for Your BusinessMakeMyPersona.com [Free Tool] 2. Create your blog domain.Next, you’ll need a place to host this and every other blog post you write. This requires choosing a content management system (CMS) and a website domain hosting service.Sign Up With a Content Management SystemA CMS helps you create a website domain where you’ll actually publish your blog. The CMS platforms available for you to sign up for can manage domains, where you create your own website; and subdomains, where you create a webpage that connects with an existing website.HubSpot customers host their website content through HubSpot’s content management system. Another popular option is a self-hosted WordPress website on WP Engine. Whether they create a domain or a subdomain to start their blog, they’ll need to choose a web domain hosting service after choosing their CMS.This is true for every blogger seeking to start their own blog on their own website.Register a Domain or Subdomain With a Website HostYour own blog domain will look like this: www.yourblog.com. The name between the two periods is up to you, as long as this domain name doesn’t yet exist on the internet.Want to create a subdomain for your blog? If you already own a cooking business at www.yourcompany.com, you might create a blog that looks like this: blog.yourcompany.com. In other words, your blog’s subdomain will live in its own section of yourcompany.com.Some CMSs offer subdomains as a free service, where your blog lives on the CMS, rather than your business’s website. For example, it might look like “yourblog.contentmanagementsystem.com.” However, in order to create a subdomain that belongs to a company website, you’ll need to register this subdomain with a website host.Most website hosting services charge very little to host an original domain — in fact, website costs can be as inexpensive as $3 per month. Here are five popular web hosting services to choose from:GoDaddyHostGatorDreamHostBluehostiPage3. Customize your blog’s theme.Once you have your blog domain set up, customize the appearance of your blog to reflect the theme of the content you plan on creating.Are you writing about sustainability and the environment? Green might be a color to keep in mind when designing the look and feel of your blog, as green is often associated with sustainability.If you already manage a website, and are writing your first blog post for that website, it’s important that your blog is consistent with this existing website, both in appearance and subject matter. Two things to include right away are:Logo. This can be your name or your business’s logo, either one helping to remind your readers who or what is publishing this content. How heavily you want to brand this blog, in relation to your main brand, is up to you.”About” page. You might already have an “About” blurb describing yourself or your business. Your blog’s “About” section is an extension of this higher-level statement. Think of it as your blog’s mission statement, which serves to support your company’s goals.4. Identify your first blog post’s topic.Before you even write anything, you need to pick a topic for your blog post. The topic can be pretty general to start with. For example, if you’re a plumber, you might start out thinking you want to write about leaky faucets.Then, as you do your research, you can expand the topic to discuss how to fix a leaky faucet based on the various causes of a faucet leak.You might not want to jump right into a “how-to” article for your first blog post, though, and that’s okay. Perhaps you’d like to write about modern types of faucet setups, or tell one particular success story you had rescuing a faucet before it flooded someone’s house.If a plumber’s first how-to article is about how to fix a leaky faucet, for example, here are four other types of sample blog post ideas a plumber might start with, based on the five free blog templates we’ve offered to you:List-based Post: 5 ways to fix a leaky faucetCurated Collection Post: 10 faucet and sink brands you should look into todaySlideShare Presentation: 5 types of faucets that should replace your old one (with pictures)News post: New study shows X% of people don’t replace their faucet on timeFind more examples of blog posts at the end of this step-by-step guide.If you’re having trouble coming up with topic ideas, check out this blog post from my colleague Ginny Soskey. In this post, Soskey walks through a helpful process for turning one idea into many. Similar to the “leaky faucet” examples above, she suggests that you “iterate off old topics to come up with unique and compelling new topics.” This can be done by:Changing the topic scopeAdjusting the time frameChoosing a new audienceTaking a positive/negative approachIntroducing a new format5. Come up with a working title.Then you might come up with a few different working titles — in other words, iterations or different ways of approaching that topic to help you focus your writing. For example, you might decide to narrow your topic to “Tools for Fixing Leaky Faucets” or “Common Causes of Leaky Faucets.” A working title is specific and will guide your post so you can start writing.Let’s take a real post as an example: “How to Choose a Solid Topic for Your Next Blog Post.” Appropriate, right? The topic, in this case, was probably simply “blogging.” Then the working title may have been something like, “The Process for Selecting a Blog Post Topic.” And the final title ended up being “How to Choose a Solid Topic for Your Next Blog Post.”See that evolution from topic, to working title, to final