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How to Deal With a Bad Boss

first_imgBad bosses come in all shapes and sizes: there’s the slacker, the control freak, the diva, and so many more. If you’re working for one of these managers, your professional life is probably more emotionally complicated than it needs to be.Follow these 5 steps to maintain your professionalism in the short term while deciding how to deal with your bad boss in the long term.Assess where you stand.First ask yourself: What makes your boss a bad boss? Are your issues with your supervisor addressable and fixable? Do you like your job, apart from your current manager? Other than your boss, are you confident in the leadership at your company?Your answers to these questions will help you think through the next steps.Let go of what you can’t control Recognize that you’re in a tough spot, and then commit yourself to minimizing the damage in your day-to-day. This means finding a way to emotionally stabilize yourself so that you can weather this difficult situation.Exercise good self-care and do your best to keep your stress level low. Identify an inner circle that you look to for support, preferably comprised of people outside of work. Avoid gossiping with your coworkers. Aimless venting can feed your frustration or worse, may incriminate you.Also recognize that your professional life doesn’t define you. Your character is composed by your skills and abilities. In this case, you’re honing your crisis management skills and you’re learning to stay calm and strategically solve a difficult problem. Give yourself credit for this instead of feeling badly that things aren’t going better at work.Communication is keyThinking through a communication plan will give you clues as to whether or not it’s worth your time and effort to salvage this job. Can you have a conversation with your boss about the issues you have with him or her, or does the dysfunction run too deep?If the issues that render yours a bad boss are work-related, then it may be fixable rather than if it’s grown into something more toxic. For example, an issue like “I sometimes feel that work is unfairly distributed,” is something you should be able speak with your boss about. While an issue like “I think that you routinely lie to me” is a personal issue and beyond the scope of what you probably want to take on at work.You can handle the former by making a list of your concerns and tying them to specific instances. Then set time with your manager to have an open and honest conversation expressing your concerns. Let your boss know you’re open to their feedback and want to work with them to move forward in a positive way.Invite helpWhile your HR team is there to listen and document, it’s not their role to call a manager out on bad behavior unless that behavior is illegal. However, they can be a sounding board and a source of support, and they can give you resources and advice to help you deal with your difficult manager.One thing you may want to consider is asking HR about a 360 review. This would give you and the other members of your unit the chance to provide feedback about your management team. These reviews are conducted anonymously are often helpful in unearthing management issues.Going over your boss’s head and meeting with his or her manager to report the bad behavior is unadvisable. It’s an emotionally charged political move that may put your boss’s supervisor in a difficult position and could also have implications for you.Move onWorking for a great boss is rewarding, and you deserve that. Perhaps your current job is giving you just the reason you need to freshen up your resume and see what your next chapter might hold._____________________________________________________________________________________________Ready to move on? Start your job search here on Glassdoor.Want to work for a top boss that employees love? Check out the 50 Highest Rated CEOs in America._____________________________________________________________________________________________last_img read more

7 Companies With Awesome Company Swag, Hiring Now!

first_imgI’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: People will do nearly anything for a free T-shirt. In the past decade or so, employers seem to have caught onto this — it’s become standard practice for companies to hand them out at new hire orientations, recruiting fairs, and more. But as more and more companies invest in swag, the appeal of knick knacks like T-shirts as well as coffee mugs and frisbees seems to have dulled a little bit. In fact, companies have had to get more and more creative with their gifts and goodies in order to stand out from the crowd. Fortunately, a handful of companies have upped the ante and are still nailing the swag game. The seven companies below all have seriously unique, creative, useful, or just downright awesome swag. And psst — they’re hiring, so get those applications in now!1. PercolateCompany Rating: 3.4What They Do: Marketing software companyWhere Hiring: Chicago, IL; London, England; New York, NY; San Francisco, CAThe Swag: If you’re a marketing geek and a bookworm, Percolate might just be the place for you. In addition to receiving a new hire package that includes such gifts as T-shirts, mousepads, notebooks, stickers, pens, and water bottles with Percolate’s logo splashed across all of them, all Percolate employees receive a Kindle in accordance with the value the company places on intellectual curiosity. Whether it’s explicitly work-related or not, employees are encouraged to stay informed and continually learn in order to grow.See Open Jobs2. GlassdoorCompany Rating: 4.0What They Do: The world’s most transparent job and recruitment marketplaceWhere Hiring: Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Dublin, Ireland; Green, OH; London, England; Mill Valley, CA; San Francisco, CAThe Swag: I’d be remiss to write an article about cool company swag without mentioning my own employer. The type of swag you receive at Glassdoor always depends on what’s in stock, but whatever you get, you won’t be disappointed. When I first started at Glassdoor about four months ago, I was greeted with an amazing swag package including a T-shirt, tumbler cup, notebook, multi-device charger (with plugs for Androids, iPhones, micro USBs, etc.), snacks and more, all inside of a Glassdoor-branded Rickshaw bag (which my sister has tried to buy off of me on multiple occasions). Rumor has it that there’s also speakers, water bottles, ping pong paddles, and more located throughout our headquarters.See Open Jobs3. BPCompany Rating: 3.7What They Do: Energy, oil, and gas companyWhere Hiring: Baltimore, MD; Blaine, MN; Detroit, MI; Houston, TX; Naperville, IL; Toledo, OH; Wayne, NJ; Whiting, IN and moreThe Swag: Company swag is often kitschy and fun, but at the end of the day, will it really make a lasting impact on your life? At BP, that answer is a resounding yes. BP is one of several companies that challenge employees to improve their health with a free FitBit to count their steps and daily activity. Along with the device comes a fitness challenge — employees who log a certain amount of steps are eligible for wellness points and prizes. Getting healthier and getting free stuff? That’s a win-win in our book. See Open Jobs 4. AdobeCompany Rating: 4.1What They Do: Creative, cloud-based software companyWhere Hiring: Boston, MA; Lehi, UT; McLean, VA; New York, NY; San Jose, CA; Seattle, WAThe Swag: It may not exactly be swag in the traditional sense, but when we learned about Adobe’s Kickbox program, we knew it was too cool to leave out of this post. Kickbox is an initiative within Adobe designed to spur innovation — any employee within Adobe is eligible to apply for the program, which involves them receiving a red box that contains reference cards and frameworks to help hone ideas, a gift certificate for coffee, candy bars, and, most notably, a pre-paid credit card of $1,000. Those with particularly stellar ideas are eligible to receive further investment from senior management, which dozens of Adobe employees have already achieved. Want to work for a major tech company that still retains the innovative spirit of a scrappy startup? Check out open jobs below. See Open Jobs5. Warby ParkerCompany Rating: 4.1What They Do: Eyewear retailerWhere Hiring: Berkeley, CA; Bethesda, MD; Chicago, IL; Lexington-Fayette, KY; New York, NY; Pittsburgh, PA; Seattle, WA; Toronto, Canada and moreThe Swag: As an eyewear retailer, it makes sense that Warby Parker would offer free frames and a gift certificate for a free eye exam to employees. What’s not so expected? The copy of Jack Kerouac’s Dharma Bums each new hire receives in their welcome package (Warby Parker gets its name from two characters in Kerouac’s book). In addition, Warby Parker employees receive “an army supply notebook to take notes as the new employee learns about the company” and “Martin’s Pretzels because the four founders always ate them when starting the company,” according to The New York Times.See Open Jobs6. Blue CoronaCompany Rating: 4.7What They Do: Digital marketing agency Where Hiring: Charlotte, NC; Gaithersburg, MDThe Swag: While Blue Corona offers a standardized new hire swag package of Yeti tumblers, Patagonia fleeces, Under Armour jackets, T-shirts, and more, they also take a more personalized approach to rewarding their employees. Because they realize that “not everyone is motivated by the same thing… [we] take time to learn what drives each individual and disproportionately reward performance with swag or gifts that speak to them,” says General Manager Katelyn Palacorolla. A few examples? Blue Corona has “helped employees make their dream vacations a reality; we’ve made moving easier on employees by helping them with moving services and gift cards for new furniture; we’ve snagged hard-to-get playoffs tickets and jerseys for the biggest fans in our office; we’ve paid for date nights for new parents, including a gift card for a nice dinner out and cash for a babysitter,” and more. See Open Jobs7. EverbridgeCompany Rating: 3.8What They Do: Mass notification/crisis communication software companyWhere Hiring: Burlington, MA; Chicago, IL; Lansing, MI; Pasadena, CA; San Francisco, CA; Washington, DCThe Swag: In the event of a crisis, large organizations like schools, city governments, and corporations need to be able to get in touch with their constituents quickly — and through Everbridge’s mass notification software, they can. But Everbridge doesn’t just take their clients’ safety seriously — the safety of their employees is just as important. That’s why, in addition to traditional company swag, Everbridge team members receive a branded seatbelt cutter and a flashlight/keychain with screwdriver bits. We’ve got to hand it to them — there aren’t many companies who can claim that their swag can literally save your life!See Open Jobslast_img read more

How Do Google’s Men and Women Really Feel?

first_imgOn Saturday, a Google engineer’s controversial internal memo criticizing the company’s diversity initiatives and “ideological echo chamber” went public after being shared with reporters and via social media. The author argued, among other things, that Google should not offer programs to people of any specific race or gender, that they should instead prioritize ideological and political diversity, and that a lack of representation between men and women in software engineering might not be due to bias, but to innate biological characteristics.The document’s release, and the engineer’s subsequent firing, spurred strong reactions. Many Google employees and other public figures condemned the document, saying that it perpetuated inaccurate stereotypes, while still others defended the author’s right to speak his mind.CEO Sundar Pichai said in an internal note to employees that while the company “strongly support[s] the right of Googlers to express themselves…. portions of the memo violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace. “To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK. It is contrary to our basic values and our Code of Conduct, which expects ‘each Googler to do their utmost to create a workplace culture that is free of harassment, intimidation, bias and unlawful discrimination,’” Pichai continued.This comes amidst a time when Google is currently under investigation by the Department of Labor for what they claim are “systemic compensation disparities” between men and women. This begs the question: Are these incidents accurate representations of men’s and women’s experience at Google overall?Glassdoor sits on about 33 million reviews and insights for more than 700,000 companies — including Google — that provide a unique, balanced look at the employee experience. In April, Glassdoor Chief Economist Dr. Andrew Chamberlain analyzed reported salaries from Google employees to determine whether or not the data reflected a gender pay gap. His finding? No statistical gender pay gap exists in Google’s Glassdoor data, after accounting for factors like job title, education, age, years of experience, and more. But what about employee satisfaction?  Overall, Google is a highly rated company. Their 4.3 company rating thus far in Q3 2017 well exceeds the 3.3 average, and they frequently make Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work list (most recently coming in at #4). And when breaking the ratings out by gender, since Q1 of 2016, men and women have both rated the company highly, ranging between 4.2 and 4.6 over the past few quarters. However, there are a few areas in which men’s and women’s opinions of the company differ slightly. It’s worth noting, though, that all of these ratings are above the average of all companies rated on Glassdoor. And indeed, many employees had positive things to say about their employer, praising Google’s environment and intelligent coworkers.“Amazing colleagues, transparent culture, some of the best benefits in the world, great pay, a culture of learning and improving, a culture of respect towards women, LGBTI, and other similar groups that can face discrimination, some very hard challenges to be worked on, opportunities for travel… I could go on!” said one former Strategic Partner Development Manager.“Good perks, salary, bonus; smart coworkers; very liberal and open minded; lots of activities and opportunities to learn,” said a current Infrastructure Software Engineer.However, as the memo’s author pointed out, a very liberal environment might not be for all. Google’s large size also proves frustrating for some, while other employees feel there is not enough diversity.“It’s getting too big. A lot of process to get things done,” said one current employee.“Too many young people. Felt that there was less diversity. Many at senior role with very little experience and skills to manage teams,” said a former Project Manager. While we can’t speak to every employee’s experience at Google, the data does show that Google is generally well-regarded by both male and female employees. While Google is not without its drawbacks — just like any other company — their above-average ratings for the company overall, career opportunities, senior leadership, and work-life balance paint a largely positive picture.last_img read more

