Wood Ash

first_imgMany Georgia families enjoy building roaring fires in their fireplaces or wood-burning stoves during the winter. Whether as a source of heat or for enjoyment, when the flames die down, a pile of wood ash remains.University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agents get calls this time of year from gardeners asking if they can add wood ash to their garden plots. UGA Extension consumer vegetable specialist Bob Westerfield says the answer is “yes, but in moderation.”“At the end of the day, ashes are a source of nutrients; primarily potassium or potash,” he said.“You can add wood ash to your garden and get the soil to a level where it’s good for your vegetables, but the problem is adding too much.”This potash is a stable nutrient, so it doesn’t “go away quickly” from the soil once you add it, he said.Adding wood ash to a garden plot also adds calcium and magnesium to the soil, similar to applying lime. Like lime, this will increase the pH level in your soil, Westerfield added.  “Again, once the pH hits a proper level and you have a slightly acidic soil, if you keep throwing ashes out there it’s just going to skyrocket the pH. Your soil will end up going the other direction and become too basic,” he said. “Your vegetable plants will start to yellow because the plants will no longer be able to absorb the nitrogen. They essentially begin to starve themselves to death.”Slightly acid soil at a pH level of 6.5-6.8 is perfect for most vegetables and ornamentals.When too much wood ash is added to the soil, the pH will “jump up,” nutrients can get out balance and the roots can’t absorb the nutrients.To safely add wood ash to your home vegetable garden, Westerfield recommends adding no more than five pounds of wood ash per 1,000 square feet per year. To check the pH level, take a soil sample to your local UGA Extension office and have the soil tested every two years.“The soil test will tell you the pH level and if you are at a level where you need to hold off on adding more wood ash,” Westerfield said.Wood ash should not be added to compost piles.“Compost needs an acidic environment. The wood ash may slow down the microbes,” he said. “This is also why UGA Extension agents and specialists say not to add lime to your compost pile. You can add a little fertilizer, though.”last_img read more

Mable Martin Wall, 85

first_imgMable Martin Wall, age 85, went home to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on 2/28/2017.She was born in Florence, KY on April 2, 1931 the daughter of Cecil and Jessie Martin and they preceded her in death. She married Russell E. Wall on November 9, 1951 and he preceded her in death in 2004.  She was also preceded in death in 2010 by an infant great-grandson, M.J. Muniz.She is survived by three children and their spouses, David (Bonnie) Wall of Milan, Robin (Jon) Stegemiller of Cross Plains, and Christy (Casey) Speer of Camby along with 8  grandchildren (Aurora Doster, Paige Wall, Abigail Wojciechowski, Nichole Arthur, Augusta Muniz, Caleb Carlock, Lucas Wall, and Hannah Carlock) and 13 great-grandchildren.  Other survivors are two brothers, Dr. Albert (Margery) Martin of Crittenden, KY and Dr. Cecil (Judy) Martin of Carrollton, KY along with several nieces and nephews.She was a devoted railroader’s wife and loving mother making Rexville her home for over 44 years.  She and her husband owned and operated a mink ranch.  They enjoyed training and showing their registered Tennessee Walking Horses.  In later years, they loved mule-skinning with close friends, circling the upper peninsula of Michigan to the Land between the Lakes.  She was an avid reader and loved to draw and sew.A private service will be held at the convenience of the family with burial at Tanglewood Cemetery.  Memorials may be given to Tanglewood Cemetery in care of the Stratton-Karsteter Funeral Home in Versailles.last_img read more

Body found in lake where “Glee” star disappeared

first_imgThe Ventura County Sheriff’s Office is reporting that investigators have located a body in the lake where “Glee” star Naya Rivera went missing.The actress disappeared on Wednesday after renting a boat to go on an excursion with her 4-year-old son.Video of the day showed Rivera and her 4-year-old son getting onto a boat and then going out onto the lake.Her 4-year-old was later found alone on the boat, while Rivera was no where to be found.After several days of searching the area authorities changed their rescue mission to a recovery mission presuming Rivera may have drowned in the lake.While authorities have not determined whether the body found on Monday is Rivera, they did report that the discovery was made in the area of search at Lake Piru.The Sheriff’s Office plans to hold a press conference about the discovery at 2 pm local time (5 pm. ET.)last_img read more