title? Even though the working title may not end up being the final title (more on that in a moment), it still provides enough information so you can focus your blog post on something more specific than a generic, overwhelming topic.6. Write an intro (and make it captivating).We’ve written more specifically about writing captivating introductions in the post, “How to Write an Introduction,” but let’s review, shall we?First, grab the reader’s attention. If you lose the reader in the first few paragraphs — or even sentences — of the introduction, they will stop reading even before they’ve given your post a fair shake. You can do this in a number of ways: tell a story or a joke, be empathetic, or grip the reader with an interesting fact or statistic.Then describe the purpose of the post and explain how it will address a problem the reader may be having. This will give the reader a reason to keep reading and give them a connection to how it will help them improve their work/lives. Here’s an example of a post that we think does a good job of attracting a reader’s attention right away:7. Organize your content in an outline.Sometimes, blog posts can have an overwhelming amount of information — for the reader and the writer. The trick is to organize the info so readers are not intimidated by the length or amount of content. The organization can take multiple forms — sections, lists, tips, whatever’s most appropriate. But it must be organized!Let’s take a look at the post, “How to Use Snapchat: A Detailed Look Into HubSpot’s Snapchat Strategy.” There is a lot of content in this post, so we broke it into a few different sections using the following headers: How to Setup Your Snapchat Account, Snaps vs. Stories: What’s the Difference?, and How to Use Snapchat for Business. These sections are then separated into sub-sections that to go into more detail and also make the content easier to read.To complete this step, all you really need to do is outline your post. That way, before you start writing, you know which points you want to cover, and the best order in which to do it. To make things even easier, you can also download and use our free blog post templates, which are pre-organized for five of the most common blog post types. Just fill in the blanks!8. Write your blog post!The next step — but not the last — is actually writing the content. We couldn’t forget about that, of course.Now that you have your outline/template, you’re ready to fill in the blanks. Use your outline as a guide and be sure to expand on all of your points as needed. Write about what you already know, and if necessary, do additional research to gather more information, examples, and data to back up your points, providing proper attribution when incorporating external sources. Need help finding accurate and compelling data to use in your post? Check out this roundup of sources — from Pew Research to Google Trends.If you find you’re having trouble stringing sentences together, you’re not alone. Finding your “flow” can be really challenging for a lot of folks. Luckily, there are a ton of tools you can lean on to help you improve your writing. Here are a few to get you started:Power Thesaurus: Stuck on a word? Power Thesaurus is a crowdsourced tool that provides users with a ton of alternative word choices from a community of writers.ZenPen: If you’re having trouble staying focused, check out this distraction-free writing tool. ZenPen creates a minimalist “writing zone” that’s designed to help you get words down without having to fuss with formatting right away.Cliché Finder: Feeling like your writing might be coming off a little cheesy? Identify instances where you can be more specific using this handy cliché tool.For a complete list of tools for improving your writing skills, check out this post. And if you’re looking for more direction, the following resources are chock-full of valuable writing advice:The Marketer’s Pocket Guide to Writing Well [Free Ebook]How to Write Compelling Copy: 7 Tips for Writing Content That ConvertsHow to Write With Clarity: 9 Tips for Simplifying Your MessageThe Kurt Vonnegut Guide to Great Copywriting: 8 Rules That Apply to AnyoneYour Blog Posts Are Boring: 9 Tips for Making Your Writing More InterestingThe Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Successful Blog in 20199. Edit/proofread your post, and fix your formatting.You’re not quite done yet, but you’re close! The editing process is an important part of blogging — don’t overlook it. Ask a grammar-conscious co-worker to copy, edit, and proofread your post, and consider enlisting the help of The Ultimate Editing Checklist (or try using a free grammar checker, like the one developed by Grammarly). And if you’re looking to brush up on your own self-editing skills, turn to these helpful posts for some tips and tricks to get you started:Confessions of a HubSpot Editor: 11 Editing Tips From the TrenchesHow to Become a More Efficient Editor: 12 Ways to Speed Up the Editorial Process10 Simple Edits That’ll Instantly Improve Any Piece of WritingWhen you’re ready to check your formatting, keep the following advice in mind …Featured ImageMake sure you choose a visually appealing and relevant image for your post. As social networks treat content with images more prominently, visuals are now more responsible than ever for the success of your blog content in social media. In fact, it’s been shown that content with relevant images receives 94% more views than content without relevant images.For help selecting an image for your post, read “How to Select the Perfect Image