Building a Career in Beauty One Gig at a Time

first_img Makeup and Wardrobe Faculty AMDA College Los Angeles, CA Nail Technician BYOU by Louise Preston, North West England, England 23 hours ago 23h Makeup Artist – Salon Red Rock Resort Casino Spa Las Vegas, NV 4.0★ 4.7★ N/A Hair & makeup artist HABAH Glasgow, Scotland N/A So, you’re admittedly obsessed with the beauty industry. You spend hours watching the latest YouTube tutorials and scrolling through the Instagram feeds of your favorite gurus. They say you should do what you love, but how do you get started?? How do you break into the notoriously competitive beauty industry?Everyone has to start somewhere and, now more than ever, there’s no single way to succeed. Your success is dependent on a number of factors including your passion, initiative, network, personality, and, of course, skills.To get started, take a look at your favorite brands. Do their websites list any openings? Do their social media pages feature requests for talent? Apply! Go to stores and talk to beauty advisors. Ask them about their work, show interest, and get their manager’s contact information. Be proactive, look into your options, and go after what you want. Keys to Growth and SuccessKnow your area of interest inside and out. Does it require a certification? Some positions will allow you to dive right in and others may be based on your experience or portfolio. Regardless, take advantage of every training program, master class, and mentor relationship that comes your way – your education should never stop. Learn from every experience, the good and especially the bad, and you’ll always emerge better than before.Browse Open Beauty JobsBe invested in relationships. Your career depends on them. No matter where you live or what type of beauty you specialize in, relationships are a vital component to your success. In big cities, while there may be more opportunities, there are just as many more people who want your job. In smaller towns, the range of opportunities may be more limited, but relationships remain a key factor all the same. Poor relationships = limited future options; great relationships = excellent referrals and a larger network.Build up your social media accounts. If you’re hoping to break into the more competitive opportunities like fashion week and editorial work, this is especially important. Seek out and interact with major players – you never know when they’ll post asking for help! It’s also a good idea to support and network with other people looking to gain traction; not only do you benefit from their inspiration and expertise, but you can also leverage that relationship later on.Stay on top of trends. Post your own interpretations of them frequently. Everyone’s always obsessing about the next big thing – whether it be a product, like Beautyblender, or a technique, like strobing. If you find it first, people will take note. Follow top beauty publications, like Allure and New Beauty, as well as niche brands to uncover these innovative opportunities and unique sources of inspiration.The Hidden Job Market in the Beauty IndustryBright Futures AheadWe’re currently living in a time where a new beauty star appears seemingly every day. That’s not to say that success is fleeting, but rather that there is room for anyone who finds their niche and shares it with the world. Freelancers, when focused on their passion and vision, can forge a career path straight into corner-office careers or business ownership – just look at Bobbi Brown and Lisa Eldridge.Why are freelancers qualified to break into the top-tier jobs? A number of reasons all lead back to the same answer – they’re uniquely qualified. Not only do they learn brands inside out from their product usage and sales roles, but they also become experts in the customer from interactions among all types of consumers and experience creation. A person who understands the industry from all sides is a key player in the success of a brand and its future growth.Beauty Boss: How Sephora CEO Calvin McDonald Leads Trends, Teams & TriathlonsThe sheer amount of interaction a beauty freelancer faces on a daily basis is a major element in that person’s success. Those who are most successful in the industry showcase their personality and develop new skills through personal interaction, which are both qualities that are integral when making a career jump. They know their customers – from what they want to the best way to sell it.Finally, flexibility is basically synonymous with freelancing. A freelancer chooses their own hours, working where they want and when they want, so they’re set up to build a career at their own pace. The ability to access more opportunities, and often times special opportunities at that, translates into a chance to master their craft and expand their portfolios without being limited by the scope of traditional settings. They also benefit from the variety of experiences available to them; they do not have to be confined by one career ladder to success. In short, beauty freelancers can accomplish more in a shorter period of time.The opportunities are out there, but it’s up to you to position yourself successfully to secure them. By working in freelance, you can build your career in beauty – one gig at a time.Glenn Laumeister is an experienced technology leader who is currently the CEO of AllWork, a platform for brands and retailers to find, manage and pay retail talent.   N/A Fulfillment Operation Manager Moitié Cosmetics Los Angeles, CA 3.6★ Makeup Artist Beauty and Fitness Circle San Antonio, TX 23 hours ago 23h Hair or Makeup Artist Something New Beauty Milwaukee, WI 23 hours ago 23h 23 hours ago 23h Available Makeup Jobs 23 hours ago 23h N/A Freelance Makeup Artist/ Hairstylist, D.C. Bureau Fox Corporation Washington, DC Makeup Artist La Bella Spa Merritt Island, FL N/A 23 hours ago 23h 23 hours ago 23h N/A N/A 23 hours ago 23h 23 hours ago 23h Hair, Wig, and Makeup Crew ZACH Theatre Austin, TX 23 hours ago 23h See more Makeup jobslast_img read more

Commission on the Status of Women: A Focus on Rural Women

first_imgPosted on February 27, 2012Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)The fifty-sixth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) began today and will continue through Friday, March 9th.  According to the CSW website, delegates from around the world have gathered at the United Nations headquarters in New York City where they aim to “evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide.”The theme of the fifty-sixth session is: The empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication, development and current challenges.On Friday, Sarah Costa, Executive Director of the Women’s Refugee Commission, shared a post, Prioritizing Reproductive Health, Empowering Women and Girls, on the Huffington Post’s Global Motherhood blog. In her post, Sarah Costa encouraged participants in the CSW to fully integrate the needs of displaced women and girls into their commitments to action for rural women–and to prioritize access to quality reproductive health services for all women.Sarah Costa writes:We will make the point that effective humanitarian assistance programs depend on the full inclusion of displaced women and girls in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of relief and recovery activities. We will argue that the international community must redouble its efforts to improve protection for refugee women and girls in rural areas, ensure they can go to school and acquire skills training and that they are able to safely earn a living. And we will press for a renewed commitment to quality reproductive health care.Reproductive healthcare and women’s empowerment go hand in hand. Sometimes, especially in remote settings, access to reproductive healthcare is also a question of life and death. We know that maternal mortality rates are especially high in conflict-affected countries and that displaced women and girls are at very high risk of sexual violence. Read the full post here.Watch the webcast of the fifty-sixth session of the CSW here.Learn more about the Women’s Refugee Commission here.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

Upcoming Event: South Asia Consultation on Maternal Health: Regional Dialogue and Way Forward

first_imgShare this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on March 25, 2015March 25, 2015Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)center_img We’re excited to announce an upcoming policy dialogue on maternal health priorities for South Asia on Tuesday, March 31st. This dialogue is part of our partnership with UNFPA and the Wilson Center, which was recently voted the #1 think tank in the United States and one of the top ten think tanks in the world. Interested in attending? RSVP and see the invitation from the Wilson Center below to learn more details about how to participate in the event.In early February, the Wilson Center’s Maternal Health Initiative joined Oxfam India, CARE Bangladesh, and epidemiologists, amongst others  in Kathmandu, Nepal, for a two-day, regional workshop on maternal health. Please join us on March 31st to continue the discussion about how best to improve results in this complex, critical part of the world.Despite decreased maternal mortality during the last decade, the maternal health crisis in South Asia is far from over. Poor access to health care for women in more traditional societies, low age at marriage, gender-based violence, lack of abortion services, unmet need for family planning, poor quality of care, large uninsured populations, maternal morbidity, and other issues continue to linger.Accordingly, there is a need for innovative partnerships, scalable social enterprises, and redefining the role of the social sector and governments to tackle these residual and emerging challenges. As we come to the end of the Millennium Development Goals, a final push and focused agenda are required to go the “last mile.” Now is the time to look back, note the experiences and lessons, re-strategize, and move ahead to close the gaps.Attend with us in person: Join us at the Wilson Center in Washington, DC on Tuesday, March 31st by RSVPing.Want to attend but can’t? Tune into the live or archived webcast at WilsonCenter.org (not every event is webcast live; archived webcasts go up approximately one day after the meeting date).Join the conversation on Twitter by following @NewSecurityBeat and #MHdialogue and find related coverage on our blog at NewSecurityBeat.org.RELATED CONTENT:Pakistan’s Most Recent Demographic and Health Survey Reveals Slow ProgressOvercoming Malnutrition Key to Maternal and Child Health Improvements, Says Dr. Ranu DhillonMaternal Health in India: Making Progress in a Key ArenaMedia guests, including TV crews, are welcome and should RSVP directly to Benjamin.Dills@wilsoncenter.org. Media bringing heavy electronics MUST indicate this in their response so they may be cleared through our building security and allowed entrance. Please err toward responding if you would like to attend.LOCATION:5th Floor, Woodrow Wilson CenterDIRECTIONS TO THE WILSON CENTEREvent Speakers List:Sandeep Bathala // Senior Program Associate, Environmental Change and Security Program, Maternal Health InitiativeDr. Linda Bartlett //Associate Scientist, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthPallavi Gupta //Programme Coordinator – Health, Oxfam IndiaDr. Jahangir Hosain // Program Director-Health, CARE BangladeshBarbara Stilwell //Senior Director of Health Workforce Solutions, IntraHealth Internationallast_img read more

