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H-DNL football: Fortuna’s defense shuts down Stellar Prep in 38-0 win

first_imgLevi Nyberg rushed for two first-half touchdowns while the Huskies’ defense harried the Stellar Prep offense into a -43-yard debacle in the opening half as Fortuna High rolled to a 38-0 win Friday night under the lights at Husky Field.Max Hough put Fortuna on the board with just under 90 seconds to play in the first quarter after hauling in a 12-yard touchdown pass from Daeden Taylor.Nyberg added a score midway through the second frame via an 8-yard touchdown run. The run was set up by a …last_img read more

Wheat yields and quality looking good so far

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest As of June 27, Ohio’s wheat crop was drying-down and being harvested in some parts of the state. Thanks in part to cool spring conditions followed by relatively dry weather during early grain-fill, head scab and other disease levels were generally low in most areas. Low disease severity often means very good grain yield and quality. Stripe rust was our biggest disease problem this year, but outbreaks only occurred in pockets within and across fields. Moreover, several of the affected fields were treated with a fungicide which helped to keep this and other later-season diseases in check.The first set of harvest numbers are showing yields above 80 bushels per acre and test weight in the upper 50s. While we expect these numbers to vary from field to field, once the rain stays away as harvest continues, we expect to continue seeing very good grain yield and quality. Lodging is being reported in some fields, but unless it becomes very windy and rainy over the next few weeks, this will likely not be a major problem. However, getting the wheat off as soon as possible will minimize the chance of lodging and other late season problems. If you opt to harvest early (moisture in the upper teens or lower 20s), make sure you dry the grain down to minimize post-harvest problems.last_img read more

Nationwide Foundation approves $7M grant in support of Ohio State partnership to support agricultural facilities, programming

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Building on 50 years of partnership with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), the Nationwide Foundation is contributing $7 million to support the college’s vision of a modern land-grant institution with a mission to sustain life.“The Nationwide Foundation is proud to make this contribution to Ohio State and see our collaborative efforts around food production, security, and sustainability take a giant leap forward,” said Chad Jester, Nationwide Foundation president. “Together, we share a long-term vision with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences that assures the land-grant mission of sustaining life remains strong for generations to come.”The Nationwide Foundation gift supports initiatives in translating research and making it accessible, strategic collaboration, workforce development, and new facilities. This new gift brings total contributions to $11.8 million for the CFAES collaborative over the past several years.“We are grateful for the Nationwide Foundation’s steadfast support of Ohio State and its land- grant mission,” President Michael V. Drake said. “This generous gift will enable our faculty and students to continue addressing critical challenges for years to come—benefiting communities across Ohio and around the world.”The largest part of the gift, $5 million, supports constructing new facilities and infrastructure at Waterman Agricultural and Natural Resources Laboratory, a key asset on the Columbus campus and essential to our comprehensive university. At Waterman, CFAES operates a unique hub for teaching, research, and extension.Last year alone, more than 100 active research projects, and more than 200 outreach programs in the areas of turf science, dairy management and research, entomology, ecological engineering, agricultural systems management, sustainable agriculture, food science, medicine and behavioral science, and agronomic and horticultural production practices took place at Waterman.Waterman is also home to a multitude of college-credit courses encompassing everything from beekeeping to biogeography. Nationwide Foundation’s lead gift will support CFAES’ goal to engage every undergraduate student in some aspect of the Waterman experience dedicated to food security, production, or sustainability during his or her time at Ohio State.The plan for Waterman includes a Controlled Environment Food Production Research Complex with a state-of-the-art greenhouse production system. In addition, there will be a new multispecies animal learning center, the Kunz-Brundige Franklin County Extension Building, which is currently being built, and a modernization of the dairy facility.With the remaining $2 million, the Nationwide Foundation is contributing to programming initiatives focused on the land-grant mission, including translating research to ensure its accessibility and utility, broadening lifelong learning opportunities to strengthen the workforce, and strengthening leadership programming for CFAES students.These initiatives include combining an integrated team of researchers, data scientists, and communicators to manage a robust digital knowledge exchange to respond to public needs and highlight relevant research and data. Also included is the coordinated development of emerging talent, leaders, and workforce through educational, training, and certification programs, with innovative research through the college and programming that emphasizes career exploration and college preparation through Ohio 4-H.“Our college works every day to sustain life, and to be successful, we need partners who share our vision and appreciate its complexity and the long-term investment it requires,” said CFAES Vice President for Agricultural Administration and Dean Cathann A. Kress. “Nationwide’s value on doing together what cannot be done alone, both supports our interdisciplinary work and challenges us to keep seeking other collaborators. We are deeply fortunate to have partners like Nationwide and the Nationwide Foundation committed to advancing and sustaining life across Ohio and beyond.”last_img read more