Super Horse Pharoah Caps Great Weekend

first_imgStory and Photos by Art PetrosemoloOCEANPORT – More than 60,000 veteran and first-time racing fans jammed Monmouth Park August 2, for the 48th running of the $1.75 million William Hill Haskell Invitational. They weren’t disappointed.Triple Crown winner and super horse American Pharoah put on a show dominating the seven horse field over one and one-eight miles on the dirt track under sunny skies and a New Jersey summer heat wave with temperatures in the high eighties.Clad in Zayat turquoise and gold silks, California based jockey VIctor Espinoza and the Pharoah were easy to spot leaving the staring gate in front of the grandstand, all the way around the track into the homestretch where the crowds’ screaming almost drowned out announcer Frank Mirahmadi.Trainer Bob Baffert who won his eighth Haskell Invitation had said pre-race that American Pharoah was training well and he was right on the money. Justin Zayat, the owner’s son, who manages the Zayat racing operations talked, at a pre-race post position press conference about the big horse’s consistency in training.A view of the paddock at American Pharaoh enters the walking ring on Sunday. Photo: Art PetrosemoloComments by the trainer and owner and race predictions by handicappers and fans held true as Pharoah ran the race everyone expected. Breaking well from the gate, he was between the leader Competitive Edge, trained by Todd Pletcher, and Edward Plesa trained Mr. Jordon at the first turn. Sitting off the pace, until the turn for home, he shifted easily into a higher gear and with the shouts of the crowd, headed for home not to be challenged. Pharoah won by 2 1/4 lengths in a time of 1:47.4 Pharoah closing odds were $.10 on the dollar and he paid $2.20 for a $2 win wager. However thousands of tickets were bought as souvenirs and were never cashed.Finishing second to Pharoah was Keen Ice, third in the Belmont, ridden by Kent Desormeaux and Upstart, ridden by Monmouth Park favorite Joe Bravo was third.Announcer Mirahmadi who called the horse’s win April 8th in the Arkansas Derby lead up to the Triple Crown races, said post-Haskell, “American Pharoah gave the crowd what they came for. He is the best horse in the world and no thoroughbred, of any age, can come close to him.”Lines formed at 6 a.m. for the track’s 9 a.m. opening when fans rushed for space in the picnic area and planted beach chairs along the fence by the finish line. The reserved seats, grandstand, clubhouse and picnic area were packed for the 5:50 p.m. race televised by NBC.When American Pharoah came to the paddock to be saddled by trainer Bob Baffert, fans were 12-deep at the rail trying to get a glimpse of the horse, rider Espinoza and New Jersey owner Ahmed Zayat as Paddock Judge Cookie Jones got the field saddled and around the walking ring to the tunnel leading to the track.A roar rose from racing fans as the chestnut colt, out of Pioneer of the Nile, stepped onto the groomed racing surface – to the strains of Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run – and paraded before the crowd on the way to the starting gate. The horse known for its huge, ground-covering stride walked quietly, next to a pony, under the hand of jockey Espinoza who has ridden the thoroughbred throughout his undefeated 2015 three-year old season. With the Haskell win, the horse is undefeated in his last 10 starts dating back to September 2014 including eight wins in 2015.Pharaoh paraded in front of crowd by outrider after victory Sunday. Photo: Art PetrosemoloThe Haskell is named for 20th century New York businessman and horseman Amory Lawrence Haskell. Monmouth’s former Monmouth Handicap was renamed for Mr. Haskell in 1968 two years after his death. It is the richest invitational horseracing event in North America.When veteran Monmouth Park starter John Daniels released the Haskell field, Pharoah, there was a roar from the grandstand as the seven horses jockeyed for position before the first turn as lengthening shadows moved over part of the track.Following the win, Espinoza took Pharoah for a long cool down jog to the backstretch and then was lead by an outrider back in front of the grandstand to the delight and cheers of the fans before arriving outside the winner’s circle and being greeted by more than 50 photographers from as far away as Australia.If Espinoza and Baffert orchestrated Pharoah’s race, they had less success in the post-race presentation. Pharoah and Espinoza dug a circular trench in the track dirt as officials and Baffert tried to organize the Zayat entourage into an organized group for post-race photos.When it was over and the super horse headed for the backstretch and his stall in the Kelly Breen barn, the reality of just how good this horse is began to settle in and speculation about his next outing was the talk of the writers in the press box.With his easy victory in the Haskell, Baffert said no plans have been made where or when to run Pharoah next, although they have leaned to the Breeders Cup in October. At one point The Travers Grade 1 stakes at Saratoga in four weeks was discussed but not recently.The colt will need rest and training time for the $5 million Breeders Classic race October 31.Zayat who promised racing fans they would get to see the triple crown winner race again after his Belmont victory in June chose historic Monmouth Park in his home state for the horse’s first test leading up to the Breeders Cup Classic to be run in late fall at Keeneland in Lexington, KY, and ultimately the breeding barn where the stud fees are estimated to be $200,000 or more.* * *Racing fans including families with lots of children took advantage of Monmouth Park’s invitation to watch American Pharoah train the three days prior to the Haskell. Crowds increased each day as the three-year old colt took to the track at exactly 7:30 a.m. to jog and gallop in front of an adoring audience and hundreds of media including news helicopter hovering high over the infield.Monmouth Park welcomed the horse with open arms as it is in the midst of a fight for survival surrounded by tracks in neighboring states with on-site gambling to supplement race purses. The horse, the race and the festival MP planned for the Haskell weekend provided new focus on New Jersey’s horse racing industry and helped bring new fans to the Oceanport facility. The track, now run by the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horseman’s Association, is transforming itself into a family destination with activities such as on-site miniature golf, activities for children and a soon-to-open gourmet restaurant near the oval’s final turn.last_img read more