From the Archives | Maintaining the Focus on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health With Innovation and the SDGs

first_imgBiological: We know from past and current research that the health, nutritional status and general wellbeing of the mother strongly influences the chances of survival and wellbeing of the fetus during pregnancy, the newborn and older children.Social: Mothers are the primary caretakers at home. So when a mother’s health is compromised or life is lost, the children and family suffer dire consequences.Health systems: A functioning health system able to provide integrated care is needed to address both a mother’s and her newborn’s needs. Without a good infrastructure, the necessary supplies and proper training for health workers, both moms and their newborns suffer.With this knowledge, it is important that maternal and child health professionals work together and look at the continuum of maternal, newborn and child health in an integrated fashion, without forgetting any of these critical elements. But what is integration? Using a simple definition, integrated care means addressing simultaneously the needs of both the mother and the baby, ideally in the same place. Although that makes perfect sense from a conceptual perspective, we need more evidence about how to make it happen.In fact, barriers at various levels make it difficult to implement integrated maternal, newborn and child health efforts. Too often we see separate and siloed efforts, which include financing, policies, research and programs. These challenges start at the global level, which then prevents an enabling environment for those changes to occur at the country level.Barriers in PolicyAs the global policy community transitions from the MDGs to the SDGs, we’ve seen some wonderful initiatives. For example, the Every Newborn Action Plan offers a road map for raising the visibility of newborns’ health care needs—newborns were neglected in global efforts until recently—and how to address them in the context of ongoing efforts to reduce infant mortality and morbidity. Similarly, key national and global partners including the Maternal Health Task Force have been very involved in another initiative called Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality, or EPMM, that has defined the new goals for the reduction of maternal mortality by 2030 and the key strategies to achieve them. Both initiatives recognize the mother-baby dyad and the importance of addressing both mothers and babies in an integrated fashion. However, they have names that keep them somehow separate, one referring to newborns and the other to mothers. Now that we are recognizing the benefits of integration, we are calling attention to this artificial separation. Siloed approaches have also prevented health and development professionals from viewing the continuum of care of a woman’s health.The continuum of care: It’s all women’s healthFrom a medical perspective, the health of the girl, the adolescent and the woman before she gets pregnant is absolutely critical and influences what happens during a pregnancy and beyond. Women’s health shouldn’t be divided into little pieces; rather it should be seen as a continuum throughout the life cycle, as each stage of a woman’s life influences her health and wellbeing at the next stage. Very often the same social determinants that help or threaten a woman’s opportunities to achieve good health and wellbeing at one stage will influence her chances for health at later stages. However, the challenges are changing, and we as the maternal, newborn and child health community need to remain flexible to respond to these transitions. Even low-income countries are already facing an increased burden of noncommunicable diseases and, as a result of that, many countries will have to address indirect causes of maternal mortality while still struggling with an unfinished maternal and newborn health agenda, which will require new infrastructure, new approaches, new training and new supplies. These will be critical issues to address for the maternal, newborn and child health communities as we review our progress with the MDGs and evaluate the forthcoming SDGs.Lessons learned from the MDGsThe MDGs have had some limitations, but they kept the attention targeted on maternal and child health for 15 years, which is unique. With the SDGs, we are facing the risk of losing focus. This new set of global goals—that the international community is likely to embrace in September of this year—will only have one overarching health goal: ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages.There are many aspects of this goal worth celebrating, as it speaks to health throughout the lifecycle and talks about health for all, somehow alluding to equity. And it talks in a positive way about health, and not in a negative way as maternal mortality or child mortality. But, unfortunately, the goal might be too vague.Furthermore, this singular health goal will be one among many more development goals. To some extent, our golden moment in the maternal and child health community—from a global policy perspective—risks to be over soon. To avoid this from happening, we need to make a very important and focused effort now and in the years to come to keep maternal and newborn health high on the global policy agenda.Innovation: More than technologyAs we approach the future of maternal, newborn and child health, global and national policymakers and decision makers should support innovation defined in a broad way. Innovation does not only mean new technology. Innovation is needed to represent change and create new ways to think about and organize health systems. Looking at innovation from an integration perspective, we need to consider models that will allow us to integrate services on the ground and measure the impact they have. Our work does not stop once an innovation is implemented. If we don’t evaluate the effects, good and bad, of whatever we are introducing, we will not move the agenda forward. So I would hope that policymakers commit to innovating for integrated maternal and newborn health care so that women and their children thrive in all societies.Photo credit: DRC Clinic in Swakopmund, Namibia © 2014 Synergos Institute, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/This post originally appeared on the Maternal Health Task Force blog on 13 March 2015.Share this: Posted on December 27, 2017February 5, 2018By: Ana Langer, Director of the Maternal Health Task Force and Women and Health InitiativeClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)As we reflect on the work that we’ve accomplished through the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and plan for the next set of global commitments (the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs), it’s important to talk about the inextricable link between mothers and their children. This link is both biological and social and has critical implications for health systems. ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:,Biological: We know from past and current research that the health, nutritional status and general wellbeing of the mother strongly influences the chances of survival and wellbeing of the fetus during pregnancy, the newborn and older children.Social: Mothers are the primary caretakers at home. So when a mother’s health is compromised or life is lost, the children and family suffer dire consequences.Health systems: A functioning health system able to provide integrated care is needed to address both a mother’s and her newborn’s needs. Without a good infrastructure, the necessary supplies and proper training for health workers, both moms and their newborns suffer.With this knowledge, it is important that maternal and child health professionals work together and look at the continuum of maternal, newborn and child health in an integrated fashion, without forgetting any of these critical elements. But what is integration? Using a simple definition, integrated care means addressing simultaneously the needs of both the mother and the baby, ideally in the same place. Although that makes perfect sense from a conceptual perspective, we need more evidence about how to make it happen.In fact, barriers at various levels make it difficult to implement integrated maternal, newborn and child health efforts. Too often we see separate and siloed efforts, which include financing, policies, research and programs. These challenges start at the global level, which then prevents an enabling environment for those changes to occur at the country level.Barriers in PolicyAs the global policy community transitions from the MDGs to the SDGs, we’ve seen some wonderful initiatives. For example, the Every Newborn Action Plan offers a road map for raising the visibility of newborns’ health care needs—newborns were neglected in global efforts until recently—and how to address them in the context of ongoing efforts to reduce infant mortality and morbidity. Similarly, key national and global partners including the Maternal Health Task Force have been very involved in another initiative called Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality, or EPMM, that has defined the new goals for the reduction of maternal mortality by 2030 and the key strategies to achieve them. Both initiatives recognize the mother-baby dyad and the importance of addressing both mothers and babies in an integrated fashion. However, they have names that keep them somehow separate, one referring to newborns and the other to mothers. Now that we are recognizing the benefits of integration, we are calling attention to this artificial separation. Siloed approaches have also prevented health and development professionals from viewing the continuum of care of a woman’s health.The continuum of care: It’s all women’s healthFrom a medical perspective, the health of the girl, the adolescent and the woman before she gets pregnant is absolutely critical and influences what happens during a pregnancy and beyond. Women’s health shouldn’t be divided into little pieces; rather it should be seen as a continuum throughout the life cycle, as each stage of a woman’s life influences her health and wellbeing at the next stage. Very often the same social determinants that help or threaten a woman’s opportunities to achieve good health and wellbeing at one stage will influence her chances for health at later stages. However, the challenges are changing, and we as the maternal, newborn and child health community need to remain flexible to respond to these transitions. Even low-income countries are already facing an increased burden of noncommunicable diseases and, as a result of that, many countries will have to address indirect causes of maternal mortality while still struggling with an unfinished maternal and newborn health agenda, which will require new infrastructure, new approaches, new training and new supplies. These will be critical issues to address for the maternal, newborn and child health communities as we review our progress with the MDGs and evaluate the forthcoming SDGs.Lessons learned from the MDGsThe MDGs have had some limitations, but they kept the attention targeted on maternal and child health for 15 years, which is unique. With the SDGs, we are facing the risk of losing focus. This new set of global goals—that the international community is likely to embrace in September of this year—will only have one overarching health goal: ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages.There are many aspects of this goal worth celebrating, as it speaks to health throughout the lifecycle and talks about health for all, somehow alluding to equity. And it talks in a positive way about health, and not in a negative way as maternal mortality or child mortality. But, unfortunately, the goal might be too vague.Furthermore, this singular health goal will be one among many more development goals. To some extent, our golden moment in the maternal and child health community—from a global policy perspective—risks to be over soon. To avoid this from happening, we need to make a very important and focused effort now and in the years to come to keep maternal and newborn health high on the global policy agenda.Innovation: More than technologyAs we approach the future of maternal, newborn and child health, global and national policymakers and decision makers should support innovation defined in a broad way. Innovation does not only mean new technology. Innovation is needed to represent change and create new ways to think about and organize health systems. Looking at innovation from an integration perspective, we need to consider models that will allow us to integrate services on the ground and measure the impact they have. Our work does not stop once an innovation is implemented. If we don’t evaluate the effects, good and bad, of whatever we are introducing, we will not move the agenda forward. So I would hope that policymakers commit to innovating for integrated maternal and newborn health care so that women and their children thrive in all societies.Photo credit: DRC Clinic in Swakopmund, Namibia © 2014 Synergos Institute, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/This post originally appeared on the Maternal Health Task Force blog on 13 March 2015.last_img read more