Documentary Filmmaking 101: Effectively Researching Your Topic

first_imgFirsthand AccountsResearch interviews can uncover a lot of information about a subject or topic. By simply allotting time to chat with key subjects about a topic, you can uncover valuable information that may not be available online or in books. Accessing this less-than-public information can give your documentary a unique creative edge and further engage your audience in the story.Archival Footage or PhotosIf available, archival footage or photos can provide contextual visual information to your film. For example, the documentary series Wild Wild Country was full of archival footage of the story. This was one of the many reasons the show felt so unique — it was the only way to see this story. This archival footage supported the narrative and, I’m certain, provided many new plot points of discovery during the project’s research phase.Each documentary topic is different. However, research is an essential aspect of every project. A thoroughly researched documentary will provide a stronger narrative and a much better film than one that simply explores as it goes. Strong research ensures a successful and captivating documentary film.Cover image via Rawpixel.com.Looking for more articles on film and video production? Check these out.6 Things I Learned Shooting My Last Project on 16mm Film7 Reasons Why You Need a Producer for Your DocumentaryPromotion Tips: How to Get Standout Press For Your FilmHands-On Review: The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K7 Reasons You Should Consider Adding Voice Narration to Your Film Research and documentary filmmaking go hand-in-hand. So what resources can you use to find the most accurate information for your next projectThe process of researching a documentary subject can unveil fascinating details in your film’s narrative. Documentary research can develop undiscovered plot lines, help you find new characters, and uncover secrets. An effectively researched documentary can provide a narrative that is captivating and informative.Below we’ll detail some of the resources you can use to effectively research your own documentary film project.Image via Andrzej Sowa.Academic Research PapersAcademic research papers are wonderful tools for documentarians. Chances are that there are academic research papers out there about your topic. A simple Google search or thumbing through references on Wikipedia can uncover many of them.I like to consider these papers as a launching pad for most documentary projects. They typically provide a wealth of information that will send you down many different avenues of research. And since these papers always contain references, you can also track down plenty of the original sources the author relied on.NewspapersCurrently, I’m researching a documentary, and a research paper briefly mentioned a newspaper article that I hadn’t heard of. After some searching online, I found the newspaper had been digitized and was easily available. After reading the article, I found a part of the topic that I hadn’t uncovered during two months of previous research. For this reason, I find newspapers extremely valuable documentary research resource. If the paper you’re looking for isn’t digitized, you could always visit the publication’s local library where you can view the slides or microfilm.last_img read more