Mentoring One Child at a Time, Over Time

first_img“Justin changed my life,” D.J. said about his mentor, who is the most important male role model in his world. “I don’t think I would be here without him.”January is National Mentoring Month. Groups like Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth & Middlesex Counties are hoping to bring attention to use the moment to recruit more “big siblings,” especially men, to make a positive difference in a young person’s life.“Everyone has had a mentor in life,” said Marybeth Bull, a resident of Fair Haven who is also director of development at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth & Middlesex Counties (BBBS). “Whether it was a family member, or a boss, somebody in their life who has been there for them and showed them the way and been a positive person in their life.”You don’t need special skills. “You just have to be willing to share time with a child that needs a positive person in their life,” Bull said.Adults 19 years or older who can commit to spend four to six hours a month for at least a year, are great candidates for the volunteer position, she said.“To be a friend, spend time, be an ear for them, be a shoulder for them,” she said. “To point them in the right direction.”Headquartered in Asbury Park, BBBS currently serves 700 children in its program across Monmouth and Middlesex counties.“Littles” – who range in age from 6 to 15 years old – usually join the program at school and may be referred by guidance counselors and other social organizations. They are often from single parent households. The BBBS typically provides girls with a female mentor and boys with a male mentor. Bull said a woman can be a Big Sister to a young boy in certain circumstances, because there are many more female mentors than males. The program has an acute need for men to volunteer as Big Brothers for the large number of boys on the waiting list.Mentors undergo in-depth interviews. Screened applicants are matched with Littles based on similar interests, hobbies, and personal traits. “We’re not going to match a kid who wants to go to the library with someone who wants to play basketball,” Bull said.Although some duos may not immediately hit it off, Bull said matches are usually successful. “We have a wonderful length of our matches,” she said. “An average of 3 ½ years more than the national averages. And a lot of people stay in touch for a lifetime.”Training and case managers who check in regularly and monthly group activities with other Bigs and Littles, help a new mentor break the ice. “We let them know they’re not alone,” said Bull.Bull said the program stresses the duo should participate in low cost, simple activities, such as a trip to the park or shooting hoops. “It’s about building a friendship,” she said. “The child needs special one-to-one attention.”In addition to the traditional community-based programs, BBBS has other programs including one at Monmouth University that pairs college student mentors with Asbury Park high school students, similar to a peer-to-peer mentoring relationship.Bull finds many of the Littles in the program never thought about college but after meeting with the college students and touring the university, they “start to really see themselves in that environment.”She cites a Little Brother who not only went on to attend Monmouth University, but is now a Big Brother in the program.In addition, a program focused on a workplace environment, like Monmouth Medical Center and New Jersey Natural Gas, matches employees at all levels – from IT techs to senior vice presidents – with Littles.“The kids get a sense of a lot of different opportunities,” Bull said.Mentoring allows volunteers a chance to “see life through a child’s eyes again,” said Bull, who has been with BBBS for 15 years. “I’ve gotten to see how it makes such a difference in an impressionable child. How this person can impart their wisdom and help with everything from homework to life skills. D.J. and his Big Brother Justin Brown celebrate D.J.’s induction to the National Honor Society last year. Photo: BBBS“From Day One, it felt so natural, the first time we hung out,” said Justin Brown, 35, who became a Big Brother to D.J. in 2010. “He has such a wide-open personality.” (At the BBBS request, D.J.’s last name is being withheld to protect his privacy.)As a teacher, previously at Lakewood High School and now at Neptune High School, Brown said he sees a lot of kids “missing that strong role model.”In those early days, when D.J. was in 7th grade, he and Brown would go for pizza or take a trip to the beach.D.J. was an active Boy Scout – he is now working on his Eagle Scout project – so they found a common interest in the outdoors. “We did a lot of outdoor stuff – hiking, kayaking,” said Brown, who was also a Boy Scout. “It was all the things I like to do.”“D.J. comes from a good family,” Brown said, and credits D.J.’s grandmother for being very involved in his life. With an older sister who went to college, it was always expected that D.J. would go on for a degree. “His grandmother was pushing him not to let outside forces take him down the wrong road.”As a Big Brother, Brown said, “I think I gave him a big-picture perspective.”“It’s been just a good feeling, just to be there, to see him grow so much,” said Brown. “It’s been a positive influence in my life, too.“As a teacher you develop bonds with students, but with D.J., I really feel he’s part of my family.“He’s just my little brother,” said Brown, “he’s been part of my life.”So much so that two years ago D.J. served as a groomsman in Brown’s wedding.“D.J. will be part of my life forever.”For D.J., who will turn 18 soon, much of his high school senior year has been spent getting ready for college. He has already been accepted to a host of schools, including NJIT, University of Delaware, Drexel University, SUNY Alfred and Monmouth University, and is waiting on decisions from a few more. He plans to study medical engineering.Both men agree college was always in D.J.’s plans.“My grades were spot on – A’s and B’s,” D.J. said. “It was the internal stuff” that he feels he needed from his Big Brother.“I live in a family full of girls,” said D.J. “I have 10 half sisters.”Over the years, D.J. consulted with Brown about everything from homework and colleges to social pressures and girls.“He’s got the girl thing covered,” D.J. said.As mentors go, D.J. thinks his match was perfect. “We share nearly everything in common. He likes everything I love to do,” said D.J. “He’s actually a brother to me.”And now D.J. looks forward to his new role: as “big brother” to Brown’s 5-month old son River. So too will be a special person in his life – his “Big Brother” Justin Brown, a 35- year-old high school teacher who volunteers his time through Big Brothers Big Sisters. By Judy O’Gorman AlvarezWhen high school senior D.J. accepts his diploma at Long Branch High School graduation this June, his family will be proudly watching. “If you think about one child at a time,” she said, and then “if you look at the big picture, it changes lives for generations.”last_img read more

5 Tips to Write a Really Quick Blog Article

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack If you blog you have probably gotten to the point where you needed an article last minute to keep up the pace of your content publishing.  Here are 5 tips that might help you put together an article really quickly (like I did with this one).Write an article that is a list of 5 ideas.  People love lists and tips, especially in blogs.  They are easy to scan and easy to digest.  Perfect for web surfing or scanning your RSS reader.  This article is an example.Publish a list of links.  Linking is the currency of the blogosphere, and if you link to other bloggers, they will notice (good ones should anyway, except for the really big/famous ones who get tons of traffic) and you might get a link or comment back.  Here is an example of a list of links article.Take a recent experience and share it.  Has something interesting happened to you?  Was it at all related to your blog subject?  Write a blog article about a recent experience, like this blog article I wrote about a spam email sent to me.Answer questions you have received recently.  We all get questions by phone or email from clients and prospects in our area of expertise.  Collect a few of them and then publish a blog article answering them.  Here is an example of a blog article that answers some questions.  A great tip is to start with the actual email question you received and the email answer you sent, and then just edit it so it is more general and not client specific.Comment on other blog articles.  Need ideas?  Read other blogs in your industry, and then provide your own point of view on the issue at hand.  Here is an example of a blog article that is responding to another blog article.Have other tips on how to get a blog article out quickly?  Share them by leaving a comment below. Originally published Dec 19, 2007 12:12:00 PM, updated October 01 2019last_img read more