How a new deduction could cut your tax bill by 20%

first_imgTax Day may have come and gone, but it’s likely that some of the key numbers from your 2017 return are still in your mind—especially if you had to pay more tax than you were expecting to. While you are still in a “taxation” state of mind, it’s a good idea to consider how you might lower your freelance tax bill for the current tax year.For instance, you’ll want to pay attention to one of the most anticipated provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) passed late last year: the 20 percent pass-through deduction for businesses. Like many tax rules, this deduction is more complex than it sounds at first, so let’s start with the basics and then we’ll delve a little deeper for those of you who want to take a closer look at the potential savings.The pass-through deductionHere are the basic rules of the new pass-through deduction, which applies to sole proprietorships, S-corporations partnerships, and LLCs (that did not elect to be taxed as a corporation):It is not based on the definition of business income as most of us are used to. Instead, it uses “qualified business income” (QBI) to calculate any deduction to which you may be entitled.There is an income-based limitation on the amount of the deduction.Some types of businesses, referred to as a Specified Service Trade or Business (SSTB) in the new tax law, are not eligible for the deduction once certain income thresholds are met.How these rules apply to freelancersQBI, from the IRS’ standpoint, is equal to the income you derive from your pass-through business minus any net capital gains or short-term capital losses. In addition, QBI does not include pass-through income from W-2 wages received from an S-corporation or from the guaranteed payments received from a partnership.The amount you can deduct is also subject to caps of either 50 percent of the wages your business pays its employees or 25 percent of wages plus 2.5 percent of the basis of the business’ qualified property—whichever is higher. These calculations must be compared to the 20 percent of your QBI, then you may deduct whichever amount is less. This limit also phases in over the same $315,000 and $415,000 taxable income range for joint filers.The income-based limitationThe income-based limitation applies to non-corporate taxpayers who exceed the $315,000 income threshold. If you own a personal service business (called a specified service business), the amount of your QBI is phased out on a pro-rated basis your total taxable income hits $415,000. At this income level and above, you no longer qualify for the benefit of the 20 percent deduction. Businesses that are not specific service business are still eligible for the deduction.Defining a specific service trade or businessA specific service trade or business defined by the IRS is any trade or business providing services in the fields of health, law, accounting, actuarial science, performing arts, consulting, athletic, financial services, brokerage services and other industries. Also included are any trades or businesses involving investing and investment management, trading or dealing in securities. Engineers and architects are not defined as a specific service trade or business and thus are excluded from this limitation.Capital-intensive businessesBusinesses that are capital-intensive were taken into account under the new law with an increase in the wage limit to include a qualified property calculation. According to the IRS, qualified property is tangible depreciable property used by your business to earn QBI. These deductions can be taken on your individual return and the calculations would apply to each business that you operate separately.Calculating the TCJA’s 20 percent pass-through deductionYou should first determine if your business is an SSTB as mentioned above. The first two examples below assume that your business is not an SSTB. In both of these cases, you would calculate the Qualified Business Income (QBI) from your business. This is simply the net income of your business excluding any salary, wages or payments made to you, the owner. If you have a sole proprietorship, this would be your Schedule C income.If your business is under the income phase-out threshold described above, then you simply calculate 20 percent of the pass-through income from your business(es) and take the deduction as long as it is less than 20 percent of your taxable income excluding net capital gains.If your business is not an SSTB and you are over the maximum income threshold amount, then your calculation is more complex in order to account for the deduction phasing out.You will need to determine the ratio of the income you may have over the threshold limitation of $157,500 for single taxpayers and $315,000 for Married Filing Jointly taxpayers.Keep in mind also that if your taxable income reaches $207,500 (single filer) or $415,000 (married joint filer), the QBI deduction is limited to 50 percent of your W-2 wages from that business or the sum of 25 percent of W-2 wages from the business, plus 2.5 percent of any qualified property. Then, using the income threshold stated above and the phase out amount of $207,500/$415,000 to calculate the limitation on a prorated basis.Calculating your deduction if your income is over the thresholdHere is an example of how to do it assuming:You have $425,000 in taxable income (Married, Joint Filing), including $300,000 in QBI earned through a non-SSTB LLC.You paid two employees a total of $100,000 in W-2 wages.You own the building where your office is located, which has an unadjusted acquisition basis of $250,000.Given this hypothetical situation, your maximum pass-through deduction is 20 percent of your $300,000 QBI, which equals $60,000. With your taxable income being over $415,000, any pass-through deduction you claim is limited to the greater of (i) 50 percent of the W-2 wages paid to your employees, or (ii) 25 percent of W-2 wages plus 2.5% of your office building’s $250,000 basis. (i) is $100,000 (50% x $100,000) = $50,000; (ii) is (2.5% x $250,000) + (25% x $100,000) = $31,250. Since (i) is greater than (ii) you would have to take the greater amount of $50,000 as the pass-through deduction.Calculating the deduction for A Non-Specified Service Trade or BusinessFor our example, assume:You are a consultant (one of the service provider categories subject to the phase out limits) and a single taxpayer with taxable income of $227,000.Your taxable income is $69,500 or 31 percent over the single filer income threshold.You paid your employees $60,000 in wages.To calculate, multiply your deduction prior to the phase-out—in this case it is limited to 50 percent of the W-2 wages you paid since there is no qualified property. This is equal to $30,000 (50% x $60,000 W-2 wages = $30,000). With your phase-out percentage being 31 percent you get 69 percent of the full deduction which is equal to (69% x $30,000 = $20,700).This new pass-through deduction may offer significant tax savings for your freelance business, but it is also somewhat complicated. Could it save you 20 percent? Maybe—it depends on how the specific rules of this deduction apply to your situation. This is where enlisting a tax professional to do some tax planning and calculations may be helpful. Whether you choose to work with a tax pro or to go it alone, it’s worth considering whether this new tax deduction can reduce your freelance tax bill.Jonathan Medows is a New York City based CPA who specializes in taxes and business issues for freelancers and self-employed individuals across the country. He offers a free consultation to members of Freelancer’s Union and a monthly email newsletter covering tax, accounting and business issues to freelancers on his website, www.cpaforfreelancers.com , which also features a new blog, how-to articles, and a comprehensive freelance tax guide.Jonathan is happy to provide an initial consultation to freelancers. To qualify for a free consultation you must be a member of the Freelancers Union and mention this article upon contacting him. Please note that this offer is not available Jan. 1 through April 18 and covers a general conversation about tax responsibilities of a freelancer and potential deductions. These meetings do not include review of self-prepared documents, review of self-prepared tax returns, or the review of the work of other preparers. The free meeting does not include the preparation or review of quantitative calculations of any sort. He is happy to provide such services but would need to charge an hourly rate for his time.last_img read more

7 lessons freelancers can learn from the Fyre Festival

first_imgLet us be the seventy-thousandth to ask: have you seen the Fyre Festival doc(s) yet?If you still haven’t feasted on Hulu and Netflix’s duelling takedowns of the festival that sold dreams and delivered nightmares, your immunity to FOMO is admirable. But beyond the crash course in schadenfreude, freelancers should watch one or both docs for the lessons they impart in how to tell a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity from a too-good-to-be-true one.A largely independent cast of tech developers, publicists, project managers, events producers, construction workers, and some guy who flew a plane (when he really shouldn’t have), gave this seeming golden ticket their all — and got only sunburn and regret in return.Here’s what might have saved them.Do your researchMeteoric business rises are possible, of course, but one of the advantages of the times we live in is the ability to find out a lot about a client’s background from a cursory Google search.So pretend that this client actually wants to date your friend, and go to town. (It’s not stalking, it’s business!) If you’re on the fence about their credibility, put out feelers within your professional network. Someone must know someone who’s willing to either divulge the dirt, or put your mind at rest.Believe your eyes and ears“Should have known” sucks. Red flags like legal troubles, dodgy investors, or brief, baffling overhype of a previous venture (say, a “game-changing” startup built on gluing an average credit card to a piece of a metal) are not, in fact, signs of a genius ready to make their mark. These are signs of a smooth-tongued client with Business ADD, who in all likelihood hasn’t thought this project through either. If alarm bells ring at any point, go with that.There are other gigs in the sea/not on a Bahamian parking lot.Contracts matterWhile there’s nothing wrong with being a part of something “special,” or “groundbreaking,” landlords have yet to accept excitement or originality as rent. In other words, get all your terms in writing. The Fyre Festival management (cough) team viewed such trivialities as paying bills, sticking to timelines, the law, and the whole concept of truth as counter to creativity — and it was a cover story.Sure, projects evolve. But negotiate as much as you reasonably can up front, stipulate regular payment intervals, and add a termination clause in case things should go south. And if the client loves the why, but finds the how a buzzkill, run. Your time is money, and they probably don’t have any.Beware lack of transparencyCrucial missing info as things progress is a flashing neon sign that a client isn’t telling the whole truth. Case in point: the Fyre Festival guests and influencers who expected luxury flights and accommodations, and got school buses to FEMA tents.Never accept assurances when documentation and proof should be easily accessible. If a client isn’t forthcoming with the goods, assume that they don’t exist and rethink your involvement.Hold on to your standardsBeing a team player is admirable, and often necessary. But if your client is so exploitative that you find yourself freshly mouthwashed in the car, wondering what life decisions brought you to such a dark place (see the Netflix doc)? Things have gone very badly wrong and are unlikely to get better.Upholding basic standards of business, decency, and legality is the client’s burden — not yours. And from jaw-droppingly criminal asks to more mundane erosions of basic right and wrong, remember that the client doesn’t own moral reality. You do (also, the FBI).Don’t go out of pocketSomething to note about entrepreneurs with more hubris than cash is that smoking a cigar with one hand and raising an imaginary roof with the other keeps their hands out of their pockets. Interesting.One of the truly sad stories, repeated over and over, from Fyre Festival concerned independent workers who were left holding the bag at the end. And in some cases, these people paid an extra hefty price because they chose to do right by their own contractors. The bottom line: if a client isn’t paying their bills, do not assume them as your own.Don’t soldier onWhen disaster is inevitable, don’t let pride or camaraderie lead you further into the abyss. You don’t owe bad clients your services, and you certainly don’t owe dishonest clients loyalty until the bitter end.Remember, you went independent so that you wouldn’t be bound to the poor decisions and internal politics of traditional employers. There will be other gigs, and some of them might even be festivals, but hopefully none of them will warrant two documentaries.last_img read more