How to Master the Design of Compelling Calls-to-Action

first_img Originally published Feb 13, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Calls to Action Topics: Calls-to-action (CTAs) are one of the most important elements of lead generation, and they should be used in each and every one of your marketing tactics: emails, social media updates, press releases, trade shows … the list goes on. In fact, whenever you want to ensure your team is moving in the right direction, pose the question, “What’s the call-to-action we’re using to drive people’s behavior?”Once you have a strategy in mind for which calls-to-action you’ll feature on your website, you’ll probably start obsessing over their design. In this blog post, we present you with some guidelines to master the design of successful calls-to-action.How to Master The Design of Calls to-Action 1. Size Matters: Make Your CTA Big The goal of your call-to-action is to attract the attention of website visitors, and one way to convey its importance is by enlarging it. “You want your button to be large enough to stand out without overwhelming the design,” writes graphic designer Cameron Chapman.Size shouldn’t be determined independently of other factors — it is tightly related to the context of the page and the other characteristics of your call-to-action. For instance, the CTA will naturally be large if it includes a graphic or an image that strengthens the message. This is what we do for HubSpot’s blog: the call-to-action placed at the end of each article is bigger than your standard CTA button because it is contextualized and adds value to the article. Just scroll down to the bottom of this post to see for yourself.2. Spatial Effect: Give it Room to Breathe You know how they say that, sometimes, less is more? Well, that can definitely be true for calls-to-action. If you want to attract more attention to your CTA, you should give it some white space (or in the case below, orange space). Don’t crowd the language unless the information around it is key to taking the action. Simple logic dictates the ‘amount of white space’ decision. Separating the CTA from the rest of the content on a web page will mean it’s a separate item. If there is a tight connection between the call-to-action and some other web page element, then maybe there should be less white space between the two. “The more white space there is in between a call-to-action button versus a surrounding element, the less connected they are,” writes Jacob Gube in SmashingMagazine. “Therefore, if you have other elements that can help convince users to take action, reduce the white space in between those elements and the CTA.” Another tactic here is to fill your call-to-action with warm background colors, such as red and orange, which appear larger than colors suggesting coldness, blue and green. Warm colors appear closer to the viewer. 3. Give it Prominent Placement Your call-to-action needs to be above the fold so viewers don’t have to scroll down in order to spot it. According to an Eyetrack III study, the best placement of online ads is in the top and left position. This tactic, too, is dictated by simple logic. In the English language, we start reading from left to right and from top to bottom. Copywriter Dean Rieck suggests that once your readers get used to a particular placement, they might start ignoring the call-to-action or ad. “So even the prime upper left area won’t work so well if you always put ads there,” he writes. The most effective placement could also depend on the context of the rest of the page, so make sure you do some testing (see the section at the end of this post). For instance, test the ideal top and left position versus a placement in which the call-to-action is right beneath the offer description. Run an A/B test to see if you get more clicks, and pick a winner. 4. Contrast Is Key Contrast is one of the most powerful graphical techniques you can apply to calls-to-action. The fastest way to grab someone’s attention is by making your CTA stand out from the rest of the page and making it dominant. You can achieve that by picking a color for your button that contrasts the background. There has been a huge debate revolving around usage of the color red for call-to-action design. Some marketers argue that red can increase click-through rates significantly. Others explain that the context of the web page should determine the color. Whether you decide to use the color of fire, passion, and also the international stop signal or not, be mindful of your overall website design. While you want to keep the colors contrasting, make sure all of them fit in with your general website color scheme and avoid using patterns. Another way to achieve contrast with your call-to-action is to make the font visually different: some words might be larger or more emphasized than others. Just ensure that the CTA is easy to read. 5. Add Hover Effect Surely, you’ve seen calls-to-action that change when you hover over them with your mouse. This type of hover effect creates a perception that the CTA is instantly clickable. In that sense, the visitor is one step closer to taking the action. Using hover animation, you can make your buttons change color and brightness. You can also give them a shadow or have them zoom in or out. There are many Adobe Photoshop tutorials out there that can teach you how to create such a hover animation and help you create an even more irresistible call-to-action.   6. Embrace Unconventional Shapes Most calls-to-action have the same shape: that of a standard rectangular box. Shay Howe, designer and user interface engineer at Groupon, recommends that you give your CTA shape rounded or circular corners to make it more “button-like.” Square corners, he writes, may signal to visitors that the CTA is an ad or banner, and they might therefore avoid it. Sometimes you will encounter calls-to-action that have more unconventional shapes. For instance, they might be oval, star-like or assuming the contours of another object. This creative approach creates an element of surprise and might prove to be effective for increasing click-through rates. So experiment with call-to-action shapes that are rare, asymmetrical, and out of the ordinary. 7. Create a Sense of Direction Some of the most successful calls-to-action out there have arrows pointing at them. It creates a sense of direction and guides the visitor to the important element on the page. This is a way of prioritizing information and creating a flow. In fact, HubSpot Social Media Scientist Dan Zarrella, found out that if you have a picture of a human looking at a lead-capture form or call-to-action on a page, that’s where the eye of the visitor will also shift to. So don’t add images of people who stare right at your audience; make them stare at what your audience should look at.8. Focus on Text, Not GraphicsThe Eyetrack III study also showed that in ads, website visitors read more text content than graphical content. “People looking for information are looking for text, not pictures,” writes Dean. Make sure your wording is clear, specific, and action-oriented. If you need more information on copywriting for calls-to-action, download our free ebook, which includes specific guidelines for CTA copywriting. While you should focus on your call-to-action text, don’t forget that graphics can help convey meaning and strengthen your message. They are especially useful in explaining a concept that is hard to explain with words alone.9. Consider Adding a Secondary CTAOften times, you have two or three competing actions that you would like your website visitors to take. For instance, you might want to ask them to request a consultation and try out your product. Or you might want them to sign up for your email newsletter and download a whitepaper. Decide which call-to-action has higher priority, and give it more prominent placement and a bigger size. Also, keep in mind that the context of your page will affect click-through rate, so make sure there is a clear alignment between your call-to-action and the content around it.Make sure you use different colors to illustrate which alternative is more desirable. For instance, on HubSpot’s homepage, you will see that in the center we have three calls-to-action that, from left to right, decrease in importance. The key call-to-action, “Request A Demo,” is in orange, followed by the grey “Free Trial” CTA, and then the “Full Feature Set” CTA, which is just hyperlinked text.CTA A/B TestingA lot of the suggestions in this post have represented CTA best practices, but it’s important to understand that sometimes, best practices might not be the best practices for your particular business. One business might find that a red button in the top left corner of a web page performs the best for them, while another business might find that red buttons rarely get clicked, and the top right corner of a web page is the optimal placement for their CTAs.Therefore, marketers who are striving to continually increase their CTA’s click-through and conversion rates are constantly conducting A/B tests to determine the best design for their CTAs. Every design element we’ve mentioned in this post can — and should — be tested. And if you’re a HubSpot customer, the Call-to-Action Module makes it very easy to A/B test different call-to-action buttons to determine which generates the most clicks and conversions.Now that you’re familiar with the key elements in call-to-action design, you should go and see how improving CTAs affects your lead generation efforts. Make sure you share your experiments with us! Don’t forget to share this post! 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From Vague to Valuable: Putting Buyer Personas to Work