7 Places You Need to Publish Content on Your Website (Beyond Your Blog)

first_img Originally published Mar 16, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Content Creation Topics: Inbound marketers know content creation is key to their success, so it makes sense that business blogs are one of their most precious marketing assets. Blogging is a natural way to get more indexed pages on your website, create content around keywords you want to rank for in search, and convert site visitors into customers.But once companies master blogging, isn’t there another way to expand content creation efforts on your website? Aren’t there other parts of your website to which you can publish the valuable content you’ve become so great at creating — and maybe drive even more traffic, leads, and customers for your business?In short, yes, there are plenty of other ways to house content on your website (and if you’re a HubSpot customer, making an addition to your navigation is simple)! While you may not update these parts of your website as frequently as a blog (we update our blog multiple times daily, for example) adding these content repositories to your website — or updating the ones that already exist — will help you drive even more traffic, and convert those visitors into leads and customers.Don’t let content creation begin and end with blogging. Consider building out or updating these areas of your website with fresh content to create a truly comprehensive content library that you and your site visitors can benefit from.News RoomYou’re likely familiar with the ‘News Room’ concept for websites — many companies have them, including yours truly. The news section of a website is often found under the ‘About Us’ portion of the main navigation, and contains content like press releases about company and product updates, event information, mentions of your company in the news, and awards received. That’s a lot of content!Perhaps that’s why it’s so common to stumble across the ‘News’ section of a website and find nothing has been updated in years. This can be due to lack of new content to publish — perhaps your company hasn’t received much news coverage — or just plain negligence. While we can’t help you with negligence, there are ways to make sure the content on the ‘News’ section of your website always remains fresh.First, don’t break out all of the components of a website news section into multiple sub-navigations if you don’t have the content to fill it. Combine your press releases, event information, company and product updates, awards received, and company news in a rolling feed. In fact, you can think of it kind of like a second blog! And to ensure there truly is content for that second blog, don’t just wait for others to write about you. It’s okay — in this context — to write about yourself. If you’re working on a new product release, write a few paragraphs about how features are progressing. If a partner of yours gets news coverage, share that in this section; your partners’ successes are your successes, too. Aim for just one update a month so this section of your site never looks dormant to visitors and leads researching more about your company.(Tip: Some companies are found in the news so often that they face the opposite problem — there’s so much content, their news section looks completely disorganized! Categorize content by month to make it easier for visitors to sort through.)Resource CenterResource centers are ideal locations to house your long-form educational content like whitepapers, guides, and ebooks. Many marketers are reticent to launch a resource center though, because the bulk of their long form content is reserved for lead generation and driving reconversions through lead nurturing. You don’t want to make that content totally public, right?Fair point, but there is a best-of-both-worlds solution! First, if there is any content you’ve created that you’re willing to share with the world form-free, publish it. The rest of your content, however, can still be behind a form. Simply draft an abstract or select a poignant excerpt from the content to publish as a sort of preview. Then, direct the visitor to the landing page where the content can be redeemed. We do this with our long-form content in our own resource center to help drive more leads and reconversions. What a great supplement to your calls-to-action in lead nurturing emails and blog content!Your resource center can also house third-party content like market research and analyst reports. If you work with third party content creators or researchers, offer to publish their long-form content in your resource center. It gets them more visibility in front of a new audience, and it can help you keep the content in your resource center fresh.Product & Service Data CenterMany B2B companies have technical documentation centered around their product or service — content like data sheets, integration information, FAQs, and release notes. Sometimes businesses choose to wrap these into their resource center, but if you have extensive documentation to publish, it’s best to separate this from your resource center content. Why? Because the traffic to your resource center is in a different stage of the buying cycle than the traffic interested in looking at technical documentation surrounding your product or service.Publish content here for leads and business partners in the ‘evaluation’ and ‘purchase’ stages of the buying cycle — they are more interested in your solution than those visiting your resource center. And to make the most of this content, don’t forget to include ‘purchase’-oriented calls-to-action on these web pages, and within the content itself!Product DetailsIf you’re in ecommerce marketing, you have a unique opportunity to leverage the non-blog portion of your website to create new content. For every product for sale on most ecommerce sites, there’s a product description section underneath that’s all too often left blank or filled with generic (or worse, duplicate) content from the manufacturer. Take advantage of this space to write unique, keyword-optimized content that describes the product, compels readers to take action, and helps you rank for important search terms. HubSpot customer OneIHI does this exceptionally well, drafting content that’s informative, engaging, optimized, and comprehensive below each product.To keep the page content fresh, you can also enable user comments and reviews under the product details. And we all know how crucial reviews are to establishing a prospect’s trust in your business.Learning CenterIf you set up a learning center, you can create use cases — pieces of content that show how your product or service can be used to solve your customers’ problems. This content can be long-form or short-form written content, videos, or even just images with brief explanatory captions. HubSpot, for example, features customer examples of landing pages, calls-to-action, blogs, and the like that has been made using HubSpot’s software.Encourage customers to submit instances of using your product or service successfully (you can set up a landing page to collect their responses), and incentivize your customer service and support teams to collect such stories to keep the content on these pages fresh. If you opt for visual content like images or videos to demonstrate your use cases, be sure to accompany it with explanatory copy, even if it’s brief. Aside from being a helpful complement to the visual content, keyword-optimized copy can help you rank for solution-seeking search terms like “how to create a landing page” or “examples of good calls-to-action.”HubSpot also includes information about what product functionality is being utilized; if you have different feature levels, customers reading these use cases may be inspired by a feature they don’t have, and purchase additional services from you. Talk about revenue-generating content!As with the news section of your website, be sure to categorize your use cases in the manner that makes the most sense for your business — like location, industry, or product or service type — to make browsing simple for visitors.Multimedia Content LibraryAlthough written content is often the focus of marketers’ content creation efforts, consumers certainly love to consume other content formats. Do you have an arsenal of multimedia content, like podcasts, webcasts, and videos? Consider creating an item in your sub-navigation to feature this content. Multimedia content requires more time and dedication to consume than written content — visitors have to pull out headphones, switch on their volume, possibly duck from their boss — so give them one central location from which to watch and listen to this content. And just like the content in your resource center, your multimedia content can still live behind a lead generation form. Just be sure to write a brief description of the video, podcast, or webinar with the call-to-action!(Tip: If you don’t have enough multimedia content to warrant its own section of your site, you can group this in with the content in your resource center.)Reviews, Testimonials, & Case StudiesSetting up a dedicated section of your website for reviews, testimonials, and case study content is crucial for leads in the ‘evaluation’ stage in the buying cycle. HubSpot breaks the content up into shorter customer reviews (pictured below) and longer, more in-depth content in the form of customer case studies.Case study content typically requires more time and investment to create than customer reviews, so if you’re just getting started with this section of your website, consider the tabbed approach you see above. You can begin with one page with only short customer reviews, sourced from all over the web. Notice the HubSpot reviews come from guest blog posts on our own site, external blog posts, LinkedIn reviews, and even Yahoo! Answers. Keeping this content fresh will be much more manageable than churning out new case studies every month.Once you’ve accumulated 3-5 case studies for your business — whether they are video recordings or written content — create a separate tab or another point of sub-navigation to publish them. As with all other content repositories on your site, categorize the case studies in a way that makes sense for your site visitors and sales team. We’ve found categorizing case studies by industry helps leads and our sales team find the most appropriate content quickly.Where else on your site do you house non-blog content? Share your suggestions in the comments!Image credit: khalid Albaih 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