for Your Next Blog Post” — and pay close attention to the section about copyright law.Visual AppearanceNo one likes an ugly blog post. And it’s not just pictures that make a post visually appealing — it’s the formatting and organization of the post, too.In a properly formatted and visually appealing blog post, you’ll notice that header and sub-headers are used to break up large blocks of text — and those headers are styled consistently. Here’s an example of what that looks like:Also, screenshots should always have a similar, defined border (see screenshot above for example) so they don’t appear as if they’re floating in space. And that style should stay consistent from post to post.Maintaining this consistency makes your content (and your brand) look more professional, and makes it easier on the eyes.Topics/TagsTags are specific, public-facing keywords that describe a post. They also allow readers to browse for more content in the same category on your blog. Refrain from adding a laundry list of tags to each post. Instead, put some thought into a tagging strategy. Think of tags as “topics” or “categories,” and choose 10-20 tags that represent all the main topics you want to cover on your blog. Then stick to those.10. Insert a call-to-action (CTA) at the end.At the end of every blog post, you should have a CTA that indicates what you want the reader to do next — subscribe to your blog, download an ebook, register for a webinar or event, read a related article, etc. Typically, you think about the CTA being beneficial for the marketer. Your visitors read your blog post, they click on the CTA, and eventually you generate a lead. But the CTA is also a valuable resource for the person reading your content — use your CTAs to offer more content similar to the subject of the post they just finished reading.In the blog post, “What to Post on Instagram: 18 Photo & Video Ideas to Spark Inspiration,” for instance, readers are given actionable ideas for creating valuable Instagram content. At the end of the post is a CTA referring readers to download a comprehensive guide on how to use Instagram for business:See how that’s a win-win for everyone? Readers who want to learn more have the opportunity to do so, and the business receives a lead they can nurture … who may even become a customer! Learn more about how to choose the right CTA for every blog post in this article. And check out this collection of clever CTAs to inspire your own efforts.11. Optimize for on-page SEO.After you finish writing, go back and optimize your post for search.Don’t obsess over how many keywords to include. If there are opportunities to incorporate keywords you’re targeting, and it won’t impact reader experience, do it. If you can make your URL shorter and more keyword-friendly, go for it. But don’t cram keywords or shoot for some arbitrary keyword density — Google’s smarter than that!Here’s a little reminder of what you can and should look for:Meta DescriptionMeta descriptions are the descriptions below the post’s page title on Google’s search results pages. They provide searchers with a short summary of the post before clicking into it. They are ideally between 150-160 characters and start with a verb, such as “Learn,” “Read,” or “Discover.” While meta descriptions no longer factor into Google’s keyword ranking algorithm, they do give searchers a snapshot of what they will get by reading the post and can help improve your clickthrough rate from search.Page Title and HeadersMost blogging software uses your post title as your page title, which is the most important on-page SEO element at your disposal. But if you’ve followed our formula so far, you should already have a working title that will naturally include keywords/phrases your target audience is interested in. Don’t over-complicate your title by trying to fit keywords where they don’t naturally belong. That said, if there are clear opportunities to add keywords you’re targeting to your post title and headers, feel free to take them. Also, try to keep your headlines short — ideally, under 65 characters — so they don’t get truncated in search engine results.Anchor TextAnchor text is the word or words that link to another page — either on your website or on another website. Carefully select which keywords you want to link to other pages on your site, because search engines take that into consideration when ranking your page for certain keywords.It’s also important to consider which pages you link to. Consider linking to pages that you want to rank well for that keyword. You could end up getting it to rank on Google’s first page of results instead of its second page, and that ain’t small potatoes.Mobile OptimizationWith mobile devices now accounting for nearly 2 out of every 3 minutes spent online, having a website that is responsive or designed for mobile has become more and more critical. In addition to making sure your website’s visitors (including your blog’s visitors) have the best experience possible, optimizing for mobile will score your website some SEO points.Back in 2015, Google made a change to its algorithm that now penalizes sites that aren’t mobile optimized. This month (May 2016), Google rolled out their second version of the mobile-friendly algorithm update — creating a sense of urgency for the folks that have yet to update their websites. To make sure your site is getting the maximum SEO benefit possible, check out this free guide: How to Make a Mobile-Friendly Website: SEO Tips for a Post-“Mobilegeddon” World.12. Pick a catchy title.Last but not least, it’s time to spruce up