first_img“You’ve got to know your customer.” It’s a business cliche that has reached fever pitch in the past couple of years. And if it wasn’t 100% true, I’d hesitate to mention it yet again.The truth is that knowing who your customer is, what they value, what they need, and what it takes to motivate them is so critical that it still bears repeating. (If you’ve ever spent time at a newer company that hasn’t quite found its customers, or a large company that has lost interest or a sense of importance in knowing its customers, then you know this first hand.)In a noble effort to get to know the customer better, many marketers have turned to creating buyer personas — archetypes that represent the customers they most commonly encounter. It’s an easy way to put the customer on paper, and socialize the idea inside of your company.But as useful an exercise creating buyer personas might be, it’s something that has always felt a little nebulous — still once removed from yielding any practical value. Sure, it’s nice to have that printout of your persona “Chris the CIO” tacked up in the lunchroom. Hopefully you ponder Chris at the outset of important projects, and use him as a guide in making important decisions. But aren’t there other ways to derive real value from the buyer personas you’ve identified?There are. In fact, personas can help you overcome some of the tougher challenges that you might face as a marketer.Solving Segmentation With PersonasSegmenting your audience and your database is critically important to delivering targeted, relevant messages to your contacts. It’s also really tough to get right. Maybe it’s just that I’m an organizational freak, but I always have a sliver of self-doubt that I’m segmenting effectively. There are so many variables to take into account and so many possible ways to approach segmentation that it’s tough to know you’re getting it right.This is one place where personas can really help. At their core, your personas represent the dividing lines between different customers. When done right, they should give you cues on how you should talk to specific contacts, and what you should be talking about. Depending on your business and your breakout of personas, it’s possible that you’ll modify your approach, your language, the terminology you use, and the next steps you offer in your marketing depending on the persona.Something we’ve found to work particularly well at HubSpot that has formed the basis for our segmentation strategy (and our tools) is segmenting by both persona and lifecycle stage. For us, discerning between a marketer who has expressed interest in our product and a business owner who is interested in educational content on marketing makes a world of difference in our approach (and ultimately, the results we see).Personas to Map Your Content StrategyCreating a new piece of content can be a big investment of time, energy, and resources. (If your business is still just starting to embrace the value of inbound marketing and content, it may also not be all that often that the resources to create content are available.) Long story short — when you’re able to make the investment in a significant piece or pieces of content, you obviously want to make sure it has the biggest possible impact.Again, this is a place that personas can help. Mapping your content against your personas — and how many leads fall in each persona and lifecycle stage — can be a great way to prioritize what to create next. If you have 1,000 contacts of persona X who have been sitting at the “lead” stage for a long time and a lack of content to entice them to move to the next stage, that’s your starting point. We’ve recently turned this idea into a first class citizen by creating this as a view in our product — here’s what it could look like:Keep personas simple to keep them useful.Another important aspect to consider in actually getting value out of your personas is that they’re more likely to get used by you and others in your organization if they are grounded. When you can back up why you’ve defined your personas in the way you have to anyone who should ask, personas are less likely to come off as nebulous.A great way to do this is to look at the data you may already have on the contacts in your database. Are you already capturing “job role,” “industry,” or a similar piece of information on your forms? It’s concrete evidence about a contact that alludes to their persona, that they actually gave you. The combination of these pieces of data might also make it possible for you to deduce the personas of your existing leads.The best way to get persona data? Ask.While you may be able to deduce the persona of leads who are already in your database from details you already have, you’ll need a way to reliably capture accurate data on your contacts’ personas as they convert on your website.There are a lot of possible ways to do this, but it’s important to get it right. If a persona is being determined by the qualitative assessment of someone on your sales team, or if it’s being determined by some behavioral factor, you may be introducing an element of bias into your data.Rather than trying to deduce a lead’s persona from hints of information, why not just ask them? Maybe it’s a field on a form asking “How would you best describe yourself?” or the click of an option on your website. Khan Academy does a great job of this, actually asking users to bucket themselves based on their role or persona:That one simple click gives Khan Academy a tremendous amount of insight into who a visitor is, and what their wants, needs, and intentions are likely to be.When done right, personas can change everything.There really is no limit to the number of ways in which you can use a set of well-crafted buyer personas. For marketers, they can (and should) dictate the emails you send, the calls-to-action your contacts see, and the website experience they see. For your sales team, it should influence the topics and tone of the conversations they have. If you’ve got a customer service team, it’s useful to them in the same way. Buyer Personas Originally published Mar 19, 2014 11:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! 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57 Little Things to Double Check Before Your Website Launch