5 Ways To Budget Your Life After Getting Laid Off

first_imgPhoto by: Dan GoldI had been at my job for almost six years. I started as an intern and climbed my way through management, leadership roles, and even had the opportunity to live in Latin America for four months while writing about travel. I thought my position was solid, and I intended to stay at my company for at least another couple years. I was in Puerto Rico on vacation when I got a call from New York — I answered and they said, “Hey Arielle, sorry, we know you’re on vacation, but…” And that was it. More than 250 people had been let go, and I became a prisoner of my own mind. Anxiety levels were high and I immediately panicked about what was next and how long I could live off my credit card. It was not the trip I had hoped for.Here’s the thing with being laid off: It usually has nothing to do with your work ethic, it’s non-personal, and it can happen unexpectedly. Whether you’ve been at a company for six months or six years, getting cut from the team can be a hard financial blow. Maybe your company provides good severance — maybe they don’t. But worry not! Things have a way of working out, and there are several actions you can take to save some cash and budget your life, whether things are smooth sailing or the equivalent of a torrential storm.1. Evaluate your spending and make some decisions on where to cut costsThe great thing about the Mint app is having the ability to take a deeper dive into your spending habits and adjust your budget based on your lifestyle. Maybe you refuse to give up that morning cup of coffee, but know that you can go the next two months without buying new clothes. Maybe you love that bi-monthly gel manicure, but know you can paint your nails yourself at home. You don’t have to stop living and enjoying life because of a setback, you just have to make small changes.2. Take note of your paid subscriptions and axe anything you underuseI didn’t realize how many monthly services I pay for, but after years of signups and recurring bills, I never bothered to see what I still had going. If you have a gym membership but haven’t gone in three months, what are the odds that you’re ACTUALLY going to start going now? Is that cost worth it? Can you pay for an app that’s cheaper and accessible at home? I’ve been paying for cable for so many years now, and the only thing I watch on TV is The Bachelor, which is accessible with an antenna from Amazon for $30. If you pay for a service that you don’t actively use every month, it’s probably a good time to cancel.3. Make a grocery list and meal prep some breakfasts, lunches, and dinnersIf you are not a cook and eat out often, it’s time to pick up a new skill! You don’t have to be a chef to make something simple. If you’re a foodie like me and enjoy the local eats of your city, you can still enjoy that — just be more selective about it. Cooking can really just be assembly,which is often quick and very cheap. Living in New York City, I can spend $30 on a salad or $30 on a week’s worth of home-cooked meals. My biggest suggestion is to make a grocery list of exactly what you need and commit to it — no buying chips and cookies on a whim, because those purchases add up. If you budget it into your list, then you’re good.4. Make some financial goals and prioritize your billsI know, this is sometimes easier said than done. With the Mint app, you can set some goals and work at setting yourself up for spending success. I’ve been paying a lot in interest on my student loans for the past eight years, when I could contribute more to the monthly bill, pay it off by November, and stop wasting unnecessary cash. I also need a new laptop, but mine can last another few months or so. I’m therefore making the decision to pay off my current credit card bill to avoid interest costs and keep a high credit score — then I can bite the bullet and buy the computer.5. Add money to your savings account every month, even if it’s not a lotThis is SO important and I highly recommend doing this whether you’re freelancing, unemployed, or have a full-time job. When I was employed, I set up an automatic distribution to my savings account of $100 per paycheck. It didn’t feel like too much money at the time, and since then, I’ve saved about $3,000. Having that money in the bank now that I’m laid off feels like a lifeline that I’m grateful I can use if I need to. Sure, this barely covers rent and cost of living for one month in New York City, but it’s better than nothing! I also have a box at home that I made, and I used to put $1 in there for every mile I ran. Back when I was training for a half-marathon, it was a really good idea and a cool way to save money. Be creative and save!And that’s what I’ve got for now! Money can make a person feel on top of the world or utterly defeated. It can be really mentally exhausting to think about your finances, especially after a lay-off. But with the Mint app, you are in control of your budgets, your goals, and your spending — you can get through it and prosper! Just take a breath, clear your head, and plan your future. You’ve got this.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) RelatedWhat Freelancers Need To Know About Taking A VacationAugust 6, 2019In “Travel Tips”Freelancer Money Woes: How to Beat ThemApril 24, 2019In “Early Career”Newly Unemployed? How to Get Your Money Situation in OrderDecember 5, 2018In “Early Career” Post navigationlast_img read more

Increasing Forest Transparency through the Open Government Partnership

first_imgHow can open government accelerate implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the post-2015 development agenda?That’s the big question on the table at this year’s Global Summit of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), an initiative dedicated to increasing government transparency and citizen empowerment. One overlooked answer to that question is “forests.”Forests Are a Common ThreadToday, an estimated one in five people directly depend on forests for their livelihoods. So it’s no wonder that forests, recognized for their benefits in providing food, water, shelter and income, are a central part of the SDGs. In fact, one of the goals (SDG 15) is dedicated to sustainable land and forest use, and several others indirectly relate to forests in the context of poverty alleviation (SDG 1), hunger (SDG 2), health (SDG 3), climate (SDG 13) and water (SDG 14).By contrast, forests are grossly underrepresented in OGP commitments, presenting an opportunity for progress toward the theme of this year’s Summit. Of the more than 2,000 commitments made among the OGP’s 66 national signatories, only 172 address the environment and natural resources, and just four of those commitments explicitly mention forests. This is disproportionately low given that 44 of these countries have a significant portion (at least 25 percent) of their total land area as forest cover. The Summit is an ideal platform to change this, as member states revisit their national action plans every two years, with input from civil society.Good Governance Leads to Good Forest ManagementLeveraging the OGP to support sustainable development makes sense. The OGP tenets of transparency, accountability and data openness benefit forests, as open government often translates to good forest governance.Take open data: Making forestry information like concession boundaries available can help decision-makers make better, more informed decisions around land use, such as mining, logging and agriculture. This can reduce conflict arising from overlapping land claims, and decrease illegal logging by improving the capacity and timeliness of enforcement. It can also help quantify the ecosystem services provided by forests, and ensure that civil society has the information it needs to hold governments accountable to decisions. Open data tools like Global Forest Watch, an interactive online monitoring and alert system, can allow everyone from citizens to government officials to keep an eye on forest loss or fires and notify stakeholders of areas of concern.Making Progress through OGPWhile slow to emerge, there have been some promising advances for forest-related commitments through the OGP, including:Indonesia: As part of its first national action plan, Indonesia developed the One Map Portal for improved forest management. The government-led initiative aims to digitize data and information related to primary and secondary forests, and harmonize the spatial boundaries of land use, forest cover and administrative boundaries used by different government entities. That way, government officials can ensure they are preventing overlapping land claims, which helps to reduce risk for investors, increase land tenure security for communities and decrease potential land use conflict.Liberia: In Liberia’s second national action plan, released just last month, the government has committed to making information on commercial land use rights publicly available, including land area, georeferenced location data, and related Environmental and Social Impact Assessments. Their commitments also include public disclosure of proposed reforms potentially affecting the land and natural resources sector so that citizens have the opportunity to monitor changes, respond and react before legislation is passed.Mexico: Mexico is committed to providing its citizens with opportunities to participate before, during and after the decision-making process around environmental impact assessments, and has committed to creating a tool through which to disseminate this information in an accessible, appropriate and timely manner. This ensures that stakeholder participation is a central component throughout the lifecycle of projects that could drive deforestation, and that multiple perspectives are represented. The commitment also standardizes the way in which information is released, making it easier to understand and access.Kick-starting More ProgressAll three countries will be represented by civil society and government officials at the Summit in a roundtable titled, “Improving Forest Transparency through the Open Government Partnership.” The participants will identify the next generation of commitments needed to support successful implementation of SDG 15 and other forest-related goals.Additionally, the Openness in Natural Resources Working Group (ONR-WG), one of five such thematic groups, will formally launch at this year’s summit. The ONR-WG is co-chaired by WRI, the Natural Resource Governance Institute and the Government of Indonesia, and seeks to promote the public disclosure of contracts, beneficial ownership and environmental policy, management and compliance data. The Working Group’s activities include generating concrete, impactful and ambitious OGP natural resource commitments through technical assistance and peer-learning exchanges.At the Summit and beyond, governments should work with civil society groups to adopt commitments that support both the goals of the OGP and the success of the SDGs, contributing to a new global norm on openness in natural resource and forest management. By creating better, more open governments, we can create a better world for forests and the people who rely on them.last_img read more

4 Minutes to Optimize a LinkedIn Profile for SEO

first_img SEO and Social Media Originally published May 22, 2009 8:53:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 There are two really quick things you can do on LinkedIn to optimize your profile for SEO — both to make your LinkedIn profile more discoverable, and to make your profile work for you by sending some SEO authority (link juice) to other pages on the web that you choose.The video below explains it all and shows you exactly how to do it in under 4 minutes.2 Tips to Optimize a LinkedIn Profile for SEOCustomize your URL with your name.  My LinkedIn profile URL is http://www.linkedin.com/in/mikevolpe – and you can have one just like it with your name in the URL making it more likely for your profile to rank for searches for your name because the search engines do look at keywords in the URL.  It is also a much easier URL to remember and looks nicer when you email it to people. Add Custom Anchor Text to Links.  You can have up to 3 links on your profile to other websites, and these links pass SEO authority.  If you customize the anchor text on the links, you can get the most out of them because the search engines do look at the text of links to understand more about the content of pages they link to.  So, if you want your marketing TV show to rank on the first page for “marketing video podcast”, make sure to use that text in your link. 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

7 Social Media Time-Sucks to Eliminate Today

first_img Topics: Originally published Sep 12, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Social Media In inbound marketing, we talk a lot about optimization — optimizing your content for search engines, optimizing your website for lead generation, optimizing your social media presence. But another very important thing inbound marketers must optimize is time. Yes, compared to outbound marketing, inbound marketing saves money and is much more effective. But you also need to put the time in.However, marketers often spend too much time on strategies and tactics that don’t make any real impact, particularly in social media. Don’t waste your precious marketing time on things that aren’t worth your time. Avoid the following 7 social media time-sucks at all costs.7 Social Media Time-Sucks to Avoid1. Stop feeding the trolls. On the internet, trolls are people who make it their mission to disrupt online discussions (whether it’s on a forum, in a blog post’s comments section, in a social network, etc.) with the goal of provoking an emotional response. Often, their comments are off-topic, inflammatory, and disruptive to the conversation. In general, don’t waste your time on them; it’s often better to ignore their remarks than try to reason with them. Do your best to recognize trolls, take a deep breath, and move on. If you perceive someone as a troll, chances are your other readers will, too, so don’t worry about trolls negatively impacting your brand if you ignore them.2. Stop maintaining multiple accounts on one social network. You have one Twitter account for customer service, another for marketing, and yet another for Sales. Your Facebook presence is also spread out across multiple Pages. There are some cases when more than one account makes sense, but be reasonable. Consolidating your presence into one account will save you the time of maintaining multiple accounts, help you attract more followers, and centralize your web presence. You can always have multiple contributors/administrators for one account if you want representatives from multiple departments to be involved.3. Stop spending time on social networks your target customers don’t populate. It’s an unnecessary time-suck to maintain a presence on every single social network that crops up. Before you sign up for a social media account, conduct research to determine if your target customers even congregate there. Furthermore, adjust the amount of time you spend on each social network accordingly. It doesn’t matter if Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are the most popular social networks overall. If your target audience spends more time on a niche social media platform specific to your industry than they do on a ‘popular’ one like Facebook, spend more of your time there, too.4. Stop tracking useless metrics. At the end of the day, it’s all about sales. While there are definitely metrics that can be good indicators of revenue and sales, there are some that just generally don’t matter. In social media, these metrics include your number of fans and followers. Rather than obsessing over these useless metrics, measure social media traffic, leads, and customers instead.5. Stop talking about your product. Don’t waste your time talking about yourself and your products or services, because, well, no one really wants to hear it. What your fans and followers do want to hear, on the other hand, is your thought leadership. Rather than spending time talking about yourself, spend time creating and sharing educational, remarkable content that people will care about and want to spread to their networks. This will extend your reach and actually generate results.6. Stop strategizing, and start doing. Too many businesses waste time preparing over-the-top, extensive social media strategy documents. They spend time creating them, and then they spend even more time waiting for their approval. By the time they actually start executing, they could’ve already been generating results. Sure, it’s important to have a clear vision for your social media strategy, but getting things done and being agile enough to adapt to new trends and developments is more important than having a definitive strategy document.7. Stop responding to EVERYTHING. As your business and social media presence grow (and, isn’t that the goal?), you’ll undoubtedly start generating more fans, followers, and as a result, more discussion around your brand. If you kill yourself over trying to respond to every single comment or @reply, you’ll never get anything meaningful done. While it’s absolutely critical to be an active member of your community and engage with your prospects and customers, always prioritize and spend your time responding to the conversations that are truly worthwhile.Start eliminating these social media time-sucks and focusing on tactics that really matter. You’ll love how much looser your schedule becomes. What other time-sucks would you add to this list?Image Credit: blue2likeyoulast_img read more