that working title of yours. Luckily, we have a simple formula for writing catchy titles that will grab the attention of your reader. Here’s what to consider:Start with your working title.As you start to edit your title, keep in mind that it’s important to keep the title accurate and clear.Then, work on making your title sexy — whether it’s through strong language, alliteration, or another literary tactic.If you can, optimize for SEO by sneaking some keywords in there (only if it’s natural, though!).Finally, see if you can shorten it at all. No one likes a long, overwhelming title — and remember, Google prefers 65 characters or fewer before it truncates it on its search engine results pages.If you’ve mastered the steps above, learn about some way to take your blog posts to the next level in this post. Want some real examples of blog posts? See what your first blog post can look like, below, based on the topic you choose and the audience you’re targeting.Blog Post ExamplesList-Based PostThought Leadership PostCurated Collection PostSlideshare PresentationNewsjacking PostInfographic PostHow-to Post Tell us a little about yourself below to gain access today: Free Templates: Originally published May 6, 2019 7:30:00 PM, updated October 25 2019 How to Write a Blog Post Free Blog Post Templates 1. List-Based PostExample: 10 Fresh Ways to Get Better Results From Your Blog PostsList-based posts are sometimes called “listicles,” a mix of the words “list” and “article.” These are articles that deliver information in the form of a list. A listicle uses subheaders to break down the blog post into individual pieces, helping readers skim and digest your content more easily. According to ClearVoice, listicles are among the most shared types of content on social media across 14 industries.As you can see in the example from our blog, above, listicles can offer various tips and methods for solving a problem.2. Thought Leadership PostExample: What I Wish I Had Known Before Writing My First BookThought leadership blog posts allow you to indulge in your expertise on a particular subject matter and share firsthand knowledge with your readers. These pieces — which can be written in the first person, like the post by Joanna Penn, shown above — help you build trust with your audience so people take your blog seriously as you continue to write for it.3. Curated Collection PostExample: 8 Examples of Evolution in ActionCurated collections are a special type of listicle blog post (the first blog post example, described above). But rather than sharing tips or methods of doing something, this type of blog post shares a list of real examples that all have something in common, in order to prove a larger point. In the example post above, Listverse shares eight real examples of evolution in action among eight different animals — starting with the peppered moth.4. Slideshare PresentationExample: The HubSpot Culture CodeSlideshare is a presentation tool owned by the social network, LinkedIn, that helps publishers package a lot of information into easily shareable slides. Think of it like a PowerPoint, but for the web. With this in mind, Slideshare blog posts help you promote your Slideshare so that it can generate a steady stream of visitors.Unlike blogs, Slideshare decks don’t often rank well on search engines, so they need a platform for getting their message out there to the people who are looking for it. By embedding and summarizing your Slideshare on a blog post, you can share a great deal of information and give it a chance to rank on Google at the same time.Need some Slideshare ideas? In the example above, we turned our company’s “Culture Code” into a Slideshare presentation that anyone can look through and take lessons from, and promoted it through a blog post.5. Newsjacking PostExample: Ivy Goes Mobile With New App for Designers”Newsjacking” is a nickname for “hijacking” your blog to break important news related to your industry. Therefore, the newsjack post is a type of article whose sole purpose is to garner consumers’ attention and, while offering them timeless professional advice, also prove your blog to be a trusted resource for learning about the big things that happen in your industry.The newsjack example above was published by Houzz, a home decor merchant and interior design resource, about a new mobile app that launched just for interior designers. Houzz didn’t launch the app, but the news of its launching is no less important to Houzz’s audience.6. Infographic PostExample: The Key Benefits of Studying Online [Infographic]The infographic post serves a similar purpose as the Slideshare post — the fourth example, explained above — in that it conveys information for which plain blog copy might not be the best format. For example, when you’re looking to share a lot of statistical information (without boring or confusing your readers), building this data into a well-designed, even fun-looking infographic can help keep your readers engaged with your content. It also helps readers remember the information long after they leave your website.7. How-to PostExample: How to Write a Blog Post: A Step-by-Step GuideFor our last example, you need not look any further than the blog post you’re reading right now! How-to guides like this one help solve a problem for your readers. They’re like a cookbook for your industry, walking your audience through a project step by step to improve their literacy on the subject. The more posts like this you create, the more equipped your readers will be to work with you and invest in the services you offer.Ready to blog? Don’t forget to download your six free blog post templates right here. Topics: 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. 