first_img Website Design Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Admit it: Launching a new website is stressful — even for the most seasoned digital marketers.Websites are complex. There are so many things that are easily overlooked, like a broken link or a misspelled word. And of course, a handful of things could go very, very wrong. Like what if you forget to test an important data capture form and then lose out on generating a bunch of new leads? Or worse, what if you forget to properly set up site redirects, and those valuable search engine visitors get a page not found message?Instead of worrying about the what ifs, wouldn’t it be much easier to have a comprehensive website checklist to run down before every site launch? One that you could use for enterprise websites, microsites, landing pages, and everything in between?Free Workbook: How to Plan a Successful Website RedesignWell, you’re in luck because I’ve put together the following list of 57 things to check before launching a website. It’s the same list that our team uses at our digital agency, and it’s a list you can copy, edit, and make your own based on the software you’re using to launch and host your website. We’ve grouped items into seven categories: page content, design, functionality, SEO, analytics, security & backups, and compliance. Keep on reading to make sure you don’t forget a thing before your next launch.Page ContentFirst, take some time to review all of the content on your website with a fine-tooth comb. Of course, that means page content, but don’t forget about your premium content too. From data-driven content and downloadable documents to rich media such as videos and images, you want to make sure everything is in place, working properly, and looking beautiful.So my suggestion is to check the following items once — and then check them again. You really don’t want to miss a single typo or grammatical error.Web copywriting has been proofread. Spelling and grammar are correct.Paragraphs, headers, lists, and other formatting are correct.Copyright date (perhaps in the footer) includes the current year.Company contact details are accurate throughout the website.Generic content, such as lorem ipsum, has been properly removed and replaced.Images are in the correct places, formatted and working on all devices.Videos are in the correct places, formatted and working on all devices.Audio files are in the correct places, formatted and working on all devices.All premium content, such as case studies, ebooks, and whitepapers, have been proofread. Spelling and grammar are correct.All premium content, such as case studies, ebooks, and whitepapers, are stored in their proper libraries/databases and work properly.Rights to images, fonts, and other content have been properly licensed and/or cited.DesignSecond, take the necessary steps to ensure that the site design is pixel perfect. If you have a responsive website (and you definitely should), you need to check the design across all devices. Your site should be looking good not just on an office desktop, but also on laptops, tablets, and mobile phones.Website pages are compatible across browsers (IE 7 8, 9 and 10, Firefox, Chrome, Safari).Website pages are compatible across devices (Android, iPhone, tablets).CSS/HTML is properly validated.Scripts are optimized across web pages.Images are optimized across web pages.CSS is optimized across web pages.Favicon is in place and rendering properly.Paragraph styles are working properly (headers, lists, block quotes).FunctionalityThird, take some time to test and validate all of the different features on your website. Lead generation forms, social sharing, CRM integration, and any other technology should work flawlessly across your website.Forms are submitting data properly.Thank-you message or page displays after form is submitted.Form data is being emailed to a recipient and/or stored in a company database.Auto-responders are working properly (if applicable).Internal links across web pages are working properly.External links across web pages are working properly, and open in a new tab.Social media share icons are working properly.Feeds are working properly (RSS, news, social media).Company logo is linked to the homepage.Load time for site pages is optimized.404 Redirect pages are in place (page-not-found.aspx).Integrations with third-party tools, such as your CRM, e-commerce software, and/or marketing platform, are running smoothly.SEOFourth, take some time to ensure that your website has been given a solid foundation for SEO success. From site architecture and content hierarchy to metadata and XML sitemaps, do not leave any stone unturned.Pages have unique page titles (fewer than 70 characters, includes keywords).Pages have unique meta descriptions (fewer than 156 characters, includes keywords).Pages have keywords (fewer than 10, all words appear in page copy).Metadata is properly in place for any content in an RSS feed.Metadata is properly in place for any social media sharing content.Spelling and grammar are correct in all metadata.Alt tags have been added to every image.A dynamic XML sitemap has been created.The XML sitemap has been submitted to search engines.Page URLs consistently reflect site information architecture.301 redirects are in place for all old URLs (redirecting old to new pages).rel=”nofollow” tags are in place on applicable links and pages.AnalyticsFifth, make sure your website is set up to capture web data and analytics. This valuable information will allow you to continually improve your website going forward, so you don’t want to forget this stuff.Your website analytics codes have been inserted on website.Relevant IP addresses have been excluded from analytics tracking.Funnels and goals have been properly created in your analytics software (if applicable).Google Webmaster and Google Analytics accounts have been properly synced.Google AdWords and Google Analytics accounts have been properly synced (if applicable).Security & BackupsSixth, you can prevent loss of data and protect against malware and other damages by properly setting up site security and regular backups.24/7 monitoring scripts are installed.A copy of the final website has been made for backup purposes.Ongoing copies of the website are being created and stored on a regular basis.Passwords and other website credentials are stored in a secure database.ComplianceFinally, make sure your website complies with any applicable laws and regulations. Internet law can be sticky, and each industry has its own set of rules to follow. So it’s best to consult with your legal counsel to make sure you aren’t missing anything — this post is not legal guidance. Here are a few you might need to know about:Web pages offer accessibility for users with disabilities (WAI-ARIA).Web pages announce if the website uses cookies (required in some countries).Website is compliant with usage rights for purchased or borrowed code, images, and fonts.Terms and privacy policies are visible to website visitors.Website is PCI compliant (if you’re storing and processing credit cards).Launching a new website can be a tedious task, but you can alleviate some of the stress by using this comprehensive website launch checklist. Topics: Originally published Aug 11, 2014 6:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017last_img read more