Morning newswrap September 21, 2018

first_imgMilitants abduct 4 policemen in Jammu and Kashmir’s ShopianThe missing personnel include three Special Police Officers (SPOs) and a police constable. Militants barged inside the houses of the policemen in Shopian’s Kaprin village and abducted them.11 lions found dead in Gir forests of GujaratOfficials claim that most of them died due to lung infection, while some were killed because of infighting.Will Batti Gul Meter Chalu Day 1 collection beat last Shahid-Shraddha film?On its opening day, Haider raked in a respectable Rs 6.14 crore, despite facing stiff competition from Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif-starrer Bang Bang.Virat Kohli, Mirabai Chanu named by Sports Ministry for Khel Ratna AwardThe Sports Minister also released the names of 20 Arjuna awardees for the year which includes Smriti Mandhana, Hima Das, Neeraj Chopra and Manika Batra, among others.last_img read more

Social Media Managers Must Work Around Lousy Business Models

first_imgRaise your hand if you’ve ever been screwed over by an airline. Yeah, me too — multiple times.Most recently, United Airlines canceled my flight out of Cleveland an hour before my coworker and I were to depart. When we asked what to do about having nowhere to stay for 10 hours, the airline said it couldn’t help. When we requested a hotel, we got the same response.In the midst of this mess, I took to Twitter and began venting my frustrations to @United. During the conversation, this magical little tweet came in from @AmericanAir:@anum Let us know if we can assist you today, Anum.— American Airlines (@AmericanAir) September 12, 2013My initial reaction? “Wow — what a great social media team. They instantly jumped in to help!”After the airline’s tweet, a series of folks responded, complimenting American for listening to a customer (and one who wasn’t even theirs), responding quickly, and wanting to help.Yes, my friends, this is an example of customer delight. But it also lends itself to a tale of a great social media team that, despite its heroic efforts, cannot save a poor business.A History of Poor Customer ServiceEarlier this year, I was flying American on a trip to California. I needed to change my reservation so that I could fly from Los Angeles to San Francisco before returning to Boston. I was providing American with more business with the caveat of changing my return flight to Boston in a few days. A simple request, right?Not entirely. American asked me to pay $200 just to change my flight. This was more than the ticket price I was paying to get from L.A. to San Fran. “I’m sorry, you want me to pay more than the extra flight ticket I’m buying from you just to give you more business?”I talked to four customer service agents, including two supervisors — all who tried their best to help me — but ultimately it seemed their hands were tied. No one was willing or able to override the $200 charge for the sake of retaining me as a customer (and actually getting more money out of me!).So, I took to Twitter then, too. Within minutes, American responded. The company requested my ticketing information and went to work trying to help me. With every angry tweet I sent, they replied kindly and with an intention of helping. Unfortunately, though, despite the airline’s desire to assist me, it couldn’t get far without needing to have its own customer service team to step in. Nothing came of this move, either.When American tweeted at me when I was stranded in Cleveland, I was hopeful. I requested a seat to Boston, and the airline responded with a chance to help:@anum Anum, we have some limited seats available. Please call Reservations at 800-433-7300 for help in booking a new reservation.— American Airlines (@AmericanAir) September 12, 2013In excitement, I called the number. I waited for 15 minutes. I spoke with a rep for another 15 minutes. And then that rep, just like before, was unable to assist. Angry that American led me on, I began tweeting — again.And again, the company tweeted back, requesting I keep checking back in case something opened up. I eventually tweeted out admiration for its social media efforts, but disapproval for its unhelpful business model.Meanwhile, by the way, United had only tweeted at me once — asking for flight info. And after I sent it over? Pure crickets. No response. No apology. No desire to help.Kudos to the airline’s social media team for doing its best to respond and interact with customers. At the end of the day, though, no matter how important social media becomes for a business strategy, no matter how many brands begin to utilize it efficiently, if you’re not backed up by a solid business strategy, your social can only take you so far.Use Social Media to Help, Not HypeI was actually in Cleveland for Content Marketing World. On the first day of the conference, Jay Baer spoke about marketing that is there to help, not hype.As the social media manager or a member of the social media team at your business, you can’t change a business’s model or its core beliefs. You can’t make a company care about its customers. But what you can do is make the most of your social media efforts by helping as best you can. Here’s a few top ways you can assist customers.1) Maintain Transparent CommunicationWhen customers are upset, it’s likely your team attempted to help. But unless you can 100% confidently provide a service, don’t provide that service. American explicitly told me it had seats available when it didn’t. The airline should’ve made that point transparent so I wasn’t wasting time on the phone with a customer rep when I could be searching for other solutions.It’s worth having a discussion with your social media team about potential solutions for when you can’t assist customers. In American’s case, the social media team could speak with decision-makers about having some free or discounted tickets available — or perhaps vouchers for a future flight — for when they run into frustrated customers.2) Build a Relationship With Customer SupportWork to build a direct line of communication with the customer support team. In our ebook on How Twitter Can Solve Challenges for Marketing, Support, and Sales, one of our customer service reps, Nick Salvatoriello, says: “Ideally, as customer service reps, we’d like to know about customer concerns before they get upset. By monitoring customer interactions on Twitter, you can spot people trying to figure out how to use your product or service.”And that’s the way it should be. Perhaps your social media team can star or flag tweets from customers in your marketing database. That way, when that customer calls into the support line, the support rep knows this individual has already been communicating with the brand on Twitter. In my example, when I called American and said that the company tweeted this number to me to help, the airline knew nothing about the exchange.(Tip for HubSpot users: Using HubSpot’s Social Inbox, your social media team can easily email forward tweets that need customer support attention to customer support reps. Learn more in this blog post.)3) Create a Hashtag for Specific ProblemsStart a program in which customers can use a hashtag on Twitter to relay their issues to the company. By having one consistent hashtag, customers know that a brand’s entire community of customers has a place to communicate. The result is a hashtag that the customer service team can monitor on Twitter in order to respond to important tweets.At HubSpot, we use #hubspotting for this purpose. We make that hashtag loud and clear to our customers in our phone consulting, in our messaging on webinars, and so on. That helps Nick stay in touch with his customers.Imagine if United had a specific hashtag I could have used. Even if the company didn’t respond right away, perhaps another customer was facing the same issue as me and could’ve helped. But I had no way to tap into United’s community or properly get its attention.Not All Airlines Getting It WrongAfter reading my story, you may be wondering, “Well, maybe it’s just the airline industry as a whole that’s terrible.”Not true.My domestic airline of choice is typically JetBlue. Last year, I had an early flight to Chicago and accidentally slept through my flight departure. Crap, I thought. If airlines are typically unwilling to help, there’s no hope when this is 100% my fault.To my pleasant surprise, JetBlue customer service reps were charming and cheerful and told me I could either pay $50 for a new flight (which is reasonable — especially compared to $200), or I could go to the airport and wait on standby to get on a flight for free. Arriving early, I easily got a seat for free on the next flight. This customer-focused business model delighted me. The airline truly cared about me reaching my destination, and made it easy for me to do so.This business model transcends into the airline’s social media efforts. Earlier in September, one Twitter user complained about his flight being canceled. Unlike my flight cancellation from United that resulted in no response, JetBlue let the passenger know he was entitled to a refund. That little dose of delight sure would have eased my stress in Cleveland!@pzerbo So sorry your flight was cancelled. Safety is our top priority.http://t.co/f7bJBZa4XV You’re entitled to refund if Thurs not option.— JetBlue Airways (@JetBlue) September 2, 2013So, to sum up the lesson for today: A great business model + a great social media team = customer happiness. If the model is something you can’t control, though, then just work your butt off to resolve issues for — and ultimately satisfy — customers who have legitimate issues that they share on social media.Image Credit: Gamerboy Originally published Oct 1, 2013 2:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Social Media Strategylast_img read more

How to Create a Basic Google Analytics Custom Report

first_img Google Analytics Originally published Dec 5, 2013 4:00:00 PM, updated August 25 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack As an inbound marketing consultant at HubSpot, I’ve worked with many marketers to develop custom marketing reports within HubSpot. Such reports provide marketers with unique insights into their marketing performance over time and help them easily keep track of progress toward specific weekly or monthly goals.Recently, I’ve fallen in love with Google Analytics’ Custom Reports feature. It’s an incredibly powerful tool that allows great flexibility to slice and dice your website analytics data in very interesting ways, based on your unique business goals and needs.  Do you know which inbound marketing metrics you should be tracking? Click here for a free guide.Getting started with custom reports can be a little daunting, though, so I recommend starting off by creating a few basic reports from scratch to get your feet wet. Once you get the hang of it, the possibilities are — quite literally — endless. Here’s a quick, step-by-step walkthrough of how to build your first Google Analytics custom report. Our final report will be a breakdown of three metrics — visits, pages per visit, and average time on page — by browser used.Using Google Analytics Customization TabTo get started, log into your Google Analytics account and click the ‘Customization’ tab in the top orange navigation bar. Click the ‘+ New Custom Report’ button under ‘Custom Reports.’And now the fun begins …Breaking Down Custom Reporting OptionsNaming your new report is pretty straightforward using the ‘Title’ field. For the sake of this exercise, we’ll name our report ‘Custom Browser Usage.’ (Google could certainly do a better job of making the rest of this report creation interface more self-explanatory, but that’s a conversation for another post.)Here’s a breakdown of your options and how they factor into the final report:Report TabsReport tabs allow you to create multiple tabs of data in one report. This is a great way to break down more advanced reports into smaller, more easily digestible chunks. For example, you could have one tab that breaks data down by geographic location and a second that looks at the data by device used. For our basic report, we’ll stick with one tab of data to start.TypeHere you have three layout options: ‘Explorer’ gives you a trends chart and a data table underneath; ‘Flat Table’ is just that — a flat table of data; and ‘Map Overlay’ is most useful when you’re looking at location-based data. We’ll select ‘Explorer’ for our example.Metric GroupThis section lets you select which data you want to include in the report. This could be anything from conversions to goal completions — there’s no limit to the number of metrics you can add to a report. The metrics selected here will be presented as the data columns on your final report. We’ll select three metrics: visits, pages per visit, and average time on page.Dimension DrilldownThis is where you can specify how you want the data to be further broken down. The drilldown is broken down by individual rows in the final report. For instance, once I select the three metrics I want to be included in this report, I can further break this data down by browser used to gain more insight into how various browser users are interacting with our blog.FiltersFilters allow you to limit the final report to a subset of the total data set. For example, we can filter the browser usage report we’re creating down by mobile device users only. There’s a vast array of filters you can apply to see if specific subsets of the data provide unique insights.Once you’ve selected the appropriate values detailed above for each section of the report, click ‘Save’ and wait for the magic to happen!Time to Review Your MasterpieceNow that we have the report in hand, it’s time to start looking at the data to spot any interesting or unexpected trends.Looking at the report above, the first thing I notice is that a significant portion of our blog readers are using Chrome and Firefox (nearly 65%!). If we were trying to determine which browsers we should focus on when looking to improve desktop user experience, we would likely start with those two.  When looking at average time on page, I notice that users accessing our blog using the Android browser are spending much longer on a page than any other browser user. This may be an opportunity for our user experience team to investigate to better understand this anomaly.It could be that Android users are being served up a more engaging page experience, resulting in more time spent on each page. Or perhaps, it could mean that the Android browser experience is somehow slowing down their ability to read through an entire page. Either way, something worth looking into.Just the BeginningThe best part of creating custom reports in Google Analytics is how easy it is to go back in and tweak basic reports to include more data as needed. As you begin spotting interesting trends from the basic reports you build, going back and iterating to create more detailed breakdowns is incredibly simple.If a report as easy as the one we created above can begin to highlight potential areas for improvement in your marketing assets, just imagine how endless the possibilities are!. Now get in there and get your hands dirty!Got any quick tips of your own when it comes to GA reports? Share them in the comments! Topics:last_img read more