Facebook Rolling Out Video Ads to News Feeds, and Other Marketing Stories of the Week

first_img Topics: Social Media Video You’ve heard the saying over and over again, but it still holds true: Content is king. Whether you’re creating a blog post, infographic, tweet, or even a PPC ad, creating content that people naturally want to consume will help you attract visitors, capture leads, and convert customers. This week, this saying held especially true in the world of inbound marketing. From Facebook’s new video advertising offering to Q&As with industry experts on Klout, this week’s roundup will fill you in on all things content-related on the web. Oh, and Happy Mother’s Day! ;-)Facebook Rolling Out Video Ads to News Feeds, From AdWeekOver the past few months, Facebook has been making some major moves with its social advertising platform. And the social network’s latest move doesn’t surprise us in the least: Facebook will be rolling out video ads in users’ News Feeds as soon as July. A few big brands including Ford, Coca-Cola, and American Express, are expected to participate in the first round of testing. For the time being, advertisers will only be allowed to choose among four different demographics to target.The 15-second ads will most likely appear to the side of the News Feed, on auto play, and muted by default with the option of unmuting. We’re still not sure yet if this new feature is good or bad news for marketers. While the new ad format opens up more opportunities to attract visitors and generate leads from Facebook, it could potentially alienate Facebook users. Many users complain that their News Feeds are already a bit cluttered with sponsored posts and pages — this new advertising format could add to the fray. That being said, it’s still too early to give the new ad format a yay or nay. Depending on how Facebook plans to moderate the number of ads per News Feed, these video ads could either turn the platform into an ad-filled mess or an effective ad-serving platform. Read more about Facebook’s video advertising options at Adweek.Google Launches YouTube Trends Map to Show the Most Popular Videos Across the U.S. in Real Time, From The Next WebAs you probably know by now, we love data — and the new Trends Map for YouTube melts our heart. Although it’s still in its infancy, the new Trends Map shows the most popular videos across the U.S., broken down by viewer age or gender. The map gives marketers a nice visual representation of how viral videos are shared and received across the country in real time. The videos that make it onto the map are chosen based on the number of shares by users, or total number of views. In addition to the map, marketers can also examine the popularity of particular videos based on certain demographics.For marketers, YouTube Trends Map is a great place to find relevant data on which videos go viral and why. Right now, the Trends Map only displays demographic information, but once there is more robust data available, it could be an incredibly powerful tool for marketers. Still, YouTube Trends Map can help marketers find engaging content to share with their followers, discover viral videos to newsjack, or even create a viral video of their own. Read more about YouTube Trends Map and what it means for marketers at The Next Web.YouTube Paid Subscription Channels Set to Launch Soon, From Marketing LandIt’s been a busy week for YouTube. Not only did the company recently release YouTube Trends Map, but it also started rolling out paid subscription channels offering premium video content. Besides providing a potential new revenue stream for YouTube, these paid subscription channels could attract a different type of audience who is concerned with the quality of the videos he or she watches rather than the quantity of videos available. The premium subscription is planned to compete with other premium video services such as Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix. With as many as 50 subscription-based channels at the time of launch and fees as low as $1.99 a month, this could be a great alternative revenue stream for YouTube.What marketers should know is that this new move will open up a number of advertising opportunities for companies looking to place ads in higher quality content. Even though its user-generated videos have been an effective way of serving ads, some marketers are looking to pay for TV–like quality. The new premium subscription channels could open up a whole new demographic of users for marketers to target with higher quality ads on higher quality videos. Read more about YouTube’s paid subscription channels at Marketing Land.Traditional Turned Inbound: Reimagining 5 Iconic Ad Campaigns From the Past, Free Ebook From HubSpotSometimes, it boggles our minds how much things in marketing have changed in the last 60 years. Some of the most iconic advertising campaigns happened before we had social media, precise ad targeting, or even the internet. Thinking back got us thinking — what would an iconic advertising campaign from the “Mad Men” era look like today? Based on advice from current marketing experts, our new ebook explores how today’s marketers could execute those iconic ad campaigns to get the same impact they had in past. Get ready for a dive into the history of marketing and advertising, and download the ebook today!Klout Gets Into the Q&A Business by Launching Klout Experts (With Help From Bing), From TechCrunchThe popular influence-measurement startup is launching a new program built around industry “expert” Q&As that influencers can use to boost their street cred. Klout is asking users who are influential about certain topics to answer questions in 300 characters or less, allowing Klout to enter into the content creation space. Klout will also be working closely with Microsoft to ensure that relevant answers to questions will appear in searches on Bing.Marketers should see this as the perfect opportunity to boost their SEO on Bing. The program isn’t open to all users just yet, but if you’re one of those influential marketers on Klout that happens to be asked a few questions, answer them, and let Bing do the rest of the work. This might be a great way to establish yourself as an industry thought leader and promote your social media presence through quality content. You may even increase the ranking of your other content online. Read more about Klout and what it means for inbound marketers at TechCrunch.What were some of the top marketing stories you heard about this week? Originally published May 12, 2013 9:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Education Blogging 101: How to Attract More Students Online