How to Run a Blog Lead Generation Analysis

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 Originally published Jan 19, 2015 12:00:00 PM, updated August 09 2017 How to Write a Blog Post It’s the timeless question for corporate bloggers: How many leads did your blog post generate? It’s much easier to see top-line metrics like how many visits each blog post gets, but measuring the impact further down the funnel is essential to growing your blog — and your business.But even more important than knowing the number of blog leads you have generated is being able to analyze those results and create an actionable plan for the future. After all, if you can’t make changes based on your analytics, they won’t really be that helpful.Download our free marketing tool that alerts you the moment you get a new lead on your website. Not sure how to run a blog lead analysis? In this post, we’ll walk through an example report, analyze it, and outline the action items we can take from it. Let’s start from the beginning: the report itself. Running the Blog Leads ReportMarketers often can calculate the number of leads their blog generates as a whole, but they don’t have insight into the number of leads each individual blog post generates. But the post-level information is important to help us figure out the best topics and formats for our posts.To find this out, you should run an attribution report in your marketing software. To learn how to create this type of report in HubSpot, see this blog post.Let’s take a look at an example report that shows us the number of leads generated from a company’s blog posts. Next up: analyzing this report. What should you look at in the report?Depending on how many blog posts you write each month, you may be starring at a very large report. To begin your analysis, pick out your top five best-performing posts and your bottom five worst-performing posts.For this post, we’ll just address the top five posts — but be sure to ask yourself all the same questions for the bottom five, too. The example attribution report above shows us that the top five performing blog posts are the following:Top 15 Infographics About Big Data Getting Started with Big Data VLOOKUP for Beginners Pivot Tables for Data Nerds How to Use Excel for Data Analysis When you are done doing that, dive into the following questions. These questions are designed to help you take away actionable insights from the data.Are there similar topics?The first thing you should do is look at the top (or bottom) five posts, and see if you see any similarities. Begin with topic commonalities. Are there popular topics that seem to appear in all of the posts that are generating leads? Are you surprised to see that certain topics you thought would perform well aren’t in the top five? Understanding what topics resonate with your audience will give you ideas for future post topics that have a high probability of doing well.In the example situation above, we see that the top two blog posts are about big data, and the next three are about data analysis in Excel. This information can help me cater my future content toward the topics that drive lead generation.Resources to HelpWhy Business Blogging Works7 Quick Ways to Curate Industry Content for Your BlogHow to Choose a Solid Topic for Your Next Blog PostAre there similar formats?The format of a blog post can also influence whether or not someone is going to convert on your post. Some people prefer list-based posts while others look for visual posts that include infographics or SlideShare presentations. Check your blog content to see if there is a certain format of your post that resonates well with your audience. This will help you understand how your audience consumes information.In the example above, the top blog post is a visual piece. However, the remaining four posts are how-to pieces — so it’s probably a good idea to ramp up more how-to pieces in the future (and sprinkle in some visual content). Resources to HelpWhich Format Is Right for Your Next Blog Post?How to Write Stellar How To Posts for Your Business BlogWant to Be a Better Blogger? Embrace StructureAre they similar lengths?There is an unlimited amount of information you can provide in a blog post. But how much is enough? Or what is too much? Analyze the lengths of your different blog posts to see if there are some that are driving more conversions than others. You may notice that in the longer posts, you aren’t getting as many conversions. This may be a good indication that your readers aren’t getting to the end of your posts where your calls-to-action are located. Resources to HelpHow to Get People to Read Your Entire Blog PostCut Your Content in Half: How to Write Less and Say MoreWas there embedded media in the post?Often, other forms of content are included in blog posts, such as social posts, videos, SlideShares, or infographics. This is a great way to share additional pieces of content in your blog without writing another full blog post. The media can serve as the bulk of the content for your post.In the example above, the top-performing blog post was “Top 15 Infographics About Big Data.” Even though there aren’t other forms of media in the other top-performing posts, this may be an indication that your audience likes to see infographics. Resources to Help8 Data-Driven Tips for Using Images in Blog PostsHow to