Bigg Boss 12 Weekend Ka Vaar preview: Karanvir apologises to Salman on behalf of his wife, Shivashish out of the show

first_imgBigg Boss 12 Weekend Ka Vaar is often interesting but tonight’s episode will be quite explosive. The episode will start with an altercation between Jasleen and Sreesanth.Next morning, housemates will get a chance to call out who they think is playing dirty. They will be given balloons filled with black liquid and they’ll have throw it at the person they feel is playing a dirty game in the house. Romil will take Dipika’s name, Srishty Jasleen’s while Megha will name Deepak. But, as usual Sreesanth will again play a spoil sport and deny participating when Karanvir will name him.Later, host Salman Khan will talk to Karanvir about his wife Teejay’s open letter to the makers of the show where she accused Salman of humiliating her husband during the Weekend Ka Vaar. Salman seemed to be annoyed as even told him that he will stop interacting with him from now onwards. Karanvir will tell him that he never felt bad as it was all in good fun and will also apologise on his wife’s behalf.Kya @KVBohra ki bolti hogi band yaa woh de paaenge @BeingSalmanKhan ke mushkil saawalon ka jawaab? Dekhiye aaj #WeekendKaVaar mein raat 9 baje. #BiggBoss12 #BB12 pic.twitter.com/XOqbHqZYkLCOLORS (@ColorsTV) November 17, 2018Former BB12 contestant Anup Jalota will meet Jasleen in special room and Salman will ask him to clarify his stand on their relationship. Jasleen will be quite excited to meet him but will soon be dejected when Anup will claim that there is some confusion regarding their relationship. Anup will deny being in a romantic association with Jasleen and will say that he shares a Guru-Shishya relationship with her.advertisement.@anupjalota ne keh diya nahi maante woh unke aur #JasleenMatharu ke rishtey ko. Kya hoga iska anjaam? Catch the drama tonight at 9 PM. #WeekendKaVaar #BiggBoss12 #BB12 pic.twitter.com/7xtQMfbHW5COLORS (@ColorsTV) November 17, 2018But, this is not it. There’s more in store for the viewers. Last night Shivashish denied going to jail as result the entire house except Romil was nominated. But today Salman will ask Shivashish to leave the house for disrespecting the show. Shivashish is the first contestant of this season to be thrown out of the house. This will be a big shocker for the viewers as well as the housemates..@BiggBoss aur @BeingSalmanKhan hain bahot naraaz #ShivashishMishra ke bartaav se, jiski sazaa unhein milegi aaj #WeekendKaVaar mein. Don’t forget to watch it at 9 PM. #BiggBoss12 #BB12 pic.twitter.com/0fkCYJ1fR5COLORS (@ColorsTV) November 17, 2018Also read: Bigg Boss 12: Shivashish kicked out of house, Twitterati call it unfairlast_img read more

5 Hobbies That Can Actually Make You Smarter [Infographic]

first_img1K+SaveWhat are your favorite hobbies? Let us know in the comment section below. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Work Life Balance Did you know that Elon Musk collects James Bond memorabilia? Or that television host Bob Barker trained in karate under Chuck Norris for eight years?The hobbies we keep reveal a lot about our personalities. But did you ever stop to think that there are some hobbies out there that can actually make you smarter?Depending on the pastime you choose, there’s a chance you could be improving your recall, enhancing your cognitive skills, or even boosting your spatial recognition. Talk about feeding two birds with one scone, am I right?To learn more about these brain-boosting hobbies and their magical powers, check out the infographic below from ProEssayWriter.net.1K+Save center_img Topics: Originally published Nov 13, 2015 12:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017last_img read more