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 Jan 30, 2015 11:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Excel 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 Excel is a useful tool for a number of marketing tasks. The two most important uses that I have for Excel on a weekly basis is first, as a research tool while writing (e.g. to get original statistics for a blog), and perhaps more obvious and more common, for data analysis and reporting. With that in mind, here are ten tricks to help you get more proficient at Excel.1) How to Summarize Data with a Pivot TableWhat is a pivot table? A “Pivot Table” is a spreadsheet functionality that allows you to arrange and categorize tabular data. Why are pivot tables important? Data is useful only if you can summarize and extrapolate meaningful trends from it. Pivot Tables help you do exactly that. How do I create a pivot table? Watch the video.2) How to Create a Histogram Using the “=FREQUENCY” FunctionWhat is a histogram? A histogram is a graphical representation (chart) of distribution data. A frequency distribution displays the number of data points that fall within specified ranges in a sample.Why are histograms important? Histograms are a convenient way to organize data into similar groups (e.g all grades from 90-100 are an “A” while those from 80-89 are a “B”). The range between “90” and “100” is known as a “bin.” Although school grades are less relevant for day-to-day marketing, histograms are commonly used in finance. Since finance affects every single business, understanding how to read, create, and manipulate data in the form of a histogram is critical for business owners and marketers.How do I create a histogram using the “=FREQUENCY” function? Watch the video. Here’s another video walkthrough as well.3) Understanding Regression Analysis and the Meaning of R2What is regression analysis? Regression analysis is a statistical process that compares the relationship between different variables in a sample. Excel does all of the hard work for you. The important thing is to understand the meaning behind the numbers that Excel outputs. Why is regression analysis important? Two words: correlation and causation. It is important to know how much of an impact A is having on B (causation) or if A and B are trending along similar paths without having a direct impact on one another (correlation). R2 is the number you need to understand.Understanding R2? R2 is known as the coefficient of determination. It describes how well the data fits your chosen model. When you plot your data on a chart, add a trendline (common trendline models are linear and exponential), and then display the R2 value, you will see a number between 0 and 1. Think of this like a percentage. R2 = 0.99 is a 99% fit to the model you picked (pretty darn close). R2 = 0.10 is a 10% fit (not very close).How do I add R2 to my chart? Watch the video.4) How to Use the VLOOKUP FunctionWhat is VLOOKUP? VLOOKUP is a built-in Excel function that allows you to search your table for a certain value and then outputs its associated value automatically. Why is VLOOKUP important? Searching a large database manually would take forever, and depending on the size of the table, could be impossible to do without serious errors. If you want to search a database efficiently and accurately then you need to understand VLOOKUP.Did you know? VLOOKUP stands for vertical look-up – as in looking vertically down a column of data cells. Conversely, HLOOKUP stands for horizontal look-up – as in across a horizontal row. How do I use VLOOKUP? Watch the video.5) How to Program a MacroWhat is a Macro? A macro is a program that records and automatically executes a series of commands (actions) with a single execution instruction (e.g. the click of a button).Why are Macros important? They make long manual processes simple by automating them.How do I create a Macro? Watch the video.6) Conditional FormattingConditional formatting is useful to identify trends or points of interest in a data set. Watch the video for a few examples of conditional formatting.7-10) Four Keyboard Shortcuts That Are Good to Know“CMD + 1” : Shortcut into the “Format Cells” Window“CMD + K” : Insert a hyperlink“F11” : Creates a chart in a new sheet from the selected data“CMD + SHIFT + T” : Sums the column of data and puts the total in the next cell (automatically executes the =SUM() function).Extra Credit: How to Import Data From a DatabaseYou can either download an ODBC driver for the type of database you want to access, or subscribe to a cloud-based service that incorporates the necessary connectivity into their product offering. You will need to determine which database you want to access and download the correct driver for your particular operating system. I will discuss this more in a future blog post.What is an ODBC Driver? ODBC driver stands for Open Database Connectivity driver. Long answer short: it is required software to access database information. You need different ODBC drivers to access different databases (e.g. Google, Hubspot, Salesforce.com). I hope you enjoyed this short primer on Excel. As mentioned above, these tricks can come in handy for marketers in all industries. If there are any functions that you’d like me to cover in the future, contact me @JustinPavoni. Want to learn more marketing skills that will help you climb the career ladder? Download our starter guide to becoming a CMO.