Select the Perfect Image for Your Next Blog PostWhich CTAs did these posts use?The most important element of your blog post to drive conversions is including a call-to-action for your readers to convert on. Look at the top five blog posts and see if you have used a certain CTA multiple times. Your CTAs should correlate with the blog content so if you are seeing similarities in your blog content, you may see similarities in the CTAs that are driving conversions. However, if you are testing out multiple CTAs on the same content, this can be a good indication to what is working.In the example above, I may have a few CTAs that I use for big data posts. Big Data was the topic of my top two posts. At this point I would dig in to see which CTAs were on the posts that converted well. If it is the same CTA, I know that it performs well. If there are different CTAs, I can see if they have something in common like the colors or keywords. If you want to test out varoius types of pop-up CTAs and learn more about who’s visiting your blog, try HubSpot’s free lead capture tool. Resources to Help:Want to Improve Your Blog’s Conversion Rates? 11 Tests to TryWhich Works Better for Blog Conversion: A Standard CTA or a Full Form?Where were the CTAs placed?To continue the CTA analysis previously mentioned, I also need to see where the CTAs on my blog posts were placed. Are they at the bottom of the post? In the sidebar? Do they slide in? Are they in the middle of the blog post? This information will show me what type of CTA works. Dig into the performance of the different CTAs you have on your blog to figure out if one technique works over the other.If you have more than one CTA on your blog post, see which one works better. You may be surprised at your results.Resources to Help4 Fresh Ways to Squeeze More Conversions Out of Your BlogHow to Add Slide-In Calls-to-Action to Your Blog Posts [Tutorial]Were there links to a landing page? Where were they placed?In addition to your typical image CTAs, you may also have links to landing pages or other helpful pages on your site in the text of your blog post. Before you publish your blog post, it is important to set up tracking URLs for the most important links to help you understand if they are being clicked.Take the analysis a step further and look at the location they were placed in your blog post. If the only links that are clicked are at the beginning of the blog post, that may tell you that your readers aren’t getting as far through the post as you may have thought. It may also tell you that you should put the most important pages (such as your landing pages) toward the beginning of the post if they are more likely to be clicked on in that location.If your links are clicked more at the end of the blog post, that may tell you that your readers are interested in getting more information by clicking links after they read the bulk of your content. Either way, the location of your links can tell an important part of the story.Resources to Help8 Quick Tips to Help Increase Your Landing Page Conversion Rate9 Real-Life Conversion Rate Optimization Tests to Try YourselfWere they promoted on certain channels?We have talked a lot about on-page blog content analysis. But there are other factors that may influence how many leads are converting on your posts such as the channel they were promoted on. Before you publish your blog post links on social media or send them out in an email marketing campaign, make sure that you have the correct tracking URLs in place for each promotional channel. This will help you understand if your blog content is performing better on certain channels. It will also allow you to dig into whether or not certain topics or formats perform better on channels you are promoting them on.For example, “Top 15 Infographics About Big Data” may perform well on social media but “Pivot Tables for Data Nerds” may perform well on email. The topic, format, and length of your post may influence how well it does when promoted on different channels, too.Resources to HelpWant to Dominate Organic Search? How Blogging Can HelpNext Step? Experiment.There are a lot of insights you can gain from doing an analysis on these aspects of your blog posts. I even gave you some examples of what my thought process would be as I looked through the different numbers. However, the best way to figure out what will work and will not work is through running experiments. Experiment. Experiment. Experiment. I can’t emphasize it enough.Pull out the conclusions you drew through your analysis, and implement them in future content. Focus on the topics that work the most. Use the blog post formats that are generating the most leads. Adjust your length based on the posts that are performing the best. Use the CTAs that generate the most leads, and place them in the location in your blog post that works. Promote your posts on the channels that you think it will perform the best on. Optimize your blog posts based on your data, and then re-run the report to see if your results have improved. The only way you will learn if your conclusions are accurate is if you experiment with them.So what are you waiting for?If you are a HubSpot customer, read this post to find out how to do this type of analysis right in HubSpot!What else do you look for when you are doing a blog analysis? Topics:last_img read more