first_imgActive blogging is a basic building block of any successful inbound marketing strategy – its hub, if you will. For schools and admissions offices struggling for resources, launching and maintaining a blog may seem like a daunting undertaking. But it’s one well worth taking. HubSpot research found that marketers who prioritize blogging are 13x more likely to be able to show a return for their efforts.Having a school blog (or two) can boost your student applications in a number of ways. First, good blogs are regularly updated with with entertaining, informative content. Google loves blogs with a steady flow of engaging content. If you’re writing around the right keywords, your blog will increase the flow of organic traffic to your blog and website. Also, the more you blog, the more inbound links you get back to your site, which Google also loves. It sees inbound links as a sign of trust and authority for your content, so it bumps up your place in search results because it wants to serve up the most relevant, reliable content. Helpful, engaging blog content also gets shared on social media, which in turns drives more new visitors to your site. Once you have all these new visitors to your blog and website, you have the opportunity to get their information into your marketing database. You want to include a call-to-action form on every blog post, and throughout your website. The call-to-action may be to sign up for your newsletter or blog, or to download a report. The blog visitor shares her email and other information with you in order to get this content.Now you can push more content out to them overtime as you nurture them along the path to making an application. And the more they visit your blog, the more effectively you can personalize the content you send them.As you can see, having a school blog gives you more opportunities and control over how and when to interact with prospective students and parents who’ve already shown interest in your school. It also provides a bigger platform to tell the school’s stories, instead of relying entirely on others to frame your stories for you.Convinced you yet why your school needs a blog? Great. Here are the basics to put together when you plan it out.Choosing the Right ContentEvery successful blog shares content that its personas want to read about. The blog posts educate readers about the issues that concern or interest them. The posts don’t directly promote your school. Leave that for other types of content.When you built your personas, you outlined each one’s goals, challenges, and concerns. Use that information to keep your blog content focused on topics they’ll read, share, and react to. If your personas need some sprucing, go back and ask with some current and prospective students what information would be most valuable to them. Ask the parents as well.Refine your topic list by looking at all the content your school already creates. Your school already has tons of content. There are curricula, admissions FAQs, program brochures, career office reports, and campus organization descriptions. What questions are these pieces answering? How can a blog post dig deeper or provide a new perspective on them?Finding Content Sources to Feed Your BlogAs you’re making your list of all your school’s existing content you want to use to spark blog post ideas, it probably occurred to you that you can use some of this existing content itself.Great idea. Your existing content can be converted, with just a little tweaking, directly into blog posts.In addition to the content sources listed in the previous section, also look at any newsletter or publication put out by a student group, program, even your alumni and development newsletters. Are any faculty or staff writing thought leadership pieces – see if you can reprint them on your school’s blog. If you can’t reprint them, you can craft your own post sharing the piece and linking to it.When you convert existing content into a blog post, make sure to edit it so it works in a blog setting. Give it some context as a blog post. You’re not going to just reprint a program’s curriculum. You’ll rework that content into a post about the different areas of theoretical and practical knowledge the program provides, and why each is important – with a call-to-action linking to the full curriculum.Creating a Stable of WritersRepurposing existing content is a great tactic for finding meaningful, cost effective content for your blog. But you do want original work on the blog as well, in addition to people on your marketing team who can write.Many of your student leaders would love having a platform on your blog, from formal student ambassadors to group leaders. Student voices are especially influential with prospective students, who want to know what life is really like at your school.Have alumni who want to give back, but aren’t yet in a place where they can write a check? Ask them to write about their transition from student to the next phase of their life, whether its finding a job or getting another degree. Faculty and department staff also have stories to tell about what’s going on in their domains. Find a couple key people in each department who have an interesting voice to write posts occasionally.Have a Distribution Plan Blogs without a distribution plan are the falling trees nobody hears. Regular posting of high quality content based on relevant keywords will build some SEO juice for your site. But there’s more to distribution than organic traffic.Outline how you’ll use your social media profiles to promote your blog, and get others to share links to your blog via their own social profiles. Include links to blog posts in your newsletters and emails in other campaigns, where they add value.Managing your blog will be much easier when you don’t have reinvent the distribution plan for each post. This doesn’t mean each post goes into each newsletter or gets its own promotional email. It means outline the different avenues for distribution and promotion and clarify which routes work for different types of blog posts. Then it’s easy to specify in your blog calendar how any given post will be promoted.Attracting Students to Your Blog is the First Step to Getting Their ApplicationEvery prospective student is on their own, personal enrollment journey. If you want your school to be part of that journey, a school blog is the best way to attract them early on in the process. Originally published May 5, 2016 7:00:00 AM, updated February 14 2018 Education Marketing Topics: 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

The Character Count Guide for Blog Posts, Videos, Tweets & More

first_img Originally published Apr 25, 2017 8:00:00 AM, updated October 16 2019 Featured Resource: 6 Free Blog Post TemplatesPost BodyWhen it comes to the length of blog posts, there are a few different items to consider. For example:According to Medium, posts with an average read time of seven minutes captured the most attention.The average reading speed of native English-speaking adults remains commonly cited as 300 words per minute, according to research conducted in 1990.At that reading rate, the ideal post length is 2100 words.That aligns with research previously conducted by Capsicum Mediaworks, which indicated that, on average, the top 10 results for most Google searches are between 2,000 and 2,500 words.Source: Capsicum MediaworksThat means that this ideal word count can address goals around both readability and SEO. But that’s just the actual body of the post. Plus, when we looked at our own blog on organic traffic, we found that the sweet spot was 2,250–2,500 words.But that’s just the post body — let’s have a look at the other areas of text that comprise a full blog post.TitleThe length of your title depends on your goals, and where it will appear.Let’s start with SEO. Do you want this post to rank really well in search? It turns out, that often has to do with the dimensions of each entry on a search engine results page (SERP). For Google, titles of search results are usually contained at a length of 600 pixels — which Moz measures as being able to display the first 50-60 characters of a title tag. So, if you don’t want your title to get cut off in the search results, it might be best to keep it under 60 characters. But when in doubt, you can double-check the length of your meta description and title tags with this handy tool from SEOmofo, or you can use Moz’s title tag preview tool.Then, there’s optimizing your title for social sharing. On Twitter, for example, consider that each tweet has a limit of 140 characters — however, if you include an image, that doesn’t count toward the limit. But consider that even the average shortened URL takes up about 23 characters — that leaves you with about 116 characters left for the title and any accompanying text.In our own analysis at HubSpot, we found that headlines between 8–12 words in length got the most Twitter shares on average, while headlines with either 12 or 14 words got the most Facebook Likes.Meta DescriptionA meta description refers to the HTML attribute that explains the contents of a given webpage. It’s the short description you see on a SERP to “preview” what the page is about.Moz notes that Google seems to cut off most meta descriptions — which are sometimes called snippets — after roughly two lines of text — though there’s some conjecture that, like title tags, it’s actually based on pixel count. In any case, it amounts to about 160 characters, though this particular outlet recommends keeping it at 155.Again, you can double-check the length of your meta description and title tags with this handy tool from SEOmofo.2) FacebookQuick reference:Status updates: 63,206-character maximum | Ideal length is 40 charactersVideo: 120-minute maximum | Ideal length is two minutes Ideal Length OverallLike so much of what we’ve covered, it seems that when it comes to the overall length of a tweet, aim for short and sweet. (See what we did there?) That’s resonated in research conducted by social media scientist Dan Zarrella, who found that tweets with 120-130 characters showed the highest click-through rate (CTR):Source: BufferThe same goes for hashtags. While they can technically be any length up to 140 characters, remember that people will want to accompany the hashtag with other copy. Short hashtags are always better. Ideally, your hashtags should be under 11 characters — shorter if you can.Also, in a single tweet, stick to one or two hashtags, and definitely don’t go over three. Buddy Media found that all tweets with hashtags get double the engagement metrics than tweets without any. But tweets that kept the hashtags to a minimum — one or two — have a 21% higher engagement than tweets with three or more.Source: BufferVideosYou can post a video on Twitter by importing a video or recording it using the Twitter app. In any case, the maximum video length is two minutes and 20 seconds.4) LinkedInProfilesHere’s a handy list of some of LinkedIn’s most important profile character maximums, according to Andy Foote:Professional headline: 120Summary: 2,000Position title: 100Position description: 2,000 (200 character minimum)Status Update: 600 characters — however, Foote also notes that, “if you select to also post on Twitter from LinkedIn, only the first 140 characters will show on your Twitter post.” Featured Resource: How to Engage Your Facebook Audience Status UpdatesFacebook’s character limit on status updates is 63,206. However, that’s far from ideal, says HubSpot Social Media Marketing Manager Chelsea Hunersen. “The social gurus will throw around the number 40 characters. That data seems to be backed up by BuzzSumo’s ranking of HubSpot’s own Facebook Page.”But why 40, specifically? “Ideally,” Hunersen says, “you’ll want to use the copy in a status update to provide context for whatever you’re linking to.” That said, she notes, the copy of the status update itself isn’t as important as the copy in the meta title or meta description that gets pulled in when you insert a link into your post. That’s right — social media posts have their own meta data too.”Often, people look at the image of the article and then directly down at the meta title and meta description for context clues,” she explains. “A lot of people don’t realize you can change those.”Even on Facebook, it’s still best to keep your meta title to fewer than 60 characters, and to 155 for meta descriptions. There are some resources available to those familiar with coding that let you play around with social media metadata character counts, like these templates. But unless you’re a developer, we recommend keeping it short and sweet.VideoWhile Facebook allows a maximum of 120 minutes for videos, we wouldn’t advise posting anything that long, unless you’re doing a special, social-media-only screening of a full-length film.According to research conducted by Wistia, two minutes is the “sweet spot” — even a minute longer than that shows a significant drop in viewership. “Engagement is steady up to [two] minutes, meaning that a 90-second video will hold a viewer’s attention as much as a 30-second video, the research reads,” so “if you’re making short videos, you don’t need to stress about the difference of a few seconds. Just keep it under [two] minutes.”Source: WistiaHowever, optimal length can vary depending on the topic. “If you produce something as catchy as BuzzFeed and Refinery29 are putting