How Customer-Driven Copy Helped HubSpot Increase Conversions by Nearly 100%

first_imgPrioritiesWe had respondents rank the criteria that were most important to them when making a purchase decision (price, ease of use, access to support, etc.).We also had them rank the features most important to them. This gave us a roadmap for which features we needed to call out early and often in the new copy, and which features weren’t as important to mention. Customer Type Why? Wireframing Hold on — isn’t wireframing the designer’s job? Absolutely! … sort of. Copywriters need to understand how the compelling copy they write will translate to the web to avoid creating intimidating walls of text. Designers need to know how to arrange the visual elements of the page to make consuming the copy an effortless and engaging experience.As for who should take the lead, there’s no debate: copy should dictate design — cramming copy into a pre-defined design makes it difficult to tell the best possible story.Building HubSpot’s Page TemplatesWith 36 feature pages, three core product pages, and a brand new homepage to create on a rapidly approaching deadline, we needed to find efficiencies to get this project done on time. To speed up the process, the copy and design teams worked in tandem to build copy-driven, conversion-focused templates for similar page types.To make your design-copy collaboration productive, you can follow these steps:Let the Research Drive After discussing everything we’d learned about our customers, the copy and design team had a reasonable idea of what information we’d need to share to drive a conversion. We knew that every feature page would need a hero section, a space to discuss the top two or three benefits, a spot to share integrations, and a call-to-action.Create a Mockup to ReviewDrawing on these early conversations and some high-converting templates that had been tested in the past, the design team mocked up a new wireframe for us to work from. We used this as our foundation.WritingFinally, it was time to pull all that sticky copy into the new wireframes we’d created and use customer priorities to guide what we talked about and when. To illustrate how we used our customer research, I’ll outline three examples of changes we made to HubSpot’s copy and page structure.Solving the Clarity ProblemYou’ll remember that one of the biggest problems plaguing HubSpot’s old site was a lack of clarity:Customers had no idea HubSpot had evolved into the Growth Stack — three different pieces of software that worked both separately and together.Leads didn’t understand which tools they needed to solve their problem or what they were signing up for.Between copy and design, we solved this problem in a few different ways.Before, HubSpot’s homepage offered little context or insight into what each of the tools did, or that they were separate:HubSpot’s homepage prior to the update.For the new homepage, we introduced a confusion-busting section that explained that the HubSpot Growth Stack was “a full stack of products” customers could use alone or together.We listed each solution and shared a quick bit of copy on what a lead could accomplish with each — then gave leads the opportunity to dig deeper on the one the were interested in.A section added to the homepage during the update. See it here.Below this section, we added clarity by using copy pulled from customer quotes to explain what each tool could be used for. We arranged these features based on the highest-priority outcomes of our customers:The CRM description as it appears on the updated homepage. See it here.But we didn’t put all our eggs in the homepage basket. We brought that clarity into the product pages, too.On the old product pages there was no mention at all that the tools were connected and could be used together. For the redesign, we added a section to our templates that told the story of how each of the tools connected:The Growth Stack as explained on individual product pages. See it here.But just in case a lead jumped straight to the “Get Started” page without reading the homepage or product pages, we made sure that the copy on the “Get Started” page also explained the challenges each tool could solve:The updated “Get Started” page. See it here.Notice how HubSpot’s design team complemented the copy by breaking all of the products out visually, making them separate and distinct? That’s copy and design pulling in the same direction, baby!As a result, leads can see that HubSpot offers a full stack of products and are better equipped to choose the right solution.Making Pages More CompellingAfter analyzing the survey responses and reviews, we had a very clear picture of the features and benefits our leads actually cared about. We structured every page around our lead’s priorities.For example, on the HubSpot Sales page, we organized the different features by how often they were mentioned in our survey results. All of those subheadings — “Uncover new leads, connect with more leads, close deals faster and manage your pipeline” — are direct quotes from customers as to the benefits of using the feature being highlighted.Even the crosshead (“Sell more. Work less.”) came from the way a customer explained what they could do thanks to HubSpot Sales!By organizing the page this way, we’ve made sure the most compelling features and benefits are seen.Alleviating AnxietiesThanks to analyzing chat logs and interviewing HubSpot’s support team, we knew where there were gaps in a lead’s understanding and the fears the old copy wasn’t alleviating. That meant we could be proactive about addressing those with the new site.For example, one of the biggest questions people have about HubSpot Sales is whether or not it’ll work with their email provider, so we added “Works with Gmail and Outlook” to the microcopy by the call-to-action. This leaves the lead no excuse not to get going right away.Microcopy beneath this HubSpot Sales CTA mentions specific email providers. See it here.We also learned that a large number of CRM users were frustrated with how long it took to learn other platforms.  New leads were concerned about how long it’d take to master the HubSpot CRM, so we obliterated that anxiety early on in the CRM product page:HubSpot CRM automates the tasks salespeople hate and takes minutes to learn – not months. That means doing more deals and less data entry.RevisionsAs much as I’d like to say all of that glorious copy I just shared came out of our first drafts, it didn’t – and yours won’t either. Every draft went through multiple revisions, including:Accuracy ControlAll pages of copy were run past team members who worked directly on those products. You should do the same.Voice/Tone Every draft was run past HubSpot’s team to make sure the copy stuck to HubSpot’s style guidelines and spoke with a unified voice.When writing new copy — especially when you have multiple authors — give one person the responsibility to enforce a consistent style guide. We didn’t pass drafts around the entire company for feedback, and neither should you. That’s a surefire way to kill your messaging. Dozens of competing priorities will always water down your copy.Instead, HubSpot designated a small, multidisciplinary SWAT team and agreed to limit the exposure of the drafts to those people inside of the team. This small group could stay agile and avoid writing copy by committee.When you steal your copy from your customers, great things happen. A few weeks after HubSpot’s redesign went live, the results were eye-popping:The new “Get Started” flow nearly doubled the site’s overall conversion rate. There had been a 35% increase in the total volume of demo requests.There’d been a 27% increase in the total volume of product signups post-launch.Copy can’t take all the credit: an improved conversion flow and dramatically different design were huge factors, too!But if there’s one thing I want you to leave this piece understanding, it’s that you can’t write high-converting copy in a vacuum. The only way we were able to refocus HubSpot’s messaging and bring clarity to their conversion funnel was by getting to know their customers. Talk to yours!After this project, HubSpot has a proven, repeatable process they can use to write copy that converts — and now, so do you! As themes emerge, add them in the third column. Don’t worry about filling this column on a first pass — themes usually surface during review. Early experiencesWe asked respondents, “What was going on in your business when you sought out a solution like HubSpot?” This gave us a goldmine of insight into their pain points, purchase triggers and desired outcomes. Customer Centric Marketing  Memorable Quote Type Theme Feature NotesWhere & Who?  LeadsLeads are deeply in tune with their pain points and anxieties — perfect for learning frustrations with the existing website and the obstacles they’re facing.  Dead AccountsThis customer group can help us understand what went wrong and how we could mitigate those problems.  2) Don’t forget to share this post! New copy isn’t better just because it’s new.You can’t just give your copy a “refresh” or aimlessly fiddle with headlines to get a huge boost in conversions. These kinds of false hopes (and complete lack of a process) are why so many conversion copywriting projects fail, and so many new sites perform worse than the old ones.If you want to make sure your new copy hits a conversion home run, keep reading.Last October, I had the opportunity to collaborate with the team at HubSpot to rewrite their copy as part of their site’s redesign. It was a conversion copywriter’s dream come true!In this post, I’ll share the exact process we used to fine-tune the messaging and nearly double the site’s conversion rate.Diagnosing Issues and Setting GoalsThe first step to improving your copy and conversion funnel is to learn what’s not working. To do this, Josh Garofalo (who also wrote copy for this project) and I turned to a few sources:Internal InterviewsWe grilled HubSpot’s product development, sales, and support staff to get their inside perspective.The product team gave us a better perspective on the evolution of the HubSpot software into the Growth Stack, so we could write about the product as it is now instead of how it was in the past. The HubSpot Growth Stack consists of HubSpot’s marketing, sales, and CRM software.The sales team illuminated the questions, objections and pain points most frequently mentioned by leads on calls. They also shared their most successful ways of overcoming objections and answering questions — things we could mimic with the site’s copy.The support team shared the recurring questions and frustrations expressed by leads. We pored over support chat logs, highlighting recurring questions that we could solve proactively on the new siteWe learned that HubSpot customers didn’t understand HubSpot had evolved into the Growth Stack: multiple tools that accomplish different goals individually, but are even more powerful used together.Making this clear became a huge priority for the new copy.Analytics & User Journey MappingHubSpot’s internal team consulted their analytics data and user journey maps and confirmed that clarity was an issue. Conversion flows were tangled as leads struggled to understand what they were signing up for.We needed to simplify the path from interest to action.Copy AuditAs HubSpot grew rapidly, the copy on their website was written by multiple people with multiple perspectives. This caused style guide inconsistencies, a lack of unified positioning and an inconsistent voice across the site.This was our chance to bring consistency to HubSpot’s messaging and showcase their solutions in words that clicked with their customers.Now, we just needed to find out what those words were.Conducting Customer ResearchTo tell a persuasive story that your leads can see themselves in, you need to understand four things about them:Pain points: The challenges and frustrations they faceAnxieties: The obstacles and fears that keep them from buyingDesired outcomes: What success looks like for themPriorities: Which pain points, features, and benefits are most important to themInstead of guessing at these things, why not just steal the words right out of their mouths?Customer research is all about capturing your customer’s challenges, fears and desires in their own words so that you can use those same words in your headlines, body copy, and calls-to-action.And when you know your customers’ priorities, you know exactly what features and benefits to emphasize, too.Sneaky, right?Let’s dig into how you can start stealing like the pros.Segment Your AudienceDepending on what you want to learn, some segments of your audience will be more informative than others.We identified three important segments to talk to in order to fully understand our audience:  Pain Point Eliminated Benefits Top Quotes Notes Copy and paste standout customer quotes into the first column. Originally published Mar 23, 2017 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017center_img Use “Notes” for your own reference. Remind yourself why you like the quote or how you might use it. If it’s a quote you might think about stealing copy from, tag it as “Sticky”.  1) List who said it and where. This will make sure you can go back to the source. We also segmented these groups across HubSpot’s different products to make sure we were talking to people who actually used each tool.Create Your Research DocsWhatever you do, don’t skip this step!There’s a temptation to jump right into talking to your customers — but first, you need a plan for pulling all the feedback together and keeping it organized. Josh and I developed a spreadsheet that saved us hours of headaches and dramatically sped up analysis. You can download a copy for yourself here. To use this spreadsheet: If the quote pertains to a specific feature, add it to the “Feature” column. This will make it easier to sort later on, giving you a cheat sheet for every feature. Categorize the quote by pain point, benefit, anxiety or priority. If the quote applies to more than one, choose the most appropriate and list the others in the “Notes” section. ResultsWe finished up the survey by asking leads what they’d been able to achieve using HubSpot. This gave us insight into the outcomes people wanted, the wins they’d achieved, and what made them happiest about using HubSpot.Review and Testimonial MiningYou can learn a ton about your customers by reading reviews, testimonials, and case studies. As the email survey was collecting responses, Josh and I pored over 100 reviews on TrustRadius, G2 Crowd, Capterra and more. We also analyzed reviews for competitors, looking for the most common objections or frustrations so we could position the HubSpot Growth Stack as the superior solution.We cross-referenced the things we read with the primary data we collected to make sure we weren’t just hearing from the vocal minority.Analyzing the FeedbackWhen analyzing feedback, how do you know which quotes to consider and which to ignore? Here’s what to look for:Find Recurring ThemesOn your first read through the responses, keep a running tally of the themes you see emerging. As an example, when analyzing HubSpot’s customer responses I tracked:Which specific features were brought up most often as difference makers (like pipeline management or email automation)Which pain points were frequently mentioned, and how they were described (e.g. a need for more sales, more flexibility, time savings, etc.)How many responses mentioned specific benefits or outcomes (like saving money, generating leads or automating processes)Below are just a few examples of the responses we got to one of our surveys. In these examples (and dozens of others), a theme emerged: a need for a CRM the customer’s sales team would actually use.This type of analysis helps you pinpoint what is motivating your audience to action. Now, you know exactly what pains to agitate and benefits to emphasize on your new pages. Better yet, you can borrow the ways your customers explained them so that the copy is immediately relatable.Pay Attention to Frequently Used WordsLook for the terms people use to describe you, their problems, and their ideal solutions. As a shortcut, you can paste customer responses into a word cloud generator:Just like the recurring themes, you can pull these terms and phrases into your copy to make it stick.Uncover Those Well-Said / Fresh Soundbites You don’t want your message to be drowned out in a sea of sameness. Because your customers aren’t under pressure to try and craft the “perfect line,” they’re great at finding compelling ways to talk about their pain points and benefits.Flag responses that immediately jump out as interesting or clever. For example, we loved this quote from one of our survey respondents:I have time for double the work now. I can create blogs in a few hours, manage my calendar, analyze my data, and still have time to break for lunch.We played with this quote a little, tied it to a need we saw coming up over and over (growth) and used it to inspire our homepage copy.Creating a Cheat SheetJosh and I created a cheat sheet like the one below for each different product. It tied together our customers’ highest-priority pain points, the benefits of solving them, and the sticky pieces of copy we’d found.Everything we needed to write a page was right in front of us. PreferencesWe asked how they liked to learn about software — whether by watching videos, reading landing pages, calling support, chatting online or reading reviews. This helped us decide if things like video or live chat should be included to support the copy. Active (3 – 6 months or longer)This group purchased recently enough to describe their pain points and priorities, as well as some benefits they’d realized. (Make sure that you’re surveying customers who have had enough time to evaluate your product and find success with it.) Topics: “I have time for double the work now. I can create my blogs in a few hours, manage my calendar, analyze my data, and still have time to break for lunch.”Benefit EfficiencyContent PlannerSticky. Well-said; possibly revamp into headline:+ “Grow like a team twice your size” G2 Crowd, Joe Shmoe Collecting Customer FeedbackTo get fast customer feedback at scale, so we turned to two channels: email surveys and review/testimonial mining.Email SurveyEmail surveys can reach a huge number of customers in a short time period — but to get actionable feedback, you need to ask the right questions.Your respondents have limited time and energy, so you need to keep your survey focused. That means defining what you need to learn and crafting your questions around that goal.We structured our survey as follows:Qualifying questionsWe asked respondents to describe their role (helping us segment) and how they used HubSpot. Any respondent who said they didn’t use HubSpot anymore was pushed to a different set of questions to help us learn why they quit.We accomplished this “on-the-fly segmenting” by using Typeform’s Logic Jumps.last_img read more

Cricket Australia hopeful, but won’t rush into Pakistan 2022 tour

first_imgCricket Australia Chief Executive Kevin Roberts has said that they are hopeful of touring Pakistan in 2022, adding that they won’t rush into a decision.Australia is scheduled to play two Tests, three ODIs and three T20I games in Pakistan from late February 2022.Roberts returned from Pakistan on Thursday after the first trip by a high-level Australian cricket delegation in more than a decade.”The purpose was really to understand the landscape, look at the plans they have in place around security and then start expressing our expectations for the safety of our players and our support staff well over two years away from when we’re due to tour,” Sydney Morning Herald quoted Roberts as telling to SEN.”So that we’re not dealing with that in a pressure-cooker environment a couple of months before the tour.”Things are heading in the right direction, but in saying that we were traveling in armoured cars and escorted by police and felt very safe over there. But certainly, that level of security is still required at this point,” he added.Australia has not toured Pakistan since 1998 because of security concerns.Asked if he could see Australia touring Pakistan during his tenure, the Chief Executive said: “I hope so. I really hope we do for the sake of world cricket and Australia’s important relationship with Pakistan.”As I said to Pakistan, we share their desire for international cricket to return to their country.”(But) we will never jeopardize the safety of our people and we will keep taking advice from experts on the way,” he added.advertisementInternational cricket was put on hold in Pakistan after a touring Sri Lankan team in March 2009 was attacked by gunmen on their way to the Gaddafi Stadium. In 2015, Zimbabwe, however, toured Pakistan for a limited-overs series.And currently, Sri Lanka is scheduled to play three ODIs and as many T20Is in Pakistan with the first 50-over game on September 27.Also Read | It’s been an amazing journey so far: Hardik Pandya shares major throwback picAlso Read | Sri Lanka team to tour Pakistan as plannedAlso See:last_img read more