How to Increase Your SEO Traffic in 30 Days [Free Daily Planner]

first_imgSetting up proper SEO for your website is no easy feat — especially when you’re dealing with constantly changing algorithms. However, as search engines continue to evolve, it’s becoming more and more important for marketers to keep their content fresh and properly optimized.While it’s tempting to implement a bunch of quick fixes to get your page ranking in the short term, it’s important that you’re also planning a strategy that will scale in the long term. This requires you to continuously redefine your strategy over time by using sustainable and proven best practices.Download our free planner to learn how to step up your SEO traffic in just 30 days.To help you out, HubSpot & OnPage.org teamed up to bring you these best practices in the form of a handy 30-day planner. Each daily tip will help you step up your SEO game so that you can rank higher in search by the end of the month.More specifically, you’ll learn:How to standardize your URL structures to increase ranking.Tips on ensuring clean website navigation to comply with desktop and mobile algorithms.How to create better, more search-friendly content and headlines.How to improve your site’s loading speed.How to sign up for Google Search Console, Analytics, and more.Tips on monitoring progress and success.25+ other tips on increasing your SEO game.Click here to download your free copy today.  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 Jul 21, 2016 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 SEO Resources Topics:last_img read more

4 Exercises That Boost Creative Confidence

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! Originally published Jan 19, 2017 5:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Confidence If you work in a creative profession, you’ve likely battled with self-doubt at one point or another.Perfectionism is the bane of any creative professional’s existence. Constant insecurity about the quality of your own work can cause creative paralysis and make it difficult to stay motivated. And that’s a big problem if being creative is how you make a living.Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix for developing confidence in your own work, but we’ve shared a few exercises here that will help get you started on the right path. Check them out below to start building creative confidence and a renewed sense of purpose in your work. 4 Exercises that Boost Creative Confidence1) Learn a creative skill outside your comfort zone.If you’re a copywriter, take up photography. If you’re a graphic designer, sign up for a cooking class. If you’re a painter, try poetry.It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it falls outside of your usual creative grind. Once you start earning a living in a creative field, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut — you’re getting paid to produce creative work in a single area, so why should you try anything that doesn’t directly relate to it?Stepping outside of your creative comfort zone and trying a new skill can have a positive impact on your creative confidence. Author Srinivas Rao calls it creative cross-training, and it can help creative professionals embrace new points of view and come up with fresh ideas in their respective fields.You don’t have to become an expert in the new field, you just have to try it out and commit to experimentation without self-judgment. Rao, a podcast host and writer, tried out realism drawing and found it gave him a new appreciation for everyday objects:When I read the book Teach Yourself to Draw in 30 Days, I learned so many things about why nothing I drew ever looked real. I learned about the role that light and shadows play. I learned about how to create depth in my drawings. But more than anything, I learned how to see all the things that I had never noticed before when I looked at everyday objects.Challenge yourself to try a new skill outside of your field for 30 days. Take a class, get a book on the subject, or just search the web for tutorials. It doesn’t matter how you learn it, as long as you commit to it fully and approach it with an open mind.2) Embrace checklists.Checklists end up getting a mention in many articles on productivity and creativity because they really work. Setting small, attainable goals and marking them as complete not only helps us keep big projects on track, it also boosts our confidence and gives us more creative freedom.Worried that checklists are too rigid or confining to be useful in a creative profession? The exact opposite is true, according to psychologist and career coach Marty Nemko. “You won’t feel confined,” Nemko wrote in Psychology Today. “Knowing you’ll remember everything will free-up the brain space to use your creativity … safely.”When we cross something off our checklist, our brains release dopamine — the chemical that makes us happy. Using checklists to stimulate dopamine levels can help us form productive habits and feel good about accomplishing attainable tasks — which in turn boosts our confidence. Psychologists call this effect self-directed learning.When we acknowledge successful actions with a small reward (like checking off an item on a checklist), the resulting release of dopamine serves to “lock our attention to the current topic,” which researchers at the University of Colorado say plays a role in “encouraging focused practice on tasks where success is possible but not certain.” In other words, you’re more motivated to complete the next task, because your brain knows it’s going to be rewarded.3) Start designing a flexible work process, not a rigid one.Creative work can sometimes feel inherently unstructured (especially if you’re a freelancer or work from home), but designing a process you can continually come back to can make conquering creative projects more methodical, and less of a make-it-up-as-you-go kind of endeavor. Having a proven approach to creative work helps us build confidence, giving us a method we can fallback on if we ever hit a creative block.Designing a process around your work doesn’t mean you need to immediately create a strict schedule for yourself or put intense expectations on your daily output. Going from no clearly defined process to a super-strict process overnight isn’t realistic, and you risk setting yourself up for disappointment.When we put unrealistic expectations on ourselves to adhere to structured creative schedules, we usually only end up getting mad at ourselves when we fail to meet those lofty goals right away. This hurts our creative confidence, and makes us feel like we aren’t disciplined/talented/productive enough.Start documenting your process to see what works best for you, and build a daily creative practice around what you discover. Keep a record of everything you do each day for a week (work-related and non-work-related), and look for patterns on the days you were most productive and motivated.4) Build keystone habits.Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, coined the term “keystone habits” to describe positive habits that have a strong correlation with other positive habits — like a ripple effect of positivity. For example, exercising regularly has been proven to increase confidence levels and lead to healthier eating and sleeping habits. When you adopt keystone habits, a lot of other things in your life tend to fall into place.Building keystone habits around your creative endeavors can help you develop more confidence in your work, and increase your overall productivity on a daily basis. Start by cultivating positive daily rituals you’ll actually hold yourself accountable for, like developing a morning free-writing practice, preparing a meal completely from scratch, or even just making your bed. These seemingly small habits can add structure and intention to your day, resulting in more good habits and confidence down the line. Topics:last_img read more