out there, it can be up to five minutes long,” says Hunersen.Regardless of the length of your video, Hunersen reminds us that all Facebook videos start without sound, meaning users have to make a conscious decision to stop scrolling through their feeds and unmute the video. Facebook videos should be visually compelling from the get-to, make sense without sound, and be engaging enough to encourage the user to stop and watch.3) TwitterQuick reference:Tweets: 140-character maximumDoes not include images, videos, polls, or quotes tweetsIdeal length is 120-130 characters Social Media Campaigns Topics: Featured Resource: How to Use LinkedIn for Business & MarketingOriginal ContentWith LinkedIn’s publishing platform, users can now compose and share original written content with their networks, or publicly. Of course, that comes with its own character counts, according to Foote:Post headline: 100Post body: 40,0005) InstagramQuick reference:Bio: 150-character maximumHashtags: Maximum of 30Captions: Ideal length is under 125 charactersSince Instagram is, first and foremost, a platform for sharing photos and videos, the primary focus is typically your visual content. However, it’s always helpful to provide some context, and let users know what they’re looking at.Given that, here are some helpful character counts for the text you include with your visual content:Bio: 150Hashtags: Up to 30CaptionsWhile Instagram doesn’t seem to specify a maximum total number of caption characters, it does note that, within users’ feeds, the caption is cut off after the first three lines. For that reason, it’s advised to limit captions to 125 characters. However, don’t leave out important information just for the sake of keeping your entire caption visible. Instead, frontload it with crucial details and calls-to-action, leaving any hashtags, @mentions, or extraneous information for the end.As for Instagram Stories, there doesn’t seem to be a ton of detail on character limits there, either. However, because the text overlays the visual content — which is the focus — don’t obscure too much of the photo or video with a caption.6) SnapchatQuick reference:Character limit: 80 per postSpeaking of not obscuring visual content — that brings us to Snapchat.Instagram Stories was, many believe, an effort to emulate the features of Snapchat, to create an opportunity for users to share quickly-disappearing photos and videos. And again, because the focus here is on the visual, you’ll want to prevent distracting viewers from it with too much text.According to Teen Vogue, Snapchat’s character limit is 80 per post, which is more than double its previous 31-character limit. And, if you’re looking for more guidance, just look to this particular app’s name, and remember the “snap” element of it — a word that implies brevity — and try not to ramble. Here’s a great example of how SXSW uses its captions efficiently:7) YouTubeFeatured Resource: YouTube for Business – A 30-Day RoadmapHere we have yet another network that’s focused on visual content, leading some to incorrectly assume that accompanying text — like titles and descriptions — don’t matter as much.That’s not entirely false — as a video-hosting platform, YouTube should primarily be used to showcase a brand’s quality videos. However, like any other visual content, it needs context. People need to know what they’re watching, who it’s from, and why it matters.Unfortunately, YouTube doesn’t appear to provide any specific parameters over its character counts — except for your channel description, which according to the official help site is limited to 1,000 characters. But other than that, it seems that the only guideline available is the alert display that lets you know, “Your [title or description] is too long,” if you’ve entered too much text in either of those fields.In this case, we would advise taking the same approach as adding text to support your visuals on Instagram and Snapchat. Like the former, a video’s description is cut off after the first line or two, so frontload the most important descriptors and CTAs, leaving extra details for the end.Show Your CharacterAs you set out to determine the length of your text, regardless of the platform, remember to do so with the user in mind. Many of these channel-mandated character limits are established for that reason — to keep audiences from getting bored or overwhelmed.Like anything else in marketing, however, it’s never an exact science, despite the best data. We encourage you to follow these guidelines, but don’t be afraid to experiment if they don’t always work. Test different amounts of text within your various channels, and keep track of how each post performs. From there, you can make decisions about which types of content, as well as its accompanying titles and descriptions, are the most well-received from your audience.How do you approach text with different online channels? Let us know in the comments.This post was originally published in January 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. When it comes to writing text for your blog and social media posts, many marketers wonder, “But what’s the character limit?” It’s never a simple question — sometimes, it’s answered by parameters established by certain channels. And on other occasions, it’s more a question of what’s ideal.For example, you probably know the character limit for a tweet is 140, but did you know that the ideal length is actually less than that? (Hold tight — we’ll explain why.) While we’ve written before about optimizing your actual content, we thought it would be helpful to gather the numbers of character limits — both enforced and ideal — for different online channels, all in one place.Click here to download our free ebook on how to start a successful blog for your business or project.Below, you’ll find a more detailed guide to character limits and ideal character counts for posts on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, SnapChat, and YouTube.The Length & Character Count for Everything on the Internet1) Blog PostsSource: MediumQuick reference:Post length: 2100 wordsTitle: Under 60 charactersMeta Description: Under 155 characters Don’t forget to share this post! Featured Resource: How to Use Twitter for BusinessLength of TweetsMarketers everywhere rejoiced when Twitter finally eased up on its character count parameters, and such media as images, videos, and polls, as well as quoted tweets, ceased counting toward its 140-character limit.Still, the “Quote Tweet” feature remains available, providing even greater character-saving measures. That happens when you press the rotating arrow icon to retweet a post, and then add a comment in the text box provided. You’ve still got 140 characters all to yourself to comment. Hashtags: No more than twoVideos: Maximum length is two minutes and 20 